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Power Genius XL v3.5.23 Firmware is Now Available

Tim - W4TME
Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin

FlexRadio Systems announces the immediate availability of the Power Genius XL Firmware v3.5.23. It is highly recommended that you review the Release Notes included with the firmware to ensure an optimal software installation experience.

Version 3.5.23 is a general firmware release for use with all Power Genius XL amplifiers, enhancing thermal management and improving PTT timing.

The Power Genius XL v3.5.23 Firmware can be downloaded from the FlexRadio Systems website. 

The following highlights are SmartSDR specific items:

IMPROVED PTT (RX to TX TRANSITION) TIMES:

Minimize changes to the power supply status (on/off) and Vdd (DC supply voltage), so the amplifier does not instruct exciters to wait unnecessarily for the power supply to respond to a change request when the amplifier is keyed. This change also ensures DC power and bias are stable before RF is accepted at the input and minimizes SWR excursions.

Improved tracking of FLEX-6000 exciter slice state to reduce occurrences of last-moment changes in band selection.

THERMAL MANAGEMENT:

This version links Thermal Management profiles (Standard, Contest, and Broadcast) to logic that manages the power supply and bias voltages. This change impacts the primary exciter integration point, the exciter-enforced TX Delay setting. All exciters should set their TX Delay to 20ms. For more information on the different Thermal Management profiles, refer to the Power Genius XL v3.5.23 Release Notes (included with the firmware download)

Comments

  • Sergey KN7K
    Sergey KN7K Member ✭✭

    Hello Tim ,

    Before I load new FW, I would like to get a little more understanding about that statement. In one hand it states that needed TX delay is 20ms, in another PGXL needs 250-500ms to exit from idle, and at the same time FLEX has an interlock mechanism to prevent RF emition before it ready. How it is going to work exactly? My total delay for TX is going to be 20+(250-500)ms?

    ""Power Supply and PTT Behavior: When the PA temperature falls below 50°C and the amplifier has been idle for two minutes, the PGXL will enter an idle sub-state. While idle, DC power is disabled, and fans are turned off. An exit from the idle state requires between 250ms-500ms for the power supply to reestablish power and bias. Please note this is longer than the recommended 20ms TX Delay and requires reviewing how your amplifier and exciter are integrated.

    Exciters should not emit RF until the PGXL is ready to accept RF.

    FLEX-6000 Signature Series exciters configured to use LAN PTT utilize an interlock mechanism specifically designed to prevent RF from being emitted before the amplifier is ready to accept it. No additional configuration is required.""

    Thanks, Sergey

  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin

    If you are using the standard thermal (fan) mode, after 2 minutes, we shut down systems to reduce heat which allows the fans to run more slowly. This requires the 0.25 to 0.5 seconds for the dc power to ramp up and the transistors to reestablish the bias voltage level before the amp will transmit RF.

    if this is going to be a concern, use one of the other fan modes, like contest, that does not shut down the dc power and bias voltage and then you just have to set a 20 ms TX delay if you are using the RCA PTT for keying the amp

    if using a FLEX-6000 via LAN keying, I would still use a 20ms TX Delay as a safety margin even though it’s not required.

  • Sergey KN7K
    Sergey KN7K Member ✭✭

    Thank you Tim.

    I read updated PGXL Manual and on page 21 it says "... in Standard mode ... a little additional time may be needed to "wake up" the power supply. Keying the transmitter briefly before a transmission will accomplish this."

    So, if i am in Standard mode and monitoring FT8 activities, how i suppose to start to call other station-click/unclick Mox button first? It seems like it unpractical, unless i miss something.

    What about other modes, pre-key every time if 2min pass?

    It sounds like a great idea to keep PGXL quiet , but I am still trying to understand if keying transmitter every time after 2min of idle is practical at all.

    Thanks again,

    Sergey

  • Dan-N7HQ
    Dan-N7HQ FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin
    edited March 5

    Hi Sergey,

    Note: I will be giving a talk at the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo next weekend on the PGXL and will cover this topic.

    This only applies to the Standard Thermal Mode and is a trade-off between fan noise and a quick PTT (RX->TX) response time.

    Idle State:

    When in Standard Thermal Mode, the amplifier has entered the idle state when you hear the fans turn OFF. There is no need to worry about emitting RF before the amplifier is ready with a Flex exciter using LAN PTT or any exciter brand using the PTT out on the PGXL to key the exciter (see the user guide for details), provided you integrate your exciter to the PGXL properly. It is easy to do, even with non-Flex exciters.

    Flex Exciter Case (using LAN PTT):

    When the amplifier is in the idle state and a transmission starts, The interlock API handshake will prevent the exciter from emitting RF prematurely.

    Wired PTT Case:

    For wired PTT: connect the PTT lines, so the PGXL keys the exciter and not the other way around. You then use PTT IN on the PGXL for your footswitch or other PTT line. (connect PTT OUT on the PGXL to PTT IN on the exciter)

    In both cases, when exiting the idle state, the PGXL can clip up to ~200ms of modulation or CW from the beginning of the transmission to account for the power supply power-up. This is why we recommend briefly tapping your PTT to "wake up" the amp when it is idling.

    When the amplifier is NOT in the idle state, PTT (RX->TX) transitions will take less than 20ms.

    Again, the above applies ONLY to Standard Thermal (Fan) Mode.

    The remaining Thermal Modes: Contest, and Broadcast, the amplifier will never enter an idle state' however; the fans will turn off after the amp PA temperature is < 50C and a 2-minute inactivity timer fires. Because bias is still being applied, PA heat will build up, and eventually, the fans will turn on and run for a while until the PA is cool. The fans will turn on even though you have not transmitted.

    In Contest and Broadcast Thermal Modes, the amplifier does not need a wake-up PTT signal.

    The 20ms TX Delay is necessary to prevent clipping the first 20ms of a modulation envelope as most exciters (including Flex) generate modulation independently of amplifying it and sending it out an antenna port.

    Here is a graphic that illustrates some of the concepts above; it is Flex-centric - but the wired PTT case applies.

    Note: When I run FT8/CW/RTTY at my shack, I use Contest Thermal Mode, and Meffa is turned on. If you have a low SWR antenna, the fan noise is minimal, and I never need to worry about the idle state. When I am using SSB, I want things quiet, so I turn OFF Meffa and set the Thermal Mode to Standard. The 200-250ms "wake" up is never a problem when I run SSB. I run Broadcast Mode when shack temperatures rise above 85F; it can get hot here in Texas!

    73,

    Dan, N7HQ

  • W2PP
    W2PP Member ✭✭

    Does the new FW address the issues surrounding ICOM 7610 or 7851 not being able to communicate with the PGXL?

    thx

    Peter

  • Dan-N7HQ
    Dan-N7HQ FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager admin
    edited March 5

    Both of those (ICOM 7610 and 7851) are supported, you will need to change the CI-V address used by the radio, to one of the three addresses currently supported by the PGXL and set the baud rate to 9600. Make sure the model you select is from the same CI-V genre. The IC 7800 and IC 775 share band decoding formats, while the IC 7000 is different.

    Best,

    Dan

  • KM4CQG
    KM4CQG Member ✭✭

    Tim

    What an amazing difference this Firmware update has made in noise control.

    I am pleased to report the Amp runs so much quieter and I am not seeing any lag in response times on key down.

    Contest Mode seems to have a noise reduction as well.


    Ian

    KM4CQG

  • KF4HR
    KF4HR Member ✭✭

    Hi Tim

    I just updated to v3.5.23. Wow, quite a difference on the standard fan operation, in fact, when I switched my PG-XL to Operate (without transmitting) I thought something was wrong because I didn't hear the fan at all. When causally transmitting I barely hear the fan, but longer transmissions cause the Standard fan speed to start ramping up. Very nice! Thanks to all involved.


    Butch

    KF4HR





  • Larry Burke
    Larry Burke Member ✭✭
    Ian and Butch.... what exciter are you using with your PGXL?
  • KF4HR
    KF4HR Member ✭✭

    Larry I'm using a Flex-6700.

    Butch, KF4HR

  • KM4CQG
    KM4CQG Member ✭✭

    Larry same here 6700

    Seems in Standard Mode Fan stays off until 50F and back off below 38F. There are some quiet modes even in Contest setting.

    Ian

    KM4CQG

  • Sergey KN7K
    Sergey KN7K Member ✭✭

    Tim, Dan,

    Thank you for taking time to explain. I installed latest FW during ARRL DX SSB contest and half contest was working SP in standard mode and FAN's never kicked on, completely silent. Temperature never got higher than ~45C, Very Nice!

    I was concerned about keying but never seen interlock and my TX intervals were more than 2min many times. My 6600 connected with Maestro and PGXL by LAN connection. During CQ, i switched to Contest mode and it could be that PGXL had a little less noise than before but may be it was my "wish" :)

    Anyway, so far it works very well. Good job!

    With that, I would like to ask you one more time to keep S/N, FW version and IP address in Configuration Menu. I just do not see the point to see this information every day on the main screen and this is something that would keep your application clean without distraction.

    Thanks

    Sergey, KN7K

  • Larry Burke
    Larry Burke Member ✭✭
    W2PP, Peter, my PGXL will communicate with the Icom IC-7851 if it's the only thing on the CI-V bus. Add something else and the band data in the PGXL changes at random. It's unfortunate, but I have to keep this otherwise great amp in manual all the time.
  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin

    @Larry Burke do you have the baud rate set for no more than 9600 baud? This was a caveat in the recent release notes regarding CI-V

  • Larry Burke
    Larry Burke Member ✭✭

    H,i Tim. Yes. It's set at 9600 baud.

  • Tom Porada
    Tom Porada Member ✭✭

    Just upgraded. Very easy process. Always leery about the upgrade process but this was implemented extremely well - simple.

    Fan noise? What fan noise. Wish I had it installed yesterday for the Stew Perry 160m CW contest!!

  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Member ✭✭✭

    Yes it is a smooth install

    Only problem I have every had with upgrades is if I was running a Wireless Ethernet connection to do the update. They have always been super easy to do.

  • Tim - W4TME
    Tim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin

    @Larry Burke I added your report to the PGXL bug tracker for CI-V issues. Thanks for your feedback

  • Russ Ravella
    Russ Ravella Member ✭✭

    This firmware update is excellent - thanks !

    I was pretty impressed with the last one and this one goes even further. Between the two of them they've addressed everything I would have asked for except utilizing SmartLink. I would like very much to be able to use this remotely for the many many features it has beyond what is available via SSDR interoperability. Same applies to the upcoming Tuner Genius Utility.

  • Julie KC0TMD
    Julie KC0TMD Member ✭✭
    edited March 25

    I love the new update on how super quite my PXGL is. I am quite amazed at this new update Flex Radio Team. Well Done Flex Team.

    🤗🤗🤗

  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    @Russ Ravella what features are you looking for remote?

    my PG-XL should arrive mid-week next week and going to integrate it into Node Red.


    Dave wo2x

  • W2PP
    W2PP Member ✭✭

    Regarding communication with the IC 7610 or the 7851, as noted above, if their is anything else on the line

    things do not work well.

    I have a Hamplus antenna controller, it is agnostic to the radio address, meaning, it doesn't care about the hex address.

    I wonder if this could be modified inside the PGXL?

    So long as the forth coming TGXL follows the PGXL we're good to go not sure how the two communicate or

    if they just sniff RF independently from one another, which is fine ....but would be nicer if they tracked

    along.

    Peter

  • NA5RF
    NA5RF Member ✭✭
    Great job guys! Just installed the new PGXL firmware 3.5.23. The fans are totally silent when I switch to OPERATE and I even thought it was broken and had to switch to BROADCAST mode to hear them. And the fans stay silent in NORMAL until a few minutes of talking on sideband. Even then they are still more quiet than before. I did not notice any delay in PTT in sideband.
  • Russ K5OA
    Russ K5OA Member ✭✭

    EASY AND FLAWLESS UPGRADE.

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