Keeping Flex-6500 up when PC crashes

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  • Updated 4 months ago
Is there a way to keep my Flex-6500 running when my PC crashes?  Using SmartSDR version 1.11.12.  About 10 seconds after the PC crashes, the Flex-6500 freezes up - no more audio in headphones, stops transmitting when keyed, etc.  I appear to have a Windows 10 issue that causes 4 crashes per month.
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Keith - KE4TH

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Posted 4 months ago

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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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SmartSDR needs a PC to run on, if the PC is offline for whatever reason, the radio cannot run. You can operate your radio with a Maestro, an iPad with app software, or an iPhone with app software or of course another PC. Then of course you could also operate your 6500 remotely from a PC, Maestro, iPad or iPhone if your 6500 had SmartSDR v2 or greater.

Another alternative is to upgrade to a 6400M or 6600M which have the front panel (like Maestro) and no SmartSDR is required. The 6500 is a fine radio I had one for a few years until I upgraded to a 6700. I decided on a Maestro early on, but also thought of getting a refurbed laptop you can pick up cheap these days.
(Edited)
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Keith - KE4TH

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Thanks Mike.  I have run the radio with my iPad, but it's not nearly as smooth as with the wired desktop.  Need to look closer at the Maestro.  Since the radio runs for about 10 seconds after losing its connection, maybe it is possible to extend this "mode".  No settings could be changed, but the radio operation would continue hopefully long enough to get the PC rebooted or connection restored.  This would make the radio/PC system more robust!
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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The most cost-effective solution may be to fix your PC (if possible) or to replace it.  There's no way you should get so many crashes.  But the Maestro is nice if you want its particular features - knobs & portability.

There's no way the "radio" can operate on its own, alas.

73 Martin AA6E
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Larry - W8LLL

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Your still using version 1.11.12, you very well may be able to solve your disconnect issue by using a newer version of smartsdr. Your current version is pushing on 5 years old.
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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He doesn't have a disconnect issue at all. He has a computer issue giving him the BSoD (blue screen of death), so his computer is crashing causing all software to stop working. Finding the route cause of BSoD is the solution, not upgrading software.

A google search of what causes BSoD:
BSoDs can be caused by poorly written device drivers or malfunctioning hardware, such as faulty memory, power supply issues, overheating of components, or hardware running beyond its specification limits. In the Windows 9x era, incompatible DLLs or bugs in the operating system kernel could also cause BSoDs.
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WA2SQQ

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How often do you reboot your PC? Sounds like you might have a piece of software with a memory leak which causes the crash. I know it's a very opinionated subject, but when I leave the shack the PC gets turned OFF and all my connections to the outside world are severed. It only takes one nearby lightning strike or surge to put you off the air!
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Harold Rosee

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Keith,

I am also running 1.11.12 and it has never crashed on me.  Try another PC and see what happens.
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Gene - K3GC

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Sounds like a hardware issue to me.  My prime suspect would be the PC power supply.  I am assuming that this PC has operated normally in the past.  That said, I would change out the PSU.
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Keith - KE4TH

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Thanks for the several comments and suggestions!  The PC symptom is that the PC reboots without any command or warning.  The PC is shut down each evening so it gets rebooted once per day.  I upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 about 4 months ago, and did not have issues until late April.  The ASUS tower is over 5 years old now, so a hardware issue is possible.  The Windows 10 event log shows the reboots but I have not been able to learn much more from the logs.  I will do some digging!
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Keith - KE4TH

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The PC has 8 GB of memory, 7.2 GB usable.  It is single-channel DDR3 at 800 MHz.  The processor is an AMD A10-6700 at 3.70 GHz.  I added an Intel SSD which is the main drive now.  Graphics are ATI AMD Radeon HD with 768MB of memory.  I can try running Task Manager and watch for declining memory.  While operating, typically FLDIGI is running as my logger, and Chrome (memory intensive from what I have read) is open to QRZ to check call signs.
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Dudley - WA5QPZ, Elmer

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Keith,

Check your CPU and powersupply fans,   I bet one or both are not spinning correctly,  has a bad bearing,  or clogged with dust bunnies..   If you have not cleaned the insides lately,  a can of compressed air can work wonders.. 

Dudley
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Gene - K3GC

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As Dudley says.  If that doesn't work, try the Power Supply; especially considering the age of the pc - five years is a long time for a PSU.  The mother board could also be going bad.  Look carefully at the mother board for electrolytic caps that are swelling.

In 35 years working on computers I hare replaced more PSUs (by far) than any single other component.
Good Luck
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Keith - KE4TH

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Thanks Dudley and Gene.  I checked the PS fan and CPU fan - both working ok but moderate dust on CPU heat sink. Cleaned up dust and both fans with can of Ultra Duster. Motherboard looked ok but I may not be able to spot issues there.  Downloaded AMD's Overdrive to monitor CPU temperature.  Gives "thermal margin" for each core i.e. difference between max T and current T.  Settled out at 37 C so it's will under the max temperature.  My guess now is a power supply issue - will keep using it until the issue happens again - it was ok today for two operating sessions total 5 CW contacts maybe 1.5 hrs of operating.  Thanks for your interest!
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Keith - KE4TH

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Steve,
I used Task Manager to monitor the memory during a series of 3 CW contacts.  It started at about 39% and settled out at 42%.  So I think the amount of memory is good.  At least in a shorter operating session, there did not appear to be any "memory leak".  Thanks for your comment - the symptoms sound just like what I am seeing.