Model A Maestro

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  • Updated 2 months ago
I've had this Maestro for about 4 years. I can see that I may have to replace the tablet with a new. What if the model A tablets are no longer available is this Maestro toast.
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Bob G W1GLV

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Posted 2 months ago

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Ted, NX6C

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Bob, I am wondering the same thing. However a replacement may not be needed.

I’ve got the Maestro Model A also. Works 24X7 here since they came out. No problems at all!

Ted

NX6C
(Edited)
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Bob G W1GLV

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I've got somee screen discoloration at the bottom.
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KC2QMA_John

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Sounds like your internal tablet battery is exploding. The discoloration is from the battery expanding inside the tablet witch now has damaged the screen. So now the battery and screen need to be replaced OR the entire tablet.

See original post on this HERE
https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/spot-screen-maestro
(Edited)
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Gene Duprey

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I’ve had my Model A for 9 months and no problems at all. See no reason to expect any issues , or need to replace it.

Gene, k1gd
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KC2QMA_John

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He is asking if there is a new drop in replacement tablet for the A model to replace the old model.
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KF4HR

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Bob - sounds like a question you should direct to FRS.  If you decided to ask them, let us know what you find out.  I have an A model too, although it has worked flawlessly for the last few years.
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Steven Linley

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Maybe we should be proactive and replace the tablet battery?
How difficult would that be?
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Bob G W1GLV

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The battery is not the problem. The screen is the problem, it starting to show some wear and tear. The bottom area has got burn marks and I noticed lately that these burn marks are getting bigger.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Bob - there are some reports that battery swelling of the OEM battery, specially if left on the charger for years, plays a role in screen issues that look like "burn marks."  While battery swelling is not the only things that can happen to a touchscreen, it should be pretty easy to check out.  

There are community members who have replaced the internal battery themselves.  One posted photos of replacing the screen module and the battery.  Some have reported the battery change-out relieved the back-pressure on the screen and the "burn marks" faded for them.

A friend (W9EVT) had a spillage-on-Maestro problem and FRS did a great job of replacing his complete internal tablet, so that is also an option.  You would have to ask FRS if they can replace the screen and/or battery alone.  

GL & 73

Steve
K9ZW

Blog:  http://k9zw.wordpress.com  
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Mike - W8MM

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The "burn spots" are not from a bad display.  They occur because a swollen battery internal to the tablet pushes the LCD display out of shape in those spots where the swelling is concentrated.

I sent one of my Maestros that was having this problem and Flex fixed it.  The other Maestro with the "burn spots" problem of mine I fixed myself by purchasing a new tablet battery and installing it myself.

Search:  3.7V 18WH Genuine Original 74XCR Battery Dell Venue 8 Pro (5830) Tablet 074XCR

https://youtu.be/N6AMRy4di0s

Works great and both "burn spots" Maestros returned to good as new.
(Edited)
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Lee - N2LEE

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So the question is what is the Tablet that is used in Maestro B ?   How does it differ if at all and if it uses the same tablet is this an age issue ?

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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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The Maestro-B tablet is a different tablet than the Maestro-A - I don't think FRS gave a vendor name out for the -B tablet.  

It is different - switch location is about all I think we would see though.  The charging circuit is less likely to end up in the deep discharge situation.  

It is unknown if the Maestro-B version has the same likelihood of the battery age when on constant charge issue some Maestro-A's have had.

From the outside we are making assumptions that all the tablets in each production series of Maestro are the same within that series - say that every Maestro-A has exactly the same tablet specs.  

With the tablets being an OEM version we wouldn't even be able to predict future availability by watching the consumer version.  Usually OEM products have much longer production and later spare part cycles than their corresponding consumer versions.   

In all cases if you have troubles with a Maestro and you are not equipped to dig into it and make changes, including being able to fix anything you break in the attempt, FRS may be the place to turn to.  

73

Steve
K9ZW

Blog:  http://k9zw,wordpress.com  
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Bob G W1GLV

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Steve I understand all of what you said, but lets say one year down the road that my Maestro screen dies and I'm capable of my own repairs. Will FRS have a replacement for the Model A screen or will I have to deep six it and buy a new Maestro?
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KC2QMA_John

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I have a "B" model but i think the "A" model also has a version of a Dell tablet.
If someone opens their "A" Maestro up they can get the model number off of the tablet.

I too have been thinking about what we can do down the road to keep our lovely Maestro’s going when the tablets and parts for the tablets are all gone.

Maybe we will be able to retrofit another tablet or even do some kind of mod to put a little battery powered windows PC in there?

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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@Bob G - that is FRS's question to speak to. 

I think the post was prior to the community on this platform, but the FRS team did speak about the general issues of selecting components and how they looked to use components with life cycle commitments meeting their expectations, and how they did EOL (end of life) stock-up purchases of components when a specific component did eventually arrive at EOL.  The comment was in a general sense than directed to this product.

The Maestro-A and Maestro-B use an OEM version tablet.  Different between A and B.  We've seen photos of the Dell markings on the A but I don't recall that confirmed for the B version.

It doesn't look like you can directly swap with a consumer version of the tablet for a failed tablet, as end users do not have a ready way to capture the customization nor execute the OS & Program load.  

Again some end users have replaced their screens and more have replaced their internal batteries, but perhaps those are the folks who replace their own iPhone batteries too?

My plan, as I have two Maestro-As and help my friend W9EVT with his Maestro-A is to run them until I have problems.  If any of the three develop battery problems I may just have the battery swapped locally (places like Batteries Plus offer this type of service).  I'm thinking I'll take the tablet out and just give it to them to replace the battery.

If a complete tablet takes a dump, I'll look to FRS first - though I may just buy the latest version if repairs are difficult or pricey.  

W9EVT's stays on the charge, but is already a replacement tablet due to being soaked by a spill in the shack by a workman building radio cabinets.  My two are not on the charge that much and I'm predicting a more normal dying battery problem down the road.  

I'm not laying in personal spares as shelf life of unused tablets/batteries isn't certain.  Nor am I worrying about it prior to seeing any sign of a problem.

I have personally decided I would open each Maestro up for a visual inspection once a year to check for any signs of swelling.  My choice and not something FRS suggests, but just a personal habit that matches how I check batteries in all my gear once a year.  Of course the few batteries that have leaked/swelled did it when they wanted to, but at least I didn't leave it sit for years before spotting it.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Blog:  http://k9zw.wordpress.com 
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Bob G W1GLV

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I put the question to FRS a couple days ago with no response so far.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Thinking some of FRS team has/is traveling doing some regional ham shows?

73

Steve
K9ZW

Blog: http://k9zw.wordpress.com
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Bob G W1GLV

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I did get a response from FRS yesterday (8/23/19). The going price for a replacement USED tablet is $150.00, this price will get it installed at FRS in Austin.

This AM I took the bull by the horns and removed my tablet and opened it. The battery was bulged. Once removed the screen looked good. I ordered a replacement battery from Amazon for $26.00, should be here next week.

YouTube hase a good video for replacing the battery. By the way the tablet is a Dell Venue 8 Pro.
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KC2QMA_John

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$150 is very reasonable for a replacement tablet. That may be a good option for those who don't want to repair their tablet on there own.
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Bob G W1GLV

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Here's a picture of the battery.

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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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Do you have a link to the YouTube video? Great work there
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k3Tim

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Battery replacement video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6AMRy4di0s&t=20s

Note: the case hooks over catches so it needs to be pulled around and over them. With a bulged case this area for a good start.

This is an interesting video where the gentleman added a 26# piece of copper internally and dropped temperatures 12C. Seems and easy mode.

I would save the old battery as I suspect it can be rebuilt using two new flat cell LI  ones. 
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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Say one would have to replace the WHOLE tablet (like from eBay). How would someone get the MAESTRO operating system on the “new” tablet?
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Bob G W1GLV

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you can't & FRS is not interested.
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KC2QMA_John

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I believe you can if you image your tablets hard drive then copy image to the new tablet?
(Edited)
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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Interesting.
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Bob G W1GLV

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The tablet does not use a hard drive, it has a digitizer board which controls about everything in the tablet. The software is loaded to memory and cannot be read if you do not have a copy of the imager provided by Dell. Furthermore there is a copy of Windows in the mix. To me the best thing for an individual to do is buy a tablet now and keep it for spare parts. Hopefully the digitizer board will not go south on you, if it does your dead in the water. FRS does not accept consumer parts for replacement.
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KC2QMA_John

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It has Solid State Memory AKA hard disk. You would have to boot from a USB image utility then you should be able to copy the entire SSD, windows and all to a USB stick then transfer to the new tablet SSD.

I have not done this with the Maestro but have done it with other windows 10 tablets in the past. There are free windows image/clone utilities on the web.

https://www.google.com/search?q=free+imaging+software&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS839US839&oq=free++imaging+software&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.22621j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 This is not easy and requires good PC skills but it can be done.


(Edited)
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Bob G W1GLV

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Have u any idea how to do this?
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Worth noting is there were several variants of the Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet offered to the public (thinking at least six), as well as customized OEM versions offered.

There seems to be at least two levels of hardware security available, various master password schemes and several operating system variants produced. 

I'm thing that I might DYI internal battery changes, or just have it done at someplace local like Battery Plus, but at the low cost to have FRS replace a tablet I'm not thinking there is any savings to try changing the whole tablet if needed by myself.  

The FRS replacement especially makes sense knowing I don't have to try and source an acceptable new tablet, figure out how to get it configured and imaged.  That is stuff FRS would do for me?  I'm thinking that is my way to go if needed.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Blog:  http://k9zw.wordpress.com 
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KC2QMA_John

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 I agree $150 is very reasonable for a replacement tablet from Flex.

When flex runs out of tablets and parts we will have to become “Ham Radio Operators” again and come up with some kind of mod or retrofit on our own to keep our trusty Maestros going. :)
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John - K3MA

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Since you have it opened you might want to try some experimenting.   How about running a extension for USB and then add mouse control?  What about an extension to add external HDMI and a larger monitor.  Maybe some other creative things that the tablet can do on it's own but is restricted once installed in the Maestro.