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Low Cost Drive Pot Replacement

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Steve - K4HX

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« on: December 16, 2012, 01:08:51 PM »

Low Cost Drive Pot Replacement


Norm, WB2SYQ

 A common component failure in lower power AM transmitters is the RF drive potentiometer. This pot is usually a 4 watt wirewound type which controls the screen voltage on the driver tube. Although this article details a replacement for the DX-100, similar pots are found in the Viking I & II, Valiants, Eico 720 and many others.

 This pot recently crapped out in the DX-100 of Joe, N2YR. After calling around and finding that no supplier could provide a replacement in less than 30 days, without charging an arm or leg, we decided to take another approach.

 The replacement is very simple and requires only three, low-cost parts. The key to the circuit is a garden variety horizontal output driver transistor. These are available through any mail-order parts house and also at Radio Shack. These transistors are designed to handle far more current than will be needed for this application. Just make sure the one you select has a voltage rating greater than the maximum screen voltage on the driver tube. This is generally in the 300 volt range on lower powered AM rigs.

 The circuit is shown in the first attachment. Remove the original drive pot and replace it with the 1 Meg pot. This part is a standard one-half watt pot normally used in low power circuits like mic gain. In the DX-100, the transistor can be mounted on a terminal strip soldered on to the mounting flange for the original drive pot, as shown in second attachment. If you are working on another rig, something similar can probably be done. Use your imagination. The nice thing is that no extra holes need to be drilled to complete the modification.

 That's it. No more than a half hour and you should be able to have your DX-100 back on the air.

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