Connect Flex 6600 to SBE expert 1.3k amp with 6600

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 8 months ago
Flex 6600 upgraded to latest SDR version without problems.  Trying to interface with my SBE Expert 1.3K  amplifier.  Connected FTDI USB Serial adaptor to cable made by Dan Tassel to USB  port on 6600. Installed Term 232 amplifier control program.  Generated CAT com port in SDR CAT and set  up amp.   My problem is that I do not get any data showing on the control screen (Using computer on LAN not at at radio)  The amplifier appears to be connected to the radio and changes bands when I change bands with the radio   No control from the Term232 screen.  How  do I get control of the amplifier on the remote computer?

Chuck, W6ASO
Photo of Chuck

Chuck

  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes

Posted 8 months ago

  • 1
Photo of YV5WZ

YV5WZ

  • 415 Posts
  • 50 Reply Likes
Make the cable sugested by Expert.... i had 6300 and cable is totally functional with my 6600. I use DDutil

Happy Independence Day!!!

George, YV5WZ / PY3ZZZ
Photo of Paul W5PF

Paul W5PF

  • 47 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
I use my 1.3K with the 6600. I do not use the amplifier control program but it needs to be connected to the computer via a serial cable. See Section 20 of the SPE Manual.
73, Paul W5PF
Photo of Rick Hadley - W0FG

Rick Hadley - W0FG

  • 586 Posts
  • 126 Reply Likes
You can have partial control of the amp using FR Stacks. I have my SPE hooked directly to my 6400 instead of the PC too, and that’s what I’m using.
Photo of Mark WS7M

Mark WS7M

  • 449 Posts
  • 126 Reply Likes
Chuck,

You have a number of options.

First, it sounds like your Flex USB cable is correct since the amp is changing bands.

You mention running TERM232.  This is serial version of the SPE console app.  Unless you plan to use FRSTACKS or have some other need to use the serial version I would highly suggest you run a USB cable from the USB port on the amp to your computer.  Then run the USB version of the SPE control program.

The USB SPE Term program functions much faster.  It was so much better for me than TERM232 that I use it even when remote.  I have purchased these VirtualHere USB server/client software that allow USB to used over the internet.   When remote I can run TERM USB and it works very well.

Mark - WS7M
Photo of Chuck

Chuck

  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Mark:
Thanks for your input.  Yes, the cabling is correct.   When I connect the amplifier directly to the local radio computer everything works well.   I can also do this if I use Teamviewer and access the radio computer remotely and run the programs that way.   What I am trying to do is run the programs directly through the Flex 6600 as indicated in the Flex USB manual.  This would be over my local LAN from the shop where the radio is and the house about 250 ft away.  I have so far not discovered a way to get the control and data to display on the amps control screen on the remote computer.
I will keep trying for awhile longer 

Thanks again,   73
Chuck, W6ASO
 
Photo of Paul W5PF

Paul W5PF

  • 47 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
The SPE manual shows that the only ways to run the amp control program are with either the USB port or the RS232 port. There is no way to run the control program through the Flex.

Paul W5PF
Photo of Mark WS7M

Mark WS7M

  • 449 Posts
  • 126 Reply Likes
Chuck, are you trying to run the RS-232 version over the LAN?

So here is my setup:

SPE 2K FA
USB cable from SPE 2K FA to Rasperry Pi, model 3 B running Raspian Linux

VirtualHere server is installed on Raspberry Pi.  Cost for this server is something ridiculous like $49.  So the total cost of the Pi and Virtual Here is under $100.00.  The Raspberry Pi has a static IP on my LAN.  My router has the port needed for VirtualHere open.

On a remote PC, either LAN or WAN you run the VirtualHere client.  Here is a screen shot of my client running on my Work PC:



"ControlPi" is configured in the client as my dynamic DNS name as well as the open port.  As you can see it found the SPE amp.  You can name your USB connections.

I simply tell the client I want to use this device and it looks like this:

Now I just run the USB based SPE program and it finds and connects to the connected amp.  I erased my USB ID to make it a little harder to hack the amp:


This link is to a little movie showing SSDR and the amp programming running remote from my office to my home.  Our office has TERRIBLE networking with an ISP limited bandwidth of like 20mb / sec.  We have 54 people working here so I am surprised this performs as well as it does.

On a LAN or a better WAN connection the USB based SPE program reacts better with nice indications.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ooikknisw1r54x3/RemoteAmp.mp4?dl=0

This in my humble opinion is the way to do this with SPE amps.  No additional things required.  The raspberry Pi is pretty rock solid.  Typical uptime on the Pi is well over 30 days without a reboot.  But I will reboot things including the radio when I travel.

Mark - WS7M
Photo of Mark WS7M

Mark WS7M

  • 449 Posts
  • 126 Reply Likes
Paul is correct.  For this to work you are going from SPE amp (in my case through a Raspberry Pi), to the LAN, to a remote PC running the USB software.

The Flex radio cannot transfer this information.
Photo of Paul W5PF

Paul W5PF

  • 47 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
Mark, I knew there must be some way to run the 232 over the lan but since my amp, radi and computer are all side by side I never looked into it. The Raspberry sounds neat.

Paul
Photo of Mark WS7M

Mark WS7M

  • 449 Posts
  • 126 Reply Likes
Hi Paul,

There are ways for sure.  None probably as cheap as reliable as the Pi/VirtualHere.

There is a company called "Moxa" that sells very high quality serial device servers.  I have 4 of them.  You give them a static IP, put your serial device into it and remote computers can access the serial data.

There are two ways the data presents itself:

1) Serial data that comes over a TCP/IP socket.  This is fine if you have a program or are writing one that can open a socket to get the data.  Most pre-written programs like the SPE 232 program cannot.

2) You install Moxa device suite which allows you to map from the remote ports on the serial device server to be a true COM port.  With this you can open that com port in programs like the SPE 232 program.  There some times can be rate/speed problems you have to work through.

But for a quality serial device server you are talking $300+ and more if you want more ports.   This is worth about 3 rasperry pi/Virtual here setups and the USB method tends to completely take care of speed issues.

There are software serial servers but I've never found them to be as robust as a box and you would require a PC on the far end for the software to run on.  The serial device servers need nothing but power and a connection to the LAN.
Photo of Paul W5PF

Paul W5PF

  • 47 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
Thanks Mark, I will file this in case I ever go remote.

73
Photo of Chuck

Chuck

  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Thanks to all that put in suggestions.   Looks like its going to be much more complicated than indicated in the Flex USB cable setup.   For now I guess I will continue accessing the Radio computer that the SBE amp is connected  and use TeamViewer to control the amp.   I can run either SBE control programs just fine.   Wanted to eliminate the local radio computer.    Thanks to all who responded I will keep the information and see about setting it up later.

73 Chuck W6ASO