KX3 VFO Encoder FAQ

What has Elecraft changed?

Elecraft incorporated a new design of encoder using optical technology rather than magnetic technology of the original design.  The original VFO A encoder also used a sleeve bearing, which added some drag on the shaft that some operators noticed.  When the change was made, ball bearings were added to the optical encoder to lower the friction of the shaft.

What serial number range is affected?

KX3s prior to serial number 3800 are candidates for the upgraded VFO encoder.  Since Elecraft sells both kit and factory-built versions of the KX3, the exact switchover point varies.  It is best to inspect your KX3 to determine if yours is a candidate.

How can I determine if I have the original VFO encoder?

Open the KX3 and examine the circuit board on the side with all of the controls.  The encoder will be directly under the VFO A knob and directly behind the magnet of the small speaker.

Now, examine the encoder itself.  Comparing it to the picture, if you see the small metal shield in this picture, your KX3 has the original encoder.  This shield isolates the magnetic encoder from the effects of the speaker's magnet adjacent to it.  Here is what you are looking for.

Can I change the encoder myself? 

Yes, you can.  The modular design of the KX3 will allow you to replace the encoder yourself.  You will need to follow the instructions in the KX3 Assembly Manual in a reverse order.  It involves the removal of the VFO A knob, its locking nut underneath the knob and then removal of the encoder assembly.  You then reverse the steps to install the new encoder.  Adjust the VFO A knob's tension and you're done.

How much is the encoder and how do I order it?

The enhanced encoder is $64.95 plus shipping.  Please order kit number:  KX3VFOMDKT.

Here's where to find the order page.