Flex Down! (6300 - Fan)

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  • Updated 11 months ago
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Just reporting in that I too am apparently having fan issues with my 6300. I've read up on the issue and know my options (i.e. Help Desk vs self replace, if the fans can be sourced), so just sharing my experience.  Last night, after a (rare) shutdown, the radio would try to boot up, and then power off on its own.  This was accompanied by groaning noises from one of the fans.

I went through the fan cleaning procedure (https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115001282823-How-to-properly-clean-the-FLEX-6000-Co...) and tried again; same problem, and same noises.  It was pretty clear that the problem fan is one of the 50MM FPGA fans.

I found that in my case, if I waited for the radio to automatically power off (fail to boot)  and then immediately power it back on, it would boot up and stay running.  Its almost like the fan won't spin up fully from a dead stop, but if I can power it back on before it stops spinning, it works - and I'm hearing no fan noise.  That's kept my radio up for ~10 hours now.  My understanding is that the radio is well protected and will shut itself off if the fan slows back down, so I'm going to let it run.

The radio is just over 2 years old, runs almost 24x7 and is located in a normal home environment (in my shack, on a desk with numerous other radios).  

Rick
K7FYI
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Rick, K7FYI

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Posted 1 year ago

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Pat N6PAT

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I've read a number of posts here where ops say that they run the Flex 24/7. I'd like to hear from Flex if this is advisable and how it impacts fan (and other hardware) lifespan.

I usually have my 6700 on for most of the day but power off when I'm not at home. I never leave it running overnight unless I'm pulling an all nighter for a contest.
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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The most stress put on a fan is during power-up, as it has to overcome the inertia of going from off to spinning at full speed. If you are not concerned about the power consumption (yes, Bert, I know you are HI HI), leaving the radio on will not hasten the lifespan of the fans.  I use several different FLEX-6000s (and a FLEX-5000 too) daily for support purposes.  They stay on 7x24 except when I'll be away for business or vacation or in the event of a thunderstorm. I have replaced the 6700 CPU/FPGA fans once, late last year, in the 6 years I have been running that radio.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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 Since this indicates you have a hardware issue and issues of this type are not resolved using the COmmunity, I have converted this topic to a support HelpDesk ticket (http://helpdesk.flexradio.com) for expedited issue resolution.  Please respond using the HelpDesk ticket for issue resolution.
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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For what it's worth, I power my down when I am not using it and disconnect, power, antenna, and ethernet cables. I have pigtails on all the connectors so I am not wearing out the rig's connectors. 
I like my rig too much to not make the effort.
73,
Bob, WK2Y
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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My 6700 has run 24/7/365 for several years. I did add a $10 laptop cooler below it so the fans are rarely stressed.

Yes Burt I am 100% solar(20.6 KW) so power is not an issue
(Edited)
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Bill English

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Howard what is the part number on that laptop cooler?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I am 6000 miles away so I can’t look at it. I’ve got one for $10 at the dollar stores but there are dozens of them available on Amazon. I have been powering it from the USB port on the radio for a few years now. Tim does not recommend doing that
(Edited)
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Pat N6PAT

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Leaving the radio on for long periods when not in use seems like a very wasteful thing to do. Why would you waste all that electricity just to reduce startup stress on the fan? That would be like leaving your car running 24/7 to reduce startup stress on the engine. I have a Tokyo Hy Power amp that I turn on and off dozens of times a day and have not had any issues with the fan. Same goes for the power supply

My Flex stays on  most of the day only because I use it most of the day. I power it off when I go out or stay off the air for any extended period.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I am 100% solar(20.6 KW) so power is not an issue

Back in the old days when I was working on ruggedizing equipment we found that the heat stress from turning equipment on and off was the major cause of failure. Hence I. Have always left electronics running 24/7/365 and had superiorlife experience compared to on and off usage.
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Pat N6PAT

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Something you may or may not realize about solar power. The majority of solar radiation that reaches Earth is normally radiated back out into space. When you absorb solar energy and use it to power things that energy is in turn transformed into heat which contributes to global warming


Here's an interesting article about it:


"Previous studies have shown that both solar arrays and wind farms have the potential to cause regional changes in temperature and precipitation by altering the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the Earth or disrupting local airflow patterns."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/11/02/surprising-study-finds-that-sol...
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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If you had actually bi=othered to read the article Several of the options discussed lead to global cooling not warming

In all cases but they were in the simulations effective solar panel’s so minimal level affectively be lost In the. Noise.

I drive a Tesla and have install solar panels not because it affects anything on the global scale because it made economic sense to do so
(Edited)
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Pat N6PAT

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People that drive electric cars think they are doing the environment some good but just where do you think that electricity comes from? Usually from coal or nuke power plants.

The only difference between electric cars and gas cars is where the pollution ends up. With gas cars the pollution is local. With electric cars the pollution is located at the power plant so someone else is choking on the exhaust fumes from the coal fired power plant while the person driving the electric car powered by the coal fired power plant is enjoying smog free air.

Another factor is the transmission of the power along power lines from the generating plant to the charging station. Power is lost during that transmission along power lines so it's not as efficient as you might think.

I'm not an environmental activist by any means but I feel compelled to point this out as it is often overlooked for the sake of doing trendy planet friendly activities..
(Edited)
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Bob Gerzoff, WK2Y

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https://www.theguardian.com/football/ng-interactive/2017/dec/25/how-green-are-electric-cars

A nice overview of the complexities involved, but we probably need to drop the topic.Not  exactly Flex related.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Enjoying ur pontification

My power is100% solars for my car. I have a 20.6 kw solar array. So none of ur pontifying is relevant PLUS I NEVER BOUGHT EITHER FOR SO CALLED ENVIRONMENTAL REASONS WHICH ARE MOSTLY FEEL GOOD NONSENSE

I bought the Tesla because it was the fastest production car for the price and the solar because it was less costly than buying power from the utility.

By the way. I am saving about $5,000 a year not buying gasoline.
(Edited)
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Delbert McCord

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WOW saving 416$ a month on gas, you must live on the road! I have a few solar panels I play with. 2000 watts and I got them to save money and to have a safe way to run a expensive piece of equipment for work I used to run 24/7. When the storms come I switched it over to the off grid (battery bank) and just kept on working until the storms passed. I have semi retired and my Son has much better equipment for our company and I still have the solar panels and the old battery bank. I even had a forklift that I got (small one) that I charged on solar (60 amps) and it went 4 years without ever being plugged into the grid. Solar is fun to play with for sure, I do not subscribe to the global warming nonsense.  When I use my Flex, its running on battery / Solar power depending on if the sun is up or not.
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Wayne

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Yea but I saved more than you by not spending so much for my car your gas savings can never get close to that. savings.
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Mark K1LSB

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You may be right, but is your car Tesla-quick?  Hey, just asking.  :)

If fuel economy was the only reason to buy a car, there wouldn't be any Corvettes or Porsches.  But there would still be Teslas.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Wayne. - Money is not a major issue in my decision except that cars with better performance cost over $1MM.

The Tesla is the least expensive sedan I have bought in the past 20+ years yet it is by far the quickest.

I don’t enjoy driving slow uncomfortable clunkers any more than I enjoy using blind legacy radios.

As I said I bought it for performance per $ and as an unintended side benefit it saves $5,00 per year in gas.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@delbert I live in Taxifornia. Premium gas runs over $4/gal A car with reasonable performance gets maybe 15-20MPG. Grandkids are 300 and 1200 miles Round trip. We babysit a lot. Easy to SPEND $400+ a month on gas. Tesla is free fuel.
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Michael Coslo

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I am considering the purchase of one of the electric motorcycles. I took a test ride on one while getting my VTC Spirit 1100 inspected.  It costs a little over a penny per mile, and I could charge it either off the $159 solar panels from Harbor Freight, or plug it into the wall.  As well, it is hold onto the handlebars fast leave your stomach where you started fast. Just a data point. All of the wall warts and Air conditioners are a lot bigger problem than Teslas. And that Motorcycle isn't even in the noise, it's about 100 db below it for consumption.
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Michael Coslo

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I am considering the purchase of one of the electric motorcycles. I took a test ride on one while getting my VTC Spirit 1100 inspected.  It costs a little over a penny per mile, and I could charge it either off the $159 solar panels from Harbor Freight, or plug it into the wall.  As well, it is hold onto the handlebars fast leave your stomach where you started fast. Just a data point. All of the wall warts and Air conditioners are a lot bigger problem than Teslas. And that Motorcycle isn't even in the noise, it's about 100 db below it for consumption.
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Mark K1LSB

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@Howard

"blind legacy radios"  -- best post of the day!  You should copyright that phrase.

That right there is the only reason anyone needs to buy a Flex.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Michael.
I ride E-Bikes here in France and the USA. only 250W motor in France and 350W motor in the USA. In the market for a faster E-Bike (1000W) for the USA. But even on my 250 W I can keep up with bike racers on legacy mechanical bikes.

Haven’t rode a E Motorcycle yet. But I am sure they are quick.
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k3Tim

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Electric motor cycle would be interesting. This would be an interesting E-motor for a bike:
https://www.siemens.com/innovation/en/home/pictures-of-the-future/mobility-and-motors/electromobilit...

350 hp (260KW) in a 50Kg (110#) package. Or put one on each wheel of that Tesla.

_..--
k3Tim
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Michael Coslo

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I know we're drifting way off topic here, but everyone is having fun. E-bikes are a coming thing, and yeah the new e-Motorcycles are fast. This one has an eco and sports mode, mainly to let noobs get used to them. Grabbing a handful of throttle in sports mode is not for people who aren't used to them. Anyhow, they have a three phase motor, no gears - no drivetrain other than motor to rear wheel. I love my big twin, but I see one of these in my future. Plus my better half didn't balk at the price.
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Craig Williams

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Back in the days when I was a computer consultant I would see fans that made noise and even fans completely stuck. The sleeve bearings dry out. One side of them has a rubber plug covering the sleeve. I carried a hypodermic needle filled with light oil and used it to inject a few drops of oil on to the bearing through the rubber plug. ( Don't know if the fans in the 6000's are mounted plug up or plug down? ) 90% of the time this solved the problem and the fan would run for years more.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Craig, I mentioned this a long time ago about lubricating the fans just like you mentioned, but I was mostly ignored, even if you have to remove them to do it. There are a few good u tubes showing how this is done. I know if my fans stop I will try this first.
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k3Tim

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I saved a 'frozen'  FPGA fan from a 6500 that was swapped out with a new one. Taking Craig + Bill's suggestion I was able to repair it. The backside sticker (the one without the label) peels off exposing a tiny white nylon C-clip. Prying this off carefully allows the fins to be removed and complete access for cleaning. It was all cleaned up, looked like new. The axle and sleeve bearing were cleaned and some Krytox teflon grease used as the lubricant. This should last many years. Putting the C-clip back in place is tedious but a small hollow metal tube made it easy. A ballpoint pen refill (open end) did the trick.

The fan runs smoothly and starts with as little as 3-VDC. 
Thanks for the tip Craig and Bill...

_..--
k3Tim / 7
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Michael Coslo

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Anyone know what the fans are lubed with at the factory? Haven't had an issue with mine, but I always try to ressurect before sending back to the factory.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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3&1 oil is fine.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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My home QTH radio (either a 6700 or the 6600M) stay on 24/7

My Island QTH radio gets turned on when we arrive and stays on 24/7 until we depart, though that is usually 24/3 these days ( <put sad face here> ).

In comparison of either location's power consumption the additional power usage for 24/7 is trivial.  Truly trivial. 

And yes I am not going to dig in a spring-fed milk house to replace the true energy monster, the fridge, nor dig in an earth berm ice house cutting chunks of winter ice to tame the other monster the freezer. 

YMMV but I'm able to remote in anytime at will the way I'm driving my bus...

73

Steve K9ZW

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Pat N6PAT

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The Flex allows remote operators to power up/down the rig from a remote location via an internet switch. Seems to me that the intention of this design feature is to avoid needing the rig powered up all the time.


Here's an article from Tim on the subject:

https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/202847169-Remote-Power-On-Options-for-the-FLEX-6000
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Rick, K7FYI

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Circling back...  HUGE kudos to Tim and the Flex team for taking care of this under warranty!  I got my radio back today, and am completely impressed with the level of service.  THANK YOU to you and the rest of the team that took in my radio.  

I was prepared to try to source the parts myself, but when Tim reached out, I took him up on it.  I was only out one-way shipping, which is fine.  I know they also checked the rest of the radio out while it was there, so it was worth it.

Tim:  I owed you and your team "Superb!" marks on the ticket, but it was closed when I tried the link (I intended to wait until I actually got it back, but the link was already closed).  THANK YOU!

Rick
K7FYI
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Mark K1LSB

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And kudos to you for taking the initiative to give credit where credit is due.

Mark  K1LSB
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Rick W7YP

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The trick you mentioned to 'kick start' the 50mm fans with a quick power off/on cycle worked a couple of times for me and then never again.  I just experienced by second FPGA fan failure in 18 months and filed another trouble ticket.  Sigh...
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Joe N9VX

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Was this a second radio or the same one that failed?

Joe  N9VX
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Jim K4JAF

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Fan problems with the 6300, 6500 have been common occurances in the past.  They can be replaced by the user if your willing to order OEM replacements.. 
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k3Tim

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Or take the fan apart, clean the spindle / bearing and relube with Krytox. It's easy to do and many videos showing the procedure.