Operational Flaws

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N7CAS

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It was recommended that I post this here rather than where I had initially

After extensive familiarization with my new radios making sure setups are correct, the BCD436HD and BCD536HD (at least the two that were shipped to me) are definitely buggy and I am not happy about it.

THE 436:

On the first charge of the 436's supplied brand-new batteries (14 hours) via a USB port, "Normal Charging" was properly displayed and switched to "Charge Complete" after 14 hours. I then used the scanner on battery power, testing its service time. Much to my disappointment, scanning only one system (in battery save mode) the batteries only lasted 3 hours before the 436 generated a "Low Battery" warning. This is not good. In comparison, my BCD396T lasts for days with casual use.

In any case, concerned and curious, I re-charged the batteries. I expected a 14-hour cycle as before with their initial charge. As of this morning, the 436 has been showing "Normal Charging" for 30 hours straight. No "Charge Complete."

I nor anyone else have any use for a portable scanner whose batteries discharge so fast and then, insult to injury, don't re-charge on the second attempt where upon the first they did. And unlike my 396, there is no option (at least yet anyway) to work around the battery stuff by powering it with anything but a USB.

THE 536:

The 536 randomly mislabels some transmissions. I've monitored my local systems for quite some time — I know who's who (for example, I can tell the Green channel dispatcher apart from the fire department's Red channel — and I shouldn't be sporadically and suddenly hearing fantastically different communication contents on a completely unrelated Talk Group ID. I double-checked the database; the TGIDs are correct there. Also, those TGIDs are not linked. This, while occasional, is still annoying.

The display information is thus unreliable. When a small town out in the middle of nowhere, 233 miles away, comes up on the display and it's my region's metro tactical communications, something's not right.

Worse in the unreliability area is the tendency for departments with previously active comms not but 30 minutes prior just dropping off, gone. One example: High-traffic, 24-7 paramedic dispatch and support channels. Poof. Gone until one turns off the radio and then turns it back on.

----

I had, up until now, complete faith in Uniden products. I have used them for nearly 40 years since the company's initial incarnation as Electra Bearcat (1975's BC-101) along with other manufactures, and for reliability in my view Uniden's line has only ever been rivaled by one single other particular model (Radio Shacks's old PRO-2006).

That said, I realize there are bound to be glitches with these two new products, the 436 and 536, and hopefully they will be quickly addressed in future downloads of the firmware/software.

There my good faith ends. If these issues are not resolved in future downloads of firmware/software, though, and this uncharacteristic mediocrity is what one can expect from Uniden these days for this kind of money, I'll be shipping the 436 and 536 back as the defective items they currently are and demanding a refund under warranty.
 

JoeyC

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Your problems with display must be unique to EDACS systems - I have not experienced any mislabeling within conventional or Motorola systems. What town 233 miles away shows up under which tac channel?

Likely your 'poof, gone' situation is due to the way the radio is programmed and getting held up in the trunked system longer than you'd think whilst ignoring the conventionals.
 

UPMan

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For charging, any power interruption will reset the timer. Is it possible that the power was turned on and off for some reason?

For the other, as I mentioned in the other thread, its impossible to research given the information provided. That said, I'd normally expect to see many similar reports by now if it is not some unique programming/operation situation.
 

AZScanner

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Somewhere in this room. Right now, you're very col
For your 436, it sounds like you got some bad batteries (assuming you are using the stock, included batteries). My 436 lasts anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of continuous battery use. If you're not using the stock batteries, try them. They might work better.

For the issues you described with the 536, I've found that odd things like that can happen if you use the full db rather than create a favorites list. For example, if you have a local agency on 154.1900 but that frequency is used elsewhere in your same zip code, the scanner may sometimes say it's some agency several miles away rather than the one in your small town that is using the same frequency. The zip code feature is cool and all, but for daily use in your home town a favorites list is recommended for optimal performance.

These units most certainly are not defective. They just take a bit more tweaking than "just put in your zip code and go" for power users like us.

-AZ
 

UPMan

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Good point, AZ. If two different channels are using the same frequency, then you'll be at the mercy of whichever channel the scanner happens to be checking when the transmission occurs. Wouldn't explain TGID swaps, though. But, without specific channel information, this is nearly impossible to do anything but guess at.
 

Jay911

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As mentioned in the past, the radio's charging circuit does not sense when the batteries are full; it only applies charge for the amount of time you specify.

"Charge Complete" simply means that the radio has been charging for the amount of time (default 14 hours). That also doesn't mean that the batteries will be 100% full at that point.

I use 2400 mAh eneloop XX batteries in my 436. I charge them out of the radio in a dedicated Maha charger which DOES know when they are full and charges them to that point. They last about 8 hours in the 436, listening to a number of different channels including trunk systems, with recording enabled, at volume levels between 7 and 15.

I only have the 436, so maybe my experience won't apply to your claims on the 536, but I have not heard it miss any transmissions that I didn't expect it to miss (i.e. understanding that the radio is off scanning another trunk system or conventional bank when my pro radio, scanning only 15 channels, is picking up all the transmissions on my radio system). I've also not seen any conversations mislabeled, either on the screen or in recordings, although I have seen the DAT indicator (signifying reception of a trunk control channel) on frequencies I doubt have CCs running on.
 

whsbuss

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I only have the 436, so maybe my experience won't apply to your claims on the 536, but I have not heard it miss any transmissions that I didn't expect it to miss (i.e. understanding that the radio is off scanning another trunk system or conventional bank when my pro radio, scanning only 15 channels, is picking up all the transmissions on my radio system). I've also not seen any conversations mislabeled, either on the screen or in recordings, although I have seen the DAT indicator (signifying reception of a trunk control channel) on frequencies I doubt have CCs running on.
How would you know if you missed a transmission(?) unless you compared it to another scanner side-by-side
 

Jay911

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How would you know if you missed a transmission(?) unless you compared it to another scanner side-by-side
Are you suggesting that listening with my professional radio I use in the fire service won't work, and that I need an another scanner to compare to the 436?

RF is RF. My two-way radio receives the signal. The 436 either receives it or doesn't (and in 100% of the cases so far, it receives it).
 

whsbuss

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Are you suggesting that listening with my professional radio I use in the fire service won't work, and that I need an another scanner to compare to the 436?

RF is RF. My two-way radio receives the signal. The 436 either receives it or doesn't (and in 100% of the cases so far, it receives it).
No I am not, but I didn't see in your post about your fire radio being on.
 

JamesO

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You have to be VERY careful in today's communication world. Lots of unusual and unexpected things can happen either by system design or my accident.

First with the roll out of all new trunked communication systems and the need for mutual aid, many small towns and unincorporated localities may be tied into a larger county or Metro system. This includes patches and or the small localities may be included on a large county or Metro system.

Also as mentioned if you are monitoring VHF channels you may have frequency reuse and if the atmospheric conditions are correct you may have VHF skip that can travel hundreds of miles. These atmospheric conditions come and go and can rapidly change. If you were lucky enough to have programmed the scanner via Zipcode it may be possible that the other site information and description was available in the scanner as mentioned by someone else.

If would be unusual you would be receiving system that is over 200 miles away. You may actually have the description/tag for the 200 mile away system programmed into your system and be picking up your local system. CTCSS/PL/DCS may be used, but may not be currently programmed into the radio, so something as simple as the coded squelch may not be properly programmed into the scanner from the Master Database.

So a lot of other experimentation would be needed to find out if you really hearing what you think you are hearing.

Also many systems still broadcast fire or police dispatch on their original analog frequencies sometimes for specific reasons, sometimes to hold onto and keep the old system as a back up.

So for example having a larger county/Metro trunked system can be useful.

Where I like the local county has the area State Police linked and configured on the local county trunked system. This is actually very useful at times because the area State Police system is very hard to receive where I live, so I monitor the State Police primarily from the local county trunked system.

There are also a number of very small incorporated townships within my county that in the older analog days very very hard to monitor outside of the physical township boundaries. Now with the new county trunked system, these small incorporated townships are included in the much larger and more complex trunked system so I can easily monitor these small townships where before they were spotty or impossible to monitor.

So there are a lot of unexpected things that can happen or appear to happen if you do not fully understand how the trunked system is set up and configured.

So keep track as to what is going on, do your research and since you have more than a single scanner you can compare the behavior between the scanners and even set a scanner to hold on a frequency or Talk Group to really see what is going on.

You may also have to look very carefully at the scanner programming and make sure the coded squelch is turned on and properly configured as well as make sure you do not have frequency replication with with different alpha tags.
 

N7CAS

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Outstanding information (and perspective!) from the members here regarding my situation/complaint. Superb input. Thanks, everyone. I now suspect a faulty USB port on my computer; when I used another port, the 436 charged right up. Additionally the problems I cited with the 536 deal only with the database, frustrating though they were. Once creating Favorites Lists, wow — I've experienced none of the glitches I cited: display has been accurate. What a relief! This is a great forum! Thanks again for calmer, cooler heads.
 

UPMan

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Well, you did describe them as "Operational Flaws" (which can mean "flaws in how it is being operated"). :) We do strive to make it harder to do that, and all input helps.

My dad always attributed my complaints regarding car failings to there being a loose nut behind the steering wheel.
 

vortex360

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Your problems with display must be unique to EDACS systems - I have not experienced any mislabeling within conventional or Motorola systems. What town 233 miles away shows up under which tac channel?

Likely your 'poof, gone' situation is due to the way the radio is programmed and getting held up in the trunked system longer than you'd think whilst ignoring the conventionals.
He is right about the radio tg traffic suddenly stopping and faulting the 536. Suddenly my home city police tgid's only work in the kitchen. Everything else in the department comes in. There is something very strange going on that wasn't happening before. I obviously am not the only one noticing this phenomenon. About 5 days ago I noticed the South Bend Police Department disappear off the map where I've operated a Uniden scanner for years. When I take the scanner into the kitchen suddenly that agency starts coming in. I've unplugged everything in the room with the scanner except the scanner and the unit refuses to pull in South Bend Police Department traffic in a place where just a week ago it was pulling it in. Everything else on the Indiana SAFE-T system seems to operate just fine.
 
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Gilligan

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When you're reviewing recordings, you should be able to back out of the replay session by hitting the Menu button, but there is no such function to stop unless you scroll all the way to the last recording and tell it not to replay. Also, during review, it shouldn't flash the pl/dpl tone, but instead keep it solid so you can read it easier.
 
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