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Wire-Lists#11: Popular Transmitter Antenna Combos

Social Media WireLists11 300pxAre you packing a project bag, or trying to be prepared for anything you might encounter? This handy grid will make your life a lot easier when coordinating the antennas that you should bring with you to accommodate all of your transmitters. Four things to note:

  1. Antennas for the LMB and SSMs are fixed antennas. They cannot be swapped out, except to repair them.
  2. Available blocks are: 470, the range from 19 to 33 and 944 (not all blocks are available in all countries – check before you order or visit). The prefix “AMJ” refers to a jointed antenna, while the prefix “ACOAXTX” refers to an antenna with a coaxial SMA connector.
  3. In general, due to the overlap, any antenna that you choose for Block 470 will also be compatible with Blocks 19 and 20.
  4. As long as it is the correct antenna for the block you’re using, an antenna for an SMV can also be used on a WM or any transmitter in that block, connector dependent. We’ve tried to make things interchangeable when we can.

Is there a particular type of antenna that you’d find useful for us to offer? Email us and tell us about it!

List 12 Popular Antenna Combos 2 2


Wire-Lists#10: 1 Tip to Identify Types, and 9 Ways To Prevent Wireless Mic RF Drop-Outs

Social Media WireLists10 300pxEvery wireless mic system has two parts: a transmitter connected to a microphone or source and a receiver that picks up the transmitted signal. Both of them have antennas - one to put out the signal and one (or more) to receive it. The area between the antennas is where most drop-out issues occur.

Start by identifying what kind of drop-out you're dealing with:

a) RF drop-out can be seen on the RF Meter. The meter will drop as the drop-out occurs. With Wireless Designer or with a DSQD receiver, the 10 second RF history display can help with identifying which channel/s are experiencing RF dropouts.

b) Pilot tone drop-out can be seen on the Pilot Tone Indicator. If the RF Meter shows sufficient RF signal, but the Pilot Tone Indicator shows a loss of Pilot Tone, try bypassing the Pilot Tone. If the audio is now acceptable, the problem is Pilot Tone drop-out.

c) Audio drop-out is your issue when you see a strong RF signal, and the Pilot Tone is present but audio is dropping out.

In all cases, especially when you suspect RF drop-out, the user should verify that there is no RF signal (or very little) with the transmitter off. RF interference can cause drop-outs that can impact RF reception.

If I'm reasonably sure that the problem is RF, what should I do?

VRM2 Wireless Designer Drop out

Wireless RF drop-outs are most often caused by improper equipment installation, set-up or use. This graphic illustrates what Wireless Drop-out (in this example, on a VRM2) looks like on a Wireless Designer screen. You can see a few very quick drop-outs just prior to 45 seconds and a long drop out that begins just prior to 55 seconds. The squelch row shows a squelch condition as the RF metering dips, which is indicative of RF drop out.

You can save yourself a lot of time by taking the approach of Occamís Razor (i.e., the most obvious culprit is usually the problem) and confirming first that you donít have a defective cord, transmitter or receiver, or that you are not taxing the known limits of your system. If youíve already done that, consider:

  1. The most common cause of RF drop-outs is improper passive antenna placement. You should be able to see the antennas and the transmitters when standing in the same place. Antennas should be mounted up and away from the receivers. If your signal is weak, try moving them closer together if possible or practical. Less than optimal antenna placement can cause low signal strength at the receiver or create unpredictable dead spots. If possible, using longer coax cables then employ in-line RF amplifiers to compensate, or use active antennas that have the amplifiers built in. If using amplifiers, only boost enough to compensate for the losses of the cables.
  2. If using a handheld transmitter, be sure not to cover the antenna, which is near the bottom. We covered this in a recent Wire List. Instead, hold the transmitter closer to the capsule without covering it.
  3. If you are using a belt-worn or bodypack unit with an external antenna, make sure that the antenna isn't bent or covered. It's very easy to get them caught in your guitar strap or wrapped in or under your shirttail. Not only is being bent bad for the antenna, but it severely hampers the signal it puts out. You can get shorter range and more drop-outs with a bent antenna. Even small bends can create issues (the unseen wires that make up the antenna can become stressed and broken from bending), so when in doubt, replace the antenna. They're only a few dollars, so it makes sense to have a few on hand for quick swap-outs.
  4. Most radio energy (this is frequency dependent) is attenuated when traveling through bodies, walls or wood, and it can't go around corners (although it does reflect off of metallic surfaces). If your receiver is on one side of a room and your talent is on the opposite side, you're forcing the signal to travel through anything that is between them. Using an amplifier or a splitter usually wonít compensate for this; we explain why in FAQ #016. Instead, place your transmitter and receiver in closer, unobstructed proximity.
  5. If you have two or more performers on wireless, assign them frequencies as far apart as possible to avoid interference. Avoid channels in the 617-652 and 663-698 MHz bands, as the FCC now prohibits them for wireless microphones. The FCC outlines the specifics on their website, which is updated frequently as the regulations are refined.

    Just because you shouldn't tune to these bands doesn't mean it doesn't happen accidentally, so be aware of that possibility and double-check. We experienced more than one instance where a customer accidentally auto-tuned, experienced interference and discovered that their problem was that they were connected to a public safety band!
  6. Multiple systems must be carefully coordinated to avoid frequency interference with each other. The best way to do this is to use wireless systems from the same manufacturer or set, and use frequencies that are already pre-coordinated (intermodulated) not to interfere with each other. There are a number of software programs that will make the required calculations and assign non-interfering frequencies. Our own Wireless Designer software is a great tool for use with Venue, Venue 2, DSQD, and Duet systems. Our FAQ #100 explains how you can troubleshoot intermodulation.
  7. Know your noise. Before you assume that the cracking sound you hear is static, first confirm that it is not the rustling of clothing or your wire rubbing against something.
  8. Use covers to keep moisture out of your transmitters (we make several!). Moisture is nearly impossible to remove once it's gotten inside the unit's case. Moisture under components and in through-holes eats away at any copper in its path (connectors and wiring) and hampers any signal attempting to travel that path. This creates what is known as "path distortion," and this is difficult to self-diagnose without a spectrum analyzer or taking the unit apart. A good amount of drop-outs that are attributed to "noise" are really due to path distortion due to unseen corrosion.
  9. Using more than one receiver (diversity) is excellent insurance against drop-outs. To achieve this, both antennas must be connected at least 6" apart, and generally more is better. Multi-path conditions that cause drop-outs are common in indoor environments, because that wireless signal will bounce off of everything metallic in that room. There are various ways you can position the antennas for your specific scenario, which we outline in FAQ #003.

Being mindful of the type of drop-out you have as well as these tips can help you diagnose and prevent drop-outs. And as always, if you need us, weíre here! Give us a call, or troubleshoot your issue with other Fanatics on our Facebook discussion page.

 

Wire-Lists#9: Three Wireless Designer Tips and Tricks

Social Media WireLists9 300pxIf you own one of our rack receivers, you’re no doubt familiar with Wireless Designer. We specifically developed it to be intuitive and easy to use. Here are three things that you might be unaware of that can enhance your experience and utility when using this software:

Firmware Updates

Lectrosonics RSS FeedKeeping your firmware updated is critical to ensure that your equipment performs as designed. Did you know that we have an RSS feed at the bottom of our Firmware page that will alert you when you need to download an update? If you don’t already have one, search and install an RSS reader for your browser of choice or download a mobile RSS app to get notifications. Then visit the Support page and click on the RSS icon.

If you’d rather not or are unable to set this up automatically, you can look at the change log for each product (following the same link above) to see if there are updates. Any firmware files that start with “wd_v” followed by a date can be used by Wireless Designer. Manually download the files, connect to Wireless Designer and run the Update Wizard (access by choosing Connect – Update Firmware – choose your equipment from the menu tree) from the top menu. The Wizard will tell you whether or not your equipment is up to date. No guesswork!

Walk Test Recorder

Walk Test Recorder

The Walk Test Recorder within Wireless Designer allows you to learn extent of coverage for a wireless channel in a particular setting. Operating range limits and dropout zones can be observed by walking a transmitter around a location and recording certain properties of the received signal. The recording, which displays graphically, can be rewound to an earlier point in time and replayed and is saved to a file for future reference. This is a great feature that allows walk testing to be done by a single person without help. The steps are simple:

  1. Connect to the receiver/s, then click (at left) on the specific frame you want to use for the test.
  2. Create a new file for recording and name it. This is a critical step and not obvious.
  3. Select channel to test
  4. Select parameters to record
  5. If you want to record audio, check the box and select source.
  6. Connect the headphone output of the receiver to your computer’s audio input, and select the headphone output channel on your receiver (should be the same one you selected for the walk test in Wireless Designer)
  7. Start recording; stop when scan is complete
  8. Replay the walk test recording as needed. When playing back after recording, make sure you move the scrollbar at the bottom of the frame (circled in red) to the desired time period.

 Frequency Scan and Coordination2

Frequency Scan & Coordination

This feature picks the modules within your unit that have the best coverage, scans all of the available frequencies for RF levels in the area and helps you choose the most optimal (meaning, that has the least interference) frequencies out of what is available in the connected units. This is a real time-saver when you have to coordinate more than one unit, because it accounts for all units connected to the system and allows you to create custom channels and user groups– even with non-Lectrosonics units!

  1. Start the system scan. Frequencies with active RF are shown below as yellow spikes
  2. Stop the scan when you feel that you’ve captured enough of the range – usually it is best to let it go one full round 2. Export to Frequency Coordination, then go to that tab in the software. A tutorial on how to do Frequency Coordination, if you don’t know or need a refresher, can be found here
  3. Once you do this, you can deploy the settings to all of the units in your system
  4. Important tip: Custom channels utilizing stored data only include the custom settings you’ve saved

Fitting All Receivers on One Screen

Once you have all of your receivers connected, you can see all of them on one screen or zero in on a section by using Ctrl + or Ctrl – (it’s the same for Mac and PC) to zoom in or out.

Rececivers on screen

Wireless Designer is our only product for which all of the Help files are online. Be sure to check our Support documents and revision history here.

We also have a wealth of Wireless Designer information, specific to product, on our YouTube channel.

Take some time to explore other features and capabilities of this very versatile tool by visiting our online documentation support pages at https://www.lectrosonics.com/Support/Wireless-Designer%E2%84%A2/wireless-designer-2.html. And let us know if you have suggestions of things that would be helpful, or things that you want to see!

Wire-Lists#8: Why Are You Holding Your Mic Like That? The Dos and Don’ts of RF Attenuation

Social Media WireLists8 300pxWhat do all of these musicians have in common? Hint: It’s the way they’re holding their mics. Someone, somewhere gave them a lesson in attenuation.

Lectrosonics Listicles 8 Singers

What is RF attenuation and why should I care about it?

As you know, what most refer to as “wireless mics” are actually wireless hand-held transmitters. A transmitter is any device that sends out a wireless signal – electromagnetic waves via a transmitting antenna – to another device that interprets those waves, called a receiver.

Attenuation is a reduction in strength of a radio frequency (RF) signal during transmission and is measured in decibels (dB). Material surrounding radio signals is referred to as the “medium” through which the signal travels. Attenuation measurement in decibels is ten times the input signal power divided by the signal power at an output of a specified medium. For radio frequencies, attenuation refers to the way in which the strength of waves lessens while going through open air, walls, the human body, and other features present in the environment.

How should I be holding the transmitter and why?

Antenna bottom of transmitterThe transmitting antenna of an HH, HHa or DHu is located at the bottom of the transmitter.

Antennas like ones used in the handheld transmitters don’t contain boosters (like you see in cell phones or radio towers) that can amplify a signal. They passively radiate, assuming that they have a clear field to do so. Holding the transmitter at the bottom, as shown here, will greatly reduce the RF level that is radiating out. Your hand, being a dense medium, prevents the waves from radiating adequately to reach the receiver.

Hold mic wrong way hz

The graph below shows the RF level of an HH transmitter at a given distance from the antenna, but connected to an RF spectrum analyzer, which measures output in dBµV, or decibels relative to one microvolt. It’s a simple way to measure differences, which can be small, in signal output. The antenna was covered and you can see that the level measures 70.0 dBµV:

incorrect

Next, the transmitter is held in a way where the antenna was not obscured. A position like this, with your hand closer to the capsule, is the correct way:

Hold mic right way hz

The RF level now measures 100 dBµV, which shows that the signal being put out by the transmitter is not impeded. Big difference!

correct

So, holding your hand-held transmitter incorrectly can result in a loss of 30 dB – or more, which will definitely affect the operating range of the system. This can be avoided by simply holding the transmitter in a way that does not obscure the antenna. Don’t forget to tell your pastor, CEO, singer or anyone else about the correct way to talk or sing into a handheld transmitter!

Wire-Lists#7: Cold Weather Care for Transmitters, Mics and Receivers

Social Media WireLists7It’s Winter time again! And unless you live in a tropical climate, Winter means one thing: COLD. Regardless of the time of year, many of you also run sound in perpetually cold locales, such as the Arctic Circle, Siberia or Mongolia. Contrary to popular belief, electronics, unlike Husky dogs, don’t actually like the cold. Your transmitters and recorders can deliver reduced performance and even fail to work below certain temperatures unless you take precautions. Here are four areas to pay attention to when operating or storing your equipment over the next several months:

LCD Displays

LCD displays – such as the ones on our transmitters and receivers - use liquid crystal fluid (more like a gel) in the display. Like all other non-solids, the liquid crystal can freeze in cold conditions. Ideally, you should store any equipment with an LCD display in consistent temperatures between 40° and 100°F to keep the liquid crystal from freezing.

What happens if you’re working in extreme cold – such as an outdoor location shoot with wind, snow and ice? Even if you had stored it in a warmer area, the equipment will invariably get colder as you work. When the surrounding air reaches the freezing mark of 32°F and below - equipment will still work, but you may notice the display responding much slower than usual.

Batteries

A side effect of cold is reduced battery power. Why? Because batteries create power through the flow of electrons from one terminal to another. In cold temperatures, the internal resistance increases and this flow slows considerably, making the battery output more power than normal to power your unit. For example, at -4°F , most batteries will be at 50% of their normal performance level. This results in batteries that don’t last nearly as long as you expect. One way that you can somewhat circumvent this is to replace the batteries at the end of each cold workday, which makes sure that you are starting off each day with fresh power. This is a best practice for your workflow regardless of the temperature. Our FAQ #087 discusses the effects of cold weather battery issues in detail: https://www.lectrosonics.com/Support/index.php?option=com_fsf&Itemid=714&view=faq&catid=-2&search=cold

Circuit Boards

Circuit boards can also be damaged by cold, because they expand and contract with temperature fluctuations. Over time, this can cause poor connectivity at the board level. Condensation is another killer for cold electronics in areas with high humidity. When you bring a vented unit into warm, humid air after it has been sitting in the cold, the condensation can be bad enough to cause electrical shorts on circuitry. We have never seen this issue with regard to our products, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Do you want to be the first it happens to?

Cables

Cables can get stiff and brittle in the cold. They will still work as designed but will be a bit more fragile. Any additional stress on a cable also stresses the wires inside.

6 Ways To Prevent Cold-related Malfunctions:

  1. When you bring equipment out of the environment in which they are stored, do so gradually, so that the display can acclimate to the ambient temperature. A good rule of thumb is to let the unit acclimate for a minimum of 4 hours before turning it on.
  2. To prevent any chance of circuit board damage from condensation or expansion/contraction, again, acclimate gradually.
  3. If your equipment rides in a bag set-up, consider using portable hand warmers (like the type you use in your pockets for winter sports) inside the bag. Place them in proximity to, but not near or touching the unit. Another low-cost insulator is newspaper.
  4. If they’re being used on talent, bundle transmitters between layers of clothing to trap body heat. Do not put them on bare skin, as skin will deposit moisture and oils onto the unit. When it is cold, bodies actually sweat more, not less, in the effort to regulate body temperature.
  5. If your cables are going to be in freezing temperatures for a period of time, avoid excessive flexing if they are already stiff. If you have the budget and find yourself in this situation often (like documentary filmmakers or those that run sound for outdoor events), your best bet is to purchase thicker cables that are made for use in the cold. Loon Audio makes a great coiled cable that is lauded on a few of the sound tech newsgroups.
  6. This last tip is critical: Before going from the outdoors to indoors, put any equipment that has metal parts (recorder, transmitter, mic) into a Ziploc baggie with silica gel pouches while still outside. Close it with as little air as you can (squeeze the excess out before you zip). You can even put the Ziploc into another and close that – it works like an airlock. Bring it inside and let it rest 15-30 minutes before you put it away (remember to remove the batteries). The silica gel will absorb any humidity, preventing it from condensing on the cold metal.

 

Wire-Lists#6: Preventing Pogo Pin Failure In Your SSM

Social Media WireLists6 300pxAre you having issues with battery drain or inconsistent power in your SSM, in spite of using fresh batteries each time? Are you hearing an odd, intermittent scratch-click that you can’t trace to any of your other equipment? If you’ve checked everything else, the problem might just be a pogo pin.

What is a pogo pin?

A pogo pin, which is a common term for the positive battery spring contact and is used in the design of all electronics using prismatic (square) batteries, is so-called because it acts like a toy pogo stick. Though they look like solid pins if you look into the battery case, pogo pins are two part housings, with an integrated helical spring inside that applies a constant normal force against the back of the contact plate. This spring counteracts any unwanted movement which might cause an intermittent connection with batteries. They’re very small parts – smaller than a pencil lead - that can cause big problems if they malfunction. Pogo failures don’t happen very often with Lectrosonics products, but they can happen. Most maddeningly, if one is the cause of an SSM’s visit to Repair, it’s one of the less obvious, head-scratcher things that can happen. As they say, You learn something new every day. Fortunately, the causes of most pogo pin failures are 99.9% within your control (the other .1% being manufacturer defect).

This photograph shows a pogo failure that ended up being caused by a compressed/bent/jammed pin. Why is this a problem, and what can you do to prevent it?

Lectrosonics pogo pin damaged

The role of pogo pins in electronic devices

First, a short tutorial on prismatic batteries and how they relate to pogo pins:

Prismatic batteries – the square batteries that are used in the SSM and likely more units that we design down the road - have highly compressed cells and are popular in small footprint electronics like ours. They have nickel tabs, shown as small square windows, for contacts, recessed around 1mm from the battery top. Two sample configurations of the many that are possible, showing their relationship to the pogo contacts, are shown below. There isn’t a pogo “standard” as far as configurations. Each battery manufacturer designs their own (Panasonic manufactures custom ones for our SM). Equipment designers,  if they are using off-the-shelf batteries, then design products to utilize the most efficient batteries available that fit the need.

Lectrosonics pogo pin diagram

The battery contacts that are built into the equipment need to have sufficient travel to penetrate the recess and apply sufficient contact pressure to minimize contact resistance. Resistance, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the mechanics of electronics, is the measure of opposition to current flow in an electrical circuit. Minimum travel of 2.5 mm and minimum force of 200 grams are used to create the energy that powers your electronic device and assure reliable performance in high-drain devices. This requires POGO pins that are flexible, but not too flexible. It’s a fine balance.

I think a pogo pin is bent (or I’ve been told that’s the case)! What happened?

An easy way to check for a damaged pogo pin in an SSM is to lightly – very lightly – press on it with a Q-tip or the eraser end of a mechanical pencil. If you apply slight pressure to the head, you should feel it compress. If the pin doesn’t move at all, it’s confirmation that it is damaged and needs to be repaired. If you hear an intermittent slight scratch or click that you can’t trace back to anything else, it may also be a pogo pin, trying to expand and contract and getting stuck.

Pogo pins can be damaged in the following ways:

1. Putting batteries in the wrong way. This is the reason why we engrave battery direction on our housings and are so explicit in how we explain battery installation in our manuals – because inserting batteries incorrectly can damage these delicate pins.

2. Corrosion damaged the pin. The most common way that this can happen is from sweat. And it’s why we are so insistent on using a covering of some kind for high-moisture applications. Once the moisture gets in, you can’t get it out!

3. Incorrect cleaning. This can also cause damage and corrosion. Never spray any type of contact cleaner or petroleum-based solvents (such as WD-40) directly onto pins. Instead, apply a small amount onto a Q-tip or paste brush and apply only to the contact pins while holding the unit upside down. This will prevent liquid from seeping inside.

Don’t be one of less than a dozen annual SSM pogo pin failure cases! Follow the steps here and you’ll be good to go for years to come.

Wire-Lists#5: 4 Ways to Mangle Your Mic

Social Media WireLists5 300px

We think of lavaliere mics as being indestructible because they’re self-contained, but the fact is that some seemingly innocuous things can wreak havoc on them. And you often won’t realize that you have a faulty lav until you listen to your recorded tracks and realize that they just don’t sound right (talk about wasted time!). Here are 4 ways that you can mangle your mic:

  1. Keeping the mic attached to the transmitter it’s being used on, and wrapping it around the unit body when you’re finished. This is a BIG no-no. Over time, doing this can weaken the inner threads of the wire, or worse, break the 5-pin connector. There is no inexpensive fix for these if they happen. Disconnect your lav when you’re finished with your project and store it in its case.
  2. Allowing the lav to come in direct contact with skin. We realize that you want to hide the lav on camera if possible, and the easiest way to do that is underneath clothing. It is best to keep a layer of fabric between the lav cord and talent’s skin, for the simple reason that sweat is corrosive. Lav wire encasements are slightly porous, and over time, sweat can leech inside, corroding the copper wires underneath. Like wrap damage, there is no easy fix for this.

Wire-Lists#4: SM Transmitter Cleaning – Tips for Battery Doors and 5-Pin Jacks

Social Media WireLists4

SM transmitters might go through hell on the job --  but they don’t have to look like it.  Battery doors and the 5-pin jacks are particularly susceptible to wear and tear. These tips can help:

Battery Doors

IMG 3410If the battery door and mating surface on your SM series transmitter look like this and are starting to become difficult to open, don’t scrub them with an abrasive!  We’ve seen a few units that were damaged by steel wool, sandpaper and other materials. Multiple problems can be created as a result, such as getting particulate (tiny pieces that break off) into the unit, damaging the battery contacts on the door, and removing the conductive coating from this area and even the entire housing. 

IMG 3411To clean, we recommend Wright’s Silver Cream (available in Walmart and Home Depot; under $10 for a small container that will last you a year or more) to clean the door and housing. 

Using a small amount of cream, allow to dry and then GENTLY clean the cream from the door and housing. If excessive force is used when removing the dried cream, the conductive finish can be removed along with it.

Removing the thumbscrew from the door can make cleaning easier, though it should be done in a specific manner. Instructions on how to properly do that can be found here. Please keep an eye on the e-clip and washer which, if either are lost, damaged or replaced incorrectly,  can cause the thumbscrew to not seat properly in the case and cause wear to both the door and mating surface.

Your end result after cleaning with the cream will look like this:

IMG 3412

The 5 Pin Microphone Jack Opening

The 5 pin opening and contacts for microphones on SMs can likewise collect grease and dirt. You might think that an easy fix for this would be to use a contact cleaner such as WD-40, Goo Gone or acetone, but there are two potential problems with this idea:

  1. Any type of liquid can seep into the unit under surface mount parts and thru-holes and build up on the circuit boards. We don’t want to tell you how many units we have gotten in due to this type of “cleaning”…or how many of those transmitters ended up being a lost cause.
  2. The labeling on many contact cleaners will read something like “compatible with most plastics, paints and rubber surfaces.” The problem is that the labeling is not specific enough. Which plastics, paints or rubber surfaces? Theoretically, you could clean the battery contact and the 5-pin, but there is nothing keeping the liquid out of the unit.

So how do you clean the 5-pin jack?

First, you can try canned air. You probably have some lying around (if not, it’s inexpensive) and it will blow out any dust or lint-like particles inside. If that doesn’t work, you can do what we do here.  We clean it using alcohol and an acid brush (used to apply paste flux for soldering; cost under a dollar and available in any hardware or home improvement store, often in multi-packs), while holding the unit upside down to keep the contaminants out of the transmitter.

Alcohol and brush  Cleaning with the brush 

All of these suggestions will can go a long way in ensuring that they not only work well and stay out of Repair, but look like new, longer. 

 

Wire-Lists#3: Lessons On Battery Care For The Long Ranger

Social Media WireLists3The Long Ranger Wireless PA has been in the field for over 30 years and remains popular with school marching bands. Every fall after summer break, and again after winter break, like clockwork, we see a fleet of Long Rangers coming in for service with easily-preventable battery-related issues. And in case you were wondering, premature battery failure is not covered by warranty. Here are five things to consider to make sure that your Long Ranger is ready for another semester:

  1. At the end of each use and especially before extended breaks, store your Long Ranger in a safe, dry place that is ideally under 77°F. At 77°F, Long Ranger batteries are estimated to last about 5 years (3 years with the Long Ranger IV) with regular charges. For every 15°F rise in temperature, battery lifespan is cut by 50%. We know that some of you live in warmer climates; our temperature suggestions do not apply to operating environment.
  2. As a best practice, charge the batteries before putting the unit away; and again every 30 days if left unused.
  3. Never allow the batteries to completely run down. This is the best way to ensure long battery life and prevent premature failure. The 12-volt lead-acid battery should last for 6-8 hours during normal-use conditions.
  4. If the batteries have completely run down, don’t give up right away - they may be able to be saved. In the LRIV, an almost-new 12-volt battery that appears to be “dead” can possibly be saved by prolonged charging – up to ten days. And don’t worry, all Lectrosonics equipment contains circuitry that prevents over-charging.
  5. If you decide to change the battery in your Long Ranger, refer to Tech Note 1012 (https://www.lectrosonics.com/Support/Wireless/tn1012-long-ranger-battery-replacement.html) or Tech Note 1021 (https://www.lectrosonics.com/Support/Wireless/tn1021-long-ranger-iv-battery-replacement.html) depending on which battery you currently have installed. We no longer use the individual 6-volt batteries at the factory, however you may be able to source them locally. To convert the battery from two 6v to one 12v, you should refer to Service Note 1001 (https://www.lectrosonics.com/sb1001-long-ranger-battery-pack-update.html). These Tech Notes cover important removal and replacement tips. For example, a battery pack connected backwards will result in costly damage. During factory service on all Longer Ranger models, a new 12-volt battery is included with your repair fee.

 

Wire-Lists#2: My Transmitter Doesn’t Work! Three Things To Check

Social Media WireLists2One of the most common calls that we get in Customer Service is that a transmitter “doesn’t work.” Since “doesn’t work” is a very broad complaint, there are four things that you should check, prior to calling us, that could help you self-troubleshoot and possibly eliminate the need for a call altogether:

  1. Do your transmitter and receiver both have power? While it sounds rudimentary, ensure that your units are plugged in or that your batteries are fresh. Bad or weak batteries are surprisingly common. A general rule is to store your units between use without batteries, and supply new or freshly charged batteries at the start of each session. And make sure your batteries are inserted correctly – it’s easy to put them in the wrong way. All of our units are marked with battery orientation somewhere – either on the back or side of the unit, or inside the battery compartment. You may also need check your power supply, battery eliminator or BDS unit for proper voltages.
  2. Are your transmitter and receiver on the same block and are they tuned to the same frequency? These two discrepancies account for a great number of the calls that we receive. Additionally, if you’re trying to synch a transmitter and a receiver in the 486.400 – 495.600 MHz range of Band A1 and things are not working, it’s possible that you are running into the Block 470/19 overlap. For things to work in this situation and enable the correct pilot tone, your block and hex codes must match. Because of the unique design of the Lectrosonics products, each frequency within a block has a different pilot tone. This helps prevent unwanted un-squelching when an intermod lands on a receiver channel. However, the overlap between blocks 470 and 19 within the A1 band means you can have the correct frequency but since the transmitter and receivers are set to different blocks, the pilot tones don’t match. Be sure to check both the frequency AND the block if you are in Band A1 but are not getting audio.
  3. Are your transmitter and receiver on the same compatibility mode? Like frequency and block, if two different modes are selected, the units will be unable to communicate, or you may have audio distortion. Like people speaking languages, they both need to be using the same one in order to understand each other.

We hope that your issues are solved with one of these four checks. If not? Give us a call at 800-821-1121. We’re here Monday to Friday, 8 to 5 Mountain Time.

-The Lectrosonics Parts & Repair Team

Wire-Lists#1: The 4 Don’ts for Preventing Sick Transmitters

Corroded board

Nothing is more frustrating than turning on your transmitter…and…finding out it doesn’t work. Like with winter colds, sick transmitters can take some diagnostics to figure out and cure. Here are 4 suggestions to help prevent problems before they start:

1. Don’t place the transmitter against bare skin. All transmitters are susceptible to becoming damaged from moisture, including sweat (and everyone sweats). Sweat is a carrier for water, salt and oils which can leech into the transmitter and corrode the circuit boards and other parts. Once sweat or other moisture seeps inside the unit, there is no wiping or removing it. So how do you prevent this? By placing the transmitter into a pocket, pouch or baggie; or (best option) using one of our specially-designed silicone covers. Pro tip: keeping transmitters – and especially their antennas – away from skin also improves RF transmission, bodies are mostly water and water absorbs RF.

2. Don’t leave batteries in an unused transmitter. Best practice is to remove them when you are done with a project or a job and replace them with fresh ones when the unit is used again. At best, batteries that are not powered up can lose charge over time. At worst, they can corrode or leak, thereby irreparably damaging your unit. In general, we recommend that you use fresh batteries for each job, performance, sermon or gig. Because our units provide very high-performance RF and audio, they do use a fair amount of current. New or freshly charged batteries are part of the formula for success.

3. Don’t wrap cords or mic cables around your transmitter when it is not being used. Over time, this practice will damage the cord. Mic cords cannot be repaired or replaced if damaged. Disengage the mic and wrap it loosely to prevent pinching or kinks. Most lav mic manufacturers provide a pouch or small plastic box for storage. If yours didn’t come with anything, we sell our MICBOX (sold with our lav mics) and our small zippered pouch, part #35939 (sold with the HM172 headset microphone) separately, for a reasonable cost.

Corroded housing4. Don’t trust the repairs! We don’t mean this literally, of course! When a unit is repaired and returned to you, immediately power it up and test it. Ensure that it works properly before storing it. Each unit that we repair has a 90-day warranty on the repairs. We need to know sooner rather than later that the repair wasn’t adequate, so we can then correct it under warranty. Sometimes, we learn that users have received a unit back from repair, then stored it for months until the next time they need to do a job, when they discover that it doesn’t work properly. This is rare, but it does happen.

Our products have reputations for withstanding heavy demands over a long lifetime, and the care you give them goes a long way in keeping them in peak performance.


- The Lectrosonics Service & Repair Team