Yaesu FT-1000MP Transmit Relay Replacement

Failed RL6016 transmit relay – the black component at the top edge.

What do you do when your Yaesu FT-1000MP, your main base HF rig, that’s been a trusted partner for over a decade,  just doesn’t want to transmit?  As if antenna problems weren’t enough, now I have to perform surgery on my old friend.  Fortunately, this is a story with a happy ending.

For a while now, I’ve been experiencing some difficulty tuning my Yaesu FT-1000MP.  I’ve been trying to figure out how to resolve this problem, but was still able to operate reasonably well, so I carried on.  Anyways, on certain band segments, the internal tuner would hunt around for a long time but wouldn’t be able to tune the antenna for the frequency.  Sometimes, tuning up or down the band, letting the tuner lock in and then coming back would work, but it was annoying.  Recently, that changed completely. The radio would no longer tune at all.  Instead, it would just show an infinite SWR and the protection circuit would cut output power to milliwatts, as designed.  This is what happened when the radio was tuned to the antenna resonant frequencies, so it isn’t a mismatch issue.  (Yes, I know that most internal tuners only function if the SWR is 3:1 or less.)

Time to do some troubleshooting.  With the assistance of Alan, AB4OZ, we opened the radio up and started checking signal paths and function.  To make a long story short, we found a relay that had failed.  RL-6016 on the LPF board was getting a trigger signal, but simply wasn’t functioning.  The radio has been in service for about 12 years, and this is really the first major issue that it has exhibited.  (The only other repair that I have had to make was to resolder the center connection between one of the antenna SO-239 connectors and the board to which it was attached.)

We also traced the signal path on the schematics from the PA through the LPF board and out to the SO-239.  As an additional diagnostic, we identified an internal coax connection downstream of the PA and the SWR coil, but before the relay in question, disconnected it and attached it directly to a dummy load. (If I can remember which one, I’ll edit it in later.) Once we did this, the radio would key up normally, the power levels would go to expected values, and the internal SWR meter would show expected measurements, near 1:1 for a dummy load.  We also verified that the trigger voltage was normal going in to the relay, and verified that the relay was actually not engaging.  That’s relay RL6016 – the black one in the picture.

OK, so the (hopefully, only) problem has been identified.  I called Yaesu on Tuesday, after the holiday, and spoke with some very friendly people in both the parts and tech support groups. I got the impression that this is a fairly common problem. I explained the symptoms to the tech support rep and they very quickly told me that my diagnosis is probably dead on.  These relays do wear out over time and a simple replacement usually resolves the issue. Parts followed suit by dropping a relay in the mail the same day.  I had the relay in hand via USPS First Class Mail on Friday afternoon.  Total cost, about $15.   Thanks for the quick answers and the fast delivery.

What I haven’t mentioned is the nitty-gritty of getting into the beast in order to diagnose and replace anything.  Opening the cover is the easy part.  Knowing what to do next is not for the novice.  At first glance, it is intimidating.  This radio is fairly tightly designed and assembled.  However, Yaesu appears to have used a modular approach.   There are numerous boards, interconnected with cables and connectors, and well shielded. A roadmap here helps immensely.  In other words, if you’re going to open this radio up to do anything, it is best to have a copy of the service manual, if for nothing else, to have the disassembly instructions!

For my project, it was fairly straightforward. First caution:  pay attention to the locations and positions of all cables, cable ties, copper ground fingers, etc.  Now, if you’re ready to start, remove the cover, remove the six screws holding the big heat sink and the fan from the left side of the radio, flip that over, remove the main shield (one screw in the center), and expose the board with the bad relay.  In the photo at left, the board in question is on the left.

Here is the newly replaced relay.

Here are photos of the LPF unit, after it has been repaired. Relay RL6016 is the large black lump at the right end of the board.

In the trace side photo below, the relay is located just to the left of the two copper grounding fingers at the center.  Note the four pins in a square and the three pins located to their left in the red box.  These had to be desoldered to remove the old relay and to install the new one.

Note the 7 solder points inside the red box – 3 on the left and 4 on the right.

 

Of course, removing that board was a little more complicated.  All of the connecting wire harnesses appeared to be permanently attached to this board and had to be disconnected at the other ends.  Add about 5 mini push-in coax connections on the board too.  My advice here is to be very careful and patient, and mark every connector with the connector number on the board where it attaches. (Ex:  J6006, J6015, etc.)  It will make it easier.  Fortunately, almost every connector is unique in number of wires or color code.

Remove the speaker and then the frame below. (See text.)

To disconnect everything, you’ll need to start by removing the speaker, held in place with 4 screws. Don’t lose the bushings around the screws.  Lift it up and set it aside.  Next, remove the screws holding the frame that supports the SO-239 antenna connectors and the board to which they are attached. Note the positions of the grounding fingers.  Slide the board slightly towards the front of the radio and rock the frame upward toward the center of the radio to get it out.  Expect to have to cut some of the zip ties holding the cabling in bundles.  Yaesu left enough wire and cable that you can get room to work.  The automatic tuner is on the underside of this frame.

The tuner (large heat sink) is next to come out. The board with the relay is on the underside.

You’ll have about three wire harnesses on this frame to disconnect.  Two go to one of the boards on the top and the third goes to the auto-tuner. label them as you disconnect.  You’ll be glad you did later.  For the two on top, it’s easier to remove the three screws holding the pc board to the frame first.  It gives you room to work around all the other wire bundles.

Once everything is disconnected, replacing the relay is pretty basic.  The board looks like it is a single layer board and not too densely packed.  Use good desoldering technique on the relay, be careful to use low soldering heat – don’t burn the board or the traces, and swap out the relay.  It’s the big black one on the end.  Be careful not to damage the two copper grounding fingers on the bottom of the board.  Many thanks to Alan, AB4OZ.  He did a masterful job of swapping out the relay – so good in fact, that I couldn’t tell that anything had been changed on the board!  Of course, he does that kind of thing every day.  I suppose I could have done it myself, but it wouldn’t have been as clean on a good day.  And have you ever tried to focus on desoldering electrical components from a PC board with a massive headcold where you can’t focus on the aspirin bottle in front of your face???

Back to work – time to put everything back together. Just reverse the process and put everything back.  ;-)  Yes, I know, easier said than done.  Actually, it is fairly easy.  It’s tedious to do all this, but it is fairly easy, if you’re just careful and patient.  Be sure to pay attention to placement of copper grounding fingers, cable paths, etc.  Long ago, I learned the difference between “difficult” and “tedious.”   The former is a challenge of knowledge and skills; the latter is a challenge of patience. Another plus – no alignment process necessary. Once I finished the reassembly, everything worked perfectly!

For this job, it looks like Yaesu made it something that a reasonably skilled ham can accomplish. The board is fairly easy to get to and appears to be a single layer, the traces aren’t too small, and as long as you’re patient, you might even be able to just unmount and flip the board over to do the work.  On the other hand, if the auto-tuner module has problems, I’m not so sure. It’ very tightly assembled, and I couldn’t figure out how to disassemble that one, but I didn’t try very hard.  Guess I got lucky there. ;-)

So, the FT-1000MP is back in one piece and working as well as it did a decade ago!  Looks like it’ll be ready for Field Day!

Now, if I can just figure out where that leftover copper ground finger goes…..

:-o

73,
W4FT

If you have any questions or comments, leave them below…..

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11 Responses to Yaesu FT-1000MP Transmit Relay Replacement

  1. Radi says:

    @w4ft
    Cliff,
    Just found by following the PCB traces: coil and moving contact are on one side (moving one in the middle of triangle) and T and R are two extreme of the square positioned leads ! :) !!! So, everything looks OK now !
    73, Radi F6GNZ

    • w4ft says:

      Radi, I suspected something like that. The controlled side of the relay will have only one input and two outputs so that the input is always connected to one of the outputs – at least under normal conditions. The only question would be whether it is open or shorted during transition between the two outputs. But that’s up to the designers.

      Glad you got it sorted out.

      73,
      Cliff W4FT

  2. Radi says:

    @w4ft
    Hi Cliff,
    Thanks for the messafe on your web page. But as you have yourself described the repalcemenyt of this relay, I’d like to ask you a question: I have just received a new replacement relay. It shows 855 ohms coil resistance on both old and new relay, but what is strange, on both new and old relay there is an infinite resistance between all switching contacts. I expect to have 0 ohms on RX side.
    Have you measured yours before installing?

    73, Radi F6GNZ

  3. Radi says:

    @Frank Davis
    Hi Frank,
    I just read your message. I have exactly the same issue on my FT1000MP, but as it happens very randomly, I find it useless to dissasemble the unit looking for the cause. So, would like to know have you cured the problem by replacing the T/R relay, which I also suspect being the source of this temporrary RX desense.
    73, Radi F6GNZ

    • w4ft says:

      Hi Radi,
      You might want to go to the FT1000MP Yahoo group and post there. Frank’s comments are over 2 years old. I don’t know that he will see your question here any time soon, if at all. Also, the Yahoo group will probably get responses from a number of MP owners, even if Frank doesn’t see it. Just one heads-up though. It can take a few hours to a couple days before your post appears on the list. It appears that the board is now in 100% moderation mode, so someone is manually approving all posts.

      73,
      Cliff W4FT

  4. Pingback: W4FT on Amateur Radio » FT-1000MP Bad SWR metering, Antenna tuner & excess TX power problems – LPF board

  5. G.Wynne Evans says:

    W4FT

    Have a 12 year old FT1000MP.
    Intermittent transmit, only on 20 m.
    Decided to swap the TX/RXrelays for 20, on the same board that you have descibed in your article. Yor instructions were just what I needed to get at the relays in question, they are on the same board. They are situated a matter of inches from the relay you were replacing.
    At this moment I am about to start the unsoldering etc.
    Just a note of thanks, your article was just what I needed.
    Many Thanks,
    Wynne,
    GW3WWN Neath, South Wales.

  6. Frank Davis says:

    W4FT…my recent post on FT-1000MP Yahoo Groups

    My venerable Ft-1000mp has started to go silent on all bands. A touch of the
    key or PTT will bring the rx back to life. If left so some time it starts to go
    silent again … like there is 20db of attenuation in line with the antenna.

    I have tried both A& B coax connectors and the condition persists so I am
    concluding that the problem is not on the Antenna relay board which is just
    behind the coax jacks.

    I suspect T/R relay RL6016 on the LPF board is the cause….probably dirty
    contacts.

    Has anyone any further info on this issue that might help me eliminate the
    problem.

    73 Frank VO1HP

  7. w4ft says:

    Sounds like it might be the same problem, and yet, it sounds like you have more going on. My first advice: the service manual makes things much easier, but you might be able to do the repairs if you’re skilled and have the schematics that came with the radio. I’d start by verifying that the same relay has failed. This can be done by taking the tuner circuit out of the signal path and testing. To do this, you need to track down the internal coax connection upstream of the tuner, disconnect it, and connect it to a dummy load. You’ll have to open the radio up as described in the main post. Once you have the dummy load attached, set the power output down to zero, switch to CW and key the radio. Slowly turn the power up a little. If the only issue is the bad relay (the black one), then the power meter will come up as you turn the power up and the SWR reading will stay low (maybe not 1:1, but reasonable. If the problem is something else, the SWR will spike and the protection circuit will limit the power inversely to the SWR.

    You might find that the relay replacement fixes all the problems, is only a partial fix, or has nothing to do with your problems. There are several relays in the system, so if one of the others is bad, I’m not sure what the exact symptoms, or diagnosis for each would be. You’ll just have to start isolating problems and circuits until you identify the problem.

    If you don’t feel comfortable doing the work (and don’t know a local ham with the right skills), then you should send it out for repairs. I don’t know anyone to recommend but have two suggestions. The obvious is to contact Yaesu and ask them. The second (and I prefer) is to check the various yahoo (and other) groups for Yaesu, especially the FT1000MP list servers and ask them for a recommendation or for more advice. One of them is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FT-1000MP/

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

    73,
    W4FT

  8. Telesforo says:

    My FT1000-MP is exhibiting the same symptoms as yours’. I have good audio, extremely high SWR and power leds goes all the way to the extreme right meter. No power out as reflected in my Antenna Tuner meter. Sometimes I can hear a popping sound and the signal increase a bit, but I try to transmit and have the same conditions mentioned before. When I turn it off, I can hear a high popping audio sound on the speaker. I might probably can do the changes you performed on yours, ‘because I have done a lot of kits, been in ham radio for over 40 years, but these are my questions: 1. What do you think about these symptoms? 2. Would you suggest me a place to send my FT1000-MP for repairs (a trusty place)?
    Please advice.
    Tele
    KP4p

  9. Pingback: W4FT on Amateur Radio » MFJ-434 Voice Keyer setup for the FT-1000MP

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