see if both of your heatsinks are in place and have not fallen off. Here are some photos to look at.
When they are used in a Flex radio, they are used in a very sensitive application.
The only reason Flex uses heat sinks is for the needs of the radio. It must stay under a certain temp to allow the best performance of the radio. any cooler temp other than the target running temp has little to no benefit. So it has been determined that the corrective action allows for much more cooling then needed.
As many of you have read, Heat Sink are falling off on the new Icom IC-7610 radio... Lets see how Icom responds to this.. They are just now beginning to gather serial numbers of the affected radios,, However only those who read the blog will even know about it,, I am sure their are hundreds if not thousands world wide who have no idea what is going on..
Flex notified all its customers , all of them and that is what first class customer service is.. My experience with Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood, is they do not do recalls or send out TSP by email.. If someone reports an issue, and it is under warranty, they just respond by telling the customer to send it to the repair center... But it is the Customer, not ICOM who must be proactive!
An acceptable level is a level where, when at the top of the specified outside operating temperature, at end of life, the A/D performance does not degrade the sensitivity. Right now I am looking at both antenna ports (Ant 1 & Ant 2) of my 6600M and there is a 35dB difference in the noise in a 500Hz bandwidth measured with the S meter dBm level, with no antenna connected! The heat sink on antenna 1 has fallen off and the A/D has degraded the performance by 35dB! Has the chip been damaged by the temperature rise. It must be to have degraded the performance by 35 dB!
If you have a noise floor problem check one antenna input against the other. If there is a difference it is the heat sink!!!! Even if the heat sink has not fallen off it may be loose and you will see a difference in noise floors. Comment on this post with your findings. It will be interesting what the differences between the two antenna ports are.
Gerald- K5SDR said in reference to putting the new heat sink on the back of the board:
The back of the board is a much better thermal sink that the chip top, which is plastic. The chip is designed to sink through a thermal pad to the ground plane under the part. The bottom of the board is solid ground plane. We measure the results with an infrared thermal camera.
If that is the case then why was it designed with the heat sink on top of the chip in the first place and did the original design result in overheating the components by not providing enough protection?
Also wayne suite brought up a good point:
Bill if the heatsinks for the chips are left off for so many other applications I dont understand why they are so necessary and if they are so necesary then its more than prudent to say the chips when heated must have been affected or damaged if the symptoms we are seeing cause the radio to go deaf. Its kinda like overheating your engine and causing the block to crack after it cools down the engine will still run buts its no longer reliable with the white smoke coming out. Of course the adcs dont have smoke coming out but there is no way to determine the internal damage thats been done to the adc by being overheated.
If the heat sinks are required to avoid damage how can anyone be certain that their radios did not suffer some amount of damage while the heat sink was detached? Many owners say they keep their radios powered up 24/7 so shouldn't they be concerned about possible damage that may have occurred? How long can a radio be powered up safely with the heat sink detached?
Would it be prudent for Flex to replace the boards to ensure that no future problems develop due to any overheating experienced while the heat sink was detached?What is the cost of replacing one of those boards ?
If I owned one of the affected radios I would certainly be requesting new boards.
The sky is not
falling and it’s not the end of the world. It’s a small problem
and so far FRS has addressed it so let’s all take a deep breath and
relax it’s technology and humans are not perfect. There are recalls
and engineering updates all the time by companies at least in this
case it’s not a gas pedal getting stuck or an airbag blowing up in
I am no design engineer but if the new heatsink works well then there is nothing to worry about. From what I can figure the only time the ADC chip temp has the potential to rise out of the safe zone is when the user has the Preamp enabled in SmartSDR (+8, +16, +24 +32dB) because it pushes the chip a bit harder.
As for me I think I
will install the new PEN heatsink on the back of the board and clean
and re attach the original heatsink to the chip top again using
quality thermal adhesive. Then it will be even better cooling. 2
heatsinks are better than 1!
I think a solution
that most of could live with is after we all have the PEN update done
if within in 2-3 years we start to see numbers of ADC boards failing
that FRS will offer free replacement boards.
I’m just glad that
FRS did not try to cover this issue up it says a lot about how honest
flex is with there customers. Not many companies today are as
Anyone remember the FT-2000 preamp problem, Yaesu still won't admit there was a problem after all these years.
Please let me clear up some of the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). I designed this part of the radio so you are getting it right from the horses mouth. That means you can blame it directly on me. I apologize for any inconvenience you may experience while we do the heat sink replacement.
Here are the facts regarding the ADC heat sinks:
- The AD9467 ADCs do not require heat sinks to safely operate. We have been using these parts first in government and later in ham applications for 10 years and have never used a heat sink on the parts until the new radios. That means there are no heat sinks on the 6300/6500/6700 ADCs and they have been in continuous operation since 2013.
- The AD9467 has a maximum junction temperature rating of 150 Centigrade (302F). It is rated to operate in an ambient temperature of 85 Centigrade (185F). There is NO risk of damage to the part in your radio with no heat sink. The PCB is designed to sink the heat into two layers of ground plane through 36 ground vias on the chip's ground pads. This will keep the chip perfectly safe without an external heat sink. We will not replace the boards because there is no sound technical case to do so.
- The heat sinks were added to increase to increase spurious free dynamic range by a few dB and to hold the clock alignment within a tighter range.
- Each time you boot the radio, it does an automatic synchronization of the ADC clock with the FPGA to find the optimal timing. If the heat sink falls off, the timing of the clock changes and it may lose sync. This causes the noise floor of the receiver to go up dramatically or you can lose receive all together. Since the entire system is clocked through the first ADC, it can affect transmit as well.
- Simply replacing the heat sink with a tie rap to hold it in place as others have shown here will get you right back in operation if you have not yet received the replacement heat sink kit.
- The copper heat sinks we used were selected because they are copper, cost effective, easy to get in volume, and fit the part well. They were marketed to be used on the Raspberry Pi chip. Unfortunately, the quality of the thermal adhesive was not what we expected.
- The adhesive problem did not show up on our prototypes or on our our alpha/beta test team until three months after being placed in operation.
- The thermal adhesive on the new heat sinks are rated to require 36 pounds of force at 100C (212F) to remove them after they are properly applied.
- The radios are rated for an ambient temperature in operation of 50C (122F) so I doubt any of you have gotten near the maximum ambient operating temperature of the chip of 85C (185F). If you have, you are a lot tougher than me. ;>)
- Why didn't I use the heat sink on the bottom to begin with? Of the thousands of design decisions you get to make in designing a radio, I just didn't think of it. I had no idea that the adhesive would fail on the one I chose and it was fine thermally to meet the requirement. I learn something new with each new design.
- We have mailed kits to everyone who requested it when we communicated the PEN announcement. Please complete the survey in the notification if you have not already to receive your kit.
What I learned in doing this PEN.
1. Follow the procedure. By this I mean remove the cover while the radio is powered up. This will allow you to get to the removal of the heat sinks while the glue is still warm that may make the removal a little easier.
2. Note that the vents on the lid are toward the front of the radio. it will make the re-installation of the cover easier so you don't put it on backwards.
3. My heat sinks were still glued but had moved down and rotated a little. I had the radio on for 24/7 since February. I had to pull on the heat sinks pretty hard to get them to come off. I wiggled them a little but may not be a good idea as the old heat sink may cause a problem with L2 and L3 inductor chips right next to the heat sink.
4. I would recommend before you start the Installation that you listen to a couple bands to see signal strengths and noise levels so that when you finish you can listen again as a radio check. I also check one Antenna then switch the antenna to the other port to make sure they were working the same. The band was poor when i did the heat sink installation so I was concerned at first when I put the radio back in service.
5. The installation of the heat sinks is straight forward but if you are a not a handy person you may want to have someone help. It would beat shipping back to Flex for a repair. Study the two cautions and know what parts they are talking about to watch not to damage.
6. The glue on the new heat sinks is good. I mean make sure you have it aligned before putting it down on the board, you get one chance to apply. It wont move. It was a surprise that the new heat sink mount on the non component side of the board so I had to read the instructions a number of times. Study the instructions before you start.
If you are concerned about damaging the board or accidentally scraping pff components on the ADC board and you do not want to send your radio into Service to have it installed, you are not required to remove the existing heatsinks. Just apply the new heatsinks to the back of the board and take a very small plastic tie wrap or something else non-metallic like twine and install it around the board to hold the copper heatsink in place to prevent it from ever falling off. It does not need to be tightened very much to hold it place.
The whole story? Maybe.
While the problem is clearly an annoyance, I really think you're being overly hard on yourself here.
I've been an ME in electro-mechanics for decades, electronics, optics, mechanisms, motion control, the whole ball of wax - and it looks to me like the design side, at the time, had it basically covered. Could it possibly have been the "hand-off" to manufacturing engineering / manufacturing?
I've worked with these "PSA heatsinks" and what killed us was a lack of process control - making sure the mating surfaces were clean, consistent quality of the PSA, keeping the PSA itself clean and uncontaminated prior to installation, and of course environmental controls during assembly (humidity very bad....). The heat characteristics and tensile strength of the bond is pretty cut and dry. The process - maybe not so much.
Glad to hear it's been resolved - personally I love the PSA heatsinks. We use them sucessfully in many instruments, stationary and handheld. Maybe you have to come from the ole' EccoBond thermal epoxy days to really appreciate them.
73 Jim, WQ2H