Mike Weaver Communications

15 years, not out: The Longevity of Motorola equipment

15 years, not out: The Longevity of Motorola equipment

This was going to be an article about some rework that we did on one of our City Centre MPT1327 Trunk Radio Systems, but in fact it becomes testament to the longevity of Motorola equipment and why purchasing Motorola equipment is good for you.

The year was 2002, just after we had finished the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. We were left with 3500 Motorola GP680 radios and 10 sites with 90 channels of Fylde MPT trunking and 90 (90!) Motorola MTR2000 base stations.

Amongst other projects this was reconfigured to provide several City Centre trunk systems, 4 of which are still running today – an incredible 15 years later, still on the original Motorola equipment!

The Birmingham system was centred on the Pavilions shopping centre, which housed 3 channels, with Motorola MTR2000, aerial facilities combining, and the Fylde Multisite Controller, one site controller, one PCM switch and two E1 cards.

This was linked via 2 E1 lasers, one pointing at Alpha Tower, the other at the Bullring, where the other two 3 channel sites were located.

After 15 years, the Pavilions shopping centre is being substantially remodelled to make room for a massive Primark Store. As a part of the redevelopment, the plant room which had the laser links on its roof and the system antenna is being demolished, although the plant room which houses the Motorola base stations and Fylde controllers remains. When we looked at relocating the laser links, we found that from any viable new location we could not "see” Alpha Tower.

So, the plan was to move the main Fylde Control kit to the Bullring, together with the 2 laser links as Alpha Tower was visible from the Bullring. Essentially this meant swapping the equipment at the Bullring for that at the Pavilions.

This is the plant room that is going showing the laser links and antenna.
Plant room at Pavilions

Retaining the FSO laser links was important to our client, as there are no annual running costs or fees for these, and apart from a few issues in foggy weather when the top of Alpha Tower tends to be obscured, these have been trouble free for the decade-and-a-half that they’ve been at work!

Our main issue during the move was at the Pavilions - the lifts were not functioning here, and all the equipment and tools had to be hand carried up and down 7 flights of stairs!

5 days later it was all done!

Re-sited laser link and antenna at Pavilions.
Resited laser links at Pavilions

Re-sited laser links on the Bullring

Re-aligning the link on Alpha Tower to cope with the move to the Bullring.

But back to the real point of this tale… The 15 year old Motorola equipment is still 100% functional and reliable as ever. It’s never had a soldering iron applied to it, just a radio test set from time to time to check that it still meets specification. It’s covered with dust and dirt but otherwise as good as new, so why buy new?  Despite these base stations being a very high end expensive Motorola product when new, what’s their true cost of ownership after nearly 16 years’ reliable use? Almost nothing – the truth of this being that you get what you pay for. And it’s worth investing in Motorola products for the long term, for that reason alone.

"Old beasts..."

A big thanks goes to Mike himself for taking pictures and writing this article, all whilst working on the job!

Created On  21 Mar 2017 10:55  -  Permalink


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