Stupid DC Socket design on Yaesu FT-817 FT-818

Hello Operators

One of the most stupid things about the Yaesu ft-817nd & Yaesu ft-818 is the (extremely prone to failure) DC socket design for external power of the rig.

Now this rig has been around since just after the turn of the century in the original Yaesu ft-817, the 817nd, and now the ridiculous ft-818. Each iteration having exactly the same problem with the DC socket on the back of the radio.

One of the best ways to alleviate worries, concerns or ultimately the problems with this DC socket, is to remove it entirely, terminate with two wires, and add your choice of connector exiting the case.

Some operators have suggested using the SotaBeam DC Socket to Powerpole adapter to achieve the same result. I don’t agree with that assessment. The SotaBeam part:

  • Does nothing to solve the problem of a port which is already failed.
  • Minimizes but does not completely alleviate the potential for future DC socket failure.
  • On an ft-817 or 818 provides a DC port to Powerpole conversion and strain relief.

I’ll be using powerpole connectors mounted to the case. This will offer strain relief, a solid place to attach my DC cable to an external battery or power supply, and remove socket failure from the equation entirely.

Just to be fair, many Yaesu ft-817 rigs spend their lives on a shelf in the shack, without ever experienced any DC socket failure. This is also true if you normally use internal batteries with the 817, and only plug-in that socket for charging up your batteries. If you ever do any field work, occasionally putting the stresses on that socket with a cable supplying external DC power through that connector, it’s only a matter of time before your troubles begin.

The 817/818 is a pretty remarkable radio for being nearly 20 years old. Still, we have to be realistic about the pros and cons of this radio, since Yaesu refuses to actually step up to update the rig properly.

If you decide to make this modification to your radio, remember to use an external fuse on the cable between the socket and your DC power source.

Julian oh8stn
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