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USB Connection from Bandmaster V to Computer and SmartSDR!

Mark Griffin
Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

Good Evening Flexradio!

I use a Bandmaster V to control my antenna's choices according to the Band that I am using on my Flex 6400M. I ran into an issue when I connected my SPE 1.3K FA Amplifier to the USB connector on the back of the radio it read the frequency and recognized the USB Connection. But when I connected my Bandmaster V to the other USB Connector on the back it would not recognize it. If I was to connect a USB Cable from my Bandmaster V to my computer. Is there a way that I can get SmartSDR to recognize that connection? And then I can not only have my Flexradio recognize my SPE Amp Connection but also my Bandmaster V Connection?

Mark Griffin, KB3Z

Answers

  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Member ✭✭✭

    Hi Mark,

    I also use a Bandmaster V and it is connected via USB on my 6600. I also noticed that frequently the 6600 did not communicate with the Bandmaster. Here is what I discovered: If I power up the 6600 first and after it is up and functioning then power up the Bandmaster. It would then work correctly. The proper antenna would connect and the signals would pop up on the screen. My long term solution was to add a Bandmaster power switch that I turn on after the radio is up. It is just part of my startup procedure and has worked ever since.


    So you might want to try that power up sequence on your Bandmaster and see if it works for you. I’ll be interested in your findings.


    73, Al / NN4ZZ

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

    Hi Al,

    I turned on my 6400M and put it in Smart Control with SmartSDR. I then connected the USB Connector from my Bandmaster V to the second USB Port on the back and powered up the Bandmaster V. It is set to Flexradio USB and it will not read the radio data. And when I go into the screen on the Flexradio it only reads one USB Cable. It will not read the both of them. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Mark Griffin, KB3Z

  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Member ✭✭✭

    Mark,

    Sorry that didn’t fix it, it was worth a try. Good luck and keep us posted.


    73, Al / NN4ZZ

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

    Al,

    I connected the USB Connector from the Bandmaster V to my computer. It is recognized on Com Port 12. I then went and tried to program the Bandmaster V to a Kenwood radio and picked a baud rate of 9600. But It doesn't allow me to pick a com port. I also wrote Hamation an email asking them for help. This is really confusing.

    Mark Griffin, KB3Z

  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Member ✭✭✭

    Mark,

    FWIW, here is what my USB port and Bandmaster looks like from the USB settings screen on my 6600. The Bandmaster is plugged into the 6600. There is a note in the Bandmaster manual V1.0 that says: "The USB cable may also be connected directly to Flex SDR Radios. The USB driver should automatically install itself." I'm not clear on where the driver is installed -- but wonder if that may be an issue??

    The setting screen shows the baud rate, etc

    The log screen shows the data being sent.

    Al / NN4ZZ

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

    Al, yes, that screen is very familiar to me. But the problem is that I have a USB Cable already connected to the back of the radio which is for my SPE 1.3K-FA Amplifier. When I plug in the USB Cable in the second USB port the radio does not recognize it. I normally use a PGXL. But that is in for service right now. So my SPE is my backup amplifier. But evidently Flexradio cannot handle two USB Connections at the same time. And there doesn't seem to be a way to setup the USB Connections on the back to be active or not. I did write Flex Support and asked them for help. I will be anxious to see what they have to say.

    Mark Griffin, KB3Z

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

    Hi Mark

    I just answered this on FB.

    The FlexRadio can support multiple USB devices as long as they are all FTDI devices.

    If that isn't the case, then it is possible there isn't enough power on that port, so try using a USB powered hub plugged into the radio and then both devices plugged into the hub.

    Let us know if that works. If not, open a support ticket.

    73

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

    Mike,

    My USB Cable connection for the Bandmaster V is not FTDI. It is just a standard USB Cable. Yet, the cable that was prepared for me from Expert Amp for my SPE 1.3K-FA is FTDI. And when I attached that cable the red light flashes, but the radio does not recognize it. I am totally confused.

    Mark Griffin KB3Z

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

    In order for the cable to be recognized by the Radio and plugged into the USB connector of the back of the radio it must be an FTDI chipset.

    I know others have used the Bandmaster V on FlexRadios, so it had to be FTDI. I would try plugging it into a powered hub next.

  • Alan
    Alan Member ✭✭✭✭

    Some devices have the FTDI chip built in. Check your device documentation.

    Otherwise, as Mike says, you need an external FTDI USB Serial cable.

    Alan. WA9WUD

  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Member ✭✭✭

    Hi Mark,

    Just found this on FAKE FTDI chips. When your cable is plugged in the FTDI serial number is displayed on the Settings/USB screen. Apparently the one I'm using is FAKE, most of the legit serial number start with FT. My BandMaster V is working with this cable but as I noted I have to power up the BandMaster after the radio is powered up. Apparently the fake chips can work but if I ever have any trouble, I swap out the USB cable with one that has a FTxxxxxx serial number.


    Regards, Al / NN4ZZ

    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com

    6600 SSDR V3.5.9

    TGXL 1.1.20

    PGXL 3.7.32

    Win10 Pro V2004

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

    And there's the problem!

    As far as I know, Flexradio does not sell Serial Port to USB FTDI Cables. Yes, they sell for about 50.00 a Serial Port to USB but it's probably not a FTDI. At least it doesn't say that on the explanation. I just plugged in my FTDI Cable for my SPE. The # is A50285BI. So that is a fake chip also but yet my flex communicates with my SPE Amplifier. If that is the case, then Expert Linear is using Fake Chips also when it comes to their interface cables between your radio and your SPE Amplifier. Do you know a manufacturer who sells legitimate FDTI Cables? I'm sure there are plenty of makes and models on Amazon. I realize that I need a Serial to USB FTDI Cable. Not sure if I have one in the shack or not. I will have to investigate that.

    Mark KB3Z

  • WX7Y
    WX7Y Member ✭✭✭

    Here are the cables I use

    If you need a LONG cable (5) Meter https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/FTDI/UT232R-500?qs=oAT38M%2F3lmFkftSdn%252BRx1g%3D%3D

    If you need a 2 Meter cable https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/FTDI/UT232R-200?qs=oAT38M%2F3lmGoOYMSry895Q%3D%3D

    These are FTDI Branded cables

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

    Bret,

    Thanks. But I need a serial female connector not the male. I realize I could purchase a gender changer. Will have to make a decision on this.

    Mark KB3Z

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

    The cable on the Flex site does use FTDI genuine chipset.

    Mark, I would recommend using the female to female serial gender changer. They make them in low profile. Contact me off list (I th8nk you have my cell number). Wayne Electronics carries them and I can mail it (gender changer) Monday if you like.

    Dave wo2x

    Go FRC!

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

    Thanks Dave. I will definitely let you know how I am going to proceed with this.

    Mark KB3Z

  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Member ✭✭✭

    Mark,

    I just realized you were connecting from the Bandmaster V via the serial connector. In my setup I'm using the USB connector on the Bandmaster V to the USB connector on the radio. So just a regular USB cable. See pic...


    Regards, Al / NN4ZZ

    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com

    6600 SSDR V3.5.9

    TGXL 1.1.20

    PGXL 3.7.32

    Win10 Pro V2004

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

    Al,

    I use the USB Cable from the Bandmaster V to my Flexradio 6400M. But I am going to try the Female Serial Port to USB FTDI Cable and see whether the Flexradio 6400M reads that new cable as well as the SPE 1.3K-FA FTDI USB. I am supposed to receive that tomorrow. I will keep you updated on that.

    Mark KB3Z

  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Member ✭✭✭

    Mark,

    You probably already aware of these setup steps but just in case, here are my Bandmaster V USB / radio setup notes from the manual. The one about 9600 baud will be important to match the SSDR radio setup. Probably similar for the serial port.

    Regards, Al / NN4ZZ

    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com

    6600 SSDR V3.5.9

    TGXL 1.1.20

    PGXL 3.7.32

    Win10 Pro V2004

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

    Al,

    Good News!! I received the Female Serial to USB Cable this afternoon. I have it set to the Kenwood Protocol and the Bandmaster V is reading the antenna's correctly. I also connected the SPE 1..3K USB and that works also. So my SPE Amp in reading the frequency of my 6400M. And my Flex USB is now reading 2 USB Cables. One with FT and the other one which is A502###. Finally the issue has been solved.

    Mark KB3Z

  • Al_NN4ZZ
    Al_NN4ZZ Member ✭✭✭

    Good news Mark, glad to hear you got it working....strange the USB to USB didn't work for you though.

    Regards, Al / NN4ZZ

    al (at) nn4zz (dot) com

    6600 SSDR V3.5.9

    TGXL 1.1.20

    PGXL 3.7.32

    Win10 Pro V2004

  • Mark Griffin
    Mark Griffin Member ✭✭

    Al,

    Plus both USB Ports on the back of the 6400M are working. I did go into the USB Menu Selection and changed the names of the devices connected. I was able to get an FTDI Cable for 10.00. Which overall isn't bad at all.

    Mark KB3Z

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