TINK'S RADIO HALL OF SHAME
Okay, this page might seem kind of harsh. Radio in this context is a hobby and all of us do some quickie modifications or repairs that are expedient and we always intend to get back to them later and do it "right". I have done many of these myself. Some turn into an inconvenient workaround that is enough of a pain that is quickly remedied and done properly. Some work so well that they are never touched again.
It is my belief that this kind of work is fine on your own equipment, but if you are a manufacturer or repairing somebody else's equipment, it should be done properly. I have been repairing radios for over thirty years, and I have seen all kinds of sloppy work. Recently I have experienced a new trend, one that I really appreciate. I have been asked to reverse some modifications and return radios to original stock condition. Recently I also had a milestone. I received a CB radio that was aligned PERFECTLY! I mean this radio was aligned better than factory stock radios I have seen. This was such a major deal that I talked about it on the radio for days because it was so amazing.
I wish I had taken more pictures in the past. These examples are more recent and I am sure that I will be (unfortunately) adding to this list. These are examples of shoddy workmanship from alleged technicians and manufacturers.
Dishonorable mention for manufacturers goes to Cobra. They have not been the same since Uniden stopped making their radios. It seems some are ok, but I have seen some real garbage in the new 148. Of special shame is their new voltage regulator and TX/RX mode switching. While most of the 148 design is similar to the Uniden version, this deviation in design seems to have issues. I have fixed this a few times with a beefed up version. I think COBRA is now an acronym for "Calamitous Organization Builds Radios Amateurishly"
I believe that I have been given a picture acquired by clandestine methods of the technician responsible for most of these disasters. Here he is working on some unfortunate equipment.
Here is some of his work
#1 Solder Splash Special
This thing is just wrong on several levels. The bare wires used next to each other, as well as relying on these same wires for fastening to the PCB is awful. Those are normal though and would not normally make it to this list. The solder splash in the middle of the relay is just breathtaking however.
#2 Common bulb replacement FAIL
Unfortunately, this condition is very common. Burnt out grain of wheat bulbs are replaced and no attempt is made to do it properly by using the original place they were wired to in a PCB or terminal strip. Even cutting the wire and using heat shrink tubing instead of tape would be acceptable. One dishonorable variation of this is the people that install LEDs as replacement and don't include a proper current limiting resistor. Not only are they exceeding the maximum current (usually around 20 mA) but they have a spot beam that is as bright as the Sun. Usually 2-3 mA is plenty for the LEDs.
#3 Meter Mechanism Ripped from Housing
Unfortunately this picture does not convey what occurred. Somebody grabbed the bottom to prongs coming out that attached to the meter movement and pulled them out. They pulled out as much as they could and left the deformed remnants in the meter looking like there had been an explosion inside. I have no explanation. Those loose wires were just as I found them
#4 I Have Been Slimed
The awful crystal attachment to the board in the middle left section is atrocious, but normal. What is abnormal is this goo left on the radio. Was this tech trying to cover up his great work?
#5 Improvised Microphone Strain Relief
No commentary needed. This reminds me of duct tape on water hoses and beer cans on exhaust pipes
#5 Inappropriate Replacement Hardware
So this guy had to remove the faceplate and rewire the switches. The switches actually did work properly, but you would think he could round up more appropriate switches. This was not done by the owner, but a "technician". You would think he would have a selection of junker radios that he could have selected switches from.
#6 Incorrectly Installed Components from the Factory
This issue is happening more and more from Cobra. This was in a new radio in which the receive power supply failed. It was redesigned from the original Uniden version, and I redesigned the redesign to get it to work reliably. This crookedly installed inductor can was actually working. I am seeing many components like this now, especially inductors and resistors.
#7 Dirty PCB from Factory
This is another thing I have been seeing lately from Cobra radios. This radio was modified by another technician before I got it. The modifications were done decently and that is not my focus in this picture. It is the crappy clean up from the factory from the residual film left on the board. I see this a lot now. It reminds me of the residue left on my homemade PCBs when I cleaned off the flux with tap water before I clean them in alcohol. I have since switched to distilled water.
#8 Reversal of Power Connector
This is an unconscionable design flaw from a manufacturer. I would almost consider this sabotage. This connector is so common that most people would just connect existing cables up to this radio and not think twice about it. Of course this would result in a radio being wired up backwards, which is exactly how I ended up getting this radio
#9 Military Fail
This is a surprise. This failure occurred in a power supply inside a British Tank. The lead of one of the resistors was in close proximity to a mounting screw for this board. Over time it evidently shorted to the screw which was grounded. The other side of this 2.2 Ohm resistor was connected to 24 VDC.
#10 Power Connection FAIL
This radio was returned to a friend of mine by a technician in this condition. I wish I took a picture of it after I was done with it because it looked pretty good. Check out the tie wrap holding the wire in place. Truly elegant work!