FlexControl no longer detected

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  • Problem
  • Updated 2 months ago
All has been running well for nearly a year, but I had a hard drive crash last week (seemingly unrelated to Flex) and had to restore from a backup image of the hard drive. That put me back to SmartSDR version 2.3.8, so I downloaded and installed (once again) v.2.3.9.112. All works fine except the FlexControl. When I open settings it says, "FlexControl not detected."

Following the manual, I reset the COM port to 99. I also uninstalled and re-installed v.2.3.9 (twice!). I've rebooted bunches of times. Windows Device Manager shows the FlexControl on port 99 and says it's working.

The FlexControl plugs directly to a USB port on the back of the computer without going through any sort of external hub, where I've always had it before. When I boot the computer the lights on the FlexControl flash, indicating that the hardware checks out.

But for all of that, SmartSDR still can't see that the FlexControl is there. Looking through Community topics I see that others have had similar problems, but I've not seen any post with a definite solution other than those I've already tried.
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Mark K0JM

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  • frustrated

Posted 2 months ago

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Greg - N8GD

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Do you have the FlexControl enabled under the Settings, Radio Settings, Radio tab in the drop down menu of Smart SDR?  Its on the right side of the box named "Radio Information" and just under the "Remote On" option.
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Mark K0JM

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Yes, it is enabled.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Is the flex control seen in device manager?
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Mark K0JM

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Thanks, Jeff. But if you read the posts here you'll see that I've already done multiple changes of COM ports, and removed "ghost" ports, but none of this has changed the situation. I've also (twice since the last installation of v.2.3.9) run the FlexControl driver re-install at https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/205004159-How-to-Manually-Reinstall-the-SmartSDR-Fl... (which includes the COM port changes you offer above) and this hasn't helped, either. I filed a ticket this morning. Waiting to hear.
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Jeffrey Kerber, N3VE

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Mark, have you backed up your settings and done a hard reset of the radio?  Also have you disconnected the power from the radio for more than 30 seconds for a clean boot?
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Mark K0JM

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I've had the power off for more than 30 seconds, but Section 34 of the SSDR manual advises putting in a ticket before attempting a hard reset, so I haven't gone to that yet. You suggesting that at this point?
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Mark K0JM

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Bit the bullet and did the hard reset. Still no FlexControl.
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Jeffrey Kerber, N3VE

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Very interested on how this gets resolved.  Good luck.
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Dudley - WA5QPZ, Elmer

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Mark,

Since you said that you did follow the reload procedure of the FlexControl driver,  (this driver can get inadvertently replaced when you install another USB to serial device or Win update) ,  try the Flexcontrol and SmartSDR on another computer just to make sure, but sounds like a defective FC.   Not really worth sending in for repair unless under one year warranty,   but maybe Flex Sales will have an open box special you can purchase for a discount.  

-Dudley


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Mark K0JM

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Thanks, Dudley. Flex responded to my help ticket and suggested this very thing. I installed SSDR v.2.3.9 on an old, slow, Windows 7 machine this afternoon and when I plugged the FlexControl into that it took off and ran like a champ. Hardware issue ruled out.
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Don - kx9q

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could there be a com port conflict? something else also using the same port?
(Edited)
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Mark K0JM

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Thanks for the suggestion, Don. But if you look up toward to top of the thread, that was one of the first things ruled out.
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Carl K5HK

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Mark,
Dudley is a real op sys/registry expert if you can get him to call and connect to it for you.  He sure unscrewed my computer here.

Carl K5HK
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N8SDR

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Mark: curious if you have tried using an un-install program such like REVO un installer- I think it has to do with registry values from your backed-up image and restore- https://www.revouninstaller.com/ try using it.  The free version should be all you need even the portable version will work, when you select the un-install of the flex controller make sue you select all the registry values it finds and delete them as well, then shut down and restart- followed by installation as per flex for the controller and see if that works.
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Mark K0JM

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Thank you! This was really a good suggestion. I tried first with a couple of un-install utilities I already had on the system. When those brought no satisfaction, I downloaded and installed the REVO you suggested. Still no success.

What I discovered about these programs is that they all really do a less than adequate job. After using any of the three, and they did their "extra" cleanup, a file search still turned up almost a dozen files and folders left on the machine that had the search term "flexcontrol" in the file name! Several of these files I think the uninstallers really ought to have found and eliminated. But a few are buried deep in the recesses of the Windows system folders. They can't be deleted normally, and they never go away, which is why, even after every total uninstall/reboot/reinstall, I still had all of my SSDR settings, profiles, and parameters intact. And it is the reason the FlexControl still did not work. One of these system files had become corrupted and there was simply no way to fix it.

Those of us who have been around computers awhile know a few tricks to get at these files. I employed these and managed to delete the files in question. But doing so upset the cosmic order of Windows 10 and caused additional problems. So reluctantly, I had to employ the "nuclear option" as proposed by Tim Ellison of Flex Support in response to my ticket. He told me I would need to do a complete reset of Windows, which would leave the files, but would erase every program and setting.

I am now rebuilding several years worth of software and settings. It has taken much of the weekend and I'm still not finished. But my FlexControl works again. I'm not sure it is worth the effort, but there's no turning back now.
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

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I just reset all of our W10 contest stations for a different radio,  and am now going through the update process. Takes most of a day to do each one.  There is a nearly bullet proof OS for SSDR - Windows  7. 
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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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A long time ago, nearly 30 years, I worked for what, at the time, was the largest Anti-virus and Data Recovery company in the world - S&S International. Dr Alan Solomon, my boss, instilled on me the value of backups done on a regular basis. 

Because of the work I went on to do, running Live Virus Workshops, I developed my own way of quickly restoring my teaching computers after the students had allowed live viruses loose on them. Normally I had between 8 and 16 workstations and one server.

The way I did it was very simple. All the computers, except the server were the same so I installed the operating system and all needed software on one machine and then did a full backup. I did the same on the server,

After the days teaching was finished, I restored the backups on to each work station and the server, the whole job took about an hour using an in house written backup program, wish it worked on modern computers, it was very fast!

Although I am now retired, I still do something very similar. My main machine runs Windows 7 and I have a set of 'must have' programs. When I first built the computer 2 years ago, I used Acronis to do a full backup. Then I installed SSDR and any other programs I needed. Checked that everything worked as it should and did another full backup.

Now, if my computer stops working and I can't fix it, I simply restore one of the backups. It takes about 10 minutes and everything is back exactly as it was.

I suppose I am a bit OCD about backups but the time they can save is huge, to install the OS and all the software I want takes about 3 hours. The backup restores in about 10 minutes - bit of a no brainer to me!

Tim
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Mark K0JM

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Wise words, Tim. I'm normally pretty obsessive about backups, as well -- and will be even more so now! But due to a series of unfortunate events (a defective USB backup drive) and errors on my part (summer got busy) my most recent backup was two months old. And, it was the backup image that introduced the corrupted file. So the moral of the story is to backup often and to have more than one backup image to go back to.

Also, I wonder what you are using for a backup program that gets the job done in 10 minutes. I use Macrium Reflect to make a complete image of my 1 TB drive and it usually takes about an hour and 20 minutes for a full image (incremental backups are much quicker, of course). I also don't know how you can restore from scratch in 3 hours -- it's taking me more like three days. But I have a lot more than just ham radio software on the machine.
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Michael Coslo

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Mark - I think that the number of applications  is the issue and why some people have never had a problem with Windows 10. I have a large number of programs on a lot of computers, with a corresponding large number of drivers. And despite my 30 years + of working with computers, something gets bollixed up with nearly every update on one or another of the ones I care for. Except for that one Windows 7 install that I keep around because I trust it.

Believe it or not, I had a computer last week that Windows 10 update corrupted the keyboard driver. Wow. 30 plus years into the PC age  and a doggone keyboard driver gets hosed?

Cloning drives is interesting enough, but if a new update bollixes your system, and you restore the drive from a clone, it might just get messed up the next update too.
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N8SDR

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Mark as a re seller for Macrium Reflect and other backup applications, I personally do to things, One weekly image with Macrium Reflect and incremental nightly- Non of which take longer then hour and this involves roughly 4 TB with of data, programs and files, I use gigabit network the systems drives are SSD drives, the backup unit is a NAS array in RAID setup with SSD drives, I then push my backups 2 days after the backup to the NAS to my cloud hosted storage, which offer 256 bit encryption and multiple US based redundancy, I keep 2 months of backups on the NAS and 4 months in cloud storage. I also have many of my clients setup in a similar manner its a no brainier and works extremely well given you have good upload speeds for the cloud storage. Large number of applications being the cause for Windows 10 mishaps, I just haven't seen that be the case, I support roughly 170 windows 10 systems as an SaS service provider and I/T Tech. A lot of it has to do with GOOD HARDWARE, not these 200 -300 dollar specials offered in Walmart and the like. You want a good system with good hardware build it or have it built it will last longer, its easier to work on,  becomes non proprietary and upgrades are far less expensive then replacing the whole system. 
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Greg - N8GD

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Amen on GOOD HARDWARE.  The folks who like to roll their own PCs are looking for trouble.  When I ran my own computer repair and consulting business, I started out building my own systems to sell.  After about a year or two of troubles, I switched to a distributor that built systems to spec.  They would only utilize specified motherboards, video cards, power supplies, and accessories that they had tested and were engineered to be compatible and reliable.  If I asked for a video card that was not on their approved list (and the list was short), they would not build the system with that card.  They could supply the card separately, and I could install it myself, but the system was not warranted to work with that card.  I never had any troubles once I started procuring such systems.
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N8SDR

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Greg, as a IT Guy for some 26 years I have always built my own system, and my clients for the most part about 75% run my custom built PC and server and have had less issues with them,  then using off the shelf systems. I stated off as a hardware guy and have carried that over in my own business now, I know what works with what and what simply does not, as you stated in outsourcing your builds, I still do all mine in house its fun staying up with with the hardware these days esp the video cards (sarcasm intended). So for me Rolling my own isn't and hasn't been an issue, but you got to know components and there drivers/ Microsoft's drivers for said hardware as well.
(Edited)
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Tim - G7GFW / F4VQP

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Hi Mark,

These days I would normally use Aronis True Image version 10, but I am currently testing True Image version 2018.

I use solid state drives as my backup drive and a solid state drive as the workstation main drive and as I said, 10 minutes is all it takes for Acronis v10 to restore a Win 7 plus about 2 gigs of software. 

However, using mechanical drives, that time rises to about 30 minutes.

V2018 takes a little longer, haven't done precise timings yet as I haven't needed to. 

I prefer version 10 because I know it extremely well. When I was still working, I could tell a lot about the health of a hard disk simply by the time taken to do a backup. 

I wish I could still use the software that one of the S&S guys wrote but unfortunately it won't run on a Pentium class CPU, real bummer because it was configurable as to the number of attempts it would make to read a cluster or sector and it could read the header and footer of any or all sectors - very useful.

There are lots of good packages for backup, I have, over the years tried quite a few but I always come back to Acronis, simply because I know it so well.

Tim


(Edited)