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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.

11 thoughts on “What to do if the radio does not power on”

  • Amy Weaver

    I can't get my onn walkie talkies to turn it will beep once when you put the batteries in then turns off and not back on

  • Aggrey

    i do have a Motorola DM3401 mobile radio i power up the radio it comes on and goes off again
    and i don't know the problem what should i do?.

    • Rick

      We need more information. Is it hardwired in a vehicle? Are you attempting to power on the radio while the vehicle is not on? Have you checked the wiring? Is there an inline fuse? If so, have you checked or replaced the fuse? There are a lot of variables, so you will need to do some troubleshooting.

  • Randy L

    Is there a way to make my walkie talkie to go farther in range? In the city it only goes maybe a quarter mile n in the open fields it goes maybe 2 miles. I have 2 blackfin walkie talkies model WT-1002

  • Ally

    my floureon XF- 638 is not turnng on even though the batteries are charged what do I do?

  • Rick

    The article is intended to provide basic troubleshooting steps to determine why the radio won't power on. Once you have determined that it is a battery issue (steps 3-5), it requires further troubleshooting to determine why the batteries are draining so quickly. At that point you would need to contact the manufacturer.
    Having said that, here are a couple of things to check. When you are finished operating the radio, before you put them away, make absolutely sure they are completely powered off. These types of radios will often turn off the display after a few seconds of inactivity to conserve battery power while in use, but the radios themselves are still on. They typically do not power off automatically. They must be manually powered down.
    Also, it is always advisable to first remove the batteries before storing the radios after use. This not only prevents battery drain, but also protects the radio from damage due to battery leakage while unused or stored for long periods.

  • 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?
    [email protected]

  • Rick

    What is the make and model of radio?

  • Severt Jacobson

    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?


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