Introduction: How to Fix a Scratchy Volume Control on a Baofeng UV5R Amateur Radio
Baofeng handheld radios, you either love them or you hate them. For the price it's an impossible to beat deal for the newcomer in the ham radio hobby. The UV5R and it's variants are extremely popular and can be found for under $30 new. Being so cheap, people look at them as disposable radios. As soon as one starts to act up it gets tossed in a drawer or worse, in the garbage.
A common ailment to any low priced handheld radio that's been used in harsh environments or seen much neglect is the volume control starts to get scratchy. Keep in mind we are talking budget priced radios here, not high dollar public safety grade stuff. A funny thing about the UV5R is you can buy almost any part for it just like the $1000+ moto / tyco / ge / harris etc stuff. These cheap radios are repairable and this is the easiest fix ever for a dirty volume control!
What you will need...
A suitable torx mini screwdriver that fits the torx screws located in the battery compartment or on top back of radio.
A small phillips screwdriver to remove belt clip screws.
A can of spray non residue, non lubricating, fast evaporating electronics grade cleaning spray.
Step 1: Remove Belt Clip
Use a small philips screwdriver to remove the belt clip (if your radio has one). The belt clip is installed under tension and it's base will want to spring up as you loosen the screws. If your radio has no belt clip but has the belt clip screws in place, remove them.
Step 2: Almost Done...
Remove the ONE torx screw that is located on the back of the radio, closest to the volume control. Leave all other torx screws in place. If you remove both top torx screws the spring loaded assembly that locks the battery will come apart. It's not hard to put back together if you paid attention to how the parts line up. There's no need to take it off though.
It turns out Baofeng drilled the holes for the fasteners all the way through the metal. That one torx screw I asked you to remove lines up perfectly with the volume control and makes a perfect place to squirt contact cleaner into the radio.
Hold radio with volume control pointing down and use the red straw tip on the contact cleaner to get a good shot into the torx screw hole. Work the volume control from OFF to full volume a few times. Give it another good shot of cleaner and work the volume control a few more times.
Now shake the radio out to get as much liquid out of it and set it face down in the sun or directly infront of a fan for about 15-20 minutes. This will allow it to dry thoroughly. Once dry, put the battery on and try out the radio before reassembly. Don't skip this drying time!! You dont want to short out your radio!
If all is well, the radio will power up and volume control will be smooth again. On some really crusty radios you might have to repeat the cleaning process. Once again, don't forget the all important drying time!
All good? Reassemble. As you saw, Baofeng drilled the holes all the way through. This means if a screw is missing, it's a convenient place for stuff to get INTO the radio. If your radio doesn't have a belt clip make sure it's got screws in the mounting holes. The screws MUST be the correct length. If too long, they will short out or crack the circuit board. Got no screws to put in? A small dab of RTV silicone in the holes works great and can be picked out later if you get a belt clip.
Hope you have found this instructable of help!
3 months ago
Thanks for the procedure. I used WD-40 specialist contact cleaner with excellent results. For the benefit of anyone else preparing to do this, the size of the Torx driver needed is T9.
11 months ago on Step 2
It worked but don't use DeoxIT D5 ! I did not realize it leaves an oily residue and it got into the LCD, ugh. But at least the radio is back to being usable, a fair trade-off.... de WE6R
4 years ago
thanks! this helped a lot
5 years ago
Dear ke4mcl, it;s a great tip !! Thank you