MFJ-259 Battery Holder Repair

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MFJ

If you are a ham or make radio your profession or hobby you surely know about the products from MFJ Enterprises. Oh the many nicknames and alternative wordings of their initials MFJ authored by the many who have dealt with the ways they make affordable instruments.

So it goes with my MFJ-259 HF/VHF SWR Analyzer. This weekend required a battery recharge. I removed the batteries and charged them with no issues… despite the years age on the NiMH AA cells… all eight of them. Replacing the batteries into their holders proved to break things again. We had to smack the thing around a bit in the field to make measurements. Task complete we came inside. Later the same evening I could not power the unit on. I opened it again.

Inside the MFJ-259

Continuous pimping of the MFJ-259 SWR Analyzer.
Continuous pimping of the MFJ-259 SWR Analyzer.

That red card is a 15 year old solution that exists to provide some insulation between the battery holder clips and the circuit board. That solved an issue to old to remember. Thankfully the main circuit boards have otherwise proven to be quite reliable when they receive power from those plastic battery holders. Let’s have a closer look of the various “improvements” over the years including today’s fix.

The MFJ-259 battery holders

The MFJ-259 SWR Analyzer battery holders.
The MFJ-259 SWR Analyzer battery holders.

You can see various hacks to fix the battery holders’ propensity to have their ends simply rip off the body. They include:

  • Rubber bands wrapped tightly to hold the broken or breaking pieces together. This actually worked for a few years, but eventually just wasn’t enough.
  • Epoxy was applied to the broken pieces and over the remaining unbroken portions to reinforce the weaker parts of the plastic holder. This worked for a decade till today’s battery removal and replacement.
  • Two wire ties in series replace the now no longer pliable rubber bands to hold the upper battery holder stay together well enough to put all this back together. The rubber bands on the lower holder still seem to do the job.

Conclusion

Some on The Zed and other ham watering holes suggest MFJ products are mostly complete kits requiring one or two more steps. Given my experience with my MFJ-259 I cannot argue with those observations. Many other MFJ products in my stash seem to work quite well. You get what you pay for with MFJ products, but with a little TLC they work out pretty darn well.

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