Hidden feature: Displaying the Tecsun PL-880 date of manufacture


Thanks to SWLing Post reader, Tim, we know how to display (what we believe is) the date of manufacture for your Tecsun PL-880:

1.) With the radio turned off, simply press and hold the “AM BW” button and the full display panel will turn on.

2.) Then press and hold the “AM BW” again and your 880?s firmware version will display (a four digit number).

3.) Finally, by pressing and holding the “AM BW” button one more time, a date appears in a year-month-day format. For example, my PL-880 (see above) was manufactured on November 13, 2013.

Again, we have no confirmation from Tecsun if this is truly the date of manufacture, but there is a strong possibility.

You can follow all Tecsun PL-880 updates by bookmarking/checking this link.

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29 thoughts on “Hidden feature: Displaying the Tecsun PL-880 date of manufacture

  1. Theodore

    Hi all.
    I have purchased a PL-880 from Banggood a couple of days before.Trying to find the date of manufacture,I can’t do it.I tried many times but in vain.I see the firmware version,which is 8820,but no more.
    Any suggestion please?

  2. Joe S

    I just received my PL-880 today. I also was unable to access the manufacturing date as described. However reading through all of the comments, a few comments above, Anthony explains why 🙂 All of the other hidden features Do work as described in another post containing all of the features, on this site.

  3. Ray K

    I have tried this many times, too many times, and cannot get to the ‘date’ display after the version (8820) is displayed.

    No amount of key holding or different combinations brings anything up; it returns to the clock.


  4. Anthony

    Hi Mike , thank you for replying . I’ve been in touch with Anon . Anna has explained to me that the maufacture date is a misconception . This is copied and pasted from the email she sent me – The comments that refer to what was thought to be the manufacturing date are from quite a few years ago already. I believe it was some time during mid-2014 that Tecsun revised the firmware in such a way that it was no longer possible to see the “firmware date”. What many people believed was a manufacturing date was actually a firmware revision date, but because this date was never changed and there was a lot of misconception of what it meant, the manufacturer simply made it inaccessible. So there I guess it’s cleared up . Again thank you for replying 73!Anthony

    1. Mike

      Hi Anthony, that is very interesting…thanks for the info. I was a little concerned when I no longer could pull up the software date as I had done a couple of times, but the radio seemed to be working as well as ever, so I just kept on listening to it. I have to say that, for a dilettante like myself, the 880 is about as much of a short wave radio as I will ever need. I do wish the SSB audio quality was just a little better than it is, but that would be my one and only gripe with the 880.
      Bye for now! -Mike

  5. Anthony

    Hello I just purchased a Tecsun PL 880 deluxe kit from Anon. I followed your tips and see my radio has 8820 firmware but for some reason does not show any date code goes to zero . Has anyone else had this ? Thank you . Anthony

    1. Anthony

      Sorry I did not see this post and I did look under kickstand there is a thin whit label with these numbers only 42620170400077 nothing else can’t mean 4/26 /2017 as it’s not passed yet . No clue

    2. Mike

      Hi Anthony…I bought my 880 in the beginning of 2016, IIRC. Oddly, at first, I was able to get it to show the date of manufacture, but then after doing it two or three times, it no longer will display the manufacture date. Bizarre, I know, and as far as I know, I am the only person to report having this experience. Otherwise, my radio works same as it ever did, which is excellent.

  6. Thomas Brogan.

    I have had my Pl880 for about 10 months it does not show the date of manufacture in the display the firmware is 8820, beneath the kick stand is all the information i need its as follows, PL880NV15090150 and I simply read it as Pl880 New Version 15th of September 2015 hope that helps.73 Thomas.

  7. Ben

    Got mine in July 2016. I can display the Firmware Version (8820) but the Date wont show. Also the external Antenna trick wont work anymore. Quite bad because i want this feature and I buy the PL880 because of this… Even reset wont help at all. Will made a video tonight and post it here again.

    1. alex

      Just bought one (june 2017) and the date won’t show on mine either. Sometimes the etm indicator displays instead (the radio is turned off so it’s not doing any searching). Odd.

  8. kereon

    bonjour ,
    je regrette que le pl 880 ne soit pas pourvu de la bande aviation mais cela reste quand même un excellant récepteur onde courte et les réglages pour la blu très précis ,j’étais marin et a l’époque utilisais un sony icf 2001 , la réception etait moins bonne
    j’ai commandé mon tecson via anon co le 26 juillet ,il est arrivé en FRANCE le 28 juillet ,une étiquette dans le compartiment accu indique 4/2015 CORDIALEMENT

  9. 13DKA

    BTW, this feature does also exist for the PL-660. There are 2 undocumented functions on the PL-660:

    1. Holding the “AIR” band button for like 5 seconds while the radio is off first performs a display self-test, then the frequency display shows the manufacturing date (month/year) and the clock shows the firmware version.

    2. Holding the SSB button while the radio is turned off shows the overall battery runtime since they were put in. This is way more useful than the battery indicator symbol on the display, which shows a full battery symbol until shortly before the radio turns itself off. Once you tested the runtime of a battery set, you can tell the remaining time with an accuracy of modulo 10 minutes.

    (Source: boredom/own research)

  10. kereon

    version de mon pl 880 :8820 controlable comme suit :récepteur stopé,appuyer sur
    fm stereo longuement et reappuyer une deuxieme fois et le firmwoire s’affiche

    1. Thomas Post author

      Merci bien, Kereon!

      Keoron is saying that he has a PL-880 version 8820. He can force his PL-880 to show the firmware version by first, turning off the radio, then pressing and holding the FM Stereo button, then pressing the FM stereo button again a second time. At this point, the firmware version will be displayed.

  11. Crow

    Mine (arrived today) has no electronic date indication that I can find, but the serial number, like those of various PL-390’s past, has the date as part of the serial number. (Also, there is a label in the battery holder with a date code, too). In both cases, 2015/07 is the date. (Supplied by Anon.co).

  12. Mike Murray

    Howdy all, in response to Jay’s comment earlier, I also have discovered that the trick where you press the AM/BW button three times and see date of manufacture no longer works on my 880 either. I seem to recall that it did work until the first time I recharged it…then it quit working. I can’t find a sticker anywhere that shows date, but I have had this radio since December 2014. I would like to say that, besides his little quirk, this is the best radio I have ever owned. Great sound, excellent sensitivity, and it turns out to be super for AM and FM DXing once you get the muting turned off. Good job Tecsun!

  13. Ken Hansen n2vip

    I just took delivery of a PL-880 from Amazon (I had a gift card from cashing in 17 pounds of coins ;^), and I too am unable to see what appears to be the ‘Date of Manufacture’.

    In addition, my radio has no ‘date sticker’ in the battery compartment.

    The battery has what appears to be a date code on it “2014-11″… I’m assuming my radio was built either on or after Nov. 2014.

  14. Jay Versluis

    Just thought I’d let you know that on my PL-880 this trick is no longer working. It displays the firmware (8820) but goes back to the clock when I press the button a third time. It’s a very recent purchase, December 2014. A sticker at the bottom of my battery compartment confirms this as the date of manufacture.

  15. Sharad Deshmukh

    After using Tecsun PL 660, I thought the usability of such radios can be improved to further extent if following feature is added to them.
    A master list containing frequencies and name of station can be made and loaded into a memory of radio. The user can select the stations as per requirement from that list. The name of station can be displayed for convenience. This list can be improved from time to time and can be loaded into radio when there is new addition to the list. It will help many non technical people.

  16. _Jim

    Hi. It’s the 20th of May (5-20-2014) and I received via UPS (yesterday afternoon) a Tecsun PL-880 bought from Kaito (via eBay) in the US and it shows S/W ver 8820 and also shows 13 11 13 as the ‘date’.

    Interesting little radio. Full disclosure: I also own a couple Degens, Icom 765Pro2 and 3, radios, 706MKII (no G), a Kenwood TS-680S, etc. etc.. … still, the PL-880 is an interesting little radio for its size and USB/LSB capability and dB-reading signal strength readout (one of the reasons I bought it, for antenna received-signal strength work, as I like to work with various designs including the Edginton loops, EH antennas, the DLM by Robert Vincent and others).

    I also have a PL-390 DSP-based radio which I REALLY like for general AM and SW broadcast listening. Based on the performance of the Tecsun PL-390, I bought the PL-880.


  17. john f. victor

    Having sent back my Tecsun pl880 to Amazon because of the earlier firmware number 8819, we contacted the retailer that Amazon used, and the retailer responded that they contacted Tecsun and were told these numbers are actually batch numbers and not firmware numbers. Batch numbers or firmware numbers………….who cares?. I am still very interested in purchasing the new Tecsun pl880, but Tecsun or it’s retailers need to come forward and clear up the performance issues issues before I will buy. If not, I will probably buy the Tecsun pl660.

  18. Barry (From Australia)

    Hi I received my 8820 from Anon-CO on the 9th of December. It shows 13 11 13 while the sticker in the battery compartment shows 11/2013.

  19. Lars (from Sweden)

    My 8820 version also shows 13 11 13. I believe that this may rather be the date when version 8820 was implemented. In the battery compartment there is a sticker showing 12/2013. I believe that is the month of manufacuring. (My unit was dispatched from Anon-Co on December 10th).

  20. Barry From Australia

    Hi Thomas. Thanks for the manufacturing date information. My date is the same as yours. November 2013. I also purchased mine from Anon-CO. I was wondering when the earlier versions sold by Amazon were manufactured.

    Barry From Australia.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Hi, Barry,

      I believe the older firmware shipped with a production date of October 23, 2013. I suspect the earlier production run shipped as bulk to distributors outside of China (hence Kaito receiving them). Anon-Co got a later production run. (At least, that’s my theory!)



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