Fan Failure on my Flex-6300 and a Resolution

Unexpectedly one of my stations, the one running a Flex-6300 for the last weeks of operation before being dismantled, shut down.

Restarted it would at first run a few hours until shutting down again.

Going in person to the site I found it was noisy and would shut down within minutes when restarted.

The noise obviously was a bad fan bearing.

So I performed the fan cleaning per recommendations, including using a toothpick to fix each fan prior to cleaning with compressed air.

The service didn’t fix the noisy fan and shut down.

So my choice was sending it off for service or replacing the suspect pair of fans myself.

The large fan looked, sounded and functioned okay, so it was one (or both) of the small fans inside the RF cage.

Now if under warranty, going into the RF cage without FRS’s permission may void your radio’s warranty.

As a 6300, a radio replaced by the 6400 series, this radio’s warranty had long expired. Additionally I’ve been inside some of the 6000 series radios following specific FRS directions, so I was able to draw on those experiences to have good technique.

A 6300 opens up easily. If you need directions you can find them in the install instructions to add an ATU to a 6300.

The two suspect fans are inside a flat box made of perforated metal. Two screws with washers secure the cover. After their removal the cover lifts off, though you made need to encourage it.

The two fans are mounted to the chips they protect by adhesive. It is worth snapping a picture to help answer any orientation questions later.

My fans basically lifted off without any undue force. They didn’t leave any noticeable residual, which had been a worry.

I replaced both fans with exact replacements I purchased as part of a group order a while back. There was no way I was going to replace the bad one and leave the other in place.

BTW the replacement fans have a better bearing lubrication setup.

Basically you peel off the release film and press them in place, like if you were building a PC from parts. The wires need to be routed so they don’t eventually obstruct a fan and the plugs pressed in place & checked against your picture.

The cage cover presses into place and the screws go back. Then the radio’s cover is reinstalled.

After bench testing my radio was good to go, and is back up 24/7.

If you’re okay with say replacing a fan/heat sink in a gaming PC it is worth considering a DYI approach to the replacement.

FRS reported costs for a fan replacement are nominal, especially when you consider it gives them a chance to look over your radio. So don’t be afraid of requesting an RMA and sending it in.

In my case I really wanted to avoid down time from the shipping both ways and the queue at FRS to be repaired. I’m anticipating decommissioning this particular station within the next six weeks, so losing a third to half that time in repairs was a strong incentive to do a DYI replacement myself.

My elapsed replacement time was about 15 minutes.

It paid to have known common repair parts on hand.

I do not know how many on-hours this 6300 had before I bought it from a ham upgrading to a 6600M but I have had it running 24/7 since I bought it over a year ago.

The 6300 is part of what was a W9DK informal project to provide access to club members.  I personally funded the project. As that club was rolled up into another club early this year I kept the radio and moved it to my old home while it was on the market.

My two 6700s use the same fans as the 6300 does.  Not certain on the 6600M.

And yes, I forgot to take pictures as it was that easy.

73

Steve K9ZW

 

2 thoughts on “Fan Failure on my Flex-6300 and a Resolution

  1. Ed says:

    If you were to have checked the Flex forums, this is a well known issue an Flex will fix.

    • k9zw says:

      Hi Ed

      It is through the Community I purchased my stock of replacement fans.

      I am aware of of both the nominal cost and turn around time for an after warranty replacement.

      With this radio well out of warranty and wanting to avoid being down at this particular site for the last few weeks before a station move tear-down, a DYI approach was the most effective.

      What I missed out in doing it myself is having FRS bench check the radio which is always worthwhile.

      73

      Steve
      K9ZW

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