Motorola DTR questions

I’m interested in the Motorola DTR radios and have a few questions:

  1. Can the free programming software work with the DTR550 or only the DTR410? I have seen reviews that say you need to buy the software to program the 550 and the free only programs the 410 BUT when I downloaded the software it seems to be for all radios? Note, I don’t have a radio to verify this, thus the question.

  2. With the new firmware on the 410, what are the software differences between the 410 and the 550? I need to talk to: all radios, a subset (store registers) and be able to radio individuals (one-to-one).



PS I tried searching the forums but the software won’t let me search for DTR550 or just DTR , says the phrases are too short, but I wanted to find all posts on the DTR radios.

I posted a good review on the DTR series on this forum.

As for the software, my review is a bit dated. Motorola has now rewritten the software for all DTR-series radios, and it is free:±+Business/Portable+Radios/On-site+Communications/DTR550_US-EN

You will need a special programming cable though.

You also have several other alternatives.

#1 - You can buy the mini-keyboard and use that to change the name of the default names to something more understandable. (You can also use it to send and/or program some text messages, but I have never used that capability.)

#2 - You can program the radios manually to do everything you listed as needing. The only difference is that the radios and groups will be listed by number (public group1, public group2, radio 123456789, etc.)

Based on what you stated, any of the three models will do what you need them to do. The new 410 software is similar to the 650 software, with the ‘management functions.’ The 550 and 650 use replaceable rubber ducky antennas that give slightly longer range than the fixed antenna on the 410.

Bottom line: great radios. Pick up a bunch of 410 radios and play with the programming. If, for some reason, you would prefer the radios to be named “register 1” instead of “123456789” and the groups to be “sales” instead of “public group1” then buy the mini-keyboard or the programming cable.

If it was me, I would get a programming cable and download the software. As long as you have a Windows computer with a serial port (I don’t) that will be the best way to go.

As for radios, I have a 410 and a bunch of 550 radios. There is not much difference in range (they are all good) but I can put the longer rubber duck antenna on the 550s if I really need the extra half block of range.

Plus, I use the 410 to do some of the management functions on my own net, such as synchronize times and enable remote monitoring.

For my purposes, a mini-fleet of 550s plus one 410 was the best solution.

Our hosts of this forum have about the best prices around and extraordinary customer service.

Let me know if you have any further questions. I am pretty familiar with these radios. Check out my detailed review of them in this forum under Product Reviews. (It says a review of the 550 but in fact I review all three.)

Thanks for the reply and info! Good to know the PC software will work with all radios now. I had seen your review of the radios, which really did help answer some questions I had.

One quick followup question. Are there differences between the 550 and 410 with regard to group communications? The motorola spec sheets seem to list public groups with the 410 and public AND private groups with the 550. In my application I would need to either talk to all radios or a subset of radios (only some employees). Am I correct that this would be what Motorola calls a private group? In which case I would need the 550’s? Maybe do what you did with one 410 for management.

I must say it’s not very clear product differentiation between the three radios on Motorola’s part!


You are correct that information on how they differ is confusing. One reason is that the firmware has been upgraded on the 410, which is why it now has the same managerial functions as the 650, but a lot of information/advertising is outdated.

410: fixed antenna; public groups; managerial functions
550: replaceable antenna; public and private groups
650: replaceable antenna; public and private groups; managerial functions; larger battery; faster charger

The very confusing part is the public/private groups and I am not even sure if I understand them thoroughly. (I programmed multiple public groups into my radios and don’t use private groups.)

Let me see if I can clarify. Let’s suppose you run a retail store. You need radios for security, shipping, registers and management.

On all three models, you can program public groups called, for example: store (all radios), security, shipping, registers and management. They can all stay on their own public group (“security”), but any radio can go on any group and ask them to switch to the all-open public group (“store”) if, for example, you need to do a group announcement. Also, any radio can call any other radio individually.

With the 550 and 650, you can program them slightly differently. You can make the store (all) as a public group and then program each department’s radio as a private group, such as security, shipping, registers and management. The difference is that all radios are still open to public group (store) calls, but will also receive their private group calls on their respective programmed group without having to switch “channels.” Also, unless you have programmed multiple private groups into every radio, “registers” would not be able to switch channels to hear calls going to “security.”

Thus, the 550 (and perhaps one 650 for its management functions) would be a better choice if you want all radios to be open to wide group (“store”) calls all the time but also open to their respective private groups calls (“registers”) without switching anything.

All these groups can be programmed in to the radios right from the keyboard. You don’t need the CPS or the mini-keyboard. What the customer programming software (CPS) does it make it much faster to program multiple radios. Plus, the CPS or the mini-keyboard will be necessary if you want to program them with unique names.

Without the mini-keyboard or CPS, your groups are listed on the face of the radio as: “Public group1,” “public group2,” “public group3,” and the radios are “123456789,” and “133456789,” etc.

With the mini-keyboard or the CPS, the groups can be listed on the radio face as: “Management,” “Registers,” “Security” and the individual radios can be named “Store manager,” “Register 12,” etc.

Thank you, thank you!!!

I finally understand the difference with public/private groups and the 410/550 firmware differences.