6600 Keeps Rebooting, Endless Cycle. Any Ideas?

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  • Updated 4 months ago
  • (Edited)

Friday
night my Flex-6600 started rebooting itself. About every 60 seconds to a couple of minutes. I thought it might be computer related so I disconnected the ethernet cable, disabled remote on and removed its physical connection. The radio is in the following state. I turn on the power supply, turn on the radio, it boots, and the green light comes on. It then crashes and the light blinks red until I turn off the power supply. It does not matter if the radio is connected to the computer, switch or router, or stand alone. It does the same. I have done a full uninstall according Flex procedures and started over. It was in vain. I have attached a link to a video, at 2:31 in the video it crashes. In the video the 6600 is not connected to the computer, it is completely stand alone. I have left the radio on since I received it a few weeks ago for infant mortality purposes.

Here is the video link. https://youtu.be/0pme1fGc8YU

Thanks for the help guys.  Dan KM6CQ
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Posted 9 months ago

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Larry - W8LLL

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The only suggestion  i can think of is possibly power supply voltage is not keeping up with it.
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KM6CQ - Dan

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I wish that was it. 

Thanks Larry.
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K3SF

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per the hardware manual (see below)


the single flashing red mean FAN Malfunction detected

my guess is it came unplugged

as the saying goes

"open a help desk ticket, they can walk you thru the process"


Paul K3SF



Error Conditions

Certain hardware and software error conditions cause the radio to stop operating and display an error code by flashing the Power button light as follows:

  • One red flash: Fan malfunction

  • Two red flashes: Software crash

  • Three red flashes: Boot failure

  • Four red flashes: Input power over voltage

  • Five red flashes: CPU overcurrent

  • Six red flashes: Input power under voltage

    In the case of a software crash, the error code repeats for about 15 seconds, then the radio will reboot. In the other cases, the error code repeats until the Power button is pressed, then the radio shuts down. An additional press of the Power button is needed to restart the radio.




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Cal Spreitzer

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As mentioned above 1 red flash indicates a fan error.  There has been a couple of reports about a cable inside the radio in close proximity to the fan.  If you feel comfortable removing the 6600 cover you might try inspecting the fan area to ensure there is not a cable preventing fan movement.

Cal/N3CAL
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Cal Spreitzer

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Dan,

I just went back trough the forum posts and see you were one of the ones reporting fan noise on your 6600.  Did you ever get a chance to open up the radio and check the fan area?  I saw Tim had responded to your earlier thread about this? 

Cal/N3CAL
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Okay the fan has failed. There are two videos here. The first one shows the fan trying to spin under power. The second one shows resistance in the fan when I spin it. The fan originally had an intermittent noise, it would go away for a while and then come back. It sounded like a bearing, not a scraping sound. And it failed Friday night, She was 2 weeks old. 
Thanks for the help guys.  Dan

https://youtu.be/ogABHLPko38
https://youtu.be/cL7mBif1Njs
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Mark - WS7M

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I must admit I am somewhat depressed by the number of issues being reported with the first batch of 6X00M and non-M radios.

I do realize this is a support forum and you are more likely to hear problems than praise.  But I have ordered a 6600 and I am nervous as I hope the radio is as stable as my 6500 has been.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Mark, I personally looked into the failures the weekend and calculated the total rate.  Failures on the 6600/6600M are in the low single digit percentage range relative to total shipments to date.  I just checked and almost all of them have been reported on the Community.  Still too high for me.  We have addressed all pattern failures in the factory as soon as they were identified.  We would love to get to zero failures but unfortunately that is for another life.  ;>)
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Rich McCabe

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I am sure you will get close to low failure rate :)  

Appreciate your fantastic support when issues do arise. Staff gets an A++ from me.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Lol, low single digits is LOW failure rates, As almost all problems have been reported here, that looks pretty good. but anything above 0 would not make Gerald to happy.
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Wayne

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Quality control and final operational check prior to shipping is one of flexes recurraentissues proved time and time again since the M serires started shipping.

I am just glad the one I received had no issues, but I did notice a change in serial number shipped from my original prepaid invoice to the actual serial number of the unit I received they were almost 1,000 numbers different. I reported and had it administratively corrected in case I needed service.
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Mark WS7M

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Hi Gerald,

I am not sure how I missed your comment.  There was a time when my notifications seemed to stop.

I don't think I have ever said that the failure rates are high on the radios.  We all need to remember this is a support forum and by nature you will get issues showing up here and not always praise.

I am sad about my need to return my radio for what I think is a fan issue.  I just got it back yesterday and was looking forward to using it this weekend but I think it will not return in time since it takes two days to get to flex and probably you will not repair it until the following week.  

These are complex devices and they are bound to have problems.  What FRS is doing on the customer side is good.  First you have this forum which I think is a HUGE plus with employee interaction.  Try that with Icom, Kenwood or Yaesu and I do think FRS is trying their best to handle the problems.

I am in no way down on my 6600 due to this new issue.  It just still is disappointing and perhaps FRS can take that disappointment in a positive way meaning that the radio is so fun to use that to be without it sort of causes withdrawals.

I did say below that I am not sure I agree with some of the design choices.  In a radio like the 6600 the only moving parts are the buttons, relays, and the fan. 

In my experience the moving things are the things that usually fail.  I would have made the fan user replaceable.  Easily.  Even hang it on the back so the user just removes 4 screws, unplugs a cable and puts the new fan in place.

I might have taken all the boards with relays and made sure they were connecterized and setup in such a way that you could ship a new board to a customer and they could swap it.

Basically anything you could do to avoid having complete radios back at the shop.  Now I do get that this is not always a good idea or possible.   Apple for example did away with replaceable batteries.  Their reason was a drive to make things as small as possible.  So while they achieved that well, every Mac Book Pro I've owned since lives about 1.5 years before a return trip to the shop is required to get the battery replaced.

Anyway, I'm an engineer and these are the things I think about.
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Cal Spreitzer

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I wonder how easily one will be able to find AeroCool fans two years from now? 

Cal/N3CAL
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Bill -VA3WTB

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To bad mark, sorry.Looks like you will fill out a hep ticket.
I wonder how they didn't notice this on testing? And this must be 1 out of a thousand fans, these fans should last many years at the speed they run.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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On component availability, FRS discussed how they select components from life long expected availability options, to support future needs.

I don’t remember the exact industry term, but basically where you and I might buy what’s available now for a project from any of the now currently available market offerings the FRS selection process takes heed of future availability commitments and supply chain.

They also mentioned how when a component is at risk of becoming obsolete, usual by a EOL notice, that they forecast and execute a special stocking but to support anticipated needs.

Kind of cool way to model a procurement process.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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We have been using Aerocool fans since 2007 on the FLEX-5000A.  They have been very reliable but we do replace them from time to time.  We are running them on 7V most of the time, which will increase reliability.  
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KM6CQ - Dan

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I have a help ticket open this fan that I added to Sunday. I did not hear from Flex today about this fan failure. I called them twice and could not get through, so I dialed 0 and both times I was routed to the shipping depart mailbox so I gave up. Maybe tomorrow they will respond. 
(Edited)
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Michael Walker, Employee

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Hi Dan

With Tim out and recoverying with his bad wing, Dudley has been a bit busy, but he will get back to you.  And, the phones are ringing off the hook.  Litterly.  I took over 60 calls yesterday personally, so if you do call don't be surprises if I push to keep the call short.  Leaving a message will get you call back.  Try to leave some details of what you need with your message so we can do some homework before we call you back.

However, many of you do love to share your life history with me. :)     

Mike
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K1UO - Larry

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And thus the term "Hams"...
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Flex contacted me this morning. They have sent me a expedited RMA ups label. This is appropriate. It will ship Wednesday. Thank you.
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KM6CQ - Dan

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 I am happy to report my 6600 is back and working just fine. To follow up, Flex emailed me a UPS ground label on Tuesday the 13th. I shipped the radio on the 14th. The radio arrived at Flex on the 20th. They contacted me on the 23rd and asked for a shipping address to return the radio back to me and shipped it that day. I asked them to overnight it. They did not however, they did send it 2nd day. I received it back on the 27th. They replaced the faulty fan.  It is very nice to have it back. What I would have like to have seen is overnight shipping both ways. When a radio fails right of the box as this one did, the response time should be quick, including transit times.  Anyway, near the end of this saga, Flex asked me to complete a survey of my experience. I informed them of this area so they can plan for improvement. For performance I give them a B. Overall I am satisfied with their products. This was my 3rd radio purchase from Flex. Thank you all for your input.

73, Dan KM6CQ
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Mark - WS7M

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Well my 6600 just came back from PEN at FRS and seems to have this exact same issue.  Tomorrow AM I will open it up and check the fan but it does sound "rough" and the radio seems hot.

It went to FRS fine, came back this way.  So hopefully there is a cable getting to the fan but we will see.  Help desk ticket is open.

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Wayne

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One reason i did the pen update myself and forgoed the preamp update. I dont do recalls on vehicles I purchase either cause I dont buy something to not have use of it for things that should be right when i get it.
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Mark WS7M

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Well I think if this was a $1000 or less radio I'd agree.  But I kind of consider a $3000 radio to be something that I want all the options to be right.

I personally think this is new design woes.  In any new complex design there are issues.  In another year the 6400/6600 will be rock solid.

Like I said below it is sad that a fan takes down a very expensive radio but I am glad that they sense when it is not working well.   I only hope that FRS learns from this and perhaps considers making things like fans user field replaceable.
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Mark - WS7M

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Well crap...   I opened my 6600 up this morning, remember it JUST ARRIVED yesterday from FRS after PEN update.

The fan when started sounds like a coffee grinder and even after a factory reset the radio shuts down after 60 seconds all the time.

So I've updated the help ticket and we will see what FRS wants to do.

Just a note for future design FRS... I think you should make the fans field replaceable.  It seems that there have been quite a few fan failures in the 63/5/700 line and now in the 64/600 line.
(Edited)
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Hi Mark,
sorry about your fan. It is frustrating. They replaced mine with the same make and model. If it fails again I will install a Noctua. I use them on my builds and like them a lot. Of course your probably already ahead of me on that. When I spoke with Gerald at the Visalia DX convention, he thought it was the bearing that failed in fan. He said it was sitting on his desk and he still needed to open it up and look. I sent my 6600 back a few weeks ago for the pen update. UPS says it will be here today. I fall back on the 7300 but I 6600 is my go to rig. Been playing with FT8CALL lately. It has been fun, although there are only a few of us on the air at any given time. Good luck with outcome of your rig. We all know Flex takes care of their customers. 

73,   Dan
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Mark WS7M

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Aw man... Dan that is just too strange that your radio and mine both come back from FRS and suddenly get fan issues.

So I have a question:  When you got your flex back just now how did your box look?  Mine looked like it might have been crushed a little on one corner.  Not bad enough to flag and get UPS involved but I wonder if it was dropped?  How did yours look?

And now I think FRS needs to take notice of this.   Maybe we are the only two but it is super strange that my radio was FINE before, comes back from PEN with fan issues and in the same week yours does too.

When my radio came back from PEN there was ZERO documentation on what was done.  I am now wondering if FRS is replacing the fans and the new lot of fans is bad?   Not accusing, just wondering.  This is just a little too strange for my taste.

I have a picture of my fan.  I will look up the model and probably try to find a much better quality fan.  When my radio comes back I might just put the better quality fan in.  I think FRS is using a poor quality fan.
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Mark WS7M

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Dan your blinking light is exactly what I saw.  Mine would start, run for about 60 seconds then turn off and blink the light like that.  When running the fan sounded a lot like a coffee grinder.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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There has been no indication that the fans are failing at a high rate.
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Mark WS7M

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Hi Bill,

No one is saying "high rate".  But Dan and I have two failure cases in a row, both requiring a return to the factory.  If these were weeks apart I wouldn't question.  But I think this is something worthy of notice:

To radios, both in for PEN updates, both shipped back almost the same time, both fail the fan!
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Jon, EA2OT

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Thank you for the photos Mark! You are right, it shall be easier to get access to the fan. It ́s the first part that will need to be changed in the radio, even if the one included is working according to its MTBF specs.
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KM6CQ - Dan

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I was thinking about that Mark. A friend of mine ships electronics as part of his job. They were having repeated internal damages inside the equipment. They use Fedex ground and UPS. So they shipped a device capable of measuring force. What they discovered was their products were subject 14G's by Fedex and the box would still look perfectly fine. They had to change the way they packed their equipment for shipping. As for my box it looks fine. It now obviously looks like has it been on many UPS trips, but never crushed, not even a little. When I look at the way Flex packs there equipment, it is done to keep down the shipping cost, It is suffient enough of the time to be successful. They may insure when they provide a label for warranty work, but at the end of the day they are self insured as they will repair it themselves. It is probably a trade off that works for them. So I am off to the rafters to retrieve my box and prepare to send it back. 

Dan
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Mark WS7M

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Well not that it would make any difference to either FedEx or UPS but the box is not even marked fragile.

The current double box and foam holder should do pretty well but it sure seems like something is killing fans or there is a bad lot.

It is just simply too strange that your radio and mine were both at FRS at the same time, both come back with fan issues.   I mean that is simply worth looking into what might have happened.  Were our radios built at roughly the same time?  Perhaps it is a bad fan lot.

I hope FRS does investigate.  Not only is this costing them money to repeat return radios, yours particularly is a multiple return.  So if I were Gerald this would be one of my TOP priorities to figure out what is causing the multiple returns.

Five months ago Gerald, above computed the return rates across some section of radios and come up with single digit percentages which should be good.  But I doubt he has looked at multiple returns.  Quite frankly I know two other people, yourself and another that have had their newer flex 6x00 radios back to FRS more than once. And I am talking about for issues, not PEN updates.

So I know of three right now including myself.  Seems this warrants a look to see if something strange is going on.

I don't know anything about Areocool fans and Gerald claims they have used them since the 5000 series.  But even a good fan can have a bad run.  When I opened my 6600 to check out the fan I will admit it just felt cheap.  I cannot vouch for more than just my observation.

I work for a company in the biomedical field.  We make instruments that cost $350,000 at the low end.  These have at times 10 fans in them.  in my 3 years with this company we have not had a single fan failure and when I go and look at the fans I personally think they are of far better quality than the Aerocool.  Again, just visual inspection.

I'm going to bring up our inventory system and look at the specs/cost of our fans then I will take a look at Aerocool just to get a reference.  I'll let you know what I find.

I hope I'm dead wrong and this is just a bad run of fans.  But in all honesty if my radio comes back and the fan fails in the next 3-6 months of use I will have speced out my own replacement and will do it myself.   I am losing trust in the shipping and hate the downtime for such a simple repair.   I am disappointed that the fan in the 6600 is mounted such that it is difficult for a user to replace.  I personally think this was a poor design choice considering it is a moving part.
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Mark,

Tim contacted me today. He said they need the radio back, it may be a fan controller issue. He said a fan failing twice in the same radio is extremely rare. I attached a video of the fan noise for you to view. I also attached a video of 6 meters. My TX display on 6 meters has always jittered no matter what mode I use. For the video I ran low power CW into a dummy load. Have you ever used your rig on 6 meters and noticed this?

6 meter Jitter https://youtu.be/pvdNMP3GJK0    

Fan noise https://youtu.be/7xDqKxN_ey8


Thanks, Dan
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Mark WS7M

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Dan that fan noise is EXACTLY what mine sounded like for like 60 seconds before it shutdown.
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KM6CQ - Dan

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It appears we may have a fan from the run. To make those videos I had to work quickly to avoid a shutdown. I hope Flex does not have a lot of these fans fail for their sake. I am glad to see the failure is not intermentant, it should be easier for them to discover the cause of the problem. I just dropped my off at ups this morning. Tim sent me a 3 day label which will take 4 days off of transit. I definitely appreciate that.

Dan

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Cal Spreitzer

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Dan,  I also see the jitter on 6m during TX but have ignored it as all seems fine and I've logged dozens of contacts without any issues. 

Cal/N3CAL
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KM6CQ - Dan

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Thanks Cal.
I think it is just an artifact. I think the TX display is ball park but was never meant to be accurate. More like a bonus they gave us, some good information is better then now information at all I believe was the thinking. I have made 100's of 6 meter FT8 contacts without issue.

Dan