Question about Maestro internal battery

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  • Updated 11 months ago
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I hadn't used my Maestro for a few months because I was waiting on 2.0.  After the 2.0 came out, I tried to power on the Maestro and it was completely dead.  I was informed to send in my Maestro to Flexradio because its internal battery drained out and it must be sent to Flex.  But, my question is this-- Should I have known that the Maestro must be used periodically to prevent the internal radio from draining out?  Is this in the directions somewhere that I missed?  If I missed it, my bad, I take full ownership.  But, if not, it seems like this should have been a big deal to get this information out to Maestro owners.  Sorry for the vent, since it is probably my fault for not knowing this in the first place, but it is very frustrating.   
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John K6VFR

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Posted 1 year ago

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Jim Gilliam

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Maybe the instructions should say to use an iPad between battery changes.


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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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The Maestro screen is a tablet, so it has an internal battery. In order for it to be charged it needs to be connected to power and turned on. Maybe try holding down the button with power connected?

If not, yeah, it will have to take a ride to Austin...
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Thomas Dias

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Very important information, I'm in Brazil. There is a Maestro and not known.
Sending another country for repair is very difficult for me.
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Jeffrey Kerber, N3VE

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Does anyone know if the battery is easily replaceable?  I am not having a problem, I leave a fully charged external battery plugged in.  My Maestro is out of warranty and would like to know more about the internal battery so I could change it myself when the time comes.

Jeff N3VE 

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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The internal battery is not replaceable.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I have the same design flaw with an Atomic Aquatics Cobalt II Dive Computer.. It has an internal battery that must be kept charged at all times and NO DOCUMENTATION THAT THE UNIT MUST BE KEPT CHARGED.   The Cobalt II has had 2 trips back to the Factory before I figured out that it needed to stay charged..

I suspect that there is no simple solution to this issue other than to calendar yourself to regularly charge the Maestro like I do with both my Maestro and Cobalt 2  

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Clay N9IO

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Howard I sent my 6300 in to trade up to the 6600.

I did the initial update to Maestro 2.0 without a radio present but knowing this I will definitely make it a point to run the thing say at least weekly until the new radio arrives.  Thanks for the info guys...

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WX7Y

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A lot of tablets type PC's both Microsoft and Android based have this problem,  To fix this usually only takes removing ALL power opening up the Tablet and unplug the internal battery for 5 minutes or so then plug it back in plug external power and wait a couple hours to charge it then power it on.

BUT I have not left my Maestro with out power because there has been MANY write up's on the community about keeping the battery charged to see how hard it is to get into the internal Battery to reset it.

Maybe some one has done this that may tell us so we won't have to send it in.

I think it will also reset if you leave it off for like 5 months so the internal battery will totally discharge ( it does on Samsung and ASUS tablets)  but not sure with the tablet inside the Maestro if this will work or not.


73's
Bret
WX7Y
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KF4HR

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I leave my Maestro plugged in whenever I'm not using it, but as obviously important as the internal Maestro battery charge is, is the battery charge level indicated anywhere on the screen?  If not, it should be!
(Edited)
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NX6D Dave

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I just tested for this.  No, the internal battery level isn't shown.  But, running Maestro on the internal battery only results in a bold alarm message saying that power needs to be applied, or a charged external battery needs to be applied within a couple of minutes, or Maestro will shut down.
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NX6D Dave

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This really needs a detailed answer from FRS engineering.  I don't know if the embedded tablet will recharge when completely flat when Maestro is connected to external power for a while.  It sounds like it won't. In the mean time, I'll look at the Maestro docs and if this isn't covered, and I suspect it isn't, I'll correct that, boldly.
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Rick Holloway

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Same exact issue, Mine arrives in Austin today, Wish there was a warning label or some other notification, They are fixing under warranty but what a pain. Cost me $25 to ship it back. Would have gladly plugged in occasionally if I knew this would happen.
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NX6D Dave

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In an effort to understand this, is it right to say that if you just let a Maestro sit, the tablet battery will gradually discharge until it gets to a point that you cannot recharge it, and cannot operate the Maestro, simply by plugging in the external charger?  Was an "external" battery (a battery in the battery compartment on the back of the unit) in this picture in any way?
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Rick Holloway

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I had a fully charged external battery installed when it went on the shelf about three months ago. Took off the shelf and it wouldn't start. Removed battery and let it sit on charge over night. Still no start. Flex said to send it back. I am not sure but I don't think it matters if there is an external battery installed or not. The tablet battery will die if it is not plugged in for an extended period. No idea how long that is, Mine had not been on since April.
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NX6D Dave

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Thanks for the information.  I'm going to get this straightened out in the documentation.  I'll make it very clear what must be done to avoid this problem.
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NX6D Dave

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In section 4.4.12 of the Maestro User Guide, which is about use of a USB connected external battery, it says:

If the battery being used cannot supply the required power for Maestro, but does not fall below 4.25V, it is possible that it can cause a slow drain of Maestro’s internal battery.  If the internal battery is completely drained, Maestro will shut off and will require charging through the wall charger port on the back of the Maestro (up to 15 minutes may be required before Maestro will restart in this condition).

It doesn't say outright that the tablet battery can simply fade out to nothing when not in use.  It does say, however, that connecting Maestro to external power and leaving it for a while should recharge the tablet battery.  If this isn't the case, or of there are special cases in which this doesn't work, we need to get the straight information about this and get it documented correctly.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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There is a "really dead" and a "mostly dead" battery state.  If it is the latter, which is essentially the internal battery drained below the point of powering the display, it still has enough power left to initiate a charging cycle and the internal battery will charge.  If the internal battery drained below the point where it can not initiate the charging process then it is "really dead" and has to come back to Austin for charging.  If the internal battery is fully charged then it will usually take 6-8 weeks (sometimes more) to fully drain to the really dead state.
(Edited)
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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...and if its "All Dead" then there's only one thing left to do. Open up the back and look for loose change.  :-)
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wb7ond

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I literally busted out laughing......
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Earl Richardet

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I'm thinking of purchasing a Maestro to go with my new 6600. I really want to hear from FRS before I make my purchase...
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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This issue has been resolved on the newer Mastros that are in the process of being manufactured.
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John - W8AGS

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Tim,

Since this issue has been addressed on new Maestros, will the older Maestros be able to receive the fix by returning to FRS? If so, will it be done under warranty or will there be a nominal charge?

Thank you,

John, W8AGS
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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We are currently discussing and evaluating options, so I do not have a definitive answer.  If you experience a completely discharged Maestro that will not boot or recharge, please open a HelpDesk support ticket and we will address the issue as an expedited warranty repair regardless of the warranty status of the unit.
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John - W8AGS

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Actually, I have not experienced a problem with the battery. My Maestro is working fine. I use it very regularly. Thanks Tim for your quick response..

John, W8AGS
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K2CB Eric Dobrowansky

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FRS needs to step up to the plate and fix this serious design flaw for ALL current Maestro owners. Whatever the design change is on the new units, needs to be offered to all current Maestro owners.

This issue, on top of the battery pack charging debacle, is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE for a product of this type and price range!

How FRS handles this will be the determining factor for many of us as to whether we purchase future FRS hardware such as the Power Genius.

A $1100 wooden nickel is one thing; a big $8000 wooden nickel is another!
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K2CB Eric Dobrowansky

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You can say all you want about Flex vs. Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu, when it comes to listening to customers, or coming out with firmware updates for their radios. But the fact is, unlike FRS, they HAVE addressed (to the customers'satisfaction, and at no cost) MAJOR flaws such as this. For example:

Kenwood TS-590 ALC overshoot
Icom IC-7410/9100 ALC overshoot
Yaesu FT-2000/9000 PEP updates

So software updates is one thing, but addressing and FIXING MAJOR DESIGN FLAWS is another.

FRS needs to act before it is too late, and irreversible damage is done to their reputation.
(Edited)
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HCampbell WB4IVF

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ICOM waited years before acknowledging and fixing the IC-7410’s well known overshoot problem.  And after their acknowledgement I waited months more before my turn for the mod came.  And I still had to pay shipping/insurance to send the radio to them (not cheap from VA to WA).   ICOM is a good company and I give them credit for eventually stepping up but they’re not perfect either.

Howard
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k3Tim

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It would seem the best advice is to keep the Maestro plugged into 12 V-DC at all times, no matter the vintage. The Li-bats have a limited charge/discharge number of cycles. To minimize the cycles keeping a trickle charge of 12V-DC is all that is required. Leaving a Li-bat on the low side for long period of time is a no-no I believe.

Even my Bentley and Rolls-Royce need 12 V-DC trickle chargers.

Regards All,
k3Tim/6
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Greg K8CGS

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Exactly to the point. I talked to FR today on questions on the 6600 (with Maestro) and 6600M. I am pretty set on the 6600 or 6600M but still don't know if I was going to go Maestro route or the 'M' model. With this Maestro issue, which I just learned from this community, I would lean toward the 'M' model. But now I am concerned the 'M' model might have this same issue. That would be a nasty surprise to have to send the whole radio back because of a stupid internal battery going dead. Some people might not understand how sometimes it might not be plugged into wall power for a month...there are many reasons for some this can occur..for me its about a physical home move that will require all my gear stored for a couple of months. Others: travel, illness etc. And for those living internationally, wow, what a super pain.
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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This issue is only applicable to the 1st generation Maestros.  The new Maestro will properly charge the display (one of the reasons that the new Maestro was delayed was because the USB C interface did not meet industry specs)
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Any chance to retrofit this fix to the first generation Maestros?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Steve has previously addressed this.  It would require an extensive re-engineering of the internal Maestro control boards and not a simple board mod, so there are no plans for a retro fit.
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Mike

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Wow I feel like I've been hoodwinked. Engineering problem for sure. Why isn't the unit designed just to run off of DC direct. 
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Norm - W7CK

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There really needs to be some instructions posted so that the end user can perform this function in the field.  Otherwise, the unit just isn't reliable enough.   This is my personal opinion, so please take with a grain of salt.

Norm - W7CK
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

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I have revived LiPo Batteries that have slipped below the voltage that smart chargers will charge at, even though the battery is actually okay.  LiPo's are really energy dense, and as such are kind of like a genie trying to get out of a bottle. It can get exciting.  And the refreshing should be done by a person who knows how to do it safely.  That's probably why FlexRadio Systems wants the battery returned.

I'm reluctant to even share the method.
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Mike - W8MM

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I have a total of three Maestros, one of which I use constantly, the other two of which were left sealed in their boxes for well over a year (very delayed contest project).  I recently read another thread about this very subject and thought to myself that I would be very upset if the two "new" Maestros needed factory service without ever being unboxed.

So, I unboxed them.  And, sure enough, they seemed dead as rocks after connecting them to their power supplies.  I then took the suggestion of a poster on the previous thread and pushed on the power button of each Maestro for about a minute while still connected to power.

To my amazement, both "new"-but-old Maestros both gave out a little flash of the screen back light after a while.  I left them both connected to the power supply overnight and the next day they were both right as rain.  Whew!  No factory trip required!

So, before giving up on the first sign of trouble, try looking around on the community for earlier discussions of this issue.  Maybe you'll get lucky like I did ;~} 
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NX6D Dave

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Thanks for this input. This may be the solution we're looking for!  If I can get confirmation of this from engineering, it will go into the documents.
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Mike - W8MM

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https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/maestro-wont-power-up-anyone-seen-this-issue-before

Here's my reply - fresher memory at the time for exact sequence of events:

"When I started reading this thread, I was really bummed because I have two brand new, never-opened-the-box Maestros for my SO3R VHF contest station (under construction).  They arrived about one year ago, which seems way past the trouble threshold.  So, I decided to get it over with and I unpacked and connected them to AC power.

Sure enough, both seemed as dead as rocks.  I pushed on their power buttons for 10 or 15 seconds and saw no response of any kind.  That was two days ago.  I left them plugged in to the AC since then.

I just went out to the garage to check on them and lo and behold, after pressing the power button for 30 seconds or less on each one flashed the display back light for 5 or so seconds, I released the button and then they went dark.  Just for fun, I pressed the power button again for 5 or 10 seconds each, and they both fired up just fine.

I powered them down for the night and I expect they are both completely healed.  I'm leaving them connected to AC power for a few more days to make sure they are fully charged.

Whew!"
(Edited)
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Mike - W8MM

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Also, from the thread link posted above:

Paul, WB5AGF
When my Maestro would not boot-up earlier this afternoon I phoned Austin and spoke with Dudley.
Following Dudley's direction :
- I plugged-in the external power supply (confirming that the green LED on the 'brick' was glowing) and then held-down the Maestro's Power Button for 60 seconds (Dudley had said "30 or 40 seconds" but I figured that 'a little more can't hurt')
- leaving the Maestro plugged into the external power supply I set it aside (as Dudley had said to then leave it alone for 24 hours with the external PS connected)
- about 5 minutes later, out of the corner of my eye (since I'd set the Maestro to the side), I caught a flicker (I thought at first it was either my imagination or a reflection off something)
- I looked at the Maestro unit and its screen had come on showing the WiFi Network search screen (no EtherNet cable was plugged in).
Since then my Maestro has 'played' like it should (and I'm going to leave it plugged-in for the next 24 hours to give the internal battery a chance to recharge).
Dudley had explained that there needs to be a slight amount of charge remaining in the internal battery (not what a user can install inside the rear battery compartment but the internal battery which we can't access) for the Maestro to be able to boot-up. Dudley said that from what he's seen there is about a 50/50 chance that holding down the Power Button for an extended period of time, and then waiting 24 hours with the Maestro plugged into the external power source, will get the Maestro to power up (and then allow the internal battery to recharge). I was surprised (but pleased of cource) when my Maestro decided to 'wake-up' after only a few minutes.
- Paul, WB5AGF
(Edited)
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Ross - K9COX

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Was not handled very well by Flex.
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Michael Coslo

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I'm a little surprised that people with an amateur radio license do not know about the care and feeding of batteries. Any device with a LiPo needs to be used and charged
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Greg K8CGS

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I believe most of them do. But having a liPo battery cause a DOA less than 60 Days from its last charge is not normal nor acceptable. Most LiPO recommendations for long term storage recommendations is once every 6 months. For giggles I rummaged through and found my old Gen-1 iPad Mini. This thing has been stored away in the junk box for over 3 ‘THREE YEARS’!!!! I plugged it in last night and after approx. 30 mins of charge it was able to boot up just fine.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
John, you have a valid and reasonable question.  The answer is yes, you should have known about the issue and what to do to prevent it from happening.  We are supposed to be including a tech note with every Maestro shipped that explains the battery situation. It was my understanding that a Constant Contact mailing was sent out to every Maestro owner we know about informing them of this situation.

Obviously, you were not notified and I'll take the follow-up action to figure out why that happened and correct the problem.

No apologies for venting.  As a matter of fact, I find that your post is exemplary in how you stated your issue in a professional manner and I really appreciate that.

Thank you for bringing this aspect of the problem to our attention.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Hi Tim

Can you tell what that notice was titled, as a quick search didn't turn up a tech bulletin here either?

Thanks and 73

Steve
K9ZW
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Not at this time.
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K2CB Eric Dobrowansky

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None of the Maestro owners I know, myself included, ever received such communications... and based on what I see from some of the regulars here on the community site, I'm sure had one of them received such communication, they more than likely would have felt the need to post here and let us all know!
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Mike

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Amen, I never heard of this until my unit won't turn on. When I sent my 6500 in as a trade in July(?) it didn't seem like a good idea to leave things plugged in that you weren't using. Then with delay after delay months have passed. So now newer units don't have this problem? Just the group of us that bought early and became beta testers.
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Larry - WA7LZO

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Dell Venue 8 tablet battery replacement YouTube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=305Fj0Rg3u0

Battery costs about $40.

73,
Larry
WA7LZO

(Edited)
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John W9KXQ

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Tim,
I ordered my Maestro over a year ago from Flex, and NEVER received this Notice you refer to, nor was they any such warning included with the actual unit.  Apparently there were a lot of us that we left out of this notification.  Thanks for following up on it.  

73

John
W9KXQ
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Thank you for your feedback.
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Thomas Dias

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Hi Tim, i Also never received notice about this things,  please let me know best pratice to keep Maestro Work fine for long time..
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Don - kx9q

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I will add my 2 cents as well. I received the unit right they were release and never received any notification regarding the internal battery. You mentioned the new units have been fixed. Just what was done to the new units? One eould hope Flex will stand by their product and take care of this issue for all of us.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Thomas, 

If the Maestro is not used regularly it should be charged every 6- 8 weeks to prevent the internal power device from completely discharging.

To charge your Maestro:
1. Connect the DC power cable into the DC power input on the rear of the unit.  
2. Plug the power adapter into a wall socket.   Please note: your Maestro may boot when you do this.  Continue to allow the device to charge.
3. Let charge for a minimum of 10 minutes before powering up or using.  Charge for 30 minutes if the Maestro has not been operated regularly. 
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Don, the new Maestro uses a different display than the original unit and it has a different interface for charging.
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Don - kx9q

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Tim, I guess I have been lucky in that the radio does not get used much during the summer, however, I keep the dc power on the Maestro when not in use.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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That keeps the internal battery charged.
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Burch - K4QXX

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Does keeping one of the 2.5v batteries in the Maestro also charge the battery or does the Maestro need to be plugged in for the internal battery to charge.  I always keep a 2.5v battery plugged into the Maestro.  I have several of them that I rotate but I rarely plug in the Maestro to AC power.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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It will, but it is best to use the charger.  Batteries discharge.

I set a calendar reminder for once a month to charge the Maestro I use for support.  It is the same reminder I used to change the A/C filters and give my Sheltie his heartworm meds.
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K2CB Eric Dobrowansky

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Does the "new" Maestro still use a Dell or similar tablet, or is it a dedicated display module of some sort?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Yes, it uses a tablet display capable of running Windows like the original Maestro.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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After a little sleuthing, it appears that we did include a tech note about charging the internal battery in the later shipments of the Maestro but it was not comprehensive.  And, it appears that a global customer communication regarding internal battery maintenance consisting of periodic charging if the Maestro is not being used was not sent. We sincerely regret this oversight and are working now to correct it.

I want to reiterate that anyone who experiences a problem booting the Maestro after a period of non-usage, please open a HelpDesk support ticket. We will triage the issue and if it is determined that the internal battery requires charging, we will process the return of the unit to Austin for service as an Expedited RMA and it will be handled as a warranty repair regardless of the warranty status of the Maestro. 
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Rick Holloway

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Tim, You received my Maestro Tuesday, for the dead battery wont charge problem. I have one of the first produced was never notified there was an issue leaving it on the shelf unplugged. I received an email from your service department that because of high the volume it maybe 4 weeks before they could get to it. That is not Expedited in my world.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Rick,

Based on your ticket transaction history, your Maestro was processed yesterday.  If a shipment is received late in the day, it does not get processed until the next day.

Your ticket priority is set to high and is marked for expedited service; I just checked it.

I also spoke to the service tech responsible for your Maestro and it is currently on the bench being charged.  You will receive an update when we have completed all of the required diagnostic tests. I believe this does constitute expedited service.

The information on the RMA is boilerplate language we use to align expectations in the case we run into service backlogs.  We normally exceed this expectation.
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Rick Holloway

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Thanks, I was just told in the email it could be up to 4 weeks, Sounds like you are on top things. Great Service!
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Rick Holloway

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Just got my Maestro back from Flex due to the battery dead won't start problem. It now comes on and works fine. Night before last we lost power due to a storm. Maestro was plugged in as I was told to do. It was off when I lost AC power. When the power came back a few minutes later the Maestro Booted up and came on by itself? Don't remember that happening before. To test it I turned it off with the power switch and unplugged the AC from the charger and then plugged the AC back in. Same thing happened. Unit booted up without touching power button. Tried it with and without internal battery and it made no difference. Any body else try this? Seems like it should not be doing this?  Rick In MD K3RIC
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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That is the way it's currently designed to work... Boots up automatically when you apply power--  Personally do not like that but heck..nothing to be done

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Not currently, it is the way it is designed to work and there are no plans to modify this boot behavior.
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Rick Holloway

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Ok, thanks.
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Dewey

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The Maestro only works that way if your Flex unit is already powered-up and has completed it's boot cycle.  If the Flex unit has not completed it's boot-up cycle, then the Maestro waits and gives you boot-up menu choices.

73, WØYWW
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Mark Erbaugh

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I take it from these comments that there is no way for long term storage of a Maestro without power. I am planning on a shack remodel where the M won’t be used until Field Day next June.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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You can set yourself a recurring calendar reminder for every 6-8 weeks to do it.
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John, G3WKL

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I have one of the original "A" models, didn't get a note about the need to periodically charge the internal battery, and somehow missed this and similar discussions on this Community!  Norbert provided a great turnaround with the "flat battery" problem at FlexRadio's European support centre, so am back in business.  Many thanks.

Reading this thread I am a little confused so have the following questions:

a) Does the Maestro have to be turned ON, or not, to charge the tablet's internal battery whilst powered with 12V from the mains adapter?  Views seem to differ.

b) Will an external LiPo battery, if fitted within the rear compartment, charge the tablet's internal battery?  In part that might depend upon the answer to a) above!

A further question. Screen images in v2.0.19 of the Maestro User Guide show power indicators of a mains plug, full battery or both.  Tim has commented above that the full battery icon merely shows the presence of an external battery (which is fine). My question is that I only get both the mains plug and battery icons together for a few seconds.  The battery icon then disappears.  Is this normal?  From the screenshots in the manual, many of which show both icons, it would seem not.

73 John, G3WKL 
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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While reading this, I noticed that my Maestro was only displaying the mains plug icon. I'd never paid any attention to that before.  As an experiment, I pulled the power cord for a few seconds and plugged it back in again.  Neither icon was showing when I pulled the power, but once I plugged it back in, both icons came back up and remained on.

Rick, W0FG
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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a) Does the Maestro have to be turned ON, or not, to charge the tablet's internal battery whilst powered with 12V from the mains adapter?  Views seem to differ.

No.  But you should power it up to make sure that the internal battery is not completely discharged.

b) Will an external LiPo battery, if fitted within the rear compartment, charge the tablet's internal battery?  In part that might depend upon the answer to a) above!

It is best to charge it using the DC power connector.
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John, G3WKL

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Thanks for the clarification Tim.  

It feel that it would be helpful for other owners of the "A" version if the next update of the User Manual gave more of the detail that you have provided in this thread (and other recent threads) on recharging the internal battery.  

73 John, G3WKL

p.s. I would still like to know if my mains and battery icon display is normal - contrary to lots of the photos in the User Guide I don't get both displayed together for longer than a few seconds.
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Mike

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Seems like it would be more helpful to fix the problem and have the Maestro operate differently.
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I leave mine plugged in to power all the time, but if the power is interrupted and restored the Maestro will turn on automatically.

Seeing that Flex will not fix the battery problem with 1st version Maestros maybe they can add a software fix so the unit will not automatically boot up when plugged in.
(Edited)
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Bob W4PG

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I have a 1st generation Maestro and JUST TODAY received an email about this issue.  Mine has not been powered up in some time and will not boot.  SO, I'm trying some of the suggestions above to see if I can get it going.  Wish me luck! -Bob W4PG
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Bob W4PG

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Praise Jesus!! After being plugged in for about 15 minutes suddenly the screen with the WiFI connections showed up and I was able to connect then boot up OK.  Gonna leave it plugged in for a day before updating the software!  Phew!!!
 

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