Author Topic: ERC Rotor Control / PstRotatorAz and Remote Rig Virtual COM port Issues  (Read 886 times)

Serge_VA3SB

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Hello everyone.

After spending two days trying every possible combination I am reaching out to the forum for some help.

I wonder if someone who is using a ERC controller together with PstRotatorAz and their remote rig boxes could share their settings with me.

I have a ERC - RS232 Version 4 controller installed in a Yaesu G1000DXA rotor.

I tested the unit with a real COM port on my laptop and it works just fine - just can't seem to get it working over the internet.

In my PstRotatorAz software under the Communications tab I have selected RS232/TCP Server. Under the Azimuth COM Port I have selected COM2 as this is the COM port identified on my laptop.
Under the Setup Tab I have the Controller set for ERC-M as per the manual on the ERC website.  I have the ERC set for 9600,8,1,0.

RRC control unit:

COM1 serial settings are:
- mode 3
- 9600 baud
- 8 data bits
- 1 stop bit
- parity 0-off
- rts/cts no
- terminator 00
- USB, no

On the control RRC end I have straight cable (USB to Serial ) going from my Computer COM port on the laptop which is COM2 and I selected COM 2 in the PstRotatorAz software as indicated previously.  This serial cable goes to the COM1 connector on the front of the RCC Control unit.

On the RRC Radio unit end I am using the cable with pins  2 and 3 crossed over as in the manual. This cable goes from COM1 on the radio box to the ERC-M Rotor controller. 

The RRC radio unit

COM1 settings are:

- mode 3
- 9600 baud
- 8 data bits
- 1 stop bit
- parity 0-off
- rts/cts no
- terminator 00

When I start the PstRotatorAz software I expect to see where the rotor is presently (i.e. at the 360 degree position) but when I click on the compass nothing happens. Clearly something is not set up properly. What am I missing.

I am using the RRC software version 2.91.

Any assistance in getting the above to work would be greatly appreciated especially since I am at the remote site for another day or so.

Thanks to all in advance.

73

Serge
VA3SB

Serge_VA3SB

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Good morning everyone.

Further to my earlier post this week concerning the use of the ERC rotor controller in conjunction with a Yaesu G1000DXA rotor, has anyone here been successful in using the ERC in conjunction with any other rotor control program together with the RRC Serial COM 1 Port? If so, would you be willing to share your setup/settings with me?

Thanks in advance.

Serge
VA3SB

dj0qn

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Hi Serge,

Lacking an answer from someone else: I have never tried to use COM1. I have used
Lantronix serial port servers for years instead. However, there is no reason why it
should not work.

73,
Mitch DJ0QN / K7DX

Serge_VA3SB

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Thank you for your email Mitch.

Following a reviewing of the RRC manual and some posts here on the forum that it would be straightforward. After spending two days and making countless combination changes to the software without success, I thought I would post a request for help to the forum.

I also thought that in the event that someone wasn't using the PstRotatorAz software that I would submit a more general appeal for assistance in the event that someone was using the ERC controller in conjunction with the RRC COM 1 port and other rotor control program.

Hopefully someone using the above combination will respond.

Thanks again and have a wonderful weekend.

73

Serge
VA3SB

VK3ALB

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The RRC system embeds the comports in the TCP traffic between them. I think this process is 100% and can be trusted. In my mind many of these problems are serial problems and probably due to cabling.

First some questions regarding your posts

Are you saying that when you check the serial ports in Windows you see the following?

RRC1258 COM1 (COM2)

Also, did you check at RRC control that  "Use USB Com Port as COM1" = Yes

If these are correct I would say RRC is configured correctly and you should try the following checks. I apologize if you already know this but for many hams the art of serial trouble shooting has never been described.

A simple test is to use basic terminal program like PuTTy to test the serial port over the RRC link. For this I assume you have both RRC boxes in front of you or can at least reasonably access both ends. Hook up your PC as normal to your chosen RRC control com port and loop back (link pins 2 & 3) on the corresponding RRC comport at the rig end. For this I would disconnect the serial cable directly at the rotator and loop back at the connector. If all your connections are correct you should see your terminal program display every key you press. Once this happens you can discount the RRC.

If you get nothing on your terminal screen then this is where you should start your troubleshooting. Check your cable connections for continuity. You must be able to loop back and see responses when you type into your terminal program.

If that is correct and you still can't make the rotator work then you may have a level issue at the rotator end. I would then bring the rotator back to the laptop and using a 'scope measure the levels for TX/RX in a running system then check if you see the same when connected over RRC. Difficult but you should see if it is TTL (5V) or RS232 (~12V).

In summary, it should be simple to test and confirm the RRC serial connection is working. If it is working I would focus my attention to the rotator end of the link.



 
Lou
VK3ALB

VK3ALB

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I forgot to mention, that detailed serial troubleshooting is now easier than ever with some of the great things available on ebay and other places.

Search ebay for "logic analyzer" and you'll find plenty of really cheap (~ $10USD) 8ch logic analyzers. With the appropriate free download software you can save and analyze up to 8 lines and determine level, polarity, speed, protocol etc very quickly.

Nothing really to do with RRC but there are cheap and easy tools out there that can help with the tough problems. You still need to understand the serial protocol and how it works but it is much easier than it used to be.
Lou
VK3ALB

Serge_VA3SB

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Hello Lou and thank you very much for your responses and suggestions.

Certainly I realize that I have so much more to learn! BUT that is a good thing. :-)
To make things easier for me, I think what I will do is to work where I have both the RRCs, radio and Rotaor/controller at the same location. This will make troubleshooting a little easier. Even though I am at my remote location presently, I have to walk about 100M to get to where the radio and RRC is located. Great exercise!

I will certainly review your emails more carefully and try to figure things out once again. If worse comes to worse, as mentioned by Mitch I may have to go the serial server route which according to some posts here on the Forum appears to work without many issues. I just thought since the RRC manual indicated that one could use COM 1 as a rotor com port and since I am presently at the radio site, that I would give it a try.

Thanks again for your comments and feedback they are appreciated.

73

Serge
VA3SB