Jim’s PL-880 loses audio on FM band

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jim Krause, who writes seeking an explanation about a problem he’s experiencing with his Tecsun PL-880:

Tescum PL-880 Problem: The speaker will not output any sound when in the FM band.

The speaker outputs sound fine when in all other bands (AM, SW, etc.). When switched into the FM band, the tuner still works and outputs sound through the headphone jack- just not through the speaker, which just emits soft ticking sounds. The tuner itself and all other features seem to work fine- it just won’t output sound through the speaker when in FM mode.

FYI It was working fine until I had it plugged into a solar USB charger while listening to FM.

I hope someone here might be able to shed some light on the problem you’re experiencing. I do know that my buddy, Vlado, could address this issue but perhaps it’s not one that will require a technician.

I’m guessing this might be futile, but try doing a full reset of the PL-880. This is typically the first step in troubleshooting a Tecsun radio:

Simply use a paper clip to press and hold the recessed reset button above.

Readers: If you have suggestions or advice for Jim, please comment!

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9 thoughts on “Jim’s PL-880 loses audio on FM band

  1. Jim Krause

    Fortunately it’s still under warranty- so I’m sending it back for repair/replacement. My guess is that a voltage spike damaged the FM circuitry, as all other aspects are fine. I do appreciate all of the feedback and suggestions. – Thanks everyone! – Jim

  2. Jason

    Have you tried replacing the 18650 battery and getting a proper AC charger for it?

    The best 18650 batteries to buy are:
    Samsung INR18650 (30Q or 25R – the 30Q has more capacity)
    Panasonic NCR18650B
    Sony VTC5

    Getting a proper brand name battery (or 2) and a smart charger should run you about $60-80 on ebay or amazon. You can get them as a package deal. Getting a package on a few batteries is a good idea if you also use EDC flashlights or headlamps that also take these batteries.

  3. Mangosman

    From these responses it would seem that the receiver uses more current in the FM mode than the AM modes. Driving the speaker uses more current than headphones. As a result the voltage from the battery will drop the more the current drawn and this effect increases as the battery discharges. Once the voltage drops under a threshold battery voltage the electronics stops.

  4. Dafydd Jones

    I’ve had my Tecsun Pl-880 for five years now,and so far,I have had no problems;although,I’ve had to use the re-set,more than once! (Of course,now I’ve typed that,it will probably go wrong,won’t it?!!!) I did have to replace the fold out stand,though! Thanks to anon,I was able to do that. I avoid using it now. It’s very flimsy! I wish I could say the same about my Tecsun Pl-680,though! One night I was tuning through the sw bands,and to my horror it suddenly jammed. As if that wasn’t bad enough,when I tried to move it,the knob snapped off! I have had various portables over the years,and I have never experienced a tuning knob that snapped off like that! Even the least expensive portable,back in the days,when every other portable seemed to have sw,and,robustly,stood up to my eager,youthful hands! (Thankfully,because some of them belonged to my mum and dad!)

  5. Audrius

    The same problem on AM. But I have figured out that it is related to batery power. Or depends from the batery used. In my case, on 50% remaining charge, the speaker stops to work. And everything is ok on full charge. I use some unbranded chinese bateries.

  6. Jennifer

    I do not have any advice unfortunately and am sorry to hear your Tecsun also broke 🙁
    I just wanted to say I have a Tecsun PL-660 and the audio stopped working on AM.
    I saw a lot of complaints about Tecsun radios on amazon.
    It seems Tecsun is not a good quality brand.
    8 months later I bought the C Crane Skywave.
    I hope it lasts 😐

  7. Nick

    I had the exact same issue after only 2 weeks of owning the PL-880. I was listening to an FM station and the audio slowly got quieter until it went silent… only took a couple of seconds.

    It still worked over headphones, but I returned it. I had the same thing happen to a Tecsun R9710 and have since only used “vintage” radios for SWL.

  8. Andrew

    Just a wild guess, but…

    ” It was working fine until I had it plugged into a solar USB charger while listening to FM”

    I wonder if the “solar charger” caused some spike or issue which affected some portion of the receiver circuit which is only switched on when FM mode is selected


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