microHAM u2R Failure

Highly Questionable Quality

As mentioned I have had problems with my microHAM u2r station controller (#196) during the last two major contests (CQ WPX CW 2015 and IARU HF World Championship). The following problems showed:

  • The unit wouldn’t go to automatic receive mode when both receive buttons have been pressed for a longer period of time.
  • The microphone switching didn’t work for transceiver I anymore.

I have sent microHAM an e-mail to their support e-mail address (support at microham.com) mentioned on their web page in the end of June. I don’t have a response until today. So, I decided to check out the unit by myself. Just to make sure before sending it back to the dealer I bought it from (WIMO).

Honestly said, I am a bit shocked about what I saw. The unit has quite a number of SMD parts. It looks as if most of them have been soldered by hand. Quite a few of them look pretty bad as if not enough flux had been used or the soldering iron had been to hot. I found two connections of them not soldered at all. So, my hint: Check your unit for possible problematic solder joints.

The following pictures illustrate the problems. Please excuse for the low quality pictures. Unfortunately, I’m lacking the  possibility to take high-resolution macro pictures:

This entry was posted on Monday, August 10th, 2015 at 11:26 am and is filed under Technical Article. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “microHAM u2R Failure”

  1. DK3WE Says:

    Got a reply by OM7ZZ of microHAM within an hour. He wrote:

    “… What I see on your pictures looks like poor SMT reflow process (too cold solder paste or oven not heated to working temperature prior reflow). There is no excuse, such board should had been tripped by QC. I apologize for troubles. Please ship it to us, we are going to send you new box I’ll check personally…”

    I agree with the analysis. Apology accepted, definitely no hard feelings if the new unit works as expected.

  2. DK3WE Says:

    I have been receiving a new u2R unit about two weeks I sent the old one back. The reflow soldering looks much better now. However, there are a few components soldered by hand which didn’t look well soldered. So, I took the unit apart and re-soldered these solder joints. I hope the unit will last now.

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  3. DK3WE » Blog Archive » u2R Rel-Loaded Says:

    […] My old u2R from microHam suffered from low quality solder joints. I have been receiving a new u2R unit about after two weeks I sent the old one back. […]

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