6600 Fan - Disappointed

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  • Problem
  • Updated 10 months ago
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Ok, so I sent my 6600 in for the PEN update.

When it came back it rebooted continuously.  After looking inside I could hear the fan running rough and I put that in the HelpDesk notes.

Tim wonderfully granted me a priority return.  I returned it the same day.

Upon arrival yesterday (Monday) the 6600 was setup and run overnight and they could not reproduce the fan issue.

It appears it has already been transferred back to shipping with NOTHING being done since they cannot reproduce the issue.

I suggested they replace the fan.  Obviously, it had an issue here.  Yet it looks like they will ship my $3000 + radio back with the same fan simply because it could be duplicated.

This is quite disappointing personally as I figure the fan is like a $5 part.  They already spent $30 or more on shipping plus I've spent some as well and been out of the use of the radio for close to a week.

I am disappointed.  If the radio arrives and the fan fails I will replace it myself as I will have lost faith in the Flex repair and their actions in cases like this.

I am sorry.  I am venting but it just seems wrong.

I have been a devoted flex user but I am now beginning to doubt my 6600 choice.  I will have to see how it goes when it comes back.

Mark
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Mark WS7M

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Posted 10 months ago

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Burt Fisher

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talk directly to Tim or Mike I bet they will address your concern.
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K3SF

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FYI

one issue that has happened with the fan is a cable the falls into the fan blade area and keeps it from spinning..simple fix is an additional tie wrap to help secure it in place

this cable sometime moves when being shipped..as there are a few cables in that area.
and
depends on how many at UPS are playing "toss the flex" game  ;-)

i have a 6600M and have double checked this when i received mine back from the PEN update.



BRAG ON

still loving my 6600M...

helped me bag KH1/KH7Z on Baker Island both on CW and FT8
now at 330 worked with 329 confirmed..two more to go for HR

BRAG OFF  ;-)





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Mark - WS7M

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Well I wish mine had been cable. It was not. It sounded like a coffee grinder when running and it did run.

Now flex cannot dupe and I expect my radio is in shipping already. I will see how it looks when it gets here.

I do love the 6600. I am happy with it as a radio and generally speaking I am happy with flex and their service. But in this case I have a tough time with the tech knowing I reported the fan noise. Videoed the blinking red light and if I had been repairing I would have replaced the fan just to reduce the possibility of a return trip and at worst case I would have contacted me to say look we can’t dupe it. Do u want a new fan? It will be $19 or whatever.

So we shall see.
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Ed N5DG

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I agree , The Flex 6600 to much Fan Noise when first booted in the morning after being off all night . I was told the fan speed ramps up at 70C . I think mine ramps up much sooner 

Ed
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Hi Ed,
mine was not from speed, or a cable. It was from a grinding sound that slows the fan down enough to power down the radio. But it does not do it every time. Sounds like Mark's and my rig have the same issue. This is my second fan, the first one was replaced within weeks after getting the radio.

Dan
(Edited)
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Yeah Mark I hear you. That really does not sound right does it? I understand Flex not wanting to throw parts at something, I live that reality every day However, not replacing the fan in the context of this situation just does not add up. I wonder if shipping was presumptuous and got it wrong, or someone is not communicating effectively with shipping. I would certainly have the same reaction as you. I have met and conversed with Steve and Gerald multiple times at ham events, as well as Greg. They never seemed cavalier about their customers concerns. I would suspect Tim will have some information on this very soon. My radio arrives at Flex tomorrow. If I receive the same response from Flex that you have, then we will understand, and no explanation will be necessary.  How unfortunate this whole debacle has turned out to be for us and Flex. I purchased the 6600 because my experience with my 6500 was so perfect. I thought it would be even better with 2 SCU’s. Here’s hoping that this will all be cleared up soon and both us, and Flex will be satisfied.

73, Dan
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mikeatthebeach .

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Thumbs-up for Noctua fans: 

https://noctua.at/en/products/fan 

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Mark - WS7M

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Yup... I'm probably gonna figure out the equivalent and get one on order.
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Absolutely Mike, I only use Noctua on my builds. 

Dan
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Ed N5DG

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I would buy the Nactua fan but I'm not sure which one to buy? I also read they don't push enough air (CFM) ?  with a  slower fan speed . If I knew for sure of a fix, I'b buy and replace the fan
Ed N5DG

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ricky

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the way I fixed my flex was to put it back in the box take to next ham fest  put yaesu 5000 back on desk started to enjoy ham radio again 
I have neve seen such a cheap made radio has flex 
power poles want stay in
speaker in the rig sucks and what happen to the fuse I mean come on take the top of radio off just to check a fuse 
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Mark - WS7M

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I think you are dead wrong. In general my flex radios have been very well designed built and functional.

The issue I’m griping about is part of the growing pains with any new line. Still it is frustrating.

But I recall when I sent my icom back to the repair center and it was gone close to 3 months. I also had a Ken wood many years ago that had to go back to Japan.

So a week or so for flex is nothing. Glad your 5000 works for u!
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KM6CQ - Dan

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I had a F3K that was repaired under warranty. It had a issue and they replaced some chip in it. It was never clear exactly what it is was. What it did was make something that looked like a demon moving around the waterfall but not on the spectrum scope. I was quite happy with Flex on that. It was only gone a few weeks.  I have had a few Icoms fail and they were back quickly from warranty as well. The Y company, not so much satisfaction from.

Dan
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Rick WN2C

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I don't think I have ever had a fuse blow on a radio, inline or otherwise. Yes I have had voltage drop due to oxidation but can't remember replacing a blown fuse. Maybe I'm just lucky!?
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Official Response
Mark (WS7M),

I see that you posted this complaint to the Community last night at 22:00 CDT our time.  Below is John's response to your ticket today.  If anyone has a request, concern, or complaint, we would appreciate the courtesy of communicating back through the help desk system so that we have the opportunity to thoughtfully consider and respond.  We are normally able to respond within one business day and will make every effort within reason to address your issues.

Respectfully,
Gerald, K5SDR

John PattersonToday ‪01:40 pm‬(assign)
Hello Mark,
My apologies for the delayed response. Once I submit the RMA ticket to shipping I no longer have viewing access to it. Shipping shared with me your request and I just now saw your response. Normally it is not our protocol to replace non-failing parts but I will be happy to make the exception for your piece of mind. I'll pull your radio back into service and install a new fan and we'll do one last test and get it shipped out today. 
Thanks for being a valued Flex customer. 
Regards,
John
John Patterson
Service Center
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Mark WS7M

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Hi Gerald,

I will formally apologize. 

However I was frustrated and while I am a software guy and love to use help desks it seemed like the help desk, as John first specified in the help desk thread, was a done deal.  IE it was moved to shipping, not  reproducible and it felt like once that happened it was closed.

While you may not believe it I feel that my willingness to post my disappointment is a chance for Flex to understand the source of that disappointment and improve.

In this particular case, we have a 2x transit of a very expensive radio.  On arrival at Flex the problem cannot be reproduced.  I'm honestly a little frustrated that when it was not reproducible that I was not emailed, called, or notified.  The only notification I got was the help desk.

First this was posted at the end of a long response from John that I do appreciate:

"At this time the only thing I can do is simply send back your radio and let you test it out again in your shack. If it works...great! If it doesn't work...then we'll have a better chance troubleshooting it with a repeatable failure. "

Then literally 1 minute later it is moved to shipping with this response:

"The service performed on your product under RMA 25661 has been completed. Please see the disposition below.

Problems / Issues Found:The following issues were found during the problem assessment phase of the service request:

1. Unable to duplicate customer reported problems. Please see detailed explanation in previous email communication."

So I really had NO CHANCE I felt to interact.  I posted my help desk requests a day went by then finally I get a response from John that you posted above.

It was during this "unknown" time that I began to get frustrated and started this thread.

Like I say, I apologize, but I do feel my actions were a little warranted.  Yes I could call, but I am busy too.   

So hopefully this is the end of this and we can move on.

Mark




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Neal Pollack, N6YFM

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Again...   Excellent Service :-)

I have never seen any ham customer get a personal/public reply from the head of Icom, Yaesu, or Kenwood.  Buy U.S.A. where possible. The local team seems to really care.
[But I still like my Icom 7300 - Just not as much as my Flex....]

Neal
(Edited)
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Ed N5DG

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I started contacting Flex Radio Systems Tue. 08/07/18 at 9:10 AM and was told someone would return my call that day or today Wen. Tim contacted me via Email , I explained I would rather talk on the phone .... I called FRS back again on Tue at 4:30 PM and was told someone would call me Wednesday   08'/08 , I have not heard for anyone ! I'm a 28 day old customer , Is this how it's going to be ?  Above Gerald states :  We are normally able to respond within one business day and will make every effort within reason to address your issues. .. He did say Normally .
Ed N5DG
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Mark - WS7M

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I want to set the record straight...

First I have owned 6 flex radios:

1500 - Interested me enough to get a 6300
6300 - Upgraded to a 6500 on Tim's recommendation and the upgrade plan

Life took a change, sold the 6500.  Bought a 7300.  Nice radio but NOT a flex

Decided life change was not so bad:  Bought a pre-owned 6500.

Upgraded to 6600
Sold 6500 to local friend ham when I got my 6600

Bought a pre-owned 6300 as a Field Day, portable rig

When my 6600 comes back I will have 2 flex radios in the shack, a 6600 and a 6300.

I am a devoted customer.  But I am human.  When my 6600 went back for PEN I was happy.  Flex was doing what I think Flex does best.  Taking care of it.

It arrived back to me DOA.  Well it would boot, run for a while then shutdown and blink the red light.

I am a tech type guy.  I build gear, build computers, write software in C# for a living, and do Ham radio and electrical repairs in my home.   I know a bad fan when I hear one.  This was not a firmware problem, it was a bad fan.

It was plainly obvious to me listening to it.  Yet upon sending it back to flex they could not dupe the problem.   But in my book a fan is the most likely to go and when a customer reports the fan could be bad why would you risk another round trip shipment at both parties cost when you could put in the $10 or $15 fan right then and there?

Flex, Gerald, I will gladly pay you for an hour of service time and the cost the fan.  I don't freaking care!  The radio is more than $3000.  Why would I care about a possible $100 service charge + a fan.   I just would have liked to have been given the option.

My complaint here was not about Flex as a whole.  I think my history speaks for itself.  I have bought almost nothing but Flex radios in the last 3 years.  In my opinion there is absolutely no better radio out there.

My complaint is simply that in this case, with a radio that JUST CAME BACK from a PEN, DOA return that Flex would not go the extra few steps to call me tell me it was working fine and ask what I would like to do.  My answer would have been at the time:  Replace the fan.  If you want to charge me for it fine.

So in setting the record straight.  Flex is a great company.  Yes you get personal replies from the president of Flex but I do think by the tone of his reply he is not very happy with me for posting this thread.   So Gerald, again, I apologize.  I am frustrated and want to get past this.

But I do think this did not go as well as it could have.  If I'm now on some Flex black list for speaking out then once again I will apologize.  I think however there are lessons to be learned from this:

1) Perhaps in the Flex 7000 series Flex could consider a fan mount that is user replaceable.  Would save some in shipping.   Considering I know of both the 6500 fans that died as well as another 6400 user with a dead fan, one that happened literally a day after getting my 6600 back with a bad fan, it seems to indicate these are a weak link.  Certainly not worth any redesign, but in future designs at least consider the fans being on the back or in a place where they can be removed and replaced easily.

2) In the mean time, in service, if you cannot dupe the problem especially on a priority RMA but really on any RMA, instead of moving it right to shipping and return, perhaps an email or a call to the customer is warranted.  I can't speak for others but for this personal attention I will pay flex for their time even though this might be under warranty, I get that it takes time, effort and manpower.  So charge me something but do what I ask rather than just ship it back.

It seems that my fan has been replaced and the radio is back on its way.  Fingers crossed UPS does not drop it from their airplane deck to the ground or something.  Actually that should be item number three:

3) Mark the boxes fragile.  In fact for me I would pay extra to have one of those G monitors on the box and request of UPS that G forces be kept below some value.   Although I do think when those monitors are on the box it is almost like a contest by the workers to see just how high they can get it to read.  LOL

So with that being said, Tim please close and lock this post.  I think I'm done ranting and I can only hope my dealing with Flex are over for a while.

Mark - WS7M


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Wayne

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Well said Mark, i pointed out the pros and cons of , my 6400M in the eham review i done in june i believe it was, you are not the first to have service done then have issues afterward with qc or lack of it. You should have been given the option to have it replaced even at a charge while it was there, i mean do they think the customer is hearing things, if they did then your video should have proved it. They just seem to be awful quick to get things in and out without full qc testing even on new units, unfortunately now the eu customers are having issues also at a far greater delay and cost because of the qc results.

Just like where I work never enough time to do it right the first time but always plenty of time to have to do it over again.
(Edited)
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Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

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Mark, not to belabor the point too much, but I would like to provide a little behind-the-scenes perspective on your ticket.  John is a new employee and has been working with us just a few months, but is doing fantastic work in our service department.  John pulled me aside a few days ago to discuss your radio (before his "could not duplicate" post in the ticket).  I spent probably 15 minutes working with your radio (after John had spent quite a bit of time) and we tried several things to make it fail and exhausted all our ideas. 

While I'm not saying this is the situation in your case, it is not terribly uncommon to get a radio in with a customer-stated problem, us not be able to duplicate it and then after returning to the customer, our customer finds a problem in their shack that has nothing to do with the radio.  Since this happens fairly regularly, this is always in the back of our minds as a possibility.  It is not lost on any of us that customer skills vary with the range spanning everything from complete newbie to seasoned engineer and for those that are technically inclined it is very insulting for us to re-suggest that the problem might be "on your end."  Having said this, both the rebooting and the fan noise could be the result of power issues to the radio and so our "best guess" after not being able to duplicate it was that you have a power supply issue.  If this is the problem, you may still have the issue when the radio returns.

Everyone in every radio shop far prefers a solid "it's broken" to anything intermittent or "broke at customer site, works in lab."  These are the hard things to find, especially if they turn out to have some environmental component that is different in the two locations.  I do understand that the post John made might have looked "flippant" or dismissive, but I assure you John is a very thorough, detail-oriented person and after he exhausted his brain on the problem, he got others involved and all of us were(are) stumped.  Your point about the communications is a good one (instant message about transfer to shipping) and we'll discuss that and improve as we always do.

Hey, thanks for being a loyal customer and let us know if you have any other issues.

73, 
Steve
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Mark - WS7M

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Hi Steve,

Thank you for your insight and I appreciate the time to write.

First, I'm 61 years old.  I've been doing electronics, fixture design, and software for 40 of those 61 years.   Trust me when I say I totally get your points.

I literally have had the customer call where they say "It doesn't work".  And after 20 minutes of on the phone troubleshooting you finally ask the customer the obvious, did you plug it in?  Is the power cord going from the box to the wall or to a power strip?  Only to get the answer "I didn't know it needed to be plugged in".  This from a PhD in some semi technical field.

So I get it.  I have also worked with other users that could not figure out where the power button was.  So you need to go no further on that.  

I am an electrical engineer by training, I spent the vast majority of my career designing, building, and writing software for Bio-Medical equipment some of which required FDA class 2.    I too COMPLETELY PREFER the unit that is simply broken versus the unit where the customer says "its broken" or that arrives back and works perfectly.

Also if John is reading / listening or you will convey this to him, please understand I harbor no bad feelings over this toward him specifically.  Hey... I was new to everything once myself.  We all are.   So thank you to John for working on this. 

I also get that sometimes "procedures and policies" can get in the way of customer satisfaction.  You guys are running a business.  Not giving out free fans to every radio customer.  So yes, "not throwing parts at something" I get.

As far as power supply issues, I will certainly check that out.  However my system has both a linear 35A powersupply and a large sealed battery going through a rig-runner so there should be no power dropouts.  The battery is brand new.

I have a remote voltage monitoring circuit on the mains and it is reporting 13.8 volts with a 7 day max of 14.0 and minimum of 13.4.  I have calibrated this circuit and I trust it.   

I also have my 6300 plugged in exactly where the 6600 was initially when it first started the reboot cycle.  The 6300 is going on 7 days now of continuous up.

I will put my scope on the DC mains and ensure they are quiet.   Also I will point out that when the 6600 started its reboot cycle I powered it down.  I moved it inside to my workbench and powered it from my lab supply, also calibrated.  I had removed the cover at that point and while on the lab supply with the cover removed was when I could easily hear the fan noise and it continued to reboot even in this condition.

I am going to venture that these Aero Cool fans can get "bumped".  It scares me to consider this but I am now suspecting that the radio and box received a hard enough drop from UPS to some how dislodge the fan rotor.

I say this because my box did have one corner that was slightly depressed.  

I will check power.  And I will hope that upon return the fan is solid.

Thanks again Gerald, Steve, John.

Mark
(Edited)
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Joe N3HEE

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FYI - I am having the same issue with my certified pre-owned 6600M I just received this past Monday ( 8/13/18).  The first time I powered it up the fan started ginding away within minutes!  The radio shuts down every 2.5 minutes like clock work with red flasing light.  I am working with Tim to resolve the issue.  I'm hoping a new fan will resolve this issue.  BTW- I did some research on the fan that was in my unit (AeroCool Shark) and it seems lots of people are reporting having issues with the bearings going bad prematurely.  I will look for a higher quality fan once Flex gives air flow requirements.  In the mean time I went ahead and ordered a replacement (on my dime) of the same kind to see if I can get the radio playing again quickly without sending it back to Flex.  Yes, I am impatient !  I have to say I am pretty disappointed with the situation, but Tim has been on the ball with quick responses and excellent customer care.  I will check voltages tonight and report back to Tim for next steps.  It looks like the fan can be replaced in the field but may not be easy as it is pretty tight in the bottom left mounting area.  Wish me luck !
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Don't get ahead of Tim or it makes it very hard to help you, all in steps.
He may ask you to open the case to make sure a wire is not rubbing on the fan.
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Joe N3HEE

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Yeah we have been down that road already.  Nothing rubbing on the fan.  It is exactly what the guys in this thread are reporting.  I am following Tim's lead.  Been enjoying my 6600M 2 minutes at a time !  LOL
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Joe, the repairs on radios at Flex has been pretty fast for the most part, lately, a one day turn around. If it goes back it won't be gone too long I bet.
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Mark WS7M

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Well in my opinion this makes 3 fans in a very short period of time with issues.   Joe mentions he has researched and there are fan issues with Aerocool.  

So I think the point of my thread is still valid.  This should be considered by flex as it is very expensive both for the user and Flex to have to send radios back and forth for fans that clearly have a problem.

Joe I will be very interested if you do a self fan install.  I have started to look for a better fan but not spent much time on it so far.

I will say that my fan which sounded like a coffee grinder worked fine at flex so perhaps the rotors can slip out of position or something?
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Bill -VA3WTB

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but you don't want to change anything under warranty.
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Joe N3HEE

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The whole bearing housing on my Flex 6600M fan moves in an out (lots of play) which is not how any of my other computer fans are.  Almost seems like something is missing.  If you spin it by hand it will growl once moving fast enough.  I tried to see if the blades are running true but hard to tell without removing the fan.  I have read numerous reports from computer  users on this same issue.  I will take instruction from Flex as to not void the warranty.  However, if this can be fixed in the field everyone wins !  I am also a tech guy and consider myself a pretty good troubleshooter. 

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Bill -VA3WTB

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I wonder if there is a spacer missing? or lock ring?
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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"If you spin it by hand it will growl once moving fast enough"

That is a defective fan. Sounds to me like bad bearing or seal.

(Edited)
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Joe N3HEE

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The new fan arrived last night and it fixed my issue.  I am sending the old fan back to Flex for an autopsy.  I also suggested they should consider looking into a higher quality fan as the AeroCool may have reliability issues.  Thanks to Tim for outstanding customer support.  Problem solved in 48 hours.  Having fun with the radio!!  -Joe N3HEE
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Joe, what was the fan like to work on? I would be interested to know what is wrong with the bad fan,,a missing spring clip, spacer? if so, then they can be fixed in the field.
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Joe N3HEE

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I have permission from Flex to install the fan.  I will install the fan tonight or tomorrow.  It is a very tight space to work in but I am confident from eyeballing the fan mounting bracket that I can do it without removing the front panel.  It mounts using long rubber  studs that act as shock absorbers which dampen any minor vibration from the fan.  I will post after I get it installed.  In comparing the new fan with the bad one I dont think anything is missing from the bad fan.  It was just a case of a worn bearing.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I was wondering because it was reported that the fans were able to slide sidways in the housing. In this case a spring clip would be missing inside to hold the fans in place. This can not be seen without opening up the housing by removing the end cap.
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Joe N3HEE

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I will let Flex tear into the bad fan.  However, there is quite a bit of sideways play. 
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rjguidrysr

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This is the best service with top management view of any vendor I know of!
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Joe N3HEE

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I installed the new fan and all went well.  It was easy to replace.  The only tools required are a #8 Torx head screw driver and a medium Phillips head screw driver. Took about 30 minutes.  Remove top and bottom covers.  You have to also remove the feet and kick stands to remove the bottom cover.  Unplug the fan power cord from motherboard and fish the wire through the chassis separator panel hole.  Remove fan by pulling outward on each corner of the fan to release the rubber mounting grommets.  Leave the grommets attached to the fan mounting plate as they will be used to mount the new fan.  Route new fan wire to motherboard and fold up excess fan wire on the side of the fan.  Mount new fan using existing rubber grommets by pulling each of the four rubber grommets through mounting holes on fan.  At this point I tested the to make sure the fan was operating normally. Put top and bottom covers back on.  The old fan has been sent back to Flex for examination.  -Joe N3HEE
(Edited)