“Option Ready” means that any internal options can be installed without requiring major disassembly of the enclosure, and without requiring any additional soldering on the K2’s three main circuit boards. However prior to installation, some options will still require that you first perform additional assembly steps as described in their manuals. These steps can be quite involved for the options that install in the top cover. In contrast, there are just a few steps for the options that mount on the K2’s main circuit boards:
After installation, you must also perform the procedures listed below, per the option’s manual:
FAQs About Our Alternate K2 Assembly Method:
An “Option Ready” K2 is one that has been upgraded to prepare it for the installation of all possible options. As shown above, bypass headers are installed in place of the six options – KAF2, KDSP2, KNB2, KSB2, K60XV, & K160RX – which mount directly on the K2’s main circuit boards. These inexpensive devices restore the associated circuit connections which must be broken to prepare the K2 to support their associated option. (No corresponding bypass devices are required for the options that install in the K2’s top cover.)
Going one step further, the detailed instructions in our Companion Guides describe how to seamlessly integrate these “option preparation” upgrades during the initial assembly process. Beyond simplifying the task of adding the options, this approach also eliminates the need to perform the PCB rework that’s otherwise required, prior installing five of the six options that mount directly on the K2’s main circuit boards.
Rework-free “Option Ready” K2 construction seamlessly combines initial assembly with all required “internal-option-preparation” changes. This eliminates the need for the significant disassembly that’s otherwise required when adding most options. Thus an “Option Ready” K2 will be far easier to upgrade. The time you’ll save adding the options will more than make up for the extra time taken to build your K2 “Option Ready” in the first place, so overall you’ll have a more rewarding kit building experience.
In addition to avoiding the wear and tear from repeatedly disassembling and reassembling the enclosure, you’ll also avoid the PCB rework that’s normally required when adding some options. Eliminating PCB rework reduces the possibility of seriously damaging the K2’s circuit boards, and can potentially result in a more reliable radio.
Prior to installing nine of the ten available internal options, additional option supplied parts must first be added to the K2, and a small number of original parts must be removed. This packaging strategy – of providing some K2 parts with the options that require them instead of with the base radio – is one of the reasons the “stock” K2 is such a bargain!
Packaging the K2 this way does have its tradeoffs: (1) a small amount of PCB rework is required to replace some original K2 parts; and (2) disassembly of the enclosure is required when adding most options. For seven options this disassembly is extensive, requiring removal of either the rear I/O panel heatsink, the Control circuit board, or the Front Panel circuit board.
Fully loading a new K2 with options entails the installation of 27 additional parts, (15 components and 12 connectors). There are eight instances where original K2 parts must be removed to permit the installation of one or more of these option-supplied parts (i.e. PCB rework is required). The specifics of this rework are as follows:
Seven other original K2 parts must also be removed:
These changes – the removal of 13 original K2 parts and the installation of 27 additional parts – 9 on the Front Panel board, 2 on the Control board, and 16 on the RF board – require at least partial disassembly of the K2 enclosure. For seven options, extensive disassembly of the enclosure is required to initially prepare a “stock” K2 for their installation.
The end result of both assembly methods is essentially the same; at least it’s supposed to be! However, depending upon your desoldering skills and your access to specialized desoldering equipment, the traditional assembly method might leave your K2 with serious circuit board damage after you’ve attempted to add some of the options.
To eliminate the possibility of circuit board damage while improving reliability, our “Option Ready” method has you build the radio so that no desoldering is required when installing the options. Until the options are installed, un-modules – tiny option bypass headers like the one shown above – take their place inside the K2.
It is only after the radio is completed and it’s time to add the options, that the difference between the two methods truly becomes apparent. The specific differences are shown in the table below, which compares the additional steps required to add all of the options. (The table doesn’t list all of the steps; just the ones that differ.)
|Traditional by the Book Stock K2||“Option Ready” K2|
Completely disassemble the enclosure:
Unsolder/remove 13 original parts:
Install/solder 27 additional parts:
Install four standoffs on the RF board.
Reassemble the enclosure:
|Unplug the option bypass headers.|
As you can see, it’s easy to add options to an “Option Ready” K2. In contrast, a considerable number of additional steps which could have been avoided, are required to “prepare” a K2 that has been assembled using the traditional approach. But what isn’t immediately obvious is that if you add the options one at a time, then you must (at least partially) disassemble and reassemble the enclosure many times over!
Building an “Option Ready” K2 requires …
If you buy a fully loaded (QRP or QRO) K2 to start with, then you will already have all of the necessary K2 PCB parts. If you get some options with your K2, then you’ll already have some of the required parts. If you are starting out with just a stock K2, then you’ll need all of the parts provided by our All Option Supplied Parts kit.
Building an “Option Ready” K2 requires 46 additional parts which are provided with Elecraft’s optional K2 internal expansion modules (options). So the answer depends on which options you already have. The more options you get up front before you start building your K2, the fewer additional parts you’ll need to obtain from us.
Since there are 431 valid option configurations, it isn’t practical to list every possible combination here. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to determine what’s required for any combination of Elecraft® options. Still, properly answering this question is sufficiently involved to warrant devoting a separate webpage to the subject.
The table on the What Else Do I Need? page matches up our Duplicate K2 PCB Parts kits with the Elecraft® K2 options that provide the same parts. Building an “Option Ready” K2 requires the additional parts listed in each row of that table, whatever way you choose to obtain them.
Yes you can, however you may not want to for the K60XV unless you will definitely be installing it. This is because the Option Ready preparations for the K60XV will require that you perform some realignment of the K2 when the upgrade changes are made, and possibly a second time when the option is actually installed.
This concern does not apply if you wait to make the changes until you are ready to install the K60XV, since you’ll have to do this realignment then anyway. It also does not apply to building an “Option Ready” K2 from the outset. It is only an issue for upgrading an existing K2. If you are already intending to do a top to bottom realignment anyway, then this concern is not applicable.
Another possible concern is that your firmware must at least be what has been shipping since S/N 4060. Specifically, 2.04P or later main MCU (U6, Control board), and revision 1.09 or later I/O Controller (U1, RF board). This is necessary in order to enable the Extended VCO Range (D19) Secondary Menu setting.