I can’t emphasis enough the benefits of standardisation.
I’ve just bought some new UV5R radios. Slightly different models but they only have a few differences so what difference will that make? Mistake! They may only have a few differences but I can’t program them using the same SW as the old ones. Of course the only way to install the new one is to write over the old one and so I can’t reprogramme the old ones without reinstalling that. Shouldn’t be a problem but they use different libraries which causes other issues. Comms like Linux is a game for geeks. Deliberately kept so to deepen the mystery and keep their cliques closed. Tosspots.
I always try and keep any items I buy the same. Makes looking after them easier but what many forget is that even with the same item from the same supplier there are many changes which can cause issues. Not as big a problem when a saw has an extra few teeth added but when the changes mean that you need a new software package or programming cable to program it then you find that it becomes more difficult to keep track of what is for what and what to do to get it working.
They do it deliberately too. They change the connectors, and the tools so you have to buy more. It is purely to get you to spend some hard earned pennies to add to items you already have. They could standardise themselves but choose not to. It is a standard nowadays where no real innovation has occurred for 20 years. Everything is pretty much the same except smaller and to make you buy new ones when you don’t really need them they make spares difficult to get and that is where they make their money nowadays. Same crap really but in a nice shiny new case with super doper new software required.
For us though that creates problems. I don’t want to have six different versions of the same thing because I bough them over several months and I don’t want to find out after an event the programming cable I have won’t work because that specific variant of the unit uses a different software package.
It is because of this I tend to buy several items at once. This however is a bit difficult when we are talking about items with a reasonable value and you want a few of them. For example I have just decided that I want each BOB and each BOV to have a UV5R as part of the contents. Each configured in exactly the same way with SUK frequencies and each having the same accessories.
I bought a couple of new ones to add to my existing set and discovered that they had upgraded chipsets in which were incompatible with the older ones. I could work around it but it negates my plans of just having the same items and it being the same devices, same buttons to press and same performance. So I had a look around and contacted a few suppliers. Nobody had my any units with my ‘obsolete’ firmware. So I ended up having to buy a bulk pack of them to ensure they were all identical. Then I had to programme them. It was then I discovered that when I had installed the previous version I had overwritten the standard driver, which I no longer had, but being a computer geek myself I found it on the kids laptop. It was still the wrong one. I needed to install a brand new driver to get the latest version to work. WhooHoo. Then when the cable was recognised the system still couldn’t see the transmitter. It still won’t and now of course I can get it to recognise the old one either.
So latest plan is to reset an old laptop and then install the software. Configure everything it can see. Archive the lot and record what was seen. Repeat with each variant until I am done. Well done guys for making something so overcomplicated and backwards incompatible.
As I said before though it isn’t just them. It is everyone. Some as I mentioned are not a problem, I have lots of different types of knives, tools, clothes, etc. Some are though. The radios we just discussed, Antennas, water filters, computers, guns. All the high value things you would prefer to be the same.
Just bear this in mind when you are looking at things.
- How many do I need? Remember to consider the future. Include spares.
- What about spare parts, what do I need? Buy everything now or consider them obsolete?
- What about tools to maintain and upgrade?
- Instructions on repair and maintenance as well as usage.
Standardise as much as you can on everything you have excluding food (Just in case you have bad batches). It will keep your maintenance costs down as well as maintenance time. Keep to the same spec and try to buy from different batches and suppliers if you can. Test everything to confirm it works.