Road King 56 Problems and Cures
Most drivers don't know that most radio problems are related to the antenna or the microphone. They throw away their radio and go buy a new one because the radio no longer works. When all they needed was a new microphone.
The most common problems with a microphone are as follows:
- The wires pull out of the mic end
- The cord develops breaks internally or the switch goes bad inside the mic
- Anything made by man will tend to breakdown
Why does the cord pull out from the mic connector? Simple, most drivers tend to pull real hard on the cord and it only stretches so far. When these wires pull loose inside the plug, various things happen. Loss of receive on Cobra radios is the most common. receive is lost because the ground path for the Receive is routed through the mic. On any Galaxy Class radio the receive is automatic and therefore will not be affected.
How do you prevent this from happening?
Not yanking on the cord would help. If you use a plastic pull tie and tie the wire to the side of the mic connector the stress will be decreased and thereby keep the wires from pulling out. With many old radios the mic was side mounted and installing the mic was a pain when you had to put the radio in a truck radio pocket. This bending would cause the wires to pull out as well.
This leads to the second problem, which is broken wires in the mic cord. Anyone, who has bought a Road King 56 with the natural rubber cord, knows all about this problem. When it gets cold the rubber doesn't like to stretch and the copper wires inside break when you stretch the cord. When you bend the natural rubber cord to install in the radio pocket of your truck the wires tend to break where it bends. Putting an angle end on the cord can cure this. Also the natural rubber cord tends to be degraded by motor oil and the natural oils in your skin (and therefore in your hands). Where the wires enter the head of the mic, oil on your hand rubs on the mic cord and the rubber tends to disintegrate until the wires inside the cord short out.
How to diagnose a bad cord?
On a Cobra, poor or no receive is a symptom. Other drivers tell you that your radio is breaking up or your talkback tends to be static filled. If you swing the cord around and static increases on talkback, you have a cord problem. Don't throw the mic away just yet, there is hope. Just have a new cord installed on your mic and your problem is solved. This fix shouldn't cast more than about $15 or $20 for the cord plus the labor to install the cord.
Last of all is the switch. In the Road King 56 the switch has gotten a bad reputation. It is durable and well built, however, the spring inside of the switch tends to break. When this happens the push button doesn't pop back to the receive position. Again this is a simple fix. Stop by a shop and have the switch replaced for less than $10 plus labor. If a shop is not handy, open the mic head up by removing the five screws on the back and put a rubber band around the switch to hold it in the receive position except when you push the button and reassemble the mic. This is a short-term fix and will hold until you can find a shop to replace the switch.
The last problem with the Road King 56 is cosmetic. As they get older they look terrible. Food and cigarette smoke gets lodged in the grillwork of the mouthpiece. The answer is simple, a custom designer head replacement. You install the insides of your mic in a shiny new cover. Workman Electronic Products, Inc. makes a series of new heads to put your mic in. They come in pretty colors to match your truck as well as in chrome and gold tone. Of course, the most popular is chrome because most drivers can't get enough chrome to truly be happy. Other colors include Blue, Red, Yellow and even a pretty pink or purple for the lady drivers. I sold a pink cover to a male driver this week, and before he left I just had to ask. Why? His answer minus the expletives, I have had 4 of these mics stolen already this year. If one of our drivers steals this one I'll know who did it.
Written By: Stan Wells