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FlexControl no longer detected

Mark K0JM
Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
edited August 2020 in FlexControl
All has been running well for nearly a year, but I had a hard drive crash last week (seemingly unrelated to Flex) and had to restore from a backup image of the hard drive. That put me back to SmartSDR version 2.3.8, so I downloaded and installed (once again) v.2.3.9.112. All works fine except the FlexControl. When I open settings it says, "FlexControl not detected."

Following the manual, I reset the COM port to 99. I also uninstalled and re-installed v.2.3.9 (twice!). I've rebooted bunches of times. Windows Device Manager shows the FlexControl on port 99 and says it's working.

The FlexControl plugs directly to a USB port on the back of the computer without going through any sort of external hub, where I've always had it before. When I boot the computer the lights on the FlexControl flash, indicating that the hardware checks out.

But for all of that, SmartSDR still can't see that the FlexControl is there. Looking through Community topics I see that others have had similar problems, but I've not seen any post with a definite solution other than those I've already tried.
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Comments

  • Greg N8GD
    Greg N8GD Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Do you have the FlexControl enabled under the Settings, Radio Settings, Radio tab in the drop down menu of Smart SDR?  Its on the right side of the box named "Radio Information" and just under the "Remote On" option.
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    Is the flex control seen in device manager?
  • Greg N8GD
    Greg N8GD Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    He said it's shown in Device Manager on port 99 (last sentence in second paragraph).
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Then maybe changing the port to a higher port, like 108
  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Yes, Device Manager says it is working properly.
  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Yes, it is enabled.
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Can you try disconnecting it and pluging it back in? Make sure your computer won't put the USB ports to sleep after a time.
  • SteveM
    SteveM Member
    edited August 2018

    Stabbing in the dark: uninstall the device driver, then reinstall?
  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    I have unplugged the FlexControl, rebooted, and plugged it in again, twice. Still shows up working on Port 99 (I can't see that going to a higher port number would make any difference).

    Uninstalling and reinstalling SSDR v. 2.3.9 is essentially uninstalling and reinstalling the driver, and as stated, I've already done that a couple times.
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 2018
    It is possible that any port under 100 may be in conflict with a SSDR port.
  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Reset port to 101 and rebooted. No change.
  • Duane_AC5AA
    Duane_AC5AA Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    A while back there was a conversation about FlexControls that stopped working when plugged into one physical port, but moving it to another got it working again.  I followed it closely, and there was no resolution to why this happened.  I had that same problem, and my FlexControl has been in the adjacent USB slot ever since.  Still doesn't work in the original slot.  I have no idea why, but at least it's working.
  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Thanks for all the suggestions. I tried swapping physical USB ports. The FlexControl went away in the Device Manager, but after a reboot it turned up again, though it had reverted to COM 4. I changed it to COM 104 and booted again. Device Manager now says it's working on COM 104, but SSDR still doesn't find it.
  • RFord
    RFord RFord - W4RJF Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    If you go into Device Manager and select View and then select Show hidden devices...do you see anything that may cause this issue?

  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Thanks for the insight about the Hidden Devices in View. In hidden devices I found the FlexControl at COM 101 that got lost when I changed the cables. It was inactive, but unfortunately deleting it didn't change anything.

    Just for grins I uninstalled SSDR v.2.3.9 once more, including all of the DAX drivers, and I re-installed v.2.3.8. The FlexControl was still missing from that configuration. Restoring v.2.3.9 still didn't bring it back. So I'm still without FlexControl after several hours of frustration.

    Thank you all for your suggestions.
  • Bill -VA3WTB
    Bill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Flex is not responding very much on the community these days, Perhaps a help ticket?
  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Thanks, Jeff. But if you read the posts here you'll see that I've already done multiple changes of COM ports, and removed "ghost" ports, but none of this has changed the situation. I've also (twice since the last installation of v.2.3.9) run the FlexControl driver re-install at https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/205004159-How-to-Manually-Reinstall-the-SmartSDR-Fl... (which includes the COM port changes you offer above) and this hasn't helped, either. I filed a ticket this morning. Waiting to hear.
  • Jeffrey Kerber, N3VE
    edited August 2018

    Mark, have you backed up your settings and done a hard reset of the radio?  Also have you disconnected the power from the radio for more than 30 seconds for a clean boot?
  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    I've had the power off for more than 30 seconds, but Section 34 of the SSDR manual advises putting in a ticket before attempting a hard reset, so I haven't gone to that yet. You suggesting that at this point?
  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited August 2018
    Bit the bullet and did the hard reset. Still no FlexControl.
  • Jeffrey Kerber, N3VE
    edited August 2018

    Very interested on how this gets resolved.  Good luck.
  • Dudley  WA5QPZ
    Dudley WA5QPZ Member ✭✭
    edited March 2020
    Mark,

    Since you said that you did follow the reload procedure of the FlexControl driver,  (this driver can get inadvertently replaced when you install another USB to serial device or Win update) ,  try the Flexcontrol and SmartSDR on another computer just to make sure, but sounds like a defective FC.   Not really worth sending in for repair unless under one year warranty,   but maybe Flex Sales will have an open box special you can purchase for a discount.  

    -Dudley


  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    Thanks, Dudley. Flex responded to my help ticket and suggested this very thing. I installed SSDR v.2.3.9 on an old, slow, Windows 7 machine this afternoon and when I plugged the FlexControl into that it took off and ran like a champ. Hardware issue ruled out.
  • DonS
    DonS Member ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    could there be a com port conflict? something else also using the same port?
  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    Thanks for the suggestion, Don. But if you look up toward to top of the thread, that was one of the first things ruled out.
  • N8SDR
    N8SDR Member
    edited September 2018
    Mark: curious if you have tried using an un-install program such like REVO un installer- I think it has to do with registry values from your backed-up image and restore- https://www.revouninstaller.com/ try using it.  The free version should be all you need even the portable version will work, when you select the un-install of the flex controller make sue you select all the registry values it finds and delete them as well, then shut down and restart- followed by installation as per flex for the controller and see if that works.
  • Carl K5HK
    Carl K5HK Member
    edited September 2018
    Mark,
    Dudley is a real op sys/registry expert if you can get him to call and connect to it for you.  He sure unscrewed my computer here.

    Carl K5HK
  • Mark K0JM
    Mark K0JM Member ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    Thank you! This was really a good suggestion. I tried first with a couple of un-install utilities I already had on the system. When those brought no satisfaction, I downloaded and installed the REVO you suggested. Still no success.

    What I discovered about these programs is that they all really do a less than adequate job. After using any of the three, and they did their "extra" cleanup, a file search still turned up almost a dozen files and folders left on the machine that had the search term "flexcontrol" in the file name! Several of these files I think the uninstallers really ought to have found and eliminated. But a few are buried deep in the recesses of the Windows system folders. They can't be deleted normally, and they never go away, which is why, even after every total uninstall/reboot/reinstall, I still had all of my SSDR settings, profiles, and parameters intact. And it is the reason the FlexControl still did not work. One of these system files had become corrupted and there was simply no way to fix it.

    Those of us who have been around computers awhile know a few tricks to get at these files. I employed these and managed to delete the files in question. But doing so upset the cosmic order of Windows 10 and caused additional problems. So reluctantly, I had to employ the "nuclear option" as proposed by Tim Ellison of Flex Support in response to my ticket. He told me I would need to do a complete reset of Windows, which would leave the files, but would erase every program and setting.

    I am now rebuilding several years worth of software and settings. It has taken much of the weekend and I'm still not finished. But my FlexControl works again. I'm not sure it is worth the effort, but there's no turning back now.
  • Oxford English
    edited September 2018
    A long time ago, nearly 30 years, I worked for what, at the time, was the largest Anti-virus and Data Recovery company in the world - S&S International. Dr Alan Solomon, my boss, instilled on me the value of backups done on a regular basis. 

    Because of the work I went on to do, running Live Virus Workshops, I developed my own way of quickly restoring my teaching computers after the students had allowed live viruses loose on them. Normally I had between 8 and 16 workstations and one server.

    The way I did it was very simple. All the computers, except the server were the same so I installed the operating system and all needed software on one machine and then did a full backup. I did the same on the server,

    After the days teaching was finished, I restored the backups on to each work station and the server, the whole job took about an hour using an in house written backup program, wish it worked on modern computers, it was very fast!

    Although I am now retired, I still do something very similar. My main machine runs Windows 7 and I have a set of 'must have' programs. When I first built the computer 2 years ago, I used Acronis to do a full backup. Then I installed SSDR and any other programs I needed. Checked that everything worked as it should and did another full backup.

    Now, if my computer stops working and I can't fix it, I simply restore one of the backups. It takes about 10 minutes and everything is back exactly as it was.

    I suppose I am a bit OCD about backups but the time they can save is huge, to install the OS and all the software I want takes about 3 hours. The backup restores in about 10 minutes - bit of a no brainer to me!

    Tim

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