Back in 2008, shortly before I got my Technician license, I bought some of the basic ham equipment in anticipation of getting on the air. One of the first things I got was a Samlex SEC 1223, a 23 amp power supply. Not too big, and not too small, with enough juice to power my Yaesu FT-857D without complaint.
Twelve years later, the Samlex continues to work well, in conjunction with a RIGrunner 4004U attached to the topside. In fact, this is what keeps the lights on for the homebrew 20 watt repeater and the 25 watt APRS digipeater iGate. For the sake of modernizing and staying better informed, a digital volt and amp meter is ready for installation into the center of the face. Or should I say, "was ready".
So the other day, right after I got the duplexer installed on the homebrew repeater, I turned everything on in preparation for testing. My buddy Stu KD9MNK, was standing by at his place ready to help with the testing and signal reports. We talked back and forth for maybe a minute and suddenly, POP! And just as suddenly, the repeater and APRS went dark as the smell of ozone crept into the air. A quick text to Stu, "I think I blew a fuse!" just to let him know I'm still alive.
With fast thinking, some fine-motor dexterity, and a couple of powerpole positions switched to another RIGrunner, I was back on the air, this time on the Yaesu FP-1030 linear power supply. "Cool!", I told Stu, "That was really loud for an internal fuse!" as we continued on with testing, thinking nothing more of it, except for the ozone in my nose.
|A blackened PCB at the fuse clip|
Later in the day, I removed the Samlex cover with the RIGrunner attached to it and noticed the 6.3 amp glass tube fuse next to the input power had popped, I mean really popped. A virtual trip to Amazon Prime and two days later, I had a small pack of fuses in my fist. Minutes later, the Samlex was ready to rock, so with the cover back on, I plugged in the power and flipped the switch.
Reminiscent of a California brown-out, the lights in the living room dimmed for a second. Then the switch light on the Samlex turned off without a sound and the living room lights returned. "Hmm", I thought, "That's weird." I pulled the power cord and re-removed the cover. Being a little annoyed over the whole thing, I just kind of tossed the cover upside down on my desk, having no regard for the RIGrunner on top. As I was about to go after the second burned fuse, for some reason I glanced over at the inside of the cover. "What is that?", I thought, as I noticed a small amount of white residue that, based on the printed pattern, was applied at pretty high-velocity. That's odd, a mark I never noticed before.
Looking at the location and pattern, I quickly examined the matching area components on the PCB, and there it was, the problem. And what a problem it was! Three capacitors in a row, all with their tops popped open and looking rather burnt, way across the PCB from the blown fuse. Wow! I guess that explains the loud POP! No wonder the fuses blew. While wondering what other parts have been compromised, I thought, "This is a good time for an upgrade".
After a semi-virtual, COVID-modified, trip to HRO, a new Diamond GZV4000, 40 amp, 100% continuous duty cycle power supply is powering the repeater and the APRS digipeater without even thinking of breathing hard. And the RIGrunner 4004U has no complaints either.
If we could have a moment of silence, please, as I offer one last salute to the Samlex SEC 1223 before it goes to the great recycle bin in the sky... or the recycle bin at the township. Thank you.
|Ah, no. That part is not OK, and neither are the other two.|