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Buyer Beware - Fake Motorola PMNN4409AR Batteries (XPR3x/7x Series Radios


PACNWComms

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For those that enjoy using the Motorola XPR3xxx/7xxx/e series radios, here is one cautionary note.

I had a group that wanted to buy new Motorola batteries but did not like the price or the delivery time, about 3-5 months wait to get them.

So, instead they purchased two dozen batteries, what they thought were Motorola PMNN4409AR 7.4V Lithium-Ion batteries. They purchased these through Grainger, as someone in the group had a construction company and an account with them. Knowing that I often use a XPR7550e radio for GMRS, and working with radios for years, they asked me why the batteries often did not take a charge. Or the charger acted odd when the batteries were placed into them (single cup Motorola IMPRES charger and 6-bank versions). Users in this group said some batteries would charge, but maybe not charge all the way the next day. This was a group that was interested in starting their own community emergency response type of team. 

On a whim, I asked if the serial numbers were all the same on the batteries? they said they did not recall seeing serial numbers. I told them to look closer. They gathered half of the batteries and checked them. They all had the same serial number. Luckily, the person with the Grainger account was a good customer, and they will be checking this from whomever they purchased these from as well. Motorola batteries should all have a unique serial number. 

12 batts same serial high res.jpg

same serials.JPG

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Note, Grainger is making this right, as they should have checked these batteries as well before they were sold. IMPRES batteries are "smart" batteries that work with "smart" IMPRES style chargers, but when every battery has the same chip and serial number, it confuses the charger, hence odd charging/discharging/cycling actions taking place. 

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The real question here is why the hell would anyone buy from Graingers, even with a commercial account as they are so overpriced that it is cost prohibitive to do so. Like I always tell the Grainger salesman that crawls around our facility is that I can't afford to buy from you even with our discount. Better prices elsewhere. As for the batteries, glad they are taking them back.

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Unfortunately I got a battery with the same serial too. Plus weird behavior. When put on a impress charger, it will only attempt to recondition the battery and never charge it. I left it on for 3 days with no change of the chargers status light. When I attempt to read the Impress data on the radio it just says "Unknown Battery", and it displays this when booting up too. Time to get a refund. ?

20221227_235521.jpg

 

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Edited by Stripes
Fixed inverted image
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I finally got around to reading the posts in this tread. Yup, battery packs are ripe for fraud. I had my own experience.

I purchased two new, non Kenwood, battery packs the seller said were compatible with a particular Kenwood part number. I tried to charge them in an official Kenwood charger and they failed with a blinking red light signaling a battery pack issue. After some investigation it turned out there is an internal wire connection between two of the external charge contacts was missing. This on BOTH battery packs. I confirmed it with a meter and a schematic for that battery pack in the service tech manual for the charger. When I externally soldered the wire on the back side of the pack it would charge as expected.

I contacted the well known seller, on eBay, explained the issue and provided them with the details. I asked for a refund since the battery packs were NOT compatible as advertised. All I got were multiple excuses and was told it's the charger. I ended up filing a complaint with eBay, sent the two packs back and got a refund. I left negative feedback for the seller. They repeatedly contacted me later and more or less "begged" me to change the feedback. I said no and told them I'm sure they had others complain too, and knew there was a problem.

What I think happened is they got a good deal on these Chinese manufactured battery packs because the manufacture likely sold them cheap rather than scrap them out as a total loss. The manufacture likely discovered the packs were missing the internal wire connection during the build process, crappy quality control. The eBay seller then sold them trying to make a quick fat profit from what they most likely knew were manufacturing defect battery packs. By lying to buyers it's their charger they wouldn't have to give refunds, and most people, unlike myself, have no way to check if that's really the case and quit asking for a refund.

I did buy two more battery packs, non Kenwood, from another eBay seller for slightly more money. Those I had ZERO issues with.   

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Oh, one other thing about battery packs, the capacity. Some scams you bump into is the battery pack may work fine but you don't get the "expected" operating time because the manufacture cheats by installing lower capacity rated cells in the pack. So unless you have a way to check the REAL capacity, in mAH, you can't be sure you're getting what you think you paid for.

https://forums.mygmrs.com/gallery/image/248-2117323252_batterypacktestingjpg/

https://forums.mygmrs.com/gallery/image/258-104331801_testedbaterypacksjpg/

 

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On 12/26/2022 at 2:42 PM, tcp2525 said:

why the hell would anyone buy from Grainger

Grainger had stock on hand, while Motorola often takes six months to a year to produce and ship batteries, so the thought was that if they were sitting on stock the price was less of an issue. That site got burned in the overall situation, but until Motorola gets more product shipped, I myself am sitting on several hundred Motorola radios that can't be fielded until I get batteries for them (APX8000/6000/4000 series batteries and chargers right now, with a due in date of May 2023). 

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On 12/30/2022 at 6:39 AM, WRUI365 said:

Make sure Radio Certification Type is set to none in the cps. I learn unless it is a certain type of battery, the radio goes into a hissy fit if it is set to UL

I had a lot of trouble with APX8000 radios until I was made aware of this setting. Thank you for sharing as this is a great reminder for battery issues and types used on specific models of radio gear. 

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I would not set it to none on any XE radio. The entire reason its there is to have a certified battery on the radio. I ran into a customer who changed this on all the fire radios so they could use cheap batteries. A radio was sent in for water damage and was not repaired as it was using non IDLH accessories. 

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7 hours ago, PACNWComms said:

Grainger had stock on hand, while Motorola often takes six months to a year to produce and ship batteries, so the thought was that if they were sitting on stock the price was less of an issue. That site got burned in the overall situation, but until Motorola gets more product shipped, I myself am sitting on several hundred Motorola radios that can't be fielded until I get batteries for them (APX8000/6000/4000 series batteries and chargers right now, with a due in date of May 2023). 

Wow, I can see the spot you are in and I hope you got  it sorted and found a reliable source for these batteries. I'm surprised what exorbitant prices Grainger charges they didn't do due diligence and confirmed they were authentic OEM batteries and not knockoffs.

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  • 10 months later...

I should add that these fake batteries are also being sold as replacements for APX900 and APX4000 series Motorola radios as well. Had another site and incident where these counterfeit batteries entered the supply chain as "stores" batteries, spares purchased in bulk across the enterprise, to replace equipment damaged/used/lost during emergency response incidents. 

This was the battery in question and website for purchase details - I DO NOT RECOMMEND anyone buy these batteries!

https://www.grainger.com/product/BANSHEE-Radio-Battery-Fits-Motorola-52XP74

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