Friday, July 22, 2016

CRUD! It happened again!

A few weeks ago, I was using the KX3 in the Jeep - and I wasn't careful.  At the end of my lunchtime session, I unplugged the antenna, paddles and ear buds, but not the battery.  I put the Lexan SideKX cover on and picked up the KX3 to put it in its protective pouch ...... only to find out it had grown a tail.

The battery was hanging, dangling by its connector from the power socket.


I thought I dodged a bullet as everything seemed OK.  I breathed a sigh of relief and carried on, until yesterday.  When I was in the Jeep again yesterday, and this time it just so happened that things were arranged in a way so that the cable from the battery was actually curling "up" as it made its way to the KX3 instead of laying relatively flat in relation to the transceiver.  The stiffness of the power cable was enough to lift the contacts of the power socket away from the circuit board, and cause the power issue - same as last time.

So it was back to the operating room and once again, I re-soldered the power socket back to the circuit board.  I spent more time with it this time; and instead of just using my regular vision, I donned my magnifying headset to make sure that the solder had flowed freely (and liberally - but not too much!) from the socket component (4 pads) to the circuit board.

This is not a well-known or much reported design issue.  This is a clumsiness issue on W2LJ's part - pure and simple.  I do have to wonder though, if it would have been better to use a through-hole socket in this instance.  But since it's not a a wide spread issue (if it were, you'd certainly see a lot of pee'ing and moaning about it on the Elecraft reflector), it is what it is.

W2LJ has to learn to be even less hasty in the future and to be more careful, as I know this socket was never intended to bear the weight of about a 1/2 pound of battery, literally hanging from it.

I might re-open it over the weekend and may spread a tiny bead of electronics approved RTV along the bottom edge of the jack where it rests against the circuit board, to act as a strain relief, in a manner of speaking.

Looking on the bright side, I didn't have to consult the construction manual, in order to read the steps for taking the top circuit board out of the housing.  I guess my short term memory is OK for now.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


  1. Great that you were able to fix it Larry, I also take my KX3 out and about and will pay very close attention to the DC jack. I think adding the RTV was a great idea and will add to it's strength.
    Have a great weekend.

  2. Eek, Larry, that stinks. Hope you can repair it. Is there enough room to epoxy a fillet around it?

  3. Larry, sorry to hear about that. I am also very cautious with the power jack on my KX3 and haven't had the problem, but I know Murphy lurks around every corner. I seem to remember something about this a few year's ago on either the Elecraft KX3 Reflector or the Yahoo KX Group. I vaguely remember the fix having something to do with glue of some kind. I'll go back and see what I can find. I think your solution is the right way to go.



  4. It's the same POS connector that most laptops use, and it's the first thing to fail! I can never find the right connector to remount to the board, so I wind up having a pigtail hanging out of the hole with powerpoles or something to connect to the power supply, (whose connector also must be replaced)

  5. Good cautionary tale, Larry. I'll have to remember to be careful myself.

    72, Craig WB3GCK