I sure was. After crawling the web for awhile I found LOTS of people with this problem, but no one seemed to have any specific details on what was causing the problem, and not a lot in the way of fixes. I even wrote to yaesu to see they wanted a shot at providing a first-time-yaesu owner some quality technical support. But they only disappointed me. Despite providing multiple links to discussion threads on the problem, I received the boilerplate "We are not aware of (admitting to) any design problems with the power connector. We have seen a few isolated (very numerous) reports of this problem, but there is no suggested solution (we are not issuing a recall) for the problem at this time." So, we're on our own. Good thing "on our own" is something this group does well, huh?
I finally had my limit last night, every time I move a power cable behind my radio stack, my 897 clicks on and off battery power continuously. (last time it discharged a battery because it didn't cut back in when I was done working) So the radio went on the bench this afternoon. I was hoping to find a loose connection, perhaps a bad solder joint on the molex on the inside. I didn't realize there would be a harness cable to the power board, so that also landed high on my list of things to check. Many times I've had to repair cold solder joints on board connectors like that which wiggled out of their solder after extended mobile use.
But that wasn't the problem. Nor was the solder on the jack bad. Nor the fuses. The problem it seemed was in the connector itself. Takitapart. I had to improvise as I didn't have the proper molex pin removal tools. I ended up using a pipe cutter to obtain a 1.5" long section of some brass tubing I found in the bin. The tubing is thin walled and is 4mm or 5/32" OD. I got mine at Menards, but any larger hardware store and even some hobby shops carry it. This fit around the female pins on the power cable's molex pins perfectly. Almost too well. I actually pulled a wire out of its pin trying to pull it out. (those are going to get soldered before I finish with this)
The two lock clips disengaged from the molex body when the tubing was inserted all the way onto the pin, but the friction between the tube and the pin was too high to pull out. So I used a 3/32" allen key (which fit *perfectly*) to push the pin out the back of the molex. All four pins were easily removed without damage this way. Be careful to note the polarity before removing the pins! The hot pins go in the middle two holes, ground in one set of side holes, note which side. All four got solder wicked into the wire crimp on the pins.
I had examined the male pins earlier and they were clean. I now had a closer look at the female pins and those were also free of corrosion. This connector hasn't seen 50 operations, the male pins can't possibly be splayed out… what's going on here, this should work? So I pushed a single male pin into the back connector on the radio and immediately realized the problem. They wiggled. A lot. There was NO grip on the pin whatsoever, and room to play. If I hadn't been holding the pin on via the wire it would have simply fallen out onto the table. Problem identified.
OK, I've seen this on heavily used molex before, the male pins have just spread out a bit over time, they just need to be crimped back snug. When I looked, there was a hair of separation, but not really very much, maybe 1/8mm. I snugged one up to meet with no gap and tried it for size. NO DIFFERENCE. wow. Either there was a manufacturing problem with this run of connectors, or they somehow managed to get the wrong sizes of male and female together! (is that even possible? do they make those pins in metric sizes?)
ok PLAN B. I got out a pliers and crushed in the connector so there was a little overlap from edge to edge. Not a lot, maybe 1/3mm. But the connector was also deformed to a bit of an oval. Repeat with the remaining three connectors. Fit is GOOD. Pins now must be PUSHED in, and PULLED out from the radio.
Before reinserting the pins, I also pried out their lock tabs a little. Only 1/8mm or so. Using the tube to extract lock pins like I did will bend them in a little and make them prone to popping out later unless you bend them out a hair before reinstallation.
All pins back in, double check polarity, looks good. Plug it in. I immediately notice I have to align it up dead on to plug in, there's no slop. And I had to be PUSHED in, there's a definite difference. Power it on. wiggle. Wiggle. WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE! Nothing. Had to share.
Hope you can fix your 897 too. Hope Yaesu improves their customer support. I think I'll stick with more Icom and Kenwood in the near future, this hasn't been a very positive first experience.
- 73 / N0ZYC / Nathan