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K3 Erratic VFO behaviour, Switching bands and freq's

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K3 Erratic VFO behaviour, Switching bands and freq's

G0PNM
Hi all, New to the whole Elecraft scene.
Just acquired my first K3 and its serial number is 07126.
I have been experiencing some strange behavior while rotating the VFO whereby the radio would change bands unexpectedly. On occasions, the rig will jump to a supposed frequency well out of the range of the radio i.e. in the VHF bands!

I managed to capture this behavior on my phone and have uploaded it to youtube. The link is here:-
https://youtu.be/IILWIe7hPzg


I have waited a long time to get hold of an Elecraft, being my dream radio but its quickly losing its sparkle and I am losing my hair!.

ANY help would be much appreciated. I have only had it a week and I am also emailing the supplier here in the UK.

Thanks
Pete G0PNM
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Re: K3 Erratic VFO behaviour, Switching bands and freq's

Guy Olinger K2AV
In the K3 there are a few digital lines from the front panel which carry
multiplexed information to the CPU. The only way I can think of that would
scramble unrelated front panel input according to your report is that the
multiplexed line is malfunctioning and screwing up the data stream into the
cpu. The essential way to do that is a poor connection in the connector
pin/socket between front panel and CPU board.

Don't remember serial when Elecraft went to gold pins, but if they aren't
gold in yours you need to upgrade. If they ARE gold then the connector
probably is not seated properly. There is a lot of good stuff in the
archives about the "pin problem".

The other thing hate to bring up is lightning/static damage. If you can get
to the seller you might want to discuss the problem with him and whether
unit non-professionally repaired/disassembled/reassembled.

73, Guy K2AV

On Sunday, September 18, 2016, G0PNM <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi all, New to the whole Elecraft scene.
> Just acquired my first K3 and its serial number is 07126.
> I have been experiencing some strange behavior while rotating the VFO
> whereby the radio would change bands unexpectedly. On occasions, the rig
> will jump to a supposed frequency well out of the range of the radio i.e.
> in
> the VHF bands!
>
> I managed to capture this behavior on my phone and have uploaded it to
> youtube. The link is here:-
> https://youtu.be/IILWIe7hPzg <https://youtu.be/IILWIe7hPzg>
>
>
> I have waited a long time to get hold of an Elecraft, being my dream radio
> but its quickly losing its sparkle and I am losing my hair!.
>
> ANY help would be much appreciated. I have only had it a week and I am also
> emailing the supplier here in the UK.
>
> Thanks
> Pete G0PNM
>
>
>
> --
> View this message in context: http://elecraft.365791.n2.
> nabble.com/K3-Erratic-VFO-behaviour-Switching-bands-and-
> freq-s-tp7622624.html
> Sent from the Elecraft mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email] <javascript:;>
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email] <javascript:;>
>


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Re: K3 Erratic VFO behaviour, Switching bands and freq's

Mark E. Musick
When I had K3 serial #3505 in for upgrades, it had the old pins and they
upgraded to the gold pins and didn't charge me for that part of the service.
The support folks told me the change to the gold pins was somewhere just
over serial #4000. They did not know the exact serial number.
I agree with Ron. I would remove and replace the front panel to exercise the
pins for possible oxidation. Also, the front panel connectors may not be
aligned properly.
Pete, if you decide to perform the front panel removal, it is important that
you use an antistatic mat. It is a good idea to have one as you may want to
add options or change options later.

Mark, WB9CIF

-----Original Message-----
From: Elecraft [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Ron
D'Eau Claire
Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2016 7:31 PM
To: 'G0PNM' <[hidden email]>
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] K3 Erratic VFO behaviour, Switching bands and freq's

Guy is quite right about the pin issue, however I have an early K3 with the
original pins and it works FB after 9 years.

To be absolutely sure it isn't something external to the K3, first I'd
disconnect EVERYTHING except the main power cable, and see if the problem
persists.

Next I'd remove and replace the front panel assembly. It's not nearly as bad
as it sounds but doing so will exercise the connectors and clean any
oxidation that has accumulated on the pins.

You can download a manual with a detailed procedure with photos for R/R the
front panel from Elecraft:

http://www.elecraft.com/manual/E740130%20KDVR3%20Option%20Installation%20Rev
%20C.pdf

That manual is for adding the digital voice recorder which requires removing
the front panel (see pages 6, 7 and 8).

One reason I have never had a problem is possibly because my K3 (S/N 00010)
has been apart countless times as I maintain the Kit Assembly manual with
updates, etc. So the connectors don't get a chance to oxidize.

Another thing that I've done is to put a drop of contact cleaner on each
pin. I used DeOxit by Caig. But simply exercising those connectors seems to
have fixed issues for others.

73, Ron AC7AC



-----Original Message-----
From: Elecraft [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Guy
Olinger K2AV
Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2016 10:33 AM
To: G0PNM
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] K3 Erratic VFO behaviour, Switching bands and freq's

In the K3 there are a few digital lines from the front panel which carry
multiplexed information to the CPU. The only way I can think of that would
scramble unrelated front panel input according to your report is that the
multiplexed line is malfunctioning and screwing up the data stream into the
cpu. The essential way to do that is a poor connection in the connector
pin/socket between front panel and CPU board.

Don't remember serial when Elecraft went to gold pins, but if they aren't
gold in yours you need to upgrade. If they ARE gold then the connector
probably is not seated properly. There is a lot of good stuff in the
archives about the "pin problem".

The other thing hate to bring up is lightning/static damage. If you can get
to the seller you might want to discuss the problem with him and whether
unit non-professionally repaired/disassembled/reassembled.

73, Guy K2AV

On Sunday, September 18, 2016, G0PNM <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi all, New to the whole Elecraft scene.
> Just acquired my first K3 and its serial number is 07126.
> I have been experiencing some strange behavior while rotating the VFO
> whereby the radio would change bands unexpectedly. On occasions, the
> rig will jump to a supposed frequency well out of the range of the
> radio
i.e.

> in
> the VHF bands!
>
> I managed to capture this behavior on my phone and have uploaded it to
> youtube. The link is here:- https://youtu.be/IILWIe7hPzg 
> <https://youtu.be/IILWIe7hPzg>
>
>
> I have waited a long time to get hold of an Elecraft, being my dream
> radio but its quickly losing its sparkle and I am losing my hair!.
>
> ANY help would be much appreciated. I have only had it a week and I am
> also emailing the supplier here in the UK.
>
> Thanks
> Pete G0PNM
>
>
>
> --
> View this message in context: http://elecraft.365791.n2.
> nabble.com/K3-Erratic-VFO-behaviour-Switching-bands-and-
> freq-s-tp7622624.html
> Sent from the Elecraft mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
> ______________________________________________________________
> Elecraft mailing list
> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
> Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
> Post: mailto:[hidden email] <javascript:;>
>
> This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net Please help support this email
> list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html Message delivered to
> [hidden email] <javascript:;>
>


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Re: K3 Erratic VFO behaviour, Switching bands and freq's

gm3sek
Ron wrote:
>
>Mark makes an excellent point but a special anti-static pad is not
required
>for a simple procedure like this. However, simply unplugging and
replacing
>the FP does not require touching anything inside the K3, so there's no
>danger.
>
>If you need to touch the pins on the connectors or anything inside the
K3, a
>good workable option to the anti-static mat is to simply touch a ground
>frequently while working.
>

Sorry, I would strongly disagree. Removing the front panel is when you
need an anti-static mat and wrist strap the MOST.

* You are separating two quite large assemblies, each of which is
capable of holding a significant charge (and each of which cost several
hundred dollars).

* You're just about to expose a large number of unprotected internal
connector pins.

* And in all probability, you're just about to *touch* every one of
those pins when applying antioxidant.

This really is NOT a good moment to skip the static protection.  

Also, "touching a ground" is fundamentally NOT what static protection is
about! It's about safely CONNECTING EVERYTHING TOGETHER (including the
operator) to discharge any potential differences. This includes keeping
them connected together, even while subassemblies like the front panel
are being unplugged.

In this context, the word "safely" includes the use of high-resistance
materials and connecting leads, to avoid damaging discharge currents and
minimize the risk of electric shock to the operator. That is why the
operator is connected through a *high* resistance to ground - and also
why "touching ground" can actually do damage.


Note to Pete, G0PNM: in the UK, Contralube 770 (from Maplin) has proved
to be an excellent alternative to Deoxit.


73 from Ian GM3SEK


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Re: K3 Erratic VFO behaviour, Switching bands and freq's

graham.wood1
In reply to this post by G0PNM
Hello Pete

A few months ago I had similar problem with my K3 (sn: 05845).

I upgraded the FW from 05.29 to 05.38, tuning the vfo, the freq would jump,
sometimes out of band. One occasion both vfo's read 300.000.00.

The rig had worked fine on the old FW so I reverted back to FW 05.29. That solved all the problems, that was 7 months ago, touch wood everything has worked fine since.

Something worth trying before taking boards out etc.

Graham G3VIP
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Re: K3 Erratic VFO behaviour, Switching bands and freq's

G0PNM
So, the USB/Serial cable arrived yesterday. Last night, I downloaded the Utility software and reinstalled the firmware 5.50. All was good, no issues. So I decided to try the Beta firmware 5.52 and again no problems and the radio behaved normally so I was overjoyed. I sent an email to Elecraft, expressing my jubilation that the matter has been resolved.
Fast forward to this morning. I started work this morning at 0800 but was up early so thought I would have a tune around before leaving home. To my amazement, the radio behaved as it did before my interventions last night. Jumping bands, random relay clicks and the frequency readout displaying weird frequencies such as 249Mhz... I did shoot a quick video on my phone, again, and its on YouTube here:- https://youtu.be/Lwuuy246FyI I apologise for it being on its side but it was early!
I now fear this radio is going to have to go back to the dealer (Waters and Stanton (UK)) for repair / replacement / refund.
My Elecraft experience has not been as I had hoped, being my dream radio.
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Re: K3 Erratic VFO behaviour, Switching bands and freq's

wayne burdick
Pete,

This is very baffling, and is most likely firmware issue. I'll discuss it with customer support right away and will be getting back to you with some questions.

73,
Wayne
N6KR


On Sep 23, 2016, at 12:32 AM, G0PNM <[hidden email]> wrote:

> So, the USB/Serial cable arrived yesterday. Last night, I downloaded the
> Utility software and reinstalled the firmware 5.50. All was good, no issues.
> So I decided to try the Beta firmware 5.52 and again no problems and the
> radio behaved normally so I was overjoyed. I sent an email to Elecraft,
> expressing my jubilation that the matter has been resolved.
> Fast forward to this morning. I started work this morning at 0800 but was up
> early so thought I would have a tune around before leaving home. To my
> amazement, the radio behaved as it did before my interventions last night.
> Jumping bands, random relay clicks and the frequency readout displaying
> weird frequencies such as 249Mhz…



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Re: K3 Erratic VFO behaviour, Switching bands and freq's

N6AF
This post has NOT been accepted by the mailing list yet.
I have been seeing the identical behavior with my K3 s/n 4523.  Per Dave's (Elecraft) suggestion late today I downloaded FW Beta version 5.54 and will see if it helps.  The FW notes indicate that this new version addresses MCU-memory communications so I am optimistic.  Besides often jumping to wild freqs such as 246.00 MHz my 80 meter power output would also simultaneously limit to about 67 W output after the relays do their erratic clicking routine.  I will advise how the 5.54 version behaves.
73 and thanks for the rapid support Dave!

Chuck N6AF
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