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Old 08 May 2012, 05:28   #1
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Icom Fixed mount VHF dead after it drained battery?

My M421 was working fine last January and now after charging up the boat battery (12.9V), it appears almost dead. As power is turned on there's a tiny crackle- similar to the radio normal power up sound only quieter - but thereafter no display, sounds or function. I've checked the power leads and now taken it out and put it on to a different battery to ensure it's not resistance in the leads or a dud battery. Nothing doing but it's definitely drawing current.

The unit is about 5 years old and I know it was working as I was listening out for the weather forecast as I cleaned the boat prior to covering it. The radio was left switched on since then. (note passive third party)
I can't see how its draining down the battery could have killed the ICOM but it was working until that 'incident'.

I've emailed ICOM UK with the details to see if they're any help but any suggestions or details of similar experience welcome as it's unlikely to be worth repairing but more importantly I'd be concerned if it was that easy to kill an ICOM or any other radio.
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Old 08 May 2012, 06:05   #2
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Stating the obvious, is the fuse holder and fuse in good shape? They are pretty cheap and nasty on the new Icom I just fitted on my Rib.
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Old 08 May 2012, 06:23   #3
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Not sure about your battery reading, sounds a tad low; my reading is ususually 13.8v to 14.3v or something like that.

Use process of elimination ....if it were me with that problem I would

1. Check VHF again but with outboard/engine running and no other electronics switched on or lights etc.
2. If not working, remove unit and ask a fellow boater with same unit if you can plug it in and try it.

That way you shoudl at least eliminate whether a problem with voltage/wattage etc
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Old 08 May 2012, 07:16   #4
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Did you charge you battery with radio on or off ?
What kind of charger did you use ?
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Old 08 May 2012, 08:21   #5
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Is anything else dead? I have been through 2 main switches so far... Some kit is a lot more sensitive to voltage drop (across the switch) than others.

Unless your charger's regulator is totally shot I would have thought it should handle being "on" while charging - after all, that's what your engine does when it's running.

I'll second Rokraider and expand his check to "all connections / switches between radio & battery"
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Old 08 May 2012, 09:14   #6
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Thanks for the suggestions.

Battery voltage is fine - no problem starting the engine with it. I've seen these radios light up and receive down to quite low voltages. Transmission is most likely to show voltage/resistance related issues. This unit won't even show the display lighting up
The boat battery was charged overnight with an automatic/trickle charger that cuts back to trickle at about 13.7V. Radio was connected and switched on but should not have been exposed to anything as aggressive as or very different to the engine charging system
All fuse issues etc eliminated but noticed maybe a volt drop off at distribution switch board fuseholder so took the radio out of the console and plugged it direct into a different charged 12 volt battery. It's drawing current when switched on so I suspect there's a short.
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Old 08 May 2012, 10:27   #7
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Sounds like a fault has developed in the radio. Probably mainly coincidence that it's happened after being left switched on, but could be a component on the power circuit was ready to fail. Sadly icom aren't as good as garmin with repairs. Especially as they charge just to take look at it which is 25% the cost of a new radio these days.
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Old 10 May 2012, 15:49   #8
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Are there any internal batteies in your radio? Like ones that dont recharge-stud type batteries for example.
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Old 11 May 2012, 11:10   #9
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Do you have voltage at the radio? Symptoms sound like an undervolt condition, which could be a poor connection or a bad wire.

I have seen others with a poor power switch connection; try exercising the power switch a few dozen times to try and wipe the contacts clean (preferably with power off.)

If you don't want to open the radio case to check for power, try jumping 12V into the nearest exposed conductor for the 12V input (either a connector on the unit back, or a pigtail cable coming out.) If that doesn't do it, it's likely toast.

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Old 11 May 2012, 12:20   #10
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Based on your diagnostics so far, I'm going with an internal fault possibly from being left on continuously for months.
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