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General Moto radio question


Oct 23, 2017
I have a query for everyone that has worked with or repaired radios.
When you see a radio marked "does not power" or get one that comes into the shop for that reason, what is your go-to "this is what's going on"? I always see these radios and they tend to go for pretty cheap and I have always wondered what could be causing that problem. Could it be the power knob/button? Is it an internal fuse? Does it have to do with the contacts from the battery/power supply? If so, how cheap is it to repair these radios? Or are they just meant to be thrown out

I'm just curious how this would get dealt with.


Deranged Individual
Aug 31, 2018
First thing I usually check is the flex ribbons... If those seem okay, I'll check to see if the portable/mobile is getting the correct amount of "juice" I've also come to start checking the gaskets/rating of the unit, as sometimes departments dont purchase intrinsically safe radios, and don't disclose that they've sent a SCUBA guy into a lake with the portable, lol.


Mar 14, 2004
it depends on the style of radio for me, TBH.

MCS series - swap the control head (cabling if req'd) with a known good head from the bench, saw an inordinately high number of model I heads get the coffee bath (due to a completely asinine console design) and the head would die, but the deck would come back to life with a different head on it...then i'd dive into the head with the service manual. Didn't see too many dead RF decks, etc...

CDMs - they were deemed essentially disposable at the time we had them, and i'd end up looking as far as the physical power switch on the head...if that was good I'd just end up junking the units and convincing the higher ups that a more suitable radio should replace the taxi radio I just took apart...

Spectras - I'd end up over at Mike B's website trying to figure out common issues, etc..usually ended up being bad cabling.

Pro series HTs was usually the water bath @Ant9270 mentioned, and the infamous fuse "F501" on the main board.

kenwood TK mobiles - i'd start at the power plug and see how far into the circuit I found the appropriate voltages...


Oct 15, 2012
+1 on the water bath and F501 fuse. This also goes for the radios that were placed on desks with spilled coffee for hours on end. One employer, we kept a running list of what was spilled onto Motorola radios, and Voice Processing Modules (VPM's) when they were reported to have failed. Even with IS rated radios, many do not do dunk tests, or nitrogen purge as part of maintenance. Flex connectors, broken or loose, corroded flex contacts, and many radios run over by small forklifts often fail to power up afterward. Great post and thread here.