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Old 14 October 2004, 13:19   #1
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A small warning about Icom M31

Though I can't really fault this radio in any other way, expecially for its price, I recommend you don't buy it purely as a backup or emergency VHF.

The reason... well because it relies on a push button 'soft key' for on-off it gradually uses up battery power just sitting on the shelf switched off. This is fine if you regularly use the radio and charge it, but if like me you bought it to chuck in the bottom of a grab bag, after 3 or 4 weeks it will have discharged the battery to the point where it won't turn on.

Sadly I didn't realise this when I bought it (didn't say this on the box or brochure) so I shall have to make sure I keep it charged. Not as simple as it sounds as the instructions tell you not to leave it on charge for more than 8 hours. The advice from Icom is to pull the battery out, but I don't want to be messing about with batteries and screwdrivers in an emergency.

I think the lesson to be learnt is buy a radio with a conventional on off button or knob.

Keith
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Old 14 October 2004, 13:50   #2
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I wouldn't leave any hand held radio in a bag for three weeks and then expect to get a decent bit of use out of it in an emergency.

If your worried about it losing charge why not just disconnect the battery until you need it.

Having said that I suspect if you want a good charge holding battery in a hand held you would probably need to double the price of the radio when you buy it.

IMHO
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Old 14 October 2004, 14:27   #3
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In Jon's (temporary) absence, I have to say that my h/h ICOM Euro V is left switched off in my cupboard for weeks and sometimes months on end. It does not SEEM to lose power at all!
It was in it's cliprest on my console for 15 days last year going round Britain and the Orkneys.
It was powered on for about 9/10 hours a day.
I only needed to recharged it ONCE!!

Sorry Erin and Biggles, did not mean to disparage what you said. Your points are of course perfectly valid. Just saying how much I love my h/h ICOM.
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Old 14 October 2004, 15:13   #4
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Radio batteries that are used to their full prior to recharging will tend to operate for longer without needing another charge. Those that are recharged often without the battery going flat then lose their charge a lot quicker.

IMHO I would never trust a Radio battery that had been left lying around for some time.

Its my experience that they always pack up when you need them most. Best thing is get a spare battery.

I speak from experience as a user. I don't really know much about the technical side.

Safest thing to do is completely discharge it a few days before you need it and then recharge the day before you want it.

I have an Icom Hand Held which also has the option to take AA batteries. A very handy option and I always pack 8 AA batteries as spares.

All these items are stored inside at normal room temperature whilst not in use. Cold is also another battery killer.

Maybe John from Icom could give us the Official line on the quality, standby time and use time of the batteries supplied with the Icom sets. Might even give him a chance to plug the plus points of Icom Hand Helds.
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Old 14 October 2004, 15:21   #5
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the ic-m1 euro v has a li-lon battery pack which likes to be charged for small
amouts after use and the bat pack last for ever the m31 has batterys
which cuts the price down by a large amount you get what you pay for
but i all ways check the night before and charge my euro v it if needed

sorry biggles
this is what icom say for li-lon
charge the battery pack for a maximum of up to eight hours. li-lon batteries are different from ni- cd batteries and it is not necessary to completely charge or discharge them charge the battery in intervals and not for extended periods
dan
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Old 14 October 2004, 15:33   #6
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Don't know what batteries the Icom has but would guess at AA - try replacing them with NiMh - the highest capacity you can find - say 2200mah. The only prob you may find is that they are only 1.2v instead of 1.5v - having said that I manage to use them ok in most things - they last for ages and don't have the memory effect that you get with NiCads.

Remember you will need a good charger as well.

http://www.budgetbatteries.co.uk/cgi...14Oct04_203103

Much cheaper than high st prices
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Old 14 October 2004, 16:25   #7
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Icom M31

Having just bought a Icom M31, there was a seperate notice in the box to say it had a soft on/off switch. Which recommends you "to remove the battry pack if it is to be stored for any period"

It also states on the back of the radio " not intended for distress and safety purposes " !!!!

Roger
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Old 15 October 2004, 04:07   #8
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Can it take replacement non rechargeable batteries? if so fit lithiums which have a very long shelf life. Most NiCad type batteries dont really function that well when left for long periods, this is well known in the cordless tool market.
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Old 15 October 2004, 04:21   #9
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I too have an M31. The battery is Ni-Cad, which is (acording to Jon) one way they have kept the price down. The "soft switch" battery drain is a pain, but it is just something you have to get used to. Taking the batteries out seems to be the only option, however the radio is NOT waterproof if the batter case is removed. So make sure you fit it before going on the water. Sticking it in when needed may be too late. The easy-seal bags that the batteries came in are worth keeping for storage, and prevent shorting when charged.

Another thing is that the book says NOT to put NiMh batteries in the AA carrier, which is very strange. I asked Jon at SBS why this was, He did not know himself and gave me a contact at Icom to call. Needless to say I have lost it. The voltages are the same (7.2v). On reflection, this may be to cover their backs, should someone use the charger/power supply supplied to try and charge 6 x NiMh.

For functionality the radio gets 10/10. For design, IMHO, it only gets 5/10. This is mostly down to the non-waterproofness when battery is not fitted.
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Old 15 October 2004, 10:14   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Halliday

Another thing is that the book says NOT to put NiMh batteries in the AA carrier, which is very strange. I asked Jon at SBS why this was, He did not know himself and gave me a contact at Icom to call. Needless to say I have lost it. The voltages are the same (7.2v). On reflection, this may be to cover their backs, should someone use the charger/power supply supplied to try and charge 6 x NiMh.

For functionality the radio gets 10/10. For design, IMHO, it only gets 5/10. This is mostly down to the non-waterproofness when battery is not fitted.
If the voltages are the same there is NO reason they may not be used!!! I suspect you are spot on about why they say not to - unless they are trying to justify charging a lot more for other sets!!!

It is suprising how often a simple change like better batteries can "upgrade" you to the equivelant of a much more expensive model.

Same with digi camera and all sorts of other things - often the dearer model will have extra "features" that are actually present in the cheaper model but disabled - sometimes a simple mod will make a hell of a difference!!!
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