Brittle ribbon cables: James cautions Sony ICF-2001D and ICF-2010 owners

Sony-ICF2010

Regarding the Sony ICF-2001D (or ICF-2010 in North America), SWLing Post contributor James Patterson writes:

I have a comment on the Sony ICF-2010. In New Zealand it is called the ICF-2001D, as labeled on it.

I bought the ICF 2001D at a sale. Brought it home and it seemed to perform almost perfectly on all bands. In fact I was very suprised on how well it worked. Audio was excellent, sensitivity was great, even the Air Band received very well. But I’m a very keen SSB DXer, meaning I monitor the Single Side Band [SSB] utility stations like HFAir, Marine, military, etc. so I needed to check the SSB in the radio.

[O]n official frequencies like 8.86700 HF AIR, it was well off, and came up readable around 8.86500, even with the tuning speed mode set to “slow”. So I then decided that with the age of the radio, over time it has drifted off zero beat, so I would need to re-align the BFO/SYNC coil.

I looked up on the internet at the signal board, and located the correct coil. Having the batteries out of the radio, I plugged in the DC power supply and retuned that coil and got the speech correct at 8.86700. I also checked the universal time signal on both USB and LSB and it was “Bang on”.

I was very pleased with myself, meaning I now had a Sony ICF-2001D working in perfect condition.

But just then the radio went dead. At this stage I still had the board lifted up, as I had just finished the realignment. I could not understand, after all my work, what had happened. So having a good look at the wires and the board, to my most disappointed dismay, I noticed one of two ribbon cables–Sony called it a “Flexible circuit board” had snapped right across and come apart.

There are two ribbon cables on the board. This was the short one. So,with the slightest lift of the board, this one snapped. I then felt the cable and noticed how frail it was with a piece just falling off. The ribbon cable as I call it, had become most fragile with age and probably heat from the sun(?) over the years the previous owner had it.

So all of a sudden I found I had a ICF-2001D no more. I looked at the other board, the CPU board underneath and noticed that ribbon cable was joined to the other ribbon cable side by side to become one cable, and spot soldered onto the board. Also on shifting the CPU board to view underneath it, the selective speed plastic slide switch snapped off.

Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch.

Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch.

Sony ICF 201D .Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch 001

[B]y now, I was in a state of complete disarray to say the least. Never was I going to have the ICF-2001D operational again.

So guys, be most careful if you ever need to do any repairs or realignment of that radio–remember the ribbon cables become very fragile and will just snap right across as mine did with the slightest lift of the board. I wish I had known this, and I would have taken the cable out of it’s socket first,then when finished, plugged it back in, and radio would still be working. But to realign it, the cable would need to be connected anyway. So I hope this does not happen to anyone else, especially if you don’t have spare parts, as I don’t have.

So Im keeping this one for parts now,and hopeing to replace it with either another 2001D or its older brother ICF 2001. I do have a small collection of vintage portable short wave radios; they all have SSB, and all work very well. Most have the varible BFO control knob and that seems to suit me better, rather than a radio with tuning steps and needing to perhaps realign it. I think the ICF-2001D is very similar to my ICF-SW7600G with only a few memories and no tuning knob. I think the older ICF-2001D would still be my radio of choice though.

Showing the slide switch that snapped off the CPU board when trying to bend it slightly to get access to the board.This pic shows a small hole where the plastic tip of the switch was.The switch is unsoldered off the board.

Showing the slide switch that snapped off the CPU board when trying to bend it slightly to get access to the board.This pic shows a small hole where the plastic tip of the switch was.The switch is unsoldered off the board.

Showing soldered open ends of the computer cable.

Showing soldered open ends of the computer cable.

In this photo I have tried to replace the ribbon cable with an old Computer ribbon cable,but that job failed because the board underneath has the ribbon cable spot soldered on.There are two ribbon cables both joined side by side to become one.So the idea of replaceing the broken ribbon cable would disturb the other having to cut it away from it.

In this photo I have tried to replace the ribbon cable with an old Computer ribbon cable,but that job failed because the board underneath has the ribbon cable spot soldered on.There are two ribbon cables both joined side by side to become one.So the idea of replaceing the broken ribbon cable would disturb the other having to cut it away from it.

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24 thoughts on “Brittle ribbon cables: James cautions Sony ICF-2001D and ICF-2010 owners

  1. lovejoy

    I have one of these icf 2010D with airband, have not used it for many years, i remember the battery contacts gave me grief, so would be happy to sell it.
    I am based in south of england, UK.

    Reply
  2. Rod

    I have repaired many SONY ICF-2010s and ICF-2001Ds (and a few other types as well). I remove the two boards as one complete assembly, this avoids any stress on the ribbon cable and allows me to separate the boards easily. Working in the front cabinet does not leave room for error! Tricky part is removing the board assembly as one needs to tip the assembly up from the speaker end and gently flex the side of the front cabinet, where the RF gain and tone switch is located. Then the signal meter board is exposed and remove one screw. The coloured ribbon cable to the meter board is rolled up in a cavity next to the VFO pot and must be unfurled so the meter board can be made loose from the cabinet.
    I have learned this from the many repairs I have done and in the service manual this is not shown.
    73 Rod KB8DNS

    Reply
    1. James Patterson

      Yes Rod by reading your post you would be correct,by repairing many of them you would have found the best way to take them apart and access what needs to be done.The manuals dont always show that.But with me,heading into the unknown as I did to adjust the Sync alignment coil,of which was easily accessable once the board was lifted,I would have had no idea that the paper thin circuit cables would be so frail and brittle with age,and just snap with the slightest bend.I feel that Sony did a bad design with these cables,Okay I understand the need for them,but to use such thin cables knowing that in time years ahead,these radios would be so sort after as collectors items,and I for one like to have all my collection in fine working order,you would think Sony would have had forsight into useing stronger cables.Once these snap,it makes the radio almost unuseable,unless one is able to work a miracle of some sort!! The shortest cable will always be the one to be utmost carefull with when lifting that top board.I certainly learnt the hard way.I had a very fine 2001D,very nice condition all round,up untill I lifted that top board.There would have been no need to lift the two boards out as Rod said,just to adjust what was needed.If I had already been aware of the cable problem,Im sure I would have taken alot more care.So beware all you Sony collectors and repairers.

      Reply
  3. Khalid Parvez

    I also damaged my Sony icf-2001D while opening its board. The ribbon cable was damaged and this is not available as spare part. I am thinking to use computer ribbon cable that should be flexible and thinking to have some sort of connector so that I can plug out the cable whenever required. The major problem is, there is no space available and only paper-thickness cable can be used. This is one of the nightmare of Sony’s radios and most of the Sony radios go to junk for this reason. Regards.
    Khalid Parvez, ap2kd@yahoo.com, Lahore, Pakistan.

    Reply
    1. James Patterson

      Thanks for posting your comments about your Sony,in that the paper thin ribbon cable snapped aswell,like mine did.When I first opened the case off it to re-align the sync coil to get the USB/LSB correct,as it was badly out of alignment when I bought the radio from a market place,I had no idea just how frail those ribbon cables would be,unlike flat cables in National Panasonic receivers are very robust and much thicker.I too have tried a small computer cable,the one I found had ten strands of wire,I needed only 9, so I slit one strand off.Then that only led to another problem that yes I soldered the snapped ends to the cable,but the dam cable is too think to fit into the socket.Ive tried every way to make it fit.So I may have to find which wire ends go where on the board.The soldered terminals of the socket seem to be in two odd rows.
      So please be very carefull guys if you ever need to lift that top signal board of the 2001D or 2010 american version, remember that with age,and heat,those two paper thin circuit cables will be most frail,and will rip through.Once thats happened I think it’s “Good Bye” Sony ICF 2001D/2010.A real pity Sony did not continue to produce good portable radio receivers because when they are working properly they are one of the finest receivers your money can buy.I still plan to have this one working again some how some way.I have another one arriveing soon from Australia.Hopefully it wont take too much to have it in fine working order again.Sometimes these Sonys if left laying unused for a long period they simply do not want to repower up again.

      Reply
  4. Julie

    No worries. I am out of town at the moment but will be home this (Wednesday) arvo. I’ll take some photos once I return. By the way, one of them is, from my research, a British edition of the 2001D in that it lacks Air band. It has SSB and full HF coverage, just no Air band. The other one has everything. Hear from you soon then, James. 73.

    Reply
    1. James Patterson

      Thanks Julie.I now have your current email address.Pls check your inbox when you get back home and have time, there should be messages from me.I dont intend to use SWLing pages for our corospondence.Thanks very much Thomas for your help aswell!

      Reply
  5. Julie

    I’m across the ditch in Sydney but I have a couple of dead 2001D’s. I can’t find anyone here to repair them so if you want one for parts email me and maybe I can help.

    Reply
    1. James Patterson

      Hi Julie.Yes please do!!!.Im most desperate to have this ICF 2001D operating back as normal,hence all that went wrong with it.But I dont have your email address.I dont think I can put mine on this,or give out my postal address on this either.But Thomas will have it.Can you please email him explaining that you do need to get intouch with me and that Ive given the OKAY to do so.I would be most interested in both radios if pos,then hopefully I can end up with one that acturly works.I just turned on my pc and checked in box and noticed the message.Thanks ever so much.It’s the same over here in NZ,no one wants to know,and there are just no parts left arround for these.At least I now know what can most likely go wrong with them,takeing into account their age.I look most forward to getting an email from you shortly and we can arrange postage.I shall also request yr email address from Thomas.Many thanks Julie All the best from KIWI land.!!……….James.

      Reply
    2. James Patterson

      Hi again Julie,Im just waiting for Thomas to send me your email address then I shall email you right away and make arrangements.Maybe you can send me photos of both radios as well in yr email.Once we have our emails,we can get onto it!!Looks like I’ll be wanting both of them if pos.We can discuss more details in emails.I look forward to it!Thanks.

      Reply
      1. Jeff Richards

        I have asked Thomas to send me your email address and I can arrange to send a unit across. It looks good, has never been touched, everything works except that AM reception is very poor.

        Reply
        1. James Patterson

          Hi Jeff.Looks as though you have the ICF 2010/2001D aswell.Ive already started making arrangements with Julie across in Ausi.She says the ones she has are both dead,but Im hopeing that with the one she sends me it wont take too much to get it sorted and going again.They are quite a heavy radio even without the batteries,so postage can be expensive depending where its coming from.Get my address from Thomas,and we can discuss the one you have and I may need to have that one aswell.Im not collecting all ICF 2001Ds,Im just trying my best to at least have one working in as much original condition as possible,after the troubles I had with the one I bought at a market.That one has become a project that in my spare time Im still trying to repair.I collect vintage portable general coverage radios mostly with SSB mode.Im also a very keen SSB DXer.Many thanks Jeff. I give you permission to ask Thomas for my address.

          Reply
  6. Alex

    Well, this is not good, but not unrepairable either. Apart from obviusly replacing the switch (or alternatively, putting it back together with Loctite or an equivalent, which may be strong enough), what I would do would be carefully slicing the broken part of the ribbon near the ends, not removing it but leaving it out of circuit. The stub ends that are still soldered to the boards will have to be removed or get their coating scratched in order to leave enough surface to solder the computer cable.

    Reply
    1. James Patterson

      Yes Alex Im considering doing that now.Thanks.Im not in any hurry,the radio sits in a box near my computer here,stareing at me….”What have you done” it begs to be repaired!!Im looking for a slide switch first,that I can adapt or match up to fit the board,then start again on that cable.Im buying nessasary very light soldering iron/pencil type if I can get it,very light core solder as well as the electricaly conductive glue in case I may need to use it instead.Also a new magnified glass and component holder.I need to be all set up for this repair and plenty of quite time to myself,so phone will be disconected ha ha !!Anyway after feeling so down about it all,Im nearly ready to make a fresh start.I want it to look and be as original as possible.Ive had no offers of another radio over here in NewZealand.

      Reply
  7. James Patterson

    Im still needing the three way slide switch,made speicaly for that CPU board.One guy left a message on another format that he would send me one over from the States,but I have not heard back from him.So Im going to check all the electrical componet stores that I can find,there are not many over here,and see if I can match anything up and adapt it if I have to.As long as the switch matches up,and fits into the “Selective speed” switch knob.

    Reply
  8. Mike

    Loctite makes a super glue that is in gel form. I find this very useful for when I need very precise control over where the super glue is to flow.

    Reply
    1. James Patterson

      Thanks Mike.Do you mean that Loctite makes a superglue that is in gel form…….over where the “Solder is to flow”.I get the idea,I have seen super glue in a gel form aswell at the HardWare store.So I supose I would layer the gel over the ribbon first to strengthen it ,dry it,then clamp it onto a peice of clean wood to keep it steady while I try to solder small stiff wires to it to make new contacts for the socket.The ribbon is the shortest one of two,so there will not be much lenght to reach the socket and still have room to move the board.The other way is to add a short lenght of that computer cable to it,but the wires are quite thick.Telephone single core copper wires sound good as long as they dont pull off the ribbon once soldered.I would layer super glue over them once soldered if I do that.So the more ideas I can get the better befor I plan my journey back into it!! Thanks Guys.

      Reply
      1. Mike

        The super glue is gel form is much nicer when working around switches or linkages as it tends to stay in one place. It won’t run into the switch itself and cause it to seize.

        Regarding finding a replacement switch you might want to try asking on the ICF-2010/2001D owner’s group on Yahoo Groups. I know that group is very active and there very well may be people on there who have parts units. One fellow, Rod Wallberg, has worked on many ICF-2010’s.

        Reply
        1. James Patterson

          Yes Mike, Rod Wallberg did follow my messages.He emailed me and said he could send the slide switch but I have not heard from him since,concerning the cost of it or the cost of Postage.I had already told him that because of all the problems Ive had with it,I may be able to find a replacement radio somewhere,and just keep this one for parts.But Im now thinking of trying to repair it after reading these recent replies. I can probably adapt a small three way switch,as long as it fits the board and into the selector cavity.Its been playing on my mind ever since it all happened.I have the radio wrapped in a cloth inside a box.Ive also posted messages to the NewZealand Vintage radio Society,and DX League,but I have not heard from anyone with an ICF 2010/2001D for sale,or any replies at all.With these type of radio “Clubs” you normaly need to be a member befor they will respond anyway.Many thanks for all replies so far.

          Reply
  9. Guy Atkins

    Hi James, I’m sorry to hear of your flexible cable and switch troubles with the venerable, classic Sony ICF-2001D/2010! I myself have “been there, done that”, as the saying goes.

    It’s possible to repair these ribbon cables at the break point, if you have patience and excellent manual dexterity skills with small details. I have fixed a couple of 2010s with cable breaks, but it is a tedious job if the entire cable is snapped across all conductors. The basic idea is to use short lengths of insulated “wire wrap” wire (30 ga. I believe) to jumper the conductors across the break. After gently scraping away a layer of plastic coating above the flexible wire conductors, you need to apply a tiny dab of electrically conductive adhesive such as this product: http://www.ebay.com/itm/0-3ML-Silver-Conductive-Glue-Wire-Electrically-Glue-Paste-Adhesive-Paint-A206-/231461704485

    I suggest taping down both pieces of prepped (scraped) cable across from each other on a board or other flat surface, and cut and strip all the short lengths of wire you’ll need in advance. Then using tweezers you can lay each small bit of wire into its dab of adhesive at each glued joint, letting the joints sit undisturbed until the adhesive has hardened (20+ min. for this particular brand of conductive glue).

    If you can find very small gauge stranded wire, that may be even better (more flexible) than the wire wrap wire. However, I’ve not had any subsequent failures when using wire wrapping wire.

    Regarding the broken switch, it’s possible to replicate the broken tab on the switch with scrap plastic and epoxy it into place on the remaining stub in the switch housing. Again, very fiddly work here! Another approach is to find a compatible switch (DPDT type I think it is) and replace it on the Sony’s PC board. You might be able to salvage one from an old Sony AM/FM radio of the same vintage as the 2001D/2010, or locate one at a vintage electrical parts vendor.

    Lastly, I’d recommend becoming a member of the Yahoo Group for this classic Sony portable receiver. There are some very experienced repair persons on the group who can lend advice, and the group’s archive of messages is extremely helpful as a reference.

    Good luck with reviving your receiver!

    Reply
    1. James Patterson

      Hi there Guy! Thanks very much for your kind response to my message re the broken ribbon tape.I dont think the “Silver conductive glue ” is available over here in NewZealand,if it is,Ive never heard of it.But it sounds great if I can get it.As far as the switch goes,I tried to use super glue to glue on the small broken tip that came off,but the super glue soaked into the whole switch seezeing it solid.The plastic tip did not stick to it either.As far as re-joining that ribbon,Im not giveing up on it completely.I did try re joining it befor I posted that message with photos.Yes clamped on a wooden board,with tweezers and very small insulated telephone wires cut to lenghts,except the heat of my small soldering iron kept melting the plastic ribbon between the printed circuit wirers.But Im going to have another go at it,then there are all the loose plastic bits that have fallen out as well,to find where they all go,and try and put that CPU board back in its place without any more hitches.A good replacement radio would be great,and I would keep this as spares.So anyway I’ll have another try at it.I’ll need to check to see which side of the ribbon socket on the board is the side with the contacts,because I think it will fit into either side of it.I’ll need a whole day to myself with no other plans to try and get it right!!.Thanks very much Guy.

      Reply
  10. James Patterson

    Small correction to my message concerning the broken ribbon cable.I stated that the ICF 2001D is simular to my SW 7600G as far as the amount of memories go.What I meant to say was the older “ICF2001” is very simular to the SW 7600G as far as the small amount of memories go and no tuning knob to find stations except buttons.

    Reply
  11. James Patterson

    Thanks very much Thomas for posting this for me.It’s mainly to warn other keen ICF 2010 listeners like myself,against trying to do any work inside the radio,with its vintage age,the Ribbon cable was never made to last,or stay flexable.The photo Thomas has posted showing a “Computer” cable is what I tried so desperatly to use to replace that broken one,infact if Sony had used this type of flat cable,I could be sure there would be no problem.So that ribbon cable is out of an old windows XP PC.But after lifting up the PCU board and noticed the broken cable is spot soldered on at manufacture,I knew then I would never get that computer cable soldered to that.So basicly Ive lost a great performer.Over here in New Zealand these radios have become very few to be found anywhere.So when I bought it,I was the proudest man!It had no scratches,and looked as if it had been hardly used.I now have the radio in many peices
    including all the plastic buttons and controls that just fall out as soon as you take it apart.So please guys,unless you are very familier with this type of fault be very carefull if takeing the ICF 2010 apart.The photo of the ribbon cable does not show how another peice of it just snapped off when I held it to inspect it.I tried to cut it to make a clean soldered contact to put back in the socket on the board, but it just crumpled.So now Im trying to locate another good 2010 or 201D to replace that radio.I do not use E bay or other such sites only to find most are just “Wheelers and dealers” and really know nothing about what they are selling.

    Reply

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