Anyone get SmartSDR V1.10 Serial Cable to work with ACOM 600S?

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I have the new Flex USB serial cable connected to the RS232 connector on the back of the ACOM 600S. The Flex USB settings are set to CAT,9600,8,N,1,None. The ACOM CAT is set to RS232, Command Set=5, Baud Rate=9600, Byte Spacing=0, Polling=500. I can't get the Flex 6500 and ACOM 600S to talk. Anyone else get it to work?

73
KB5KYX
Mark
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Mark Smith - KB5KYX

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Posted 3 years ago

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KE0U

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You will need to make an adapter to connect to the 15 pin connector on the back of the 600S, the 9 pin is not a CAT port. This works fine for me, I have polling at 800 and spacing at 20us. Otherwise it throws a CAT error every half hour or so. Acom has on their website a cat interface cable schematic PDFwhich will guide the building of the adapter cable. I plan to write up the cable I made this weekend and post to my blog at www.n0iai.us

73, Jay
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Jim Gilliam

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One has to either buy or make up a special cable for the SteppIR, also. As above you connect this cable to the USB/RS232 cable. It's sad the mfgs can't all get together and come up with one standard. It's very disconcerting.


Jim, K6QE

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Moose

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I was thinking the RS-232 remote port would work for this? Will it not? I have a USB to RS-232 on the way. 

So if the RS-232 port will not work, does a USB to HD-15 cable need to have an FTDI chip?

73 Chris AK4SK
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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So if the RS-232 port will not work, does a USB to HD-15 cable need to have an FTDI chip?

If the USB end of the cable is connected to the FLEX-6000, the answer is a definite yes.
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Moose

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Looking at the CI-V cable I was using with my Icom, the only pins (other than the ground) that were being used were pins 1 and 4. Pin 1 is Received Data TTL input and Pin 4 is Transmitted Data TTL output. The RS-232 connector on the 600S has Transmitted Data RS232 level output on pin 2 and Received Data RS232 level input on pin 3. Can these not be used?

73 Chris
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Moose

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Thanks Tim.
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Moose

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I emailed ACOM this morning and already received a reply, quoted here:

"The RS-232 port is designed for a connection to a PC. It all depends on the software running on the PC in this case. A direct connection to the transceiver is possible only thru the CAT/AUX port."

So based on that it looks like it may be possible to use the RS-232 connection, which means all that is needed is an off the shelf USB to RS-232 FTDI cable. I'm getting a cable in the mail today so I'll see if I can get it to work.

73 Chris
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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You misinterpreted the answer.  The USB Cable feature only speaks the Kenwood/SmartSDR CAT protocol, so you must use the CAT/AUX port and not the RS-232 port which probably communicates using proprietary communications protocol.  The RS-232 port will not work with the FLEX-6000 USB Cable feature.
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Moose

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Ok, thank you Tim. 

Chris
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Mark Smith - KB5KYX

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Tim,
I bought the Flex USB Serial cable thinking it would work. Is there another way that I can adapt the USB Serial 9 pin cable to the ACOM 15 pin CAT/AUX port? I prefer not to have to continue connecting to the computer for band changes. 73 Mark
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NX6D Dave

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After studying the ACOM documents, I can say that the 9 pin RS-232 interface is intended to be used to connect the amp to a computer on which is running a remote control program.  I didn't see any other use for it in the documentation.  The 9 pin cable sold by FRS does not apply in this case.

The 15 pin connector is the "general purpose" interface.  It supports CAT protocol using a very simple wiring scheme and also supports BCD band data.  You apparently can use either.  I've not been able to find any documentation about how they interpret the BCD data, so I would start by assuming it is in the conventional way, as FRS does.

We're working on adding this interface to the USB Cables guide.
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Moose

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ACOM publishes their CAT and Remote protocol. I can email that to anybody that wants it, anyways it's on the web. I'm going to look through it, but I don't think it's going to mean much to me :)

If I understand correctly there are no setting to set or enable in the 600S for the remote port. If the amp receives a valid signal through the remote port then it does what's requested (and the Remote indication illuminates to show this). I could be wrong about this but I could find anything in the menu or manual where Remote had to be turned on or set like the CAT/AUX does.

73 Chris AK4SK
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Gastonet

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Hi Mark, I used your settings and spent hours trying to figure out how to get it to work and nothing... until I found that the 600S has to be in OPERATE mode. So, if it is in stand by (even if it's polling the Flex and the Flex is answering correctly) nothing happens. (Keep an eye in the USB Cables Log window)
So, the trick for the 600S to respond is to put it in OPERATE mode.

Hope it helps.

73!
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Gastonet

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Yes Moose, pins 2 and 3 of the DB15 (CAT/AUX port) connector on the ACOM side are RS232.
BTW: Pin 5 is GND. That's it.
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Mark Smith - KB5KYX

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What cable and connector did you use to make the connections?
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Gastonet

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I have a dozen of USB <> Serial converters with Prolific chip but fortunately I found just one with FTDI, that is the USB <> Serial cable for my KX2: http://hamradiostore.co.uk/elecraft-kxusba.html
In one side has (obviously) an USB connector, and in the other side has a 3.5mm stereo plug (like the one on the earphones). Pinout is quite simple: TIP=TX RING=RX SLEEVE=GND. On the ACOM side we have a DB15 (not the DB9 since is not for CAT) with a lot of options and connections. We only need 3 pins to make CAT work. PIN2=RX PIN3=TX PIN5=GND (so, PIN2 goes to TIP on the 3.5mm plug and PIN3 goes to RING.). Since I didin't have a DB15 connector to solder, I just used an old VGA cable and solder the 3 cables to a 6.5mm jack and used a 3.5mm to 6.5mm adapter for the KX2 cable. It's quite easy, the trick is to remember that the 600S changes the band ONLY when is in OPERATE mode, NOT in STDBY. In the attached picture you can see what I've explained and the unused half of the VGA cable just to give you an idea on how looks on the 600S side.
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Mark Smith - KB5KYX

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Thanks Gaston!

73 Mark
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nestor

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Thank you GASTON !!!

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KE0U

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Stefano - W2WTZ

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Wow, thank you very much for easy guide! Now I drive the 600s by the PC comport as the FTDI I have is not compatible, I will order the one suggested by FRS. The cable is the same.
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Mark Smith - KB5KYX

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I figured out what I needed to purchase to connect the Flex-6500 to my ACOM 600S Amplifier with a single cable. I purchased a "FTDI C232HM-EDHSL-0 USB to MPSSE Serial cable" from Flex, and a "Uxcell D-SUB DB15 VGA Male 3Row 15Pin Plug to Terminal PCB Board Connector" from Amazon.

Connect the USB serial cable to the VGA connector using the follow pins:

FTDI USB Serial                VGA 15Pin
Pin 2 (Orange)    <------>     Pin 7
Pin 3 (Yellow)      <------>     Pin 8
Pin 4 (Green)      <------>     Pin 9
Pin 5 (Brown)      <------>     Pin 10
Pin 10 (Black)     <------>     Pin 15

Then set SmartSDR to Cable Type "BCD" and BCD type to "HF_BCD" and then set the ACOM 600S to BCD. The ACOM now follows the Flex band changes with no issues so far. As Gaston said earlier, you must have the ACOM 600S in OPERATE mode while selecting a new band on the Flex, or the ACOM will not follow the Flex.

For a cleaner look you could get a pigtail VGA connector and solder it up to the USB cable instead. For me the terminal board plug was easier to put together, since it is difficult for me to solder anymore.

73
Mark
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Gastonet

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Glad to know that cable is working Mark. I bought the same cable from Mouser (but since I live in Argentina I have to wait a couple more days to arrive) in the meantime I'm still using the RS232 from my KX2.
BTW: I asked Val (from ACOM) why the 600S only switchs between bands only when is in OPERATE mode and he said "to preserve the internal relays when the operator is listening and switching between bands". More than a fair answer for me.

73
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Lars Fillmore

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