Connecting an ALS-600 to a Flex 6000 series radio to Band Switch automatically.

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If anyone is using an ALS-600 Amplifier and trying to connect it to 6000 series radio using the new USB cables, I have the answer.

I purchased the USB- Parallel cable from Flex and a breakout board from Winford engineering, made a few connections and voila, band switching is working.

Here's how:
1. You need the ARI-500 from MFJ.
     for reference on how to modify the ARI-500 to work with the Flex 6000
   https://www.dropbox.com/s/fdhtf71i051yygk/ARI500%20%26%20ALS1300%20Interface.pdf?dl=0 
   disregard any info to PSDR and the 5000 radio and DDUTIL.

    2. you need to purchase a RJ45 breakout board from Winford Engineering.
http://www.winford.com/

3. You need to purchase a USB-Parallel cable from FRS.

4. I made an interface box to house the RJ45 BO.



5. Photos of the modified ARI-500







Once all the modifications are done, plug the USB cable into the radio, install the ARI-500 and plug Cat 5 cable at the breakout box and ARI-500 radio input. 

Configur the USB-Parallel cable as a BCD cable, Active High, TX Slice and your good to go.

Enjoy!!!
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Bob G W1GLV

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Posted 2 years ago

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Dave - WB5NHL

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A much easier approach is to use the serial interface capability of the ARI-500 with a USB Serial cable. Works great and absolutely no modification of the ARI-500 necessary.
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Dave - WB5NHL

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Per the ARI-500 documentation...
Kenwood RxD    ARI-500 Pin 3  -->   Flex serial Pin 2
Kenwood TxD    ARI-500 Pin 4  -->   Flex serial Pin 3
Ground              ARI-500 Pin 1  -->   Flex serial Pin 5

"Can you control the PTT also when tuning ?"   Not sure the question.  The Flex keys the amp directly, same as with or without ARI-500. The ARI-500 has an OPR/STBY switch for bypassing the amp.
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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Thanks Dave I was hoping you had a way to control the tx to the amp when tuning .
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Walt

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Maybe send a note to Flex asking that they include a control lead to indicate when the 'TUNE' button is pressed.  I have asked them also and if enough people think that is a useful feature, they may code it up.

Cheers !
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Dave - WB5NHL

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Dennis, I still don't know what you are looking for?  If you are looking for a way for the Flex to put the amp in stdby, it won't happen.  The ARI-500 has no control signal for this. Unless you modify the ARI-500. A simple TUNE indicator wouldn't work for opr/stby since I often use TUNE with amplifier in operate mode as well as standby.

I think the Flex works really great for what the radio interface is designed for.
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Dennis Daniel KM6DF

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Thanks Dave no problem I got my answer . Yes flex is awesome and each update has something new .
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Gary, KE8O

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I'm trying to get my ALS600 to auto band switch using the Flex USB cable connection setup as Kenwood method. I was previously  using DDUTIL and a parallel port in the computer for band switching until switching to Windows 10 and that method stopped working. . In SmartSDR I have the USB cable set to CAT 9600 8, None, 1 with no flow control. The link light on the ARI500 is flashing red. When I was using it with DDUTIL and the parallel port it would stay solid red once DDLTUL was started.  I enabled logging in SmartSDR and see the following:

00:16:24 (TX): FA00007163000;
00:16:25 (RX): AI1;
00:16:25 (TX): FA00007163000;
00:16:27 (RX): AI1;
00:16:27 (TX): FA00007163000;
00:16:28 (TX): FA00000000000;
00:16:28 (TX): FA00018142000;
00:16:28 (RX): AI1;
00:16:28 (TX): FA00018142000;
00:16:29 (RX): AI1;

Would someone who has their ALS600 connected using this method enable logging and tell me if their log looks  any different ?

...Gary, KE8O
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Dave - WB5NHL

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Gary
Here is what my log looks like with a serial connection.  Not sure how to interpret other than AI1 is the command to the Flex.   Single slice on 14300 KHz

00:01:08 (TX): AI1;
00:01:08 (RX): AI1;
00:01:08 (TX): IF000143000000100+0000000000020000000;
00:01:08 (RX): AI;
00:01:08 (TX): AI1;
00:01:09 (RX): IF;
00:01:09 (TX): IF000143000000100+0000000000020000000;
00:01:12 (RX): AI;
00:01:12 (TX): AI1;
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Gary, KE8O

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Thanks Dave for posting your log. What I find interesting is that the syntax of your CAT commands from StartSDR are different then mine.

Mine --> 00:16:24 (TX): FA00007163000;
Yours --> 00:01:09 (TX): IF000143000000100+0000000000020000000;

I wonder what's causing that ?  Maybe Tim or someone from Flex can explain why.

...Gary
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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I have no idea why the connected device is sending AI1; commands all the time.  That is usually a command that is set at initialization to enable automatic mode and is not set again.  It can be called (AI;) to determine the AI state (1=on / 0=off).

When the AI state is enabled (AI1;), the USB (and CAT) will send an IF command whenever there is a frequency change of the slice the USB port is associated with.  The output Gary is getting is what I'd expect, so it may be a configuration issue with the amp.
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Gary, KE8O

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There isn't really anything to configure on the amp. The MFJ ARI-500 is the interface between the AMP and rig and the only configuration in the ARI-500 is a jumper telling it if you have the 10m/12m option installed, and if your using the optional remote switch operate / stby switch.  I have been using the ARI-500 with DDUtil and my LPT port on a Windows 7 computer for about 7 yrs to auto switch my amp. My new  Windows 10 computer broke that for me and the USB cable option in SmartSDR seemed like a nice solution. To rule out a problem with the USB to serial cable I ordered and installed  the same cable that Dave, WB5NHL is using without any change.  My log is  different then Dave's and while it might be the expect format the amp is not auto switching.  Can someone else who is using the Kenwood CAT method to switch their ALS600 share their log  so I can see what it looks like compared to mine (not working) and Dave's(working) ? 

73,
...Gary
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Dave - WB5NHL

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Tim
I just watched my USB cable log for several minutes. I changed bands, changed freq, open a second slice on the same band and changed TX from A to B.  What is interesting is I have not seen a single FA response.  ALL of my Flex 6500 responses are IF.  Is there an explanation why Gary is seeing FA responses and I see only IF responses?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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I have no idea.  You may want to compare your USB cable configuration with Gary to see if there are any differences.
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Dave - WB5NHL

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My USB cable settings

Cable Type:  CAT
Source: TX Slice
Auto-report: Enabled
Speed:9600
Data bits: 8
Parity: None
Stop Bits: 1
Flow Control: None.

and I'm using 1.10.15 Beta   SmartSDR
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Gary, KE8O

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My USB cable settings are identical to Dave's.
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Gary, KE8O

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Thanks to all who responded. I ordered a C232HM-EDHSL-0 cable from Digikey for $26.00 and switched over to BCD and it works like a champ. My ARI-500 is ~ 7 yrs old and used it with DDUTIL Yaesu BCD since I bought it. For all I know the Kenwood serial interface in my ARI-500 is broken.

73,
...Gary
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David Livingston

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You need a Nul-Modem cable with the Kenwood Cable.  The cable from Flex is not a Nul-Modem Cable. It will not work.
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Martin Blustine

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I followed Gary's, KE8O's, lead and bought a genuine C232HM-EDHSL-0 cable from Digikey, and it worked great. The cable manufacturer's data is confusing, so the FlexRadio USB Cable Interface Guide was employed.
Here is the cable mapping:
FTDI Pin 2 Orange to ARI Pin 7 Brown/White, Band A
FTDI Pin 3 Yellow to ARI Pin 6 Green, Band B
FTDI Pin 4 Green to ARI Pin 5 Blue/White Band C
FTDI Pin 5 Brown to ARI Pin 4 Blue, Band D
FTDI Pin 10 Black to ARI Pin 1 Orange/White
Don't know why the serial interface to the ARI-500 would not work unless there is something wrong with the PIC firmware in the ARI.
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AH6FF

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Hello Martin

I just ordered the cable from digikey and notice it is usb on one end and the other end is open wires. Do these get connected to the ARI 500 using a rj45 using the pinout you mentioned
Thanks
Harry
AH6FF
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Martin Blustine

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Yes, Harry, the mapping provided is correct. You will connect the open wires as listed to those pins, also listed, on the ARI-500 RJ-45. In addition, you will have to key the linear. To do that, you will connect the Flex Tx keying output to pin 2 of the RJ-45. My Flex 6300 has a phono jack on the rear panel that is labeled TX. I got the keying for the ARI-500, RJ 45 pin 2 input from that phono jack. You will have to create some kind of junction box to do all of this. Before proceeding, kindly ohm out your RJ-45 cable to ensure that the colors in your cable match mine. Should you have the slightest question, please contact me at my QRZ email address so that we may speak directly. Hope that this helps and enjoy your new setup. Marty K1FQL
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W8QB

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Many thanks for Martin's superb guidance; his instructions were the perfect solution for connecting my 6400M to the ALS-600 amplifier's ARI-500 automatic band switching interface.  

The standard disclaimer applies...what follows is from my experience only, so proceed at your own risk.  As with anything involving expensive electronics, be careful to check and double-check the accuracy of all electrical connections.

I purchased two D-SUB DB9 connectors--one male/one female--and the FTDI/usb cable available through Digikey.  The pigtails from the FTDI cable connect to terminals on the male DB9 connector.  Wires from the RJ45 cable connect to the matching female DB9 connector.  Wires are attached using the two connectors' solderless screw-down terminals.  The two connectors are encased in black plastic housings and are of the type available from a popular online auction website.  Martin accessed keying for the ARI-500 from pin 2 of the RJ45 cable.  That seemed like an excellent idea, but I already had a spare cable on hand fitted with two RCA plugs.  I attached one RCA plug to the 6400M's "TX1" connector; the other RCA plugged into the "relay" socket located on the rear panel of the amplifier.  

Important: On the radio's menu, I discovered that one of the default settings was set to "bit".  I used the drop down menu to select "BCD", rather than "Bit".  The resulting settings are displayed below.

Budget: FTDI cable from Digikey, $32.20 (includes tax and shipping); two DB9 connectors--one male/one female--under $4 for the pair when purchased via auction site.  I found the RJ45 cable and RCA connectors cable in a box of spare parts, so my total outlay to build this cable was around $36.

This photo shows the two DB9 connectors plugged back-to-back: conductors from the blue RJ45 cable attach to the female connector's screw-down terminals. At right side of photo, leads from the FTDI usb cable attach to the male DB9 connector's screw-down terminals.  The slender cable laid atop the connectors is fitted with two RCA plugs...one plugs into the radio's "TX1" jack, the other RCA connector plugged into the amplifier's "relay" jack.






The finished cable undergoing scrutiny from Inspector "Barney".  





USB cable settings..."Change" set to "BCD", rather than "Bit"

(Edited)
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Martin Blustine

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Thanks, Doug, for the nice comments.
Now it's time for you to enjoy your new radio!
Best regards,
Marty
K1FQL