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What to do if the radio does not power on

You stored your walkie talkies away for awhile and now you're planning that big weekend hiking or camping trip with your family or friends across the great outdoors. Naturally, you need them again, so you take them out, dust them off, turn them on and -

Uh oh. Nothing happens. They won't go on.

You have your company fleet of two way radios packed and ready to take to the next job. When you arrive onsite, you take them out of their case, pass them out to your workers, instruct everyone to stay on Channel 1, and -

No, wait. They don't turn on.

Yeah, it happens. Sometimes a radio may not power on. Of course, if it happens, it is a big deal, because the two way radio as we know it is considered one of the most stable and reliable modes of communication available to the modern world, especially during an emergency. As stable and reliable as two way radios are, it still happens. So if or when it does happen, what do you do?

Follow these steps to troubleshoot, identify and hopefully resolve the issue when your radio does not power on.

Step 1. Verify the batteries or battery pack is/are installed correctly.
  • Verify the battery pack is seated or batteries are installed correctly or with the correct polarity. If correct, proceed to Step 3.
  • If not installed correctly, reseat the battery pack or batteries.

Step 2. Check to be sure the radio is really on.
Some consumer FRS/GMRS radios turn on by pressing a power button or holding it down for one to two seconds. Sometimes there is a delay or there is poor contact internally and it needs to be held down a little longer. Other models, such as business, air band, amateur, CB and marine portable handheld radios have a power knob on top of the unit that must be turned to power them on. If the knob is loose, you might think it turned the shaft of the switch when it didn't. The on/off switch could also be defective.

  • If the radio is turned on and there is power, proceed to Step 5.
  • If radio switch is on but there is no power, check to be sure the battery or batteries is/are fully charged.

Step 3. Check to be sure the battery is charged.
  • Swap out the battery pack or batteries with another or fresh one(s). If no spare batteries are available, put the battery(ies) in another known working radio to test.
  • If no other battery(ies) or radio is available, go to Step 4.
  • If swapping the battery(ies) or radio was successful and the radio has power, skip to Step 5.
  • If there is still no power, proceed according to battery type.

Step 4. Troubleshoot according to battery type.
  • If the battery is rechargeable, recharge it according to the manufacturer instructions. If the battery charges, go to Step 5.
  • If the rechargeable battery pack does not charge, troubleshoot the battery pack and charger.
  • If the battery is non-rechargeable and replacement batteries do not power on the radio, check the radio for damage.

Step 5. Turn the radio on.
  • If the radio turns on, the issue is resolved.
  • If the radio does not turn on, check the radio for damage and refer to the manufacturer for warranty support.

If these instructions are followed correctly, you should be able to quickly determine the cause of the issue and possibly resolve it. If these troubleshooting steps did not resolve your issue and your radio is out of warranty, contact us at Buy Two Way Radios.


I need the short connecting cable between head and radio. When I removed the separated radio from my truck to shack and wanted to connect head directly to radio again I was unable to find the short connector cable. Is that part available?

bought 2 x T-388 walkie talkies from china via ebay. even with the power button off there is some battery drain going on as when i take them out of the drawer after several days the batteries are flat. nothing in your article here is on any use to me. as u may know there is a led flashlight as to say on these models and they will not light up neither after several days in the off mode.

why is this?

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