Author Topic: Com Port Slowly Becomes intermittent and Totally Unusable  (Read 619 times)

wb7ely

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Hello Forum--I've been running my remote station for about three months with a remote controlled KPA500 and I've completely lost remote control.  The TS480 and 1258 RRC remote control works fine and no complaints on the radio operation. At first the KPA control was intermittent and  then began to show errors on the utility screen (ERR:FC?0).. now it won't communicate at all. Resetting the control RRC worked one time, but subsequent resets at control and radio do not seem to wake anything up. I'm plugged into COM1 on both ends and running the radio end on a separate laptop. The fact that it worked for three months tells me I had it set up OK. So where to start troubleshooting? Here's a link to some pix of the setup: http://www.valhallatreefarm.com/WB7ELY/remoteB/remoteB.htm
Thanks de Dave WB7ELY
//Dave WB7ELY

wb7ely

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Re: Com Port Slowly Becomes intermittent and Totally Unusable
« Reply #1 on: 2020-01-19, 16:30:11 »
No replies  so I am assuming nobody else out there has had this problem. Mitch usually has a weigh in but he's silent too. Based on the indications, I am going to call this a hardware failure of the RRC control unit. I could buy a separate serial server (Lantronics UDS2100) for $249 or another RRC control... and substitute and see if its really bad. Does anyone out there have an extra RRC 1258 control they could loan me to substitute for a quick check?
Thanks de Dave WB7ELY
//Dave WB7ELY

dj0qn

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Re: Com Port Slowly Becomes intermittent and Totally Unusable
« Reply #2 on: 2020-01-19, 21:28:52 »
Hi Dave,

I am in a lot of stress right now with house selling stuff, so I am not on here as often.

It is very hard to believe that the RRC became defective. Not impossible, but highly unlikely.

Are you using it with real serial cables, or with the built-in USB to serial converter? If using it
with the converter, you may have a problem with the virtual ports that Windows assigned.
Probably easiest in that case to move the USB connector to another USB port on the PC and
use the new virtual ports for device control.

The interesting thing is that another OM wrote me at the same time direct with exactly the
same problem. He also uses the RRC's serial ports for control rather than a separate serial
server like I do. The coincidence is too strange, I would almost suspect a Windows update is
causing the problem.

73,
Mitch DJ0QN / K7DX

sm2o

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Re: Com Port Slowly Becomes intermittent and Totally Unusable
« Reply #3 on: 2020-01-20, 07:55:36 »
I doubt it's a hardware failure, we have only replaced a handful RS-232 interface during the 10 years, all suffered from hit by lightning storms. I would guess the cables have some intermitent connection

73 de mike

wb7ely

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Re: Com Port Slowly Becomes intermittent and Totally Unusable
« Reply #4 on: 2020-01-20, 18:53:52 »
Thanks for your inputs. So I am probably looking for some problem with the serial cables and/or operating system. Here's some addt'l troubleshooting info:
1. At the control-end I am using a double-ended RS232 null-modem cable from KPA500 to the RRC COM 1
2. At the Radio-end I am using an FTDI RS232 to USB cable. Win 7 device manager says it is working and all the drivers are OK. Moved it to another USB port on the laptop and same indications and status.  When I attempt the remote amplifier connect, the RS232 plug on the RRCs embedded lights flash once as it polls the remote. The lights flash continuously when a successful connect is achieved.
3. I also am running a microbit webswitch. I see it has a micro USB comport. Documentation on the website is sketchy on how to use it. But what about trying that? Not sure how I'd interface the Radio end laptop and remote utility.
de Dave WB7ELY
//Dave WB7ELY

dj0qn

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Re: Com Port Slowly Becomes intermittent and Totally Unusable
« Reply #5 on: 2020-01-22, 01:18:27 »
Hi Dave,

It is difficult to figure out your problem without being at your site.

You reversed the locations on 1 and 2.....you meant the radio RRC for the KPA500 and the USB cable at the control RRC. That doesn't fix your problem,
but just thought I would mention it.

Make sure that the control RRC's serial settings are still correct. It turns out that the other OM's RRC set the serial port settings back to a default setting
for some reason. The problem may have occurred on the radio RRC instead, check both.

The Webswitch only offers a serial port server for a rotor. You can control a rotor either directly over its web interface, or else use the serial port server to
control it instead. The driver is installed using the Microbit Setup Manager on the far right tab.

73,
Mitch DJ0QN / K7DX


wb7ely

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Re: Com Port Slowly Becomes intermittent and Totally Unusable
« Reply #6 on: 2020-01-25, 15:10:10 »
I have attached a screenshot of the serial setup page. Looks normal from the radio end. See what you think. Otherwise appears I'm running barefoot until I can get back to the remote radios at the end of February.
Thanks
de dave/WB7ELY
//Dave WB7ELY

dj0qn

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Re: Com Port Slowly Becomes intermittent and Totally Unusable
« Reply #7 on: 2020-01-25, 19:27:58 »
Dave,

Are you using a serial to USB converter, or a real serial cable?

If using a serial to USB converter, you should make some adjustments in Windows as described in
the following link:
https://www.kkn.net/~n6tv/N6TV_Dayton_2019_Everything_USB.pdf
starting page 27 are important tips.

If using a Prolific converter, I highly suggest throwing it in the trash and getting an FTDI one to replace it.

73,
Mitch DJ0QN / K7DX

wb7ely

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Re: Com Port Slowly Becomes intermittent and Totally Unusable
« Reply #8 on: 2020-01-29, 15:47:02 »
Thanks Mitch-- That link contains a worthwhile presentation that should be required reading for everyone using com ports and USB cables. I will take some time and go through my windows device menus and see what I can fix.
much apprec..
de Dave/WB7ELY
//Dave WB7ELY

n6ldj

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Re: Com Port Slowly Becomes intermittent and Totally Unusable
« Reply #9 on: 2020-03-09, 20:19:25 »
Just to add to the discussion - while my connection is 100%, the apparent speed my serial connections seem to vary significantly during the day (can be 2:1 or 3:1 difference at various times). 

I am using COM1 and COM2 this way:

W7 Hardware Serial Port <> Passive Serial Cable <> RRC Control <> Internet <> RRC Radio <> Passive Serial Cable <> Zetron Repeater Controller Serial Port

Connection is 100% except for the extreme speed variation.  Of course, this could be internet variations as well.   

 

dj0qn

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Re: Com Port Slowly Becomes intermittent and Totally Unusable
« Reply #10 on: 2020-03-09, 20:27:45 »
Dave,

Honestly, at 9600 baud, there should never be a connection problem using normal serial cables. I
have been using Lantronix serial servers for about 10 years and never once experienced a single
glich, nor have our users.

My suspicion is there is a setting somewhere in your Zetron box that needs to be tweaked. I have
had to do some tweaking on the Lantronix devices at the beginning for some things to work
properly, so maybe that is the problem. I do not believe that there is a problem with RemoteRig.

73,
Mitch DJ0QN / K7DX