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Eric Swartz - WA6HHQ, Elecraft
We are heading down the final K3 production stretch, and we can
finally see the finish line.
We received all of the first production run K3 painted and
silk-screened enclosure sheet metal late Friday. This was one of our
major concerns since the vendor was late, and if a part is bad it can
take several weeks to fabricate replacements. Fortunately all of the
sheet metal looked excellent following our incoming inspection. :-)
We have received initial shipments of the higher accuracy TCXOs, so
those of you who ordered this upgrade will receive them with your K3.
As mentioned before, our other major parts problem has been the wound
toroids. We received another major shipment from the vendor this week
which filled in a number of missing toroid values, but there are still
several values outstanding. While they are promising to get these to
us in the next week, we are not relying on that. We have started an
'all hands on-deck' toroid winding operation in Aptos as an insurance
policy to cover our initial K3 shipments. We ordered and received the
raw toroids and wire last week and we are in the process of winding
each missing value. Both our production team and anyone else in our
Aptos HQ who has time available is winding toroids. (Even Lisa is
becoming a toroid winding expert. Ask her how her fingers feel..) Our
goal is to get enough sets of the missing toroids wound and tinned so
that our pc board stuffing sub-contractor can get initial quantities
the four board types that need these values wave soldered late this
week and early next. This should cover us in case the remaining
toroids arrive a week or two late from the vendor.
The only new parts surprise we had was when we discovered that the
relays we had received for the KBPF3 option had the wrong coil
voltage. Fortunately this was caught before the boards were soldered.
They were exchanged for the correct value and the new ones should be
here in several days.
Wayne and Lyle are focused on final testing of the K3's firmware and
DSP code with our Field Testers. They are doing a great job of beating
up the K3 and making sure it is as solid as possible. Wayne is also
working with out team on the release version of the K3 operating
manual. We hope to have it posted in the next 7-10 days.
We are testing the assembled PC boards as they arrive and everything
is beginning to feel like it is converging. Key sub assemblies for the
built version of the K3 are getting built and tested, awaiting the
final boards mentioned above. For a while it seemed like new parts
supplier problems were cropping up faster than we were solving them.
That trend has now sharply reversed.
So what's the bottom line? Wayne and I discussed the schedule and our
open issues today. While we both felt that we may start shipping in
two weeks, we agreed we should add a week to that and conservatively
set the official K3 first ship date for Monday Oct 8th. That gives us
some additional safety margin for any last minute issues. (Plus we can
work the weekend getting the first units ready to ship! :-) We
understand the frustration it creates each time the schedule slips and
we want to avoid another last minute delay.
Every one of us appreciates the patience you have shown while waiting
for the K3. We're doing our best to make the wait worth while, and to
get a quality product out the door to you as soon as possible. We're
optimistic that we are on track and we will keep posting weekly status
updates between now and Oct 8th to keep everyone aware of how
everything is going.
and Wayne, N6KR