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Elecraft K3 Build Photo Diary

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  #9  
Old 08-03-2010, 08:41 PM
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Looking good...Knobs and DSP board and almost to the smoke test.

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  #10  
Old 08-04-2010, 12:52 AM
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I worked on it a little more tonight, so here are the updates:

The knobs get installed next. For the most part, this is fairly straight forward, although the instructions in the manual make the double left knobs more complicated than it needs to be. I followed the manual's instructions for the first bottom right set, then did it my own way for the second, top left set. Basically, you have to get the knobs attached in a way that prevents the top two knobs from binding on each other while still allowing them to spin freely. It's a lot easier to just figure it out and do it yourself, IMO.



This is the DSP board. It gets attached to the back of the display panel.



When you attach the DSP to the main display board, you have to do it very carefully. On the underside are two pin blocks that must be perfectly aligned to make this work. Here are a couple of pics that show you the pins on the DSP board (gold color) attempting to be aligned and set on the back of the radios' main display board

One side of the DSP board pins aligning up with the main RF board. You have to align the gold colored pins on the underneath side.




Other side that needs to be mated to the main board. The pins are in the very middle and hard to see:



The DSP board lined up and ready to be locked down:



Here is the completed front display with DSP board attached:



Next, we mount the front panel & display to the main board. This step sounds really simple, but it is not. The instructions tell you to remove both side covers to make this easier. I tried removing only the one side cover and wasted about half an hour trying to get the boards to align before I reread the instructions and saw that you need to remove both.

When you attach the front panel, you need to be able to see all of the connectors to ensure they are mated properly. Look below the main RF board and the to right of the aluminum tab to see the pins that you need to align between the panel and the main board. There are others on the left side (not shown) that need to be mated, as well.



Here are pins on the bottom side of the main RF board and face that you align. These are easier to see:



Next, we secure the voltage regulators to the main chassis.



Here is the rig with all the covers and face attached.



As you can see, it's coming along. Next, we plug it in, fire it up and perform the smoke test.

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  #11  
Old 08-04-2010, 01:46 AM
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WOW that is a pretty neat rig Moleculo. I wish they would do soething like that with cb's I'd buy one just for the fact you can say " hey i put this thing together".

For the dual knobs did they not come with a little teflon washer, and if not what did you do differently from what the instructions described to make it easier to put together and not bind on each other?

Someone really needs to come up with a DIY CB with quality part's as it might spark more intrest into the radio hobby.

Moleculo you're going to have to do a video review after it is all put together.

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  #12  
Old 08-04-2010, 05:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sickpuppy22 View Post
WOW that is a pretty neat rig Moleculo. I wish they would do soething like that with cb's I'd buy one just for the fact you can say " hey i put this thing together".

For the dual knobs did they not come with a little teflon washer, and if not what did you do differently from what the instructions described to make it easier to put together and not bind on each other?

Someone really needs to come up with a DIY CB with quality part's as it might spark more intrest into the radio hobby.

Moleculo you're going to have to do a video review after it is all put together.
Heath Kit used to cell all sorts of kits for the consumer to build who had moderate soldering skills and limited knowledge of electronics and it would be nice if there were a company step up and try that again as it would most likely lead to more amateur interest in radio.

I sorted tons of resistors and capacitors for the SB-220's when my dad built them back in the day.

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  #13  
Old 08-04-2010, 06:36 AM
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I cant believe it is taking him this long to build it, I wouldnt be able to stand it and would work straight through till it was finished hehehehe ..
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IC-9100 / ID-51, Commander HF-2500

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  #14  
Old 08-04-2010, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sickpuppy22 View Post
For the dual knobs did they not come with a little teflon washer, and if not what did you do differently from what the instructions described to make it easier to put together and not bind on each other?

No, the teflon washer probably would have made it a little quicker. What you have to do is space the bottom dial so it is not resting on the front panel, then attach the top dial so it is not resting on the bottom dial. There are a couple of little alan screws to tighten it up. The manual has you place the bottom one on loose, then attach the top knob, tighten the top, then tighten the bottom by lifting it slightly off the face plate. The problem with that is if you put the top knob on too deep, you'll never get them set so that they don't bind. What I ended up doing is just set the bottom knob, tighten it up so it turned freely, then placed the top knob, tightening it up so it turned free. It's really simple when you do it that way and wastes a lot less time.

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  #15  
Old 08-04-2010, 09:57 AM
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After completing this part of the build and before performing the smoke test, you have to do some resistance checks. I didn't take pictures of this step, but I'll give you a few tips on this step.

There are four places that you need to check before powering it on. The first place you check is the power connector. Depending on your DMM, you may have a difficult time getting a reading by putting the probes into the Anderson Power Pole connector. This was the case for me, but simply flipping the rig over and testing the solder pads where the power connector is attached through the bottom of the board worked fine.

The other check that may give you some difficulty is the Voltage regulator labeled U12. It is the one on the right side in this pic:



You're supposed to get a reading greater than 500 ohms. However, if your DMM presents enough voltage to the regulator, you may get strange readings which is caused by the regulator actually kicking into action. For me, the DMM briefly showed about 550 ohms but the voltage regulator quickly kicked in and it settled at about 440 ohms. Don't freak out when you see this - it's normal.

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  #16  
Old 08-05-2010, 01:12 PM
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Before moving any further, you need to do a smoke test . Put the Anderson Power Pole connector on the supplied power cord and plug it in. You turn the rig on to see if it powers up and check for smoke. If successful, nothing terribly exciting happens except the screen displays like this:



The next part of the build is to install the Reference Oscillator Board. Here is a pic of what it looks like:



You have to carefully install the TCXO on the board and use a zip tie to keep it from falling out. The manual says that it does matter which side the zip tie lock is on so you have to read carefully. I ordered the optional 1ppm (+/- 0.5 ppm) TCXO which has a little plastic insulator that goes between the TCXO and the socket. Here is a pic with the TCXO installed.



Next you must trim any of the posts on the back side of the board that may be sticking out too far. On my board, there was only one or two that needed to be trimmed.



Next you mount the oscillator board onto the main RF deck and secure it to the display shield. There is a specific way you are supposed to use the supplied lock washers when you do this (which is a little tricky) so make sure and read the instructions carefully.



Now we move on to the Synthesizer board. Here is what the front of the board looks like:



And here's the back:



You have to trim the leads on the back of this board also and be careful not to accidentally get a little tiny diode or resistor by mistake.

The synthesizer gets plugged in right next to the oscillator board and once again you need to pay attention to the instructions regarding the screw and lock washer details.



Now you plug in the supplied coax cables. Although these already have crimped on connector that make it really easy, you still have to be careful. You also need to check the tips for burs and lead length. I had one connector that had a little bur on it that had to be taken care of before it would install properly.

Moving on to the top cover, you install the stiffener bracket.



Assembling the speaker onto the cover involves trimming the speaker mat, attaching the speaker using the supplied nuts and washers, and placing the cover over the rear magnet.



As you can see, the rig is coming right along.

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