Icom battery charger flashing orange^

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Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby wideblueyonder » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:02 pm

Hi Folks, anyone experienced this: when battery or VHF put into charger the charge light flashes orange rather than steady glow and battery fails to charge.

I'm 99.9% sure this means the battery is toast and needs replacing however all the manufacturers website/manual etc says is that:
'indicator blinks orange when the protector is activated'
however, nowhere does it explain what the 'protector' is! :-)

Thought I'd just check in case I'm missing something stupid like a simple way to switch off the protector before I shell out £56 for a new battery.

Other question, battery related, anyone have experience of using AAA rechargeable batteries in a battery tray - best AAA's I can find are rated 1000Mah whereas the supplied battery is 2000Mah. However rechargable AAA are only £14 a set so I could have 2 sets for half the price of a new Icom battery.

Any thoughts welcome.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange

Postby MikeB » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:49 pm

Similar post last year - might be worth trying?

I've also heard tell of the "flashing light" syndrom if the radio is switched on when in the charger - needs to be off to charge it.

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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange

Postby wideblueyonder » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:05 pm

Thanks for the link Mike - didn't come across that thread when searching the forum last night.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange

Postby Douglas Wilcox » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:12 pm

I have had three Icom LION batteries go the same way. The problem is the middle charging contact corrodes and this contact is vital for the correct charging of a LION battery. The radios are good but at £56 the batteries are next to useless. To stop corrosion, you need to stick some sticky tape over the exposed charging terminals, which tend to short out in a damp BA pocket. ICOM are aware of the problem but their warranty does not extend to their batteries. I certainly would not bother with another ICOM radio. I have two Icom EuroMIV VHFs but I now also have two much cheaper Standard Horizons which have similar performance and so far their batteries have not corroded, though I have kept the terminals covered with tape since new.

ICOM: another brand for the Optio drawer!

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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby wideblueyonder » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:30 pm

Thanks for the info Douglas,

My middle terminal has indeed corroded! I actually have 2 Icom's with both batteries doing the same in the charger. To replace would be £112 (with potential I guess for a repeat issue) - cost of the Standard Horizon 280 at my local chandlery is £94 (not sure if this is the model you have? ) so maybe use the battery tray on one of my Icom's but long term think about a Standard horizon as my primary VHF as I would hate for the battery to fail when I need it. Just seems a shame that a very good VHF is marred by the battery issue.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange

Postby MikeB » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:23 pm

Douglas Wilcox wrote:
ICOM: another brand for the Optio drawer!

Douglas


Err - no - the M71 has two contacts - no problems in the couple of years I've had it. Mike.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby PeterG » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:39 pm

I have had this with my 71, no worries, it indicates that the connections are not that good. Clean the contacts on the bottom of the radio and those on the charger, then take off the battery pack and clean up the contacts between it and the radio. Should now charge without problems. This has happened to me several times, especially after a long trip, say a week or more where the radio has sat in my BA pocket without a chance to rinse it off. Battery and radio still 100%
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Douglas Wilcox » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:52 pm

Image
This is one of my three ICOM batteries with the case round the corroded middle terminal cut away with a hot knife. The white wire is supposed to connect to the middle terminal but the whole lot has rotted. I wash my stuff in fresh water and dry it after every use so I am not particularly happy. I wouldn't dream of spending another penny on ICOM VHF radios or batteries. The design is unsuitable for use in a marine environment due to these exposed charging contacts, which are not even made of corrosion resistant material.I would only take a minor redesign to change this. ICOM are not interested, their technical support man told me that the design had been optimised for easy recharging, which is what most of their customers want and they had no intention of changing the design. There is a recession on, I wonder if ICOM staff have realized this yet and whether they will survive, if this is how they treat customers?

I have successfully recharged the battery by connecting up the two remaining terminals and the stripped end of the white wire to the three terminals on the charger. So, I am going to make a new middle terminal with the brass insert of a plastic terminal connector strip and screw it onto an extended white wire. I will remove the other screw from the brass connector and fill the space in the case with polyester resin, leaving the remaining screw sticking up where the original middle connector was. If you try this at home be careful, LION batteries contain a lot of energy and can go on fire if you make a mistake.

James and Joe on the Gone Paddling circumnavigation have had exactly the same problem with their ICOM battery.

My Standard Horizon radios are HX 750E models, which were about a third of the price I paid for the ICOMs and give almost identical transmission/reception performance in fringe reception areas.. My advice is that sea kayakers should avoid expensive ICOMs, buy a cheaper radio, Standard Horizon are excellent, and tape over the contacts before going any where near the sea. Better still, buy an EPIRB which is a properly waterproof and reliable emergency help device. My EPIRB has just had a new battery and 5 year service and it passed all its tests despite having lived in the pocket of my spray deck for 5 years.

Peter G that is how my three batteries started given problems, look at my battery now, you should be very worried. Start saving for a Standard Horizon now! :o)

Mike, most of the things in my Optio drawer actually work, just not very well (even my Optio). However, I have two top range ICOM radios in my Optio drawer which cost me £700 and they don't work due to a simple design flaw and use of unsuitable materials which has continued into current ICOM radios. I repeat ICOM are not fit for purpose in a seakayak environment, they have unhelpful, to the point of being rude, customer support (and I make a point of always being really polite in dealing with customer support people as my daughter worked in customer support for 5 years), finally Standard Horizon are cheaper and just as good and as a final bonus, you dont get the concentric on/off/volume knobs seizing up as on ICOMs.

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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby PeterG » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:04 pm

thanks for the advice, I'll keep it cleaner from now on!

On the topic of maintenance, I took off my Silva 70p compass the other day and was alarmed at the crud and corrosion underneath, but it cleaned up a treat, something else to make an annual event...
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Douglas Wilcox » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:28 pm

MikeB wrote:Err - no - the M71 has two contacts - no problems in the couple of years I've had it. Mike.


Hello Mike, we are not talking about the two internal gold contacts but the three external bright metal contacts for charging. I think the M71 has a BP 245 LION battery pack which has three contacts just like all the other ICOM radios we have been discussing. You too should start saving for a Standard Horizon unless you relish spending £56 for a new ICOM battery.

Image
All LION batteries have three terminals the middle one, which corrodes, is connected to a thermistor, which protects the battery from overheating when charging.

So Solent's
'indicator blinks orange when the protector is activated'
is because the thermistor circuit is broken so the charger wont charge the battery.

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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby snapper » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:20 pm

I have had three Icom LION batteries go the same way. The problem is the middle charging contact corrodes


Ditto, with an M31 (battery 4 is going, started after second use). Numerous friends have had the same issue with M33 and M31 radios. Am I able to use the term absolute wank on here?
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Lindisfarne » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:34 pm

snapper wrote:
I have had three Icom LION batteries go the same way. The problem is the middle charging contact corrodes


Ditto, with an M31 (battery 4 is going, started after second use). Numerous friends have had the same issue with M33 and M31 radios. Am I able to use the term absolute wank on here?



Yes you can Mark and I agree.... :)

My RYA short range course was run by an RNLI member who is supplied with Icom gear but chooses to use Standard Horizon for personal use......nuff said..!

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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Douglas Wilcox » Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:18 pm

Snapper, that is far too good a word for my three ICOM batteries, which are incapable of giving me any pleasure whatsoever.

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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby wideblueyonder » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:03 am

LOL at the responses my query has generated! Heading into Lymington tomorrow with the intention of checking out a Standard Horizon HX 751E which they stock.

Mike is right about the battery on the M71 (code: BP-245) - it only has 2 contacts vs the three on the battery for the M35 - and M31/M33 (code: BP-252). However both my batteries are suffering the same issue with their respective chargers, the M35 battery due to the corroded/disappearing middle contact - the M71 battery I could put down to fact it is 2.5 yrs old and received quite heavy use.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby mick m » Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:14 am

Cold the 71 be a nicad batery and not a li-ion ? my m32 has a nicad and I also cary a dry sell tray for it with good quality lithium bateries which have a 3 yr shelf life for emergancy youse. I think the horizon is a brilant set for sea kayakers , and althow ther is opasition to Aquapacs on this forum mine lives in one when on the water.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Lindisfarne » Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:41 am

mick m wrote: , and althow ther is opasition to Aquapacs on this forum mine lives in one when on the water.


That's a good point. I find that the speaker on mine becomes very distorted when the set has been submerged. Transmission is still fine but I struggle to hear the reply.

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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby tenboats1 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:41 pm

Lindisfarne wrote:
mick m wrote: , and althow ther is opasition to Aquapacs on this forum mine lives in one when on the water.


That's a good point. I find that the speaker on mine becomes very distorted when the set has been submerged. Transmission is still fine but I struggle to hear the reply.

Neil.



There is a feature that allows you to clear out the speaker after being submerged. You press a couple of buttons together (? which ones escapes me just now?) and the unit vibrates, shedding the water. I should remember the buttons 'cos I do use this feature when rinsing/cleaning after use.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Graeme Seggie » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:42 pm

Bizarre timing but I just had the same issue of the middle terminal vanishing on my M35 radio. ICOM asked me to send in the battery for a replacement but it does concern me if it did corrode away despite cleaning and drying as instructed. I might invest in a waterproof case to avoid my waterproof radio getting damp in future

Graeme.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Douglas Wilcox » Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:03 pm

Graeme>
"Bizarre thing"


Hello Graeme, it is not bizarre at all, ICOM have a totally crap battery design, that is not fit for purpose, it was totally predictable that your middle terminal would disappear, if you took it sea kayaking.

Anyone thinking of buying a marine handheld VHF should take a careful look at the two batteries below. Both are 1 year old and have been used for sea kayaking by me in identical conditions of use, strapped on to the outside of my BA (I had learned not to put the ICOM in the inside mesh pocket of my Kokatat BA after the first two batteries' middle terminals rusted away there). Both have been thoroughly rinsed in fresh water and dried before storage and recharging.

Image
ICOM

Image
Standard Horizon

Look carefully at their middle terminals then decide which brand to buy.

I am seriously thinking of renaming my Optio drawer my ICOM drawer.

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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Erling » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:31 pm

A highly interesting thread. I have had my M71 for two years now and not encountered this problem. However, I have regularly smeared a thin film of Vaseline over the contacts, as it seemed a sensible preventive measure when introducing metal contacts to a marine environment. I absolutely agree that this shouldn't be necessary, Icom should have this sorted.
The older I get, the better I used to be.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Graeme Seggie » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:31 am

Thanks Douglas - makes sense now.

Out of curiosity, what does the 'B' in the circle indicate next to the terminal, can't find anything online.

Graeme
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Douglas Wilcox » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:31 am

Graeme, on some Lion batteries, such as my camera's, the middle terminal is marked T, which I think is for thermistor. I think B must be for "illegitimate thing".

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Re: Icom Warrant - Fine by me.

Postby Daker » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:08 pm

Al interesting stuff.
However, just to redress the balance slightly here and please dont shout me down just because I disagree;

I have owned an ICOM M71 for 3 years, used regularly on day paddles where it gets rinsed after use, but also on week long trips where it sometime wont get rinsed, and I have had no issues what so ever with the battery.

I did get it water damaged in VERY BIG surf after numerous rinsings and where the dinamic water pressure would have massively exceeded the static pressure at 1m for 30 secs (or whatever the waterproof rating is). This was replaced no questions asked by ICOM who I found to be helpful and extremely profesional.

Recently (just inside the 3 year warranty) I managed to damage the aerial which was arguable whether it was a manufacturing issue or user error, but again this was replaced free of charge by ICOM and again a pleaseure to deal with.

Whilst I accept the comments above, my personal experience is that its a good unit and excellent warranty / customer service.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Jim » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:56 pm

Hmm, no-one mentioned this issue when I was choosing a radio....

Time to spray some water dispersant fluid (WD40) on my terminal I think.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby MikeB » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:38 pm

ICOM M71 - the part number and details shown on the sticker on the battery is "Li-ion Battery Pack - BP-245N". It's got two external charge terminals and I've had no corrosion problems in the two or so years I've had it. Apart from washing it after each trip, it's had no special care to the terminals. I admit to not always washing it down daily if I'm on exped, even a weekend trip - - The set lives in the front electronics pocket of a Kokatat ba where it is exposed to salt water all the time if it gets wet. A superb bit of kit.

Image

HOWEVER - a word of warning about the three small screws at the top of the set ! These are susceptical to corrosion and a friend wrote off a set when they became damaged. She did admit that she seldom bothered to wash the set off after use tho! This is not a good thing.

On mine, despite a regular rinse after each trip, those screws had picked up the start of corrosion so they now receive "special attention" in the form of a scrub with a toothbrush and then the occassional squirt of something called GT85 (Halfords) which seems to do a decent job of protecting them. In this pic they are shown after the most recent treatment, so no corrosion evident.

For some reason, the two tiny cross-heads securing the PTT and swelch buttons don't corrode. The plate which forms the belt-clip attachment appears to suffer a little as well, as do the securing screws. I used Coppaslip on them when I installed the clip. Whether these things render it unfit for purpose is, in my considered opinion, debatable. In any event, since I did these pics I've taken the belt clip off as I never use it and I put a cord loop thro the attachment point on the radio to clip to its leash. That makes the set more compact as well.

Image

I've seen a few of the Standard Horizon sets - they certainly seem like decent value-for-money but so far I'm staying with the ICOM.

tenboats1 wrote:
There is a feature that allows you to clear out the speaker after being submerged. You press a couple of buttons together (? which ones escapes me just now?) and the unit vibrates, shedding the water. I should remember the buttons 'cos I do use this feature when rinsing/cleaning after use.


On the M71 this is activated by pushing and holding both the [16.C] and [H/l.Lock] buttons. A tone then sounds for 9 secs to drain water.

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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Owen » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:13 pm

Douglas,

What are you surgesting, make a radio that will last for ever?

If they did that all the tightfisted sea kayakers out there would only ever buy one radio in their lifes. Then the company would go bust, all them Japanese executives would be out of work - a real disgrace in Japan. All their work slaves would starve. Your a hard man.

That's why they don't make radios for sea kayakers. They make radios for yachties who almost by definition have more money than sence. They'll happily rush out and buy the latest model and chuck their old one in the bin. So they wont notice that it only last a couple of years. And anyway whats a couple of hundred quid to the Simon LeBon's of this world.

My set is an Icom M1 Euro V, it's about five years old. The middle terminal has corroded away, but it still charges. The charger doesn't cut out when the battery is fully charged now. So I have to be careful not to over cook the battery, but it still works.
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Douglas Wilcox » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:13 pm

Image
Yet another duff ICOM battery, this one still charges but as you can see the central electrode has nearly corroded away, despite being washed, dried and carefully covered with sticky tape before being taken from its drawer to the sea.

Daker>
please dont shout me down just because I disagree
Goodness Daker we are not disagreeing at all! just reporting our own experience and even if we were disagreeing, it would be extremely rude to shout each other down, it would be far more constructive just to listen to what each other was saying. :o) I am happy that you have not had any problems, it just seems that quite a few of us (see below) have drawn the short straw or should I say the flat battery.

Owen, unfortunately my charger will not charge when the terminal has corroded away. I have also learned that they do not last forever, which is why I now buy cheaper radios! My 2 ICOM M1 Euro Vs cost me £350 each. In the past I have previously praised and recommended ICOM (on this forum) in comparison with cheaper brands such as Cobra, which did not have such good reception/transmission performance in fringe conditions. However I am not blindly loyal to a brand and now the goalposts have changed and cheaper brands such as Standard Horizon have caught up with ICOM's radio performance and are not troubled by the ICOM battery failures suffered by Wideblue, James, Joe, Snapper (x3), Graeme, Owen, Kate D, Runswick2000 (RNLI), carpyken, Balgarvie, Grahamking, Geyrfugl, and myself (x3) and no doubt several others but I got bored going through the forum's search results.

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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Ian_Montrose » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:50 pm

Can anyone offer a possible explanation as to why the centre contact seems to corrode far worse than the other two?
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby Jim » Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:41 am

Definitely only 2 external contacts on the M71 battery packs and the charger - the middle dimple may have a thermistor behind it but it doesn't connect to anything external. What it may have is a tiny hole so it can sense temperature changes?

Ironic that Icom have put the wrong photo for the BP245N on their own website.....
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Re: Icom battery charger flashing orange^

Postby MikeB » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:43 pm

Jim wrote:Definitely only 2 external contacts on the M71 battery packs and the charger - the middle dimple may have a thermistor behind it but it doesn't connect to anything external. What it may have is a tiny hole so it can sense temperature changes?

Ironic that Icom have put the wrong photo for the BP245N on their own website.....


Hmmm - I can't see a hole, more of a raised dimple - and there's certainly no obvious connectivity to the charger to suggest the charger is "reading" temperature info via it.

All this said, if I'd bought an expensive VHF like the ICOM and the terminals were corroding in the way described, I think I'd be very annoyed indeed and given the very positive experiences I've had with ICOM's customer service it's disturbing to hear that they dont seem to be doing anything about those batteries where this is clearly a problem.

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