We were recently on vacation in San Antonio and took along our Motorola T9500XLRs. One day while at SeaWorld our radios started misbehaving – and, no, they didn’t take a swim with the dolphins. After about six hours we finally split up, and we found that the radios were not working. Radio #1 had only one of three battery bars left, while radio #2 had two of three even though they had not been used once during the day. Whenever the PTT button (not the high-powered one) was pushed on radio #1, it almost always restarted itself. Radio #2 could page radio #1, but radio #1 never heard the call, even when held one foot away from radio #2. Shortly thereafter, radio #2 started rebooting, even supposedly with two battery bars. Never saw this behavior before at all. I chalked it up to a bad charge of the NiMH packs, so we charged them for about 12 hours overnight and tried again the next day when we were back at SeaWorld. Same thing. We split up earlier in the day, and the radios supposedly had more charge, but the “rebooting,” for lack of a better term, kicked in again. They were complete duds for us on that trip.
My gut feeling is that the batteries are simply shot and need to be replaced. I’ve had similar experiences as of late with Motorola cellphones, that the shipped batteries are not always the freshest and that a replacement helps.
Before I go dropping $25+ on replacement batteries, though, I want to put to rest uncertainties I have about these radios. I admit, I’m not crazy about them. I can’t put my finger on any particular problem with them, but they’re not exactly awe-inspiring, either. Kind of have similar feelings about Motorola’s recent cellphones, too, actually, which is disappointing. We use them as two-way radios at amusement parks, shopping centers, and farms, and before this recent trip we had reasonably good luck with them. We also use them for NOAA weather radio and the alerting capability which came in really handy during a sudden tornado warning earlier this summer. One was in heavy use last night during severe weather here in Virginia, and after about 1.5 hours of use of only listening to NOAA radio, the supposedly fully-charged radio was already down to two battery bars. Voice-scrambling and privacy are not huge concerns; we don’t exactly have steamy conversations on these things.
Given those usage patterns, should I just go ahead and replace the batteries in these radios, or can we do better than the T9500XLRs with regards to quality, reliability, battery life? I’ve gotten the sense from commentary here and reviews elsewhere that people have an “eh”, middle-of-the-road feeling about these radios and trend towards higher regard for the comparable Cobra and Midland radios. If we can do better, what do folks suggest?