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Flex 3000 and Firewire

Gary Schulz
Gary Schulz Member ✭✭
I am looking to get my Flex 3000 back on the air because I never really used it much in the first place and it is essentially a brand new radio but I am facing the proverbial problem of how to interface it to a Windows machine.  Is there an adapter that can be used to connect it to a NUC or equivalent HW?  I guess it would need a Firewire to USB interface of some sort.  What is the best way to get this radio to run?

Advice appreciated.



  • John M5ET
    John M5ET Member ✭✭
    edited December 2019
    Hi Gary,

    There's no way to convert USB to Firewire, as the two are such different protocols.

    Your only options are either a PCI-E card that goes inside the machine (not sure if a NUC can take expansion cards though) with Firewire ports on it, a machine with native Firewire, or a laptop with an older ExpressCard slot (or indeed in the really old days a PCMCIA slot) and a Firewire card that fits in there.

    I believe there are converters from Thunderbolt (for Mac) to Firewire 800, which could then be converted to Firewire 400, but in reality it's going to be pretty expensive. You're better off finding a cheap laptop, or an older desktop, with a Firewire interface on board.

    John (M5ET)
  • Ted  VE3TRQ
    Ted VE3TRQ Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    I believe there are some replacement tops for NUCs that provide for expansion. These things are PCIe, so if a compatible F/W card can be found, it _may_ be possible.
  • Jim Keller
    Jim Keller Member
    edited December 2018
    There is great software for the 1500 3000 and the 5000 and many utube videos on setup to bad you don't have a email address this on qrz . check KE8NS software.
    Jim W4WWJ
  • Gary Schulz
    Gary Schulz Member ✭✭
    edited March 2020
    Thanks for the suggestions.  I took a look at different configurations (PCIe) expansion with Firewire for the NUC but I didn't seem to be finding anything.  Maybe I am not yet looking in the right places.  Firewire sure is a pain in the neck as far as interfaces go...
  • DH2ID
    DH2ID Dr.med. Member ✭✭
    edited December 2018
    Did you look at the Flex  helpdesk?
    Either look for a PC and install a working fw card, or use a working notebook (I use all of them):

    Panasonic Toughbook CF52 or CF53 (I do not know about the CF54)
    Getac S400, V110

    I run all firewire ports with Windows 7 64bit pro and have never had any problems.
    Windows 10 did not work well, because the updates killed my virual ports and sondcards
    every time, I changed back to 7 on all my PC's. Running PSDR and SSDR on the same PC
    works well.

    Mery XMAS, Alex - DH2ID
  • John
    John Member
    edited December 2018
    If you have the PCIe port then look on ebay for 400mb firewire card 1394 or similar. They normally come with 2way or even 4 way ports, so you have a spare incase
  • Ted  VE3TRQ
    Ted VE3TRQ Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    Looks like the expansion lids for NUCs are video, USB and network function oriented - no PCI expansion :-( Although apparently if you are willing to kludge it, the M.2 i/f in the box is PCIe-compatible .
  • Dudley  WA5QPZ
    Dudley WA5QPZ Member ✭✭✭
    edited March 2020

    You will have to use a standard PC, or laptop with a PCI Express slot in it. There are not many around with the PCI express slot.   The iMac with the Thunderbolt ,  running BootCamp and Windows natively works well..   If you look on EBay you will still find laptops with FW,  just stay away from any with JMicron chipsets,  many of the Dells had this low grade chipset.  Most will be Core2Duo  processor based and are slow but will function,  later Dell laptops with early i7 chips, had a terrible PCIe driver,  caused the FW to eat a lot of CPU cycles..   When running on slower processor,  you should have an GPU card or video card to take the graphic load off the processor..   My extended experience.. 

  • Gary Schulz
    Gary Schulz Member ✭✭
    edited December 2018
    Yes, I was hoping to not have to buy yet another computer (especially one that is already a bit obsolete) just to run this radio.  Maybe its not worth it to resurrect this 3000.  Every time I have to buy another computer it seems that the overhead of maintaining it makes me just want one that does everything.
  • Charlie_KB8CR
    Charlie_KB8CR Member ✭✭
    edited March 2020
    I know this is an old thread, but one good option is to get a MacMini. (Mine is a 2012 model, i5) They are not much bigger than a NUC, and have native Firewire 800 ports. I run Windows 10 64-bit on mine, with a Firewire 800 to 400 cable to my Flex 3000, and it works perfectly.

    Charlie KB8CR

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