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Monday, February 27, 2017

Retrofitting a Yaesu Rotator Controller with an “Illuminator” from Ham Supply

I posted to the WVDXA email reflector last Wednesday (Feb. 22) that I had ordered a replacement lamp (LED illuminator board) assembly for my Yaesu G-800DXA rotator controller from Ham Supply.  I indicated I would report back on this little after-market device with a review for the club’s blog… well here ya’ go.

Click on any picture to see a larger image.
Package Contents
The lamp in my control box had gone kaput many years ago and for various reasons, not the least of which is my failing eyesight, I thought I would finally try to find a replacement lamp.  The other advantage of having the illuminated controller is that it might serve as a reminder that I have left the control box powered up and might want to turn it off.
The cost for the illuminator board was only $19.95 and with shipping came to $22.90.  So after reading the review on the website link above, I decided this might be a good investment and worth the try. In the mailbox Saturday (Feb. 25) was a small padded envelope containing my next ‘big’ project.
I sat down yesterday (Sunday) and following the simple, one page instructions, and in about a half-hour’s time (probably take most people 20-minutes or less) I had my rotator controller lit up like a Christmas tree.  Yes, the 3 high intensity LEDs that are on the illuminator board really light the face of azimuth indicator dial up!  
Even for someone like me who is not a hands-on tekkie type, this project went smoothly and I was very surprised at how easy it was to take the rotator apart (7 screws) and install the board. 
Splicing the Wires
The instructions indicated something about nylon washers under the board but I didn’t find any washers.  Actually I’m not sure what they were talking about.  Maybe they were supposed to be provided but left out.  Two holes in the board match up with two screw holes in the controller exposed after removing these shorter screws. There are two longer replacement screws provided for securing the illuminator board and they snugged up just fine.  

The two wires going to the “old” lamp are cut and spliced to the two wires on the replacement board using crimp butt connectors pre-attached to the wires from the new board.  Be sure to note the polarity requirements… the instructions are very good here. I used a “Super Champ” tool for the crimp connectors splicing the two wires.  A “purist” may want to solder the wires together and use heat shrink tubing however. 

I guess the only caveat I would offer is to be careful to have the “right size” Phillips screwdriver when removing the screws so you don’t strip the heads.  I used two different sized screwdrivers, one set was tight and I was beginning to round off the insets until getting a little different pattern.
Conclusion:   This is definitely a great and an easy project that is a super “fix” for a common problem with the Yaesu rotator controllers…. Actually all models, I believe. 
The factory lamps in the Yaesu controllers were not LED technology, produced a lot of heat and as would be expected, had a relatively short life.  This little replacement board with 3 LEDs is just the ticket for lighting up your controller face and seeing where your antenna is pointed… and lighting it up it does! 
I definitely recommend this quick fix, priced reasonably and easy to install too!  No soldering required and all you do is take the controller apart, remove two screws, mount the board with the two new screws provided, attach the two wires, put controller back together.
Before (Left) and After (Right)
 Before and After…….  Now I see the light!!!
 Post written by:  Hal, W8HC


Larry K8YYY said...

Having already replace the lights once in my GS-800 controller box these look like a great idea. I will probably be ordering a set and making the change. To anyone that has not chnaged out the factory installed lights I can say you are better off doing it with the LED set in Hal's post.

Wayne at Ham Supply said...

Hello Hal, and thanks for the write-up on our Yaesu Illuminator!

The two little nylon washers are glued to the board. You probably never saw them as they are on the underside of the PCB.

Take care my friend, thanks again!

Wayne, N0UN