I fried my radio being an idiot. Si5351A error. Any chance of recovery? #qcx


rahul@...
 

I just noticed a lead which wasn't trimmed. I trimmed it but forgot to turn the radio off. I heard a crackle and then I realized my mistake. 

Is the board essentially dead? :(


rahul@...
 

https://groups.io/g/QRPLabs/message/29055

Did I fry the Si5351 chip or something along the way? How do I verify?
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=SI5351A-B-GT&_sacat=0&_sop=15
Is this chip the one?


rahul@...
 

well I let out the magic smoke from the transistors. Kit radios are not for me. I give up. So long and thanks for all the fish guys. I really appreciate everyone's help for my previous questions and its a shame its all gone to waste due to user error


Shane Justice <justshane@...>
 

Rahul,
That's really too bad. There are a lot of rules of thumb that need to be understood when you embark on the learning experience of electronics. Most of us here are seasoned professionals and/or hobbiests. We've either learned the hard way, as you did, or by being more patient and heeding the instructions and advice of those of greater experience. 

There's an old phrase: Haste makes waste.

I am sure you are beating yourself up for not turning the power off before taking a tool to your radio. Let that go, but learn the lesson not to do it again. 

The idea of building a kit is to learn something from building the kit- some electronics fundamentals: how to read resistor codes to know what value of resistance (ohms) a resister has, what it's power dissipation capability is (1/8th Watt, 1/4 Watt, 1/2 Watt, etc.), what the tolerance is of the resistor 10%, 1%, etc. What makes an inductor and how to design one yourself, if you need to, or want to know. Diodes and transistors are semiconductors- what makes them able to conduct current? How does a capacitor store energy? The science of these devices is quite interesting, if you decide you want to know more.

You can build a kit without knowing much of this, but there are some basics you do need to know. Most of the knowledgeable people here are willing to teach you, if you are willing to learn. If you have patience to learn, they have patience to teach.

You don't have to give up on your project, unless you really want to.

There was a reason you invested your money in your kit, the construction tools, your time, and the effort you put into building the kit. 

Think about the huge investment Hans has put into designing the kit to be easily buildable. Think of the countless hours Hans has put into the construction manual. He has invested his blood, sweat, and tears making a great kit building experience, and for a price low enough that almost anyone can buy it, anywhere in the world, and experience firsthand what it is like to build a radio from a kit and talk to people all over the world.

Take a few days off to think about it, then come back and learn how to fix your kit.


Best Regards,
Shane


On Aug 20, 2020 at 21:18, rahul <rahul@...> wrote:

well I let out the magic smoke from the transistors. Kit radios are not for me. I give up. So long and thanks for all the fish guys. I really appreciate everyone's help for my previous questions and its a shame its all gone to waste due to user error


Roger Hill
 

Well said Shane


73

Roger

G3YTN

---
***************************
Roger Hill
***************************


On 2020-08-21 06:46, Shane Justice wrote:

Rahul,
That's really too bad. There are a lot of rules of thumb that need to be understood when you embark on the learning experience of electronics. Most of us here are seasoned professionals and/or hobbiests. We've either learned the hard way, as you did, or by being more patient and heeding the instructions and advice of those of greater experience. 
 
There's an old phrase: Haste makes waste.
 
I am sure you are beating yourself up for not turning the power off before taking a tool to your radio. Let that go, but learn the lesson not to do it again. 
 
The idea of building a kit is to learn something from building the kit- some electronics fundamentals: how to read resistor codes to know what value of resistance (ohms) a resister has, what it's power dissipation capability is (1/8th Watt, 1/4 Watt, 1/2 Watt, etc.), what the tolerance is of the resistor 10%, 1%, etc. What makes an inductor and how to design one yourself, if you need to, or want to know. Diodes and transistors are semiconductors- what makes them able to conduct current? How does a capacitor store energy? The science of these devices is quite interesting, if you decide you want to know more.
 
You can build a kit without knowing much of this, but there are some basics you do need to know. Most of the knowledgeable people here are willing to teach you, if you are willing to learn. If you have patience to learn, they have patience to teach.
 
You don't have to give up on your project, unless you really want to.
 
There was a reason you invested your money in your kit, the construction tools, your time, and the effort you put into building the kit. 
 
Think about the huge investment Hans has put into designing the kit to be easily buildable. Think of the countless hours Hans has put into the construction manual. He has invested his blood, sweat, and tears making a great kit building experience, and for a price low enough that almost anyone can buy it, anywhere in the world, and experience firsthand what it is like to build a radio from a kit and talk to people all over the world.
 
Take a few days off to think about it, then come back and learn how to fix your kit.
 
 
Best Regards,
Shane
 
 
 
On Aug 20, 2020 at 21:18, rahul <rahul@...> wrote:

well I let out the magic smoke from the transistors. Kit radios are not for me. I give up. So long and thanks for all the fish guys. I really appreciate everyone's help for my previous questions and its a shame its all gone to waste due to user error


@CurtisM
 

Rahul

My early QCX is in the same situation,  except I was debugging the 50w PA, both in their enclosures, and I zapped the microcontroller also. After replacing it, tada same message. PLL seems to be damaged. BTW some sellers at aliexpress now have much lower prices on the si5351a. Less than $1 us each in small lots, delivered many weeks from now. Or when I compile enough items to overcome shipping, similar unit cost at digikey. Maybe I damaged two less expensive ICs also I should order. I should patiently repair this fine rig again someday, and not change any cables under power again, and add a power switch to this qcx. Meanwhile a new qcx plus for a different band is on its way, tracked to Belgium yesterday. Cool rig. Dilligent designer with a nice big backlog of orders got it off his shelf amidst his family life, rather promptly. Some small delays at the shipper, its a rough era on the planet just now ... our zapped chips are literally tiny in this picture, yet distressing enough. I hope you have some kind of rig there, and perhaps some opportunity to repair that rig or opt for another qcx. 73 stay well OM

Curt


Hans Summers
 

Rahul, Shane, Curt, all

Yes, well said Shane!

Various mottos in here here. "NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER" is a favourite. It also helps that I am too dumb to know when to quit. Electronics and particularly RF, is 99% frustration and blood and sweat and tears... but when it all works out the elation and joy is better than well, you-know-what. 

As for Si5351A - as far as I know the ones sourced from China are the real deal. No fakes. Low prices arise from the fact that they buy in enormous quantities, benefiting from quantity discounts, and sell at very low margins compared to the rest of the world and distributors such as Digikey. So nothing wrong with buying from China, if you can bear the wait. 

When buying please be sure to get the Si5351A-B-GT (GT means cut tape) or Si5351A-B-GTR (GTR means reel). Do NOT buy anything with longer part numbers such as SI5351A-B06208-GT or anything else with 5 digits in the middle. These are NOT the standard chip, they are special customizations with things like default startup frequencies, different I2C address etc. In my opinion these should not be sold by distributors, they create a lot of confusion. In particular, having a different I2C address means they won't work in QRP Labs kits where the firmware is set up to use the official standard Si5351A-B (GT or GTR suffixes just indicate type of packaging). 

73 Hans G0UPL
http://qrp-labs.com

On Fri, Aug 21, 2020 at 9:58 AM wb8yyy via groups.io <wb8yyy=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Rahul

My early QCX is in the same situation,  except I was debugging the 50w PA, both in their enclosures, and I zapped the microcontroller also. After replacing it, tada same message. PLL seems to be damaged. BTW some sellers at aliexpress now have much lower prices on the si5351a. Less than $1 us each in small lots, delivered many weeks from now. Or when I compile enough items to overcome shipping, similar unit cost at digikey. Maybe I damaged two less expensive ICs also I should order. I should patiently repair this fine rig again someday, and not change any cables under power again, and add a power switch to this qcx. Meanwhile a new qcx plus for a different band is on its way, tracked to Belgium yesterday. Cool rig. Dilligent designer with a nice big backlog of orders got it off his shelf amidst his family life, rather promptly. Some small delays at the shipper, its a rough era on the planet just now ... our zapped chips are literally tiny in this picture, yet distressing enough. I hope you have some kind of rig there, and perhaps some opportunity to repair that rig or opt for another qcx. 73 stay well OM

Curt


Alan G4ZFQ
 

Did I fry the Si5351 chip or something along the way? How do I verify?
Rahul,

First thing. DO NOT PANIC!
Is there any reason you suspect the SI5351?
What are the symptoms?
What tests have you done?
Have you looked at the Fault Finding section of the manual?
Have you looked here http://www.qrp-labs.com/qcx/qcxtrouble.html ?

73 Alan G4ZFQ


Alan G4ZFQ
 

some sellers at aliexpress now have much lower prices on the si5351a.
Be very careful. Some Si5357s for sale are the wrong specification. There is a warning on one of the QCX pages.

73 Alan G4ZFQ


N3MNT
 

He said he fried the finals .


Bill Cromwell
 

Oh What a relief,

I was afraid to order a SI5351A-GT because of the enormous glass tube!

73,

Bill KU8H

bark less - wag more

On 8/21/20 3:11 AM, Hans Summers wrote:
---snip-----

When buying please be sure to get the Si5351A-B-GT (GT means cut tape) or Si5351A-B-GTR (GTR means reel). Do NOT buy anything with longer part numbers such as SI5351A-B06208-GT or anything else with 5 digits in the middle. These are NOT the standard chip, they are special customizations with things like default startup frequencies, different I2C address etc. In my opinion these should not be sold by distributors, they create a lot of confusion. In particular, having a different I2C address means they won't work in QRP Labs kits where the firmware is set up to use the official standard Si5351A-B (GT or GTR suffixes just indicate type of packaging).
73 Hans G0UPL
http://qrp-labs.com


Kevin Zembower
 

Various mottoes in here. "NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER" is a favourite.
When I was a programmer, it was, "Never let the computer win."  For us kit builders, it should perhaps be, "Never let the radio win.

-Kevin
KC3KZ


rahul@...
 

Shane, yes I learnt a lot about building radios. I learnt about how diodes conduct, how amplifiers work, how to wind toroids and gained a lot of knowledge about working with circuits. The biggest lesson I learnt through the process was how to make a proper solder joint, and how important good quality solder is. The kit was a definite learning experience for me and I am thankful for that

Curtis, thank you for putting perspective into my problem. I was getting too upset over a radio but I should be grateful about the things I have. My radio issue pales in comparison compared to all the other hardships people are going through and I will start expressing more gratitude now.

Hans, Thank you for the great kit. I spent a lot of time and had a lot of fun building this kit and learnt a lot of things along the way. Even if I did follow things just according to the manual, things outside your control can go wrong and this build taught me to face setbacks in stride

Alan,
Is there any reason you suspect the SI5351?
What are the symptoms?
After shorting the radio and rebooting it ,When I powered on the radio, I got 'SI5351 Error'
What tests have you done?
I used a DVM to measure the left side of C2 as shown in the manual hoping to see some voltage present. It was unfortunately 0. I then went to the schematic and saw that 2 diodes are used to reduce the voltage from 5 V to  3.4 V
Unfortunately that's when the board started getting hot and I saw magic smoke from the area of Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q6. I turned it off immediately since I didn't want to damage any more components

Final words,
Thank you all for your support. I will be taking a week long break from radios now. I found myself getting too much involved with them. I hope I can try to fix this. If not I'll just save up more for a new kit


Shane Justice <justshane@...>
 

Rahul,

That's the spirit! Take a break, do something totally different, and come back at the problem from a new perspective!

Best regards,
Shane


On Aug 21, 2020 at 07:20, rahul <rahul@...> wrote:

Shane, yes I learnt a lot about building radios. I learnt about how diodes conduct, how amplifiers work, how to wind toroids and gained a lot of knowledge about working with circuits. The biggest lesson I learnt through the process was how to make a proper solder joint, and how important good quality solder is. The kit was a definite learning experience for me and I am thankful for that

Curtis, thank you for putting perspective into my problem. I was getting too upset over a radio but I should be grateful about the things I have. My radio issue pales in comparison compared to all the other hardships people are going through and I will start expressing more gratitude now.

Hans, Thank you for the great kit. I spent a lot of time and had a lot of fun building this kit and learnt a lot of things along the way. Even if I did follow things just according to the manual, things outside your control can go wrong and this build taught me to face setbacks in stride

Alan,
Is there any reason you suspect the SI5351?
What are the symptoms?
After shorting the radio and rebooting it ,When I powered on the radio, I got 'SI5351 Error'
What tests have you done?
I used a DVM to measure the left side of C2 as shown in the manual hoping to see some voltage present. It was unfortunately 0. I then went to the schematic and saw that 2 diodes are used to reduce the voltage from 5 V to  3.4 V
Unfortunately that's when the board started getting hot and I saw magic smoke from the area of Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q6. I turned it off immediately since I didn't want to damage any more components

Final words,
Thank you all for your support. I will be taking a week long break from radios now. I found myself getting too much involved with them. I hope I can try to fix this. If not I'll just save up more for a new kit


HF
 

Hi Rahul,
I made 1 QSO with my QCX as soon as I built it, then built a battery power contraption to mount on the back of the PCB for backpacking.  As I finished it up, I accidentally touched +16V to one or more of the 6 pins sticking out next to the power connector.  Yep, I felt awful!  Once I calmed down, I figured out that the MCU and at least 2 of the surface-mount chips were toast and ordered replacements without a clue as to how I would change them.  I can solder 2- and 3- terminal SMDs but 8-10 pins and the fine pitch at the Si5351a was (I thought) beyond my capabilities.  So it went in a box on the shelf.  When a friend asked me about troubleshooting his QCX the next year, I lent him my QCX so he could compare parts placement to search for an assembly error, and I told him about my goof.  He removed those surface mount ICs for me.  Then it sat on the shelf for several more months.  Finally, with a backpacking trip rapidly approaching, I pushed myself to try to finish the repair.  Sticking those tiny parts on was easier than expected, and my QCX came back to life.  After several attempts, I finally made my 2nd QSO with it...with a station far, far away!  That felt pretty good!  4 watts and a dipole a quarter of the way around the planet!  Of course it helped that the other station had 500 watts and a directional antenna.  Wishing you the same sort of satisfaction once you return in a week and get your QCX going again. 
For almost all hams, idiocy is either a misdiagnosis or a condition that lasts for only a few seconds.
No I didn't take it on the backpacking trip; my back couldn't bear to lift another kg.  The radio and batteries are less than 400g, but my dipole's feedline is heavy. 
Those 6 pins now have tape on them.
Halden VE7UTS


Arv Evans
 

Rahul

All is not lost.  Your radio is probably repairable.  Pursuing that 
effort will continue to provide education, challenges, and probably 
frustration.  The discussion groups include a large number of 
highly motivated individuals who can help you along the way.  You 
have already experienced this level of help when you successfully 
fixed the LCD display problem.  

Hang in there and ask on-line when you run into situations where you 
might need help.  

Never Give Up!

On Fri, Aug 21, 2020 at 8:20 AM <rahul@...> wrote:
Shane, yes I learnt a lot about building radios. I learnt about how diodes conduct, how amplifiers work, how to wind toroids and gained a lot of knowledge about working with circuits. The biggest lesson I learnt through the process was how to make a proper solder joint, and how important good quality solder is. The kit was a definite learning experience for me and I am thankful for that

Curtis, thank you for putting perspective into my problem. I was getting too upset over a radio but I should be grateful about the things I have. My radio issue pales in comparison compared to all the other hardships people are going through and I will start expressing more gratitude now.

Hans, Thank you for the great kit. I spent a lot of time and had a lot of fun building this kit and learnt a lot of things along the way. Even if I did follow things just according to the manual, things outside your control can go wrong and this build taught me to face setbacks in stride

Alan,
Is there any reason you suspect the SI5351?
What are the symptoms?
After shorting the radio and rebooting it ,When I powered on the radio, I got 'SI5351 Error'
What tests have you done?
I used a DVM to measure the left side of C2 as shown in the manual hoping to see some voltage present. It was unfortunately 0. I then went to the schematic and saw that 2 diodes are used to reduce the voltage from 5 V to  3.4 V
Unfortunately that's when the board started getting hot and I saw magic smoke from the area of Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q6. I turned it off immediately since I didn't want to damage any more components

Final words,
Thank you all for your support. I will be taking a week long break from radios now. I found myself getting too much involved with them. I hope I can try to fix this. If not I'll just save up more for a new kit


Larry Taylor
 

Or, “Always have a good Elmer.”