Flex 5000a Constantly Freezes!

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  • Updated 5 years ago
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I have a Flex 5000a that I have used for the past couple of years, but lately, it freezes constantly!  Seems to be a firewire issue, and I can hear the sounds like its getting unplugged and plugged back it, which it is not.   Sometimes, it happen after 2-3 minutes, sometimes it will go for an hour.  Nothing in particular happens to make it happen.

HELP!

I have tried all of the settings for my fireware adapter.  The machine is a fast quad-core i7 with 16gb of RAM, so performance isn't even being touched.  I am running PowerSDR 2.7.2.

Unfortunately, I am at wits end with it and it has made me just start using other radios because it has cayuse too much trouble during my QSOs.  

Tim?  Anyone?
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Mark Weinstein

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  • sad and frustrated

Posted 5 years ago

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Steven Hess

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Firewire port on Computer or Radio is failing. 
Possibly the cable failing. 
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WX7Y

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I would think the cable needs to be replaced, use a Granite cable they are top quality .
I would also order a new Fire-Wire card with a TI chip set.
73's
Bret
WX7Y
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Mark Weinstein

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Well, both the Firewire card and cable came directly from Flex, so I know they are the approved models and not a generic knockoff.  And to top it off, nothing has changed in the shack and nothing moved, so I don't know why it would have started like this all of the sudden.. I lean more towards a driver issue.  I'm almost feeling like some Windows update messed with the firewire drivers.
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Ron Rosson

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You may have RF issues getting back into ur computer while transmitting try grounding the Computer and wrapping the Firewire cable around the appropriate torrid core at least 6 turns..
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Using a granite cable is always best,  this sounds like RF as mentioned. RF can get in from anything connected to the computer. Keyboard, Mouse, anything with cables. Type 31 ferrits could be used on all cables.
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Mark Weinstein

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Hi Ron.. Thanks for the reply.  This occurs when no transmitting is being done at all.  Last night, I ran some additional tests, and started the computer and ran nothing but PowerSDR and waited.  It happened over and over again.  The system is not being stressed at all, but it having a tough time keeping the Flex up and running.
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Ron Rosson

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It appears you have tried almost everything. Like others have suggested replace the Firewire Granite cable. Then I would call Dudley at Flex Support. There maybe a part in the Flex Box that is causing the problem.. Good Luck
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Yes sounds like the communications with the radio is dropping out, check cable
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Mark Weinstein

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UPDATE:  I went into the system this morning and performed a few scans of the system files and ran dism to restore any possible corruption int he operating system.  Although the tests are still running, when I brought the system back online, so far, my latency issues seem to have cleared up and are approximately 10-20% of what they were prior to the scan.  So far, so good. 

i'm just going to let the radio monitor the bands all day and see if the good luck continues, or maybe, it's just a morning fluke? :)  All leads seem to point to driver issues, which were causing DPC spikes for the firewire system.

Time will tell, but I will post an update later this afternoon to keep the forum updated.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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This symptom is either excessive DPC latency, a Firewire card/cable that is not able to handle the data rates or RFI getting into the PC/5000 some how.  If this happens on RX, then the later is not the issue.  Firewire cables can go bad; it is rare, but ti does happen and we have had a few of the clear jacket Firewire cables shipped with our radios go bad. If this happens randomly or when you open or use a different application, then I would suspect excessive DPC latency.  You can check this out with LatencyMon.

If all these issue are eliminated, then it is possible that the 5000 is having a hardware issue and opening a HelpDesk support ticket would be the prudent thing to do. 
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Mark Weinstein

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Thanks Tim.  I am running LatencyMon and so far, after 2 hours of continuous use, things are still ok. The program is telling me that there might be problems, but the values are MUCH lower than they were and nothing is causing the radio or PowerSDR to hang anymore (knock on wood).

I suspect that there was a driver issue that got repaired when I ran the repair tools this morning.  I'm thinking that the video card driver was causing some bad interrupts to occur.  

I guess that's what happen when you drive 4 24" displays off of a single PC.  haha
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Video and network adapters are the usual suspects in DPC issues.
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Richard Weinstein

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Processor DPC amount.  I go to widows Task Manager. Go to Processes. I End Process for high

Memory(Private working set) like Google Chrome. This reduces the DPC.

Good Luck.

73

K1ekf

Rich Weinstein

k1ekf@aol.com

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AE5WT

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I am actually having the same issues; however I am going to try some of the remedies mentioned. I already ordered a good granite cable. So I can post back if that worked. Latency is not an issues as I have plenty of HP and a good TI PCIe card.
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AE5WT

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The Granite Firewire cable helped. I shut down every service that is not needed to operate the computer including Indexers, Updates, Network Adaptors, Wireless... I turned off everything that I didn't need to run the radio. I run no other program but the Flex PowerSDR software, or the Firewire Utility program that checks the Deferred Procedure Calls , and the  DPC's were minimized (< 900). I never turn off the computer once configured. I use a second computer for the internet and stuff, but I dedicate this Flex computer to the Flex alone. Finally my Linear was causing horrible distorted audio during transmissions. I added good quality ferrites to EVERY single Wire coming into, and going out from the radio including the Mic cable. This fixed that issue. I am a true believer in Flex radios. If you truly love your hobby, then you can work through these issues to have one of the best rigs there is.

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Mark Weinstein

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Official Response
I'm sorry I haven't updated the thread in a while. After working with Tim, we came to the conclusion that I had one of the older Flex cables. After Flex sent me a replacement cable, the problem has all but disappeared. I still get the occasional lockup of the radio, but I'm sure that some of that can be attributed to Windows and not the Flex radio.

I was shocked that it was the cable, but Tim explained that there is a known issue with the original cable that was being sent out with the radio. Apparently, as the cable is being used, over time, the shielding breaks down and causes the lockup issues. Since replacing the cable, I have performed some tests by leaving the radio on for days at a time and not had the same problems.

Thanks Tim and Flex! I'm back up and running! Now.. if I only could find some more time to enjoy the hobby! :)

Mark
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Ross - K9COX

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It is a shame that they used a such a low quality cable early on. I don't know how many time I've read comments about cable problems all to save a very few bucks.
(Edited)
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Mark Weinstein

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Yeah.. It happens.  I just wish I would have known earlier, rather than going through the amount of heartache and trouble that I had to go through to eventually make it work again! :)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I was lucky, some suggested to to order the granite cable along with the radio. I never had any problems at all.

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