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FIX: Shure PG88 PG2 won’t turn on

If your wireless Shure PG2 series PG88 handheld microphone won’t turn on, the problem might be 1 simple fix away. Or not.

I recently had 2 of these handheld mics give me some problems. One of the microphones wouldn’t respond reliably to presses to the power/mute button. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t (usually when it mattered the most, of course). The other microphone simply wouldn’t power on at all. Here is how I fixed them both.

0. Check the Frequency

I gave this a Step Zero designation because before you even bother trying to fix a discontinued wireless microphone, you should make sure that the unit you have operates in a frequency band that is still allowed by the FCC. If not, recycle it and start fresh. If you are outside the U.S.A., check your country’s wireless regulations. 

1. Check the Battery

First, make sure you have a good 9V battery. A battery tester can help remove doubts about power supply issues. If I had a dollar for every time I hadn’t checked the simplest thing first… 🤦

I don’t know what the minimum voltage specification is that Shure designed the PG2 series to operate on, but the further a 9V battery drops from a full 9V, the less likely you are going to have a good time as an audio engineer. Get a fresh battery and give that slightly drained battery to an electric guitar player. Allegedly some guitar pedals—specifically distortions and overdrives—produce “better” sound when the power is under-voltaged or sagging a little. You probably should ask R.G. Keen about that.

9 volt battery and battery tester

This cheap battery tester works well enough.

*** Everything beyond this point runs the risk of damaging something, possibly permanently. If you’re “not good with this sort of thing,” consider taking your microphone to a professional or a friend who quotes The IT Crowd and knows the difference between a Ben Heck and a Ben Eater. ***

2. Short the Button

Is the microphone really DEAD dead or is the mechanical button maybe the problem? Narrow the search by opening the microphone, connecting a good battery, and using tweezers or something metal to short the button leads. If that makes the microphone turn on/off/mute, then you know that the board isn’t completely dead and the switch is probably the culprit. Be careful not to touch the tweezers to other parts of the circuit. There’s only 9V at play here, but who knows what you could fry by touching something wrong.

screwdriver indicating place to unscrew capsule from body

This is the spot to unscrew.

grille unscrewed from capsule

If you grab too high, you’ll unscrew the grill from the capsule.

capsule unscrewed from body

Grab lower to unscrew the capsule and grill from the body.

screwdriver indicating where to unscrew the OCB fromt he body

One small phillips screw holds the PCB inside the microphone body.

PCB sliding out of the microphone body

Once the rear screw is removed, the PCB can slide out of the microphone body.

tweezers on the button

CAREFULLY place tweezers across the legs of the surface mount momentary switch.

tweezers powering on the switch

If the LED lights up after holding the tweezers on the button leads, you have a good mic with a button that is dirty (at best) or bad (at worst).

3. Clean the Button Contacts

Maybe it’s just dirty? If you’re certain the battery is good and the tweezers light up the mic, the next step is to try cleaning the power/mute button. Contact cleaner for electronics can revive buttons and faders like magic. DeoxIT is basically the defacto industry standard electronics cleaner. Spray a little DeoxIT directly into the power button and press the button a bunch of times. The idea is to mechanically work the cleaner down into the button between the internal metal contacts to clean away dust and corrosion. Try a few rounds of spraying a little cleaner and tapping the button a bunch of times. If that lights up the microphone, then you might be good. If not, try the spray and tap a couple more times.

4. Replace the Button

If the contact cleaner still doesn’t do the trick, you might have to order a replacement button and re-solder the part onto the PCB. Apparently, that is a common repair and, luckily, Full Compass carries an exact replacement for the switch. Once you have the replacement button in hand, you’ll have to desolder the existing button and resolder the new one into place. If that sounds daunting, again, contact your friend that can explain the nuanced differences between the foul-mouthed, jargon-blending curmudgeons behind EEVblog and AvE.

5. Give Up

If none of the above steps worked, I guess buy a newer product that isn’t discontinued? Why try to fix something? Why did you have so much unfounded hope? </bleak-sarcasm>

No, but for real though, good on you for trying to repair what you have. Louis Rossman, patron saint of the right to repair, wants to bless you and your children and their children and their children for your eagerness to fix what you already have. It’s good to try to fix our stuff and we should keep trying to do so regardless of the outcome. I always learn a lot when I try to fix things. Only sometimes do I succeed at it, but I certainly learn something every time I try and that makes me better at solving the next problem that comes my way. When I do find success, I blog about it with the hope that others can learn from what I have figured out for myself. I hope you found success on this project too. Let me know how it turned out for you in the comments below.

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