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Author Topic: Yaesu sells time bombs !!! FT857 FT897 ....  (Read 19007 times)
ON7WP
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« on: October 03, 2008, 12:07:20 PM »

WARNING about the lousy quality control at the yaesu factories !!!

Yaesu has very low quality standards and sells time bombs type FT857 FT897 !

Almost incredible !  After reading for the last 5 years about problems with bias of Yaesu FT-857 FT-897 radios I just came home with my brand new (2008J series) second FT 857 radio and found out the hard way they did nothing to improve this at all.

While testing it on the lab bench auditory tests revealed a not so beautiful modulation.

So I decided to open up the box and check the bias level: A DISASTER !!!!

The predriver was at 95 mA (should be 30 mA)
The driver was at 70 mA (should be 20 mA)
The exciter stage was at 2 x 30 mA (should be 2 x 100 mA)
The HF final stage was at 550 mA (should be 300 mA)
The VHF final stage was at 990 mA (should be 300 mA)

If I wouldn’t have opened it I would have blown my VHF final stage at the first contest, as these currents even increase when heating up.  Al values above were for a cold radio straight out of the box.

I also would like to add the fact that those Japanese engineers don’t know yet that we all are using 3 kHz FM deviation (unit was adjusted at 5,5 kHz) and a low CTCSS deviation of max 450 Hz deviation (was at 1 kHz adjusted).

The only thing I can conclude from this bad experience is that virtually nobody at the Yaesu Plant or Yaesu design centre speaks English or bothers reading reviews or mod sites in order to see what is severely wrong with their products and do something about it.

So if you also have a FT857 FT897 and you get complaints about rotten modulation, have somebody check out your radio for these bias problems.  There are plenty of resources on the web explaining how to.  If you are not familiar with SMD stuff please don’t try this at home…  You can easily toast your radio if you are not a radio whizzz like me…

Pedro M.J. Wyns ON7WP – AA9HX

comments welcome !!!
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WW5AA
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2008, 12:53:08 PM »

Interesting....I must be lucky. My FT-857D has been used mobile for three years now in all kinds of weather. I get great audio reports and a lot of comments like "What a signal, you sound like a base station".

73 de Lindy
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PE1HZG
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2008, 01:53:14 PM »

Do we know absolutely sure that setting a higher bias setting isn't part of product improvement? Do we know if these bias settings are identical on, say, another radio in the same lot?

We all want the latest (a 'D' instead of the "older" radio), but yet compare bias settings with the values printed in the earliest version of the service manual.

It is not unlikely that you are correct, but I'd like to know what Yaesu has to say about this. Unfortunately, the techs in Amsterdam are very carefully shielded from the outside world and you don't get to talk to them..

Geert Jan
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KLEMM
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2009, 02:54:38 PM »

  That's real strange , everyone I know that either has the 857 or the 897 have no complaints. If you look at this site there aren't many 857 or 897 problems. If you didn't like your first one can you tell us why the heck you bought another?
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ON7WP
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2009, 03:45:26 PM »

97% of all people, especially if they are US based :-) won't even hear the distortion if an amplifier is operating in class-C...

Until now I got 7 FT-857/FT-897 radios in my hands and ALL suffered from modulation distortion caused by bias settings that are wrong.

People start fumbling with mic gain and so on but this is totally wrong.  It is neither RF feedback as some think.

But unfortunately most hams are afraid to open their radio still under warranty to do some "very difficult" adjustment needing high end tools such as a Wallmart 10$ multimeter...

Pedro M.J. Wyns ON7WP-AA9HX
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NO6L
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2009, 09:49:04 PM »

>by ON7WP on March 28, 2009
>...97% of all people, especially if they are US based :-) won't even hear the distortion if an amplifier is operating in class-C...

Oh, you are such the expert, not only at RF engineering, but the geopolitical aspects of Amateur Radio, too. You want a medal, or chest to pin it on? All in one sentence you alienate people in the United States. So much for International Good Will through Amateur Radio.

And I've got news for you, Johnson. Not only can I hear the effects of an improperly biased solid state output stage from form a "mile away", 20Khz away and on frequency, but almost every one I know that are US amateurs can, too.

So I don't don't know where you got your statistics, but you should reevaluate your sources.

/end of line
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KL7YK
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2009, 09:02:44 AM »

My 2 cents worth.

I have owned 2 FT-857Ds and a FT-897D for several years without one problem at all.  From base to boat never skipped a beat.  In the truck at 10 below it takes the display a minute or so to come up but the radio worked fine. Only complaint I have ever gotten was RF into the mic which turned out to be a faulty coax switch, not that radio.

Have added the filters and even the TCXO to the 897 without incident.  MARS modded them as well.

Further I own an FT-450AT which has proven to be a gem as well.

Ron Keech, KL7YK
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KA9DTZ
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2009, 12:04:03 AM »

I almost decided not to comment since I cannot claim to be on the level of "radio whizzz".  Then I thought what the heck, little as I know, my 857D seems to have performed very well over time.  I get good reports although I cannot work everyone I can hear.  I guess that could indicate something is wrong.  Come to think of it, I have received comments that I didn't sound very good in bad band conditions.  Now I'm really worried.  I may just get rid of it to be safe... Naaaa Smiley

I've seen the $10 Walmart multimeter and if that's what is being used, I'll take my chances on the margin of error of your preferred test equipment that I'm safe.

Seriously, I think we have all replied to a thread simply intended to create an image of self-importance.  

73, Greg
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ON7WP
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2009, 02:32:29 AM »

Dear fellow citizens,

I spend a lot of time documenting the repairs I perform on different types and brands of ham radio equipment.  I do this with no commercial intentions.
The collection of my articles as such is getting huge, take a look on www.mods.dk

And even then there are dumb people that need to give comments that are not at all contributing anything interesting at all, just background noise from sheeple...

So I am not going to give too much comment on the remarks below.  Anybody in doubt of my knowledge or measuring equipment used I invite to take a look at my website, easily found even for sheeple by typing my callsign into google...

Or if that is too difficult type users.telenet.be/vrt in the webbrowser window, or better copy and past it if you have these computer skills, it will prevent you from typing errors...

With a big smile and "clin d'oeuil" like they say in French....

Pedro M.J. Wyns ON7WP AA9HX

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KA9DTZ
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2009, 09:38:01 AM »

My previous post was meant to be tongue-in-cheek... mostly.

Given the reviews posted on eHam are generally not scientific, most representing personal taste, you still cannot discount the high positive rating associated with these two radio models.  This isn't to say there aren't some problem units or some problems inherent to the design.  I would think there would be many more negative comments on actual "drop dead" failures if your, apparently, all inclusive comments on these models had more merit.

I don't know what your skill level is or what test equipment you have access to nor do I feel compelled to make a case study of you by searching the web at your request.  I suspect we know something about you without that effort.

I will, however, question your motives in posting what appears to be a technical review/observation of a radio and, in almost the same breath, deciding to attack a large portion of your audience.  If you cannot tolerate responses questioning your posted material, you might consider sticking with mods.dk where your audience is left to read and move on.  That would certainly be safer than being questioned or disagreed with.  

In the end, it's hard to tell whether you posted in order to attack the US ham community due to some pre-existing anger or became angry when you weren't deified for your observations.

I tried to think of something cute in French but all I could think of was "more power to you".

73, Greg
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KA5N
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2009, 03:26:12 PM »

"Radio Whizzz"  is that when a grid leaks?

Allen
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N5UP
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« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2009, 08:25:51 AM »

OK, well, I came here to find the proof that Yaesu sells time bombs.  All I've seen so far is:

1. Currents are out of spec with an old service manual possibly from a radio that is several versions behind;

2. A claim that Americans can't tell distortion with our ears and don't even own a $10 Wal-Mart voltmeter;

3. Testimonials from several people who have owned multiple Yaesu radios without any problems.  Testimonials from the original poster that a bunch of his radios have currents that vary from the old, possibly out-of-date service manual, but no evidence that these manifest themselves in any kind of aberrant behavior as a result;

4. The typical degeneration of forum threads into name-calling and personal attacks, when claims cannot be substantiated by facts;

So where is the proof that the alleged out-of-spec currents constitute a "time bomb"?  I would like to buy an FT-857, but not if it is going to explode someday in the near future.

73,
Dave Morris, N5UP
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ON7WP
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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2009, 12:39:13 PM »

hello my friend,

the proof that these are time bombs is the pile of broken SRF transistors in my Beryllium toxic waste bin, remains from radios (both 857 and 897, new and old) I repaired that suffered from a fatal thermal runaway.

Please disregard some rude comments but I get tired of dealing with people not interested in the real content of my message, id est "please check the current, or take the risk of loosing your very expensive final".

New manual or old manual doesn't matter, you need a MINIMUM of bias current in the predrivers to get a decent sounding signal (and yes most people don't hear low bias and deal with the splatter), and if you set them for TOO MUCH current you have the risk of thermal runaway.

Checking more than 8 radios revealed that NONE of them was even close to any (old or new manual) setting, or do you consider it normal having a balanced stage where one side is running tenfold bias current than the twin brother ?

So please stop the crap, if you own this radio and have some basic electronic knowledge, check the currents and publish the observations here in this thread, and you will see this is a real problem.

Pedro ON7WP
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W4KVW
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2009, 02:00:46 PM »

Whoever said there are NO Yaesu 857D problems listed has NOT read the feedback page.My posting on my FORMER 857D was less than good by far.As I said in that feedback,if you wanted to GIVE me another one & I HAD TO USE IT as part of the deal I would REFUSE the offer!Now there are some BAD words AGAIN!The 857D is the WORST rig I have EVER owned hands down.Buy a REAL radio(ICOM 706,706 MKII,706 MKIIG,or EVEN BETTER an ICOM 7000)& leave this piece of garbage at the store!

Clayton
W4KVW
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KA9DTZ
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« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2009, 09:55:00 AM »

It appears Dave summed it up pretty well.  

It appears Clayton has had some problems with his 857 and maybe prefers Icom.  Nothing wrong with that.  I think all the manufacturers produce their share of fair and poor radios.  I did review the thread comments and didn't find any that indicated there were NO problems with 857 or 897 Yaesu's though.

So what we're left with is, again, a claim that 857/897 models are time bombs.  This is evidenced by one set of posted measurements.  The only other thing we have to make a judgement from is anecdotal reviews.  What can we deduce from this information?

Looking back at the number of reviews and rankings for the 857 and 897 we see 4.5 and 4.6 respectively.  The 706 and 7000 both are ranked at 4.5.  Although the number of votes for each radio are not exactly the same, they seem to be similar enough.  

With that said, do we then decide that Pedro's observations are atypical since the four radio models are ranked fairly well and about that same?  If not, then are we to assume, by reverse logic, the 706 and 7000 radios are quite likely time bombs too?  What would be seen if they were measured?  

This comes down to a measured data sample of one vs. positive, albeit, anecdotal 'data' of 242 to 400 samples per model.  You do see reviews that note "melt-down" type failures for the radios but those reviews constitute only a small percentage.  If there were that many 857/897 radios with such a severe problem leading to failure, I believe you would see it reflected even in what amounts to an opinion poll.

IMHO, unhappy people don't generally post positive reviews.  Furthermore, I think there is little evidence to support Pedro's time bomb position but we each have to decide for ourselves.

73, Greg
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