5000A not receiving, not transmitting

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I'm helping with the disposal of some SK equipment, including 2 x 5000A.  Both connect OK with the PC but it seems that neither the transmitter nor the receiver are working.  No noise whatsoever on rx, and in the tune mode no RF out.  The relays change over, but the current drawn from the PSU hardly varies from rx mode.  The software seems to control the radio functions normally (changing bands, etc.)

I'd be surprised if both units were faulty but I just don't know the history.  It's perfectly possible I'm overlooking something very obvious, and I'd appreciate any help with troubleshooting.  I used to have a 5000A myself before the 6500 was released, but my memories of it have faded.  

Downloaded PowerSDR v2.6.4.

Jeff - G4IUA
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Jeff - G4IUA

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Posted 12 months ago

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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Have you tried a database reset?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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And the latest FlexRadio version of PowerSDR is v2.7.2.  You might try that along with the database reset.

To test power output, use the TUNE feature to generate RF.  Once you click the button and it changes color, you should get 10W out.  You can increase the power level to max (100) to see if the radio is making a 100W.
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Jeff - G4IUA

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Installed v2.7.2 but no change.  I can't see how to reset the database...it's been 5 years since I had my 5000A and I'm ashamed to say that I can't remember the details, nor can I find the database instructions in the documentation (although I'm sure it is there somewhere).  I understand what you are saying regarding the Tune power output, but at present nothing it output and also worrying is that not even noise is displayed when receiving, any band, any mode.

I've installed this on the same PC I use with SmartSDR for my 6500.  Is any interaction the likely cause of the issue?  
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K4MT

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on the top left of Powersdr click on setup. When setup screen opens on the bottom is a button for factory defaults.  
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Steven G1XOW

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Jeff, in the setup form, bottom left corner you should see "factory defaults". This would be a good way to get a clean start. 

My 3000 sees almost no noise or trace on the panadaptor until an antenna is connected. Are you sure you have the right antenna connector enabled? Also, try connecting the antenna coax to the RX1-in BNC instead in case that circuit is switched in.  If you can key-up another TCVR close-by (or a sig gen) then you should see something on the pan even with only a short piece of wire connected.

Being really daft I know, but you are clicking the start/stop button at the top left corner of PSDR?...the sliders would still work even when the radio is not enabled, but no TX/RX action.

73 de Steve G1XOW
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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top Left corner, click setup then bottom of the panel export and import data base
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Jeff - G4IUA

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Antenna was definitely connected to ANT1, but I just tried temporarily connecting it to RX1 BNC and selecting it in the menu.  Ditto ANT2 and ANT3.  I've just been using the same antenna with my 6500 and it's absolutely fine.  I wish it was something as daft as the Stop/Start button but unfortunately not!  I also tried a Factory Reset but no change.

I haven't tried the second 5000A today but will do so, but from a quick test yesterday the results seem the same, which made me think I'm doing something stupid.  The problem is determining what it could be (or I have inherited 2 defective radios, which is theoretically possible but unlikely).

Yesterday a friend and I did exactly what was suggested and keyed up a few watts on a nearby KX3, but even then not response from the 5000A rx.  That doesn't look good. 

Jeff - G4IUA
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Steven G1XOW

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Jeff,
When you first start-up PSDR does it come up with a radio chooser panel? It should contain both the "demo" (fake) radio and the real one with its serial number along side...that would confirm that the radio is basically alive and passing F/wire data at least.

Also, if you run the Flex driver app (not PSDR) does it find the radio as a device then?
(Edited)
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Jeff - G4IUA

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Steve:

The radio chooser comes up, where I selected the radio (s/n identifies correctly).  I'm not sure where to find the Flex driver app...where should I look?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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If the radio comes up in the chooser, you do not need any drivers
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KM0T

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If you dont have the right firewire card, they wont work right, do all sorts of strange stuff, just a heads up.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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A bad Firewire connection will not present itself with RX working and not TX.  I suspect a hardware issue.
(Edited)
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Jeff - G4IUA

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The firewire card is the one I used to use when I had a 5000A myself so I'm happy that it is working.  I guess if there was a problem the 5000A wouldn't communicate properly with the PC, whereas the control functions (start/stop, change bands, etc.) all work.  The relays can be heard changing as appropriate.

I'll report back later when I try the second 5000A, but I suspect the results will be identical.
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Jeff - G4IUA

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Question:  can PowerSDR and SmartSDR coexist on the same PC?  Perhaps coincidentally but I used another PC and immediately things started to work.  The second PC had never had a Flex product installed.

Both 5000As now receive normally, but there may be a problem on the TX side.  I've only used a dummy load, and with both radios the load heats up as expected and the current from the PSU reads around 18A when Tune output set to max.  However the power out on PowerSDR's meter indicates around 6 watts forward power on one radio and never budges above zero on the other.  

When connecting a mic: normal mic level on level meter but again no power out.  Current from PSU still sits at around 1.5A - 2A in TX mode even when taking the mic level up to 0dB.  I haven't attempted connecting to an antenna yet as it appears something is wrong, either in the hardware or it is a software issue (v2.7.2).  Any further suggestions? 
(Edited)
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Don’t forget the several stage audio chain that must be adjusted in PSDR. It is easy to forget once you run SSDR for a while.....
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K4MT

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do you have the correct  TX ant port selected?
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Jeff - G4IUA

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Just double checked - and yes, it is selected.  Thanks for the suggestion though.
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Jeff - G4IUA

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Performed a few more tests tonight.  Tx from the 2 x 5000A and Rx on my 6500.  Admittedly only a short piece of wire as a receive 'antenna' on the 6500 but there should have been heaps of RF received.  Both 5000As set to tune at full power (nominally 100w) but the 6500 indicated only around S7.  I imagine this suggests a PA failure?  If this is the case what is the expected current draw?  What are the implications - can the output transistors be replaced in the field or is it back to Flex (Germany)?  It still seems odd that 2 radios exhibit more or less the same symptoms, but I'm running out of other options.
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Steven G1XOW

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Jeff,

If everything in the PA chain is performing, you should expect to see about 18-22A pull on the 13.8v supply. Note you do need a fair bit more than a nominal 12v to make these radios happy.

Assuming the tune and TX pwr settings are correct, and the TX is not disabled in the menu then the only thing left would be the SWR PA fold-back protection. Do you see an rapid big swing on the TX OP meter (or DC-A meter) before it drops down to a few watts?

Other things worth checking but clutching at straws now: are you using an original DC power cable with all 4 pins connected correctly? Is the PSU good for 25A continuous OP?   What does the internal SWR meter say?, showing any reflected pwr?

Failing those checks, I would say it's time for a visit to Norbert in Germany.

73 de Steve G1XOW
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Jeff - G4IUA

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Thanks for all the suggestions.  The PSU is outputting at 13.8v, and is in fact one I've been using with my 6500 until recently.  Output voltage remains stable at full load, although as a precaution I will check with a meter where the DC cable connects into the back of the radio.  It is the original DC cable as supplied and all 4 pins are used so I really wouldn't expect a problem there.

I've used both the antenna and a dummy load.  The antenna's SWR is fairly low (2:1 at worst) and in any case I should have been able to run full power into the dummy load. The output meter always reads a solid zero on one of the radios, and a max of around 5 - 6 watts on the other.  Increasing the drive power on the latter I see no dramatic swings in output, but just a gradual increase up to 6 watts. 

It doesn't look good, but if any more ideas come to mind I'd be glad to receive them.  Otherwise, as you say, it's off to Germany.

73s
Jeff - G4IUA
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K4MT

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Put the radios in USB or LSB and key mox and set drive power slider to 0.

Looking at current draw on your power supply you should observe an increase in current (PA Idle Current Bias). 

Usually defective PA devices will either have no increase due to open PA devices or a very high current increase with no drive if devices are shorted.

I can not remember the proper idle current on the 5000 but assume its around 500 MA.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Official Response
Jeff, I think it is time to contact Norbert in Germany.  This radio needs service.
(Edited)