Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Front panel almost complete

Front panel almost complete.
Installing encoder wires
With the front panel almost complete it's adding the VFO encoder that completes the front panel build. Before the VFO encoder can be added you are asked to install 4 component leads to the board that eventually will be the VFO encoders connection to the front panel board. The best way I found to put these leads on is using my alligator clip vise. I place the front panel board in my Pana vise and the leads are held in place with the alligator clip vise.The picture to the right is not the best quality but gives you an idea of the concept. Other methods I have tried with my previous K2 build did not work as well as this method.
The VFO encoder requires some assembly onto a circuit board as well as some components to install as well.  Elecraft introduced a new encoder in March 2012, the old encoder did not have a circuit board. Also the encoder's shaft is a bit larger and a new style VFO knob is included. Old K2 VFO knobs will not fit over this shaft.  Regarding the PC board make sure you trim the leads on the bottom of the PC board. If the leads are not trimmed there is a possibility the leads will come in contact with the control board. The control board and front panel board are in time going to be attached to each other and the tolerances between the two boards at certain point  are very close.  I did find a 4 pin SIP (J connector as Elecraft calls them) connector in the bag of VFO parts. I emailed Elecraft as I thought this could be used in place of running the 4 component leads. They had no idea how the 4 pin "J" connector made it's way into the parts bag. I was advised to use the 4 component leads as the assembly manual states.  When the time comes to fit the front panel PC board  to the front cover  you will also add the nut that secures the VFO encoder to the front cover plate.  Just a word of caution here is to make sure you DO NOT over tighten the encoder nut. If over tightened the VFO readout (once you get to that part of the build) will be very erratic. I find the nut if torqued to just  beyond finger tight is good.

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