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CAT Error on Flex to Expert Amp's new V3 firmware - problem resolved

Barry Isseks
Barry Isseks Member ✭✭

Here is the answer to the Expert Amp CAT Error on Flex startup and shutdown V3 firmware:

In the new firmware (v3) the Expert now polls the radio for CAT data at the rate of 4x /sec. Thank you Chris…. i have my Flex set up to boot the when the Flex starts up. It is set by the “remote” dip switch on Dan’s CAT cable. 

With the new Firmware when I boot the flex, the Expert immediately comes on.. however the Flex takes a minute to begin sending CAT data to the Expert. That delay prompts a CAT Error message to display. In shutdown the flex shuts off first prompting another Error message before the Expert shuts down. I would like to thank Dan Tassel KC5PCB, builder of the CAT interface cable, for his insight into the issue, since the Expert people could only blame the CAT cable connection with no further help. 

Here is Dan’s email to me presented with his permission:

"Hi Barry,

Ok, pretty sure there is nothing wrong. If the SPE linear is following the FlexRadio, the interface cable is fine.

Bob (Expert Amps) most likely did not go into details on the new "CAT Error" message. Earlier this year, the folks at SPE added this protection feature to the 1.3K-FA and 1.5K-FA amplifiers. I think it was mostly because of the Icom transceiver. If the SPE linear is configured for a transceiver under the CAT settings and if there is no CAT information coming in, after 3 seconds the linear will display "CAT Error" and switch to Standby.

The issue you are having is the SPE linear boots up faster than the FlexRadio so after 3 seconds it will go into CAT Error. Once the FlexRadio has fully booted up, frequency data should start coming out and all is good.

Now during shutdown, the opposite happens. If you are using the Remote ON feature, while the FlexRadio turns OFF pretty quick, the switched voltage source that turns the SPE linear ON takes a little longer to turn OFF so you will get the CAT Error again.

The SPE factory tells me there are no plans to add the "CAT Error" feature to the 2K-FA, which is the model I have. Kind of a bummer as I need to borrow a 1.5K-FA from Bob to test all my Icom interface cables as they have a hardware addition for this CAT Error feature.

Your interface cable is working fine. This is just the new normal for the 1.3K-FA & 1.5K-FA amplifiers.

Additionally….. if you disable the Remote ON feature and turn ON the SPE linear after the FlexRadio has fully booted up, and then turn OFF the SPE before you turn OFF the FlexRadio you will not see the CAT Error. My Expert Electronics MB1 behaves the same way as the FlexRadio as far as how soon CAT data starts coming out and how long the switched Remote ON voltage takes to turn OFF

Bob is pretty busy keeping up with sales and repairs. He does not do anything on the interfacing side of things.

There are mixed feelings on this new CAT Error protection feature, but it is not my amplifier design.

Let me know if you need anything else.



  • Mike-VA3MW
    Mike-VA3MW Administrator, FlexRadio Employee, Community Manager, Super Elmer, Moderator admin

    This could be improved by adding NodeRed in the middle to control the timing between the radio and the amplifier.

    Just a thought.

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭✭

    FR Stack also has an SPE Amp Control/Status Monitoring, Graphical Interface, Option.

    Alan. WA9WUD

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