Thursday, April 21, 2022

почта from Russia: Fixing the FT-897 Display

FT-897 replacement display

As the Hudson River Radio Relay event gets ever closer, I wanted to finally get around to fixing the "zebra stripes" on my Yaesu FT-897 display so that it would be easier to use again in the field while on Bannerman's Island as N2B on June 11th.

Replacement LCD display modules and controller sourcing for this 18+ year old radio has not been easy. Luckily, there is an enterprising amateur named Aleksey in Russia who has designed a replacement and it only cost around $60 USD.

When Yaesu designed the mobile FT-857 and the multi use FT-897 radios, roughly 10 years later many users started to suffer display issues like pictured below. Now my radio was ready for a facelift! 

Not all, but many Yaesu FT-857 and FT-897
have suffered from "zebra striping" on the LCD displays

The bad news is when I finally found out about the miracle replacement display,  there were some issues starting to take shape in February 2022 in the region, which I shall not yet name.

Quickly, Aleksey rushed to the post office to hopefully get the package out of country before worse things could happen. After weeks of lead up, Russian military crossed the Ukrainian borders on February 24th. 

Display has arrived. Now what?

Amazingly, the two piece kit made it across the United States in only 3 days according to USPS after its 48 day customs event between Russia and the destination. Here is what arrived, well packed in bubble wrap. Thanks Aleksey R3ZI! 

FT-897 replacement display
The new LCD with attached ribbon cable along with the
new LCD controller on flexible PCB with connector thanks to R3ZI

After dissembling the front  of the FT-897 and separating it entirely from the radio body, all else was needed to remove the seemingly infinite number of screws holding the control board to the face.

It was rather easy to access the old LCD display and start preparing for surgery.

FT-897 replacement display
The old LCD display still set within the
white plastic holder prior to removal

FT-897 replacement display
Tilting the display up exposed the ribbon cable and the
connections which will need to be desoldered carefully 

I used a hot air SMD rework station to remove the old ribbon connections since I wanted to be careful to not lift off any of of the PCB traces on the main display board of the FT-897D.  I could have just as easily used a standard pencil iron, but when you have the means.....

Extraction was a success and a little clean up was needed to prepare for the new display controller to be attached.

FT-897 replacement display
A little more clean up was needed and what appears to be
a missing trace was intentionally blank.  Sigh of relief

I took some solder flux and solder paste and prepared the surface to receive the new flexible controller.

A quick wave of the hot air tool melted the solder into all the right places and the moment of truth in restoring display visibility was now one step closer.  

The new flexible PCB with controller is connected and now just waiting for the ribbon cable for the LCD to be attached and the radio to be reassembled. A thin bead of hot glue was put over the connections for extra security.

FT-897 replacement display

Pushing the power button

I was confident in my work and decided to just put everything back together and not try to do some sort of  "preliminary" power up test to see if everything worked the way it should.   

The moment after getting the radio fully re-assembled, applying power, connecting antenna and then taking a breath before pushing the power button was met with success as shown below. 

Thanks for reading and my goal was to NOT do some sort of step by step video or make it easy for you to find out where and from whom I sourced the display, but I promise you that this info is easy to find and is an easy project if you plan carefully.  

Hope to catch some of you from Bannerman's Island via this radio on June 11th.  Will be focusing on 17m SSB and 17m digital modes most likely as part of the N2B station.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We really do not want to moderate comments, so lets keep it easy to use until it becomes an issue.