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ICOM M88 fails too -- but all fixed now


djlewis

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I'm changing the title so no aspersions are cast upon the ICOM M88, which I still consider to be an excellent piece of gear. It just needed a little TLC, and will get even more according to instructions relayed by Brian. --David

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Mine just did. Well, it's intermittent -- sometimes it does not go on when I turn it on; sometimes it goes on but then goes off when I press transmit; sometimes it works just fine. Obviously, a radio that works only some of the time is not a good bet.

And... it's just out of warranty (2 years) by about a month. And... it would cost $42 just to get a repair estimate, then $84/hr to fix. And... the local ICOM repair franchise would not do it, but would just send it to the factory anyway.

So, I ordered a new one. Yes, it's still the best, most reliable. Perhaps VHF submersibles should simply be considered consumables... buy a new one every two years, sorta like flares.

For anyone considering a purchase, Defender (http://www.defender.com) -- a good outfit -- has it for $260, which is within $11 of the cheapest on Froogle. And there's a $50 ICOM rebate until the end of July (those seem to appear frequently). And, they say they can get it in my hands in 1-2 days.

Looking on the bright side, I may now have a spare battery pack -- assuming the battery pack is not the problem. I think the li-ion battery accounts for a good fraction of the price.

--David.

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Well, an ICOM service rep on the phone said it was 2 years and I did not verify that. Thanks, but it's probably too late, as the order from Defender should be in-da-mail.

OTOH, having a decent spare is probably a good idea. Yes, it's pricey, but judging by recent events in Plum Island Sound, groups should have more than one radio with them at all times. So now I'll have a spare for myself or others.

BTW, the problem may be contact between the battery pack and the main unit. There is a tiny bit of play up and down there, invisible to the eye but discernable to the touch. I removed the pack, unstuck a spring/plunger contact, and flaked off a couple small spots of corrosion. Now when it fails to fire up, I can invariably fix it by pressing the battery pack upwards towards the top of the unit. That's still not ideal as the only radio, but not bad as a spare.

--David.

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If the battery contacts are sticky, carefully clean them with water on a Q-Tip to dissolve any salt, allow them to dry, then apply some silicone grease to them prevent future problems. They should move freely when you're done. Also, grease the O-ring seal around the contacts. Check the contacts on the top of the battery for salt and/or corrosion, too. I've seen one other similar failure and this procedure was recommended by the factory tech to correct/prevent it.

If the contacts are operating properly, a tiny amount of play between the battery and the radio body shouldn't matter.

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Thanks, Brian!

BTW, I did some of that already on my own, and the radio performed flawlessly today on the water, even while getting rolled a few times. I'd guess that the procedure you describe will return it to really tip-top shape.

Now, whatamigonnado with an extra radio? Hmmm... Deborah can carry it.

--David.

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