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Elecraft K3 Build Photo Diary

G'day!
I am interested in how your rig is going.
I look forward to the next installment. :D

I own Elecraft K3 #4257 which was factory built. (My eyes are no longer good enough for the close in work required to build these nowadays)

To those of you out there that are discouraged by the small glitch in this build, don't worry, this is not common at all and besides, Elecrafts support is indeed revolutionary!
 
I just got off of the phone with Dale at Elecraft who has finished repairing my radio. The problem was 100% caused by me. Here is a description of what happened and I'll post pics when I have the rig back. Hopefully this will help prevent someone else from doing the same thing:

On the bottom cover that has the foot with the stand:

moleculo-albums-elecraft-k3-build-picture2098-attaching-stand-bottom-cover.jpg


The two front screws that I used were 1/8" too long. I thought I measured all of the screws with digital calipers according to the build instructions, but apparently I either missed these two or didn't measure properly when I put it together. Wouldn't you know, the only two I mess up are the ones that damaged the rig. The two screws shorted a trace on the bottom of the main RF deck to a 12 volt line. The trace goes to the synthesizer and is also in line with a FET that handles turning the radio on and off. The trace burnt up like a fuse, blew the little FET and caused the VCO calibration and power cycle problems. Fortunately, it was an easy fix. Dale said that the FET is an inexpensive little transistor and all he had to do was jumper the burnt trace (and put the correct screws in the chassis). The rig is doing a burn in overnight and it will be back in the mail to me in the morning if everything checks out. He did say that my build was really good and clean, except for that one part :(.

Well, hopefully I've helped someone else out so they don't make the same mistake I did.

In all, the rig was only 1 week in the service queue. Pretty fast, if you ask me.
 
:oops: ;)

That reminds me of the time I built an entire Heath SB-104A 80-10m transceiver by myself for my electronics class. And by built I really BUILT from scratch.It worked great on all bands except 80m where the power was only 30 watts. The instructor insisted it was a problem in the bandpass filters. After a day of troubleshooting I found the problem. I had installed a tiny little signal diode backwards on the carrier generator board. It doesn't take much but at least I didn't burn up any traces.: :whistle:
 
That should be engineered to prevent it. just sayin

Mole, I am glad it was serviced so quickly and it sounds like the company is really good to deal with.

I do however have to give it to HH he took the words right out of my mouth. I feel like when you offer something in KIT form this little bit of extra engineering should have been done to prevent silly problems.
After saying that I do realize that we can say that about anything in the whole world. its always easy to criticize something after it breaks etc etc.


But on the whole Im glad the thing works.

Cant wait to see it fired up.
 
Having also built a K3 I have to jump in and say, how the heck do you engineer a kit against someone using the wrong screws, any more than soldering a diode in backwards? The stand assembly isn't made specially for Elecraft so they can't make it to use a different type of screw than everything else.

Before I started the assembly I inventoried all the parts and all the small parts went into empty egg containers. So I knew I had the right number of each size of screw and could easily identify them when needed. If I used the wrong screws in one place then eventually I would find that I was short a couple, and had a couple over of a different size.
 
The two screws shorted a trace on the bottom of the main RF deck to a 12 volt line.

From a certain point of view, this could be considered a design flaw.
Because to prevent this problem, the main rf deck board should be designed with holes in the area where a long screw would hit the board. That way the screw would just pass thru the hole.
 
Having also built a K3 I have to jump in and say, how the heck do you engineer a kit against someone using the wrong screws, any more than soldering a diode in backwards? The stand assembly isn't made specially for Elecraft so they can't make it to use a different type of screw than everything else.

One simple way to prevent this would be to include the proper screws in the same bag that the feet come in. The feet already have their own assembly bag; just toss the proper screws in there. You probably wouldn't want to sort the screws and nuts for the entire assembly (too costly), but for that specific area where it could easily damage the board, it would be an cost effective fix, especially since you already have the sub assembly packaged separately.
 
Out of curiosity, how was the repair cost handled? Was it passed to you? Return shipping?


Granted this was a problem caused by your error, however considering its critical nature, and the lack of any obvious warning, not sure who should foster the costs.

Personally I'd be pretty unhappy if I were in your shoes, and I had to pay repair/shipping cost.
 
Out of curiosity, how was the repair cost handled? Was it passed to you? Return shipping?


Granted this was a problem caused by your error, however considering its critical nature, and the lack of any obvious warning, not sure who should foster the costs.

Personally I'd be pretty unhappy if I were in your shoes, and I had to pay repair/shipping cost.


To be fair, there is a warning in the construction manual about using the proper screw lengths and that the failure to do so can cause damage.

I would rather not do a full disclosure on the details of the costs to me, but I will say that I was charged and I'm happy with how it was worked out. I get the impression that they try to work with their customers with problems like this in the spirit of fairness. At least they did with me.
 

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