Maestro won't power up.... anyone seen this issue before?

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So....

I just took my Maestro off the shelf, where it has been for about 6 months without use in my shack. I have tried it on several batteries and the supplied PSU with the same result.

The Maestro will not power on - no flash on the screen, no boot - nothing. But if I leave it to sit for 2-3 mins the buttons will flicker and illuminate a few times. I've tried long press, short press, 2 min press (why? I don't know) - and nothing.

 The Maestro has had little use and was working perfectly the last time I used it before I put it on the shelf - climate controlled room, no moisture - no reason to believe this is environmental.

I've opened a ticket, and appreciate its the weekend (and a long one to boot!) so I am not expecting a response until Tuesday, but was posting here to see if this is something anyone else has experienced - and was a quick fix possible.

Have a great memorial weekend.
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Richard Clafton W4/G7EIX, Elmer

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  • Not too bothered, lots of other things to do!

Posted 2 years ago

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Mike - W8MM

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When I started reading this thread, I was really bummed because I have two brand new, never-opened-the-box Maestros for my SO3R VHF contest station (under construction).  They arrived about one year ago, which seems way past the trouble threshold.  So, I decided to get it over with and I unpacked and connected them to AC power.

Sure enough, both seemed as dead as rocks.  I pushed on their power buttons for 10 or 15 seconds and saw no response of any kind.  That was two days ago.  I left them plugged in to the AC since then.

I just went out to the garage to check on them and lo and behold, after pressing the power button for 30 seconds or less on each one flashed the display back light for 5 or so seconds, I released the button and then they went dark.  Just for fun, I pressed the power button again for 5 or 10 seconds each, and they both fired up just fine.

I powered them down for the night and I expect they are both completely healed.  I'm leaving them connected to AC power for a few more days to make sure they are fully charged.

Whew!
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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That's weird, Mike. I would still reach out to support and ask if there is any concern with that kind of behavior.

On a side note, I'm very interested to hear of your VHF adventures. I assume you're going to do microwave contesting too :)
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ka7gzr

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I assume the "internal" battery is the one existing in the Dell Venue that is at the heart of the Maestro. I don't know if this is an issue with the external circuitry of the Maestro or the Dell Venue itself. Without divine guidance from Flex I'm only guessing.

Sometime ago I saw Dell discontinued the Venue so I'm sure Flex is looking for or has found other suppliers for the internal tablet. Hopefully this problem will be addressed in the upcoming Maestro 2 and they will have multiple suppliers. Probably not with the same form factor which drives a new Maestro mechanical and some electrical re-design.  I went through this a few years ago when the military wanted "COTS" (Commercial Off the Shelf ) PCs for mission equipment. Within 6 months we couldn't buy the same PC equipment with the same form factor or exactly the same electrical interface.

A lesson learned...

Jim

ka7gzr

(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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FRS has previously mentioned that the Dell-based internals are from the Dell long term OEM product line. I've never asked if the Maestro innards were a standard SKU or customized.

Current new production Maestros are the same specifications excepting an important update accommodating a vendor provided item that changed. There likely are other but smaller changes that are rolled in to current production.

Choice of the Dell OEM long term components is no different than selecting a particular FGA or Processor for the radios.

FRS has picked other components for the M-model Maestro-like faceplates.

While the Maestro project size and expected price point might not be supportive of full military-style Multi-Vendor sourcing, they seem to be single-source risk aware., especially if that source is the fickle unpredictable world of COTS products.

73

Steve
K9ZW
(Edited)
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G8ZPX

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Design flaw. Not only should the battery be replaced under warranty but the units should also be retrospectively repaired to ensure it does not happen again once outside of warranty!
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Chuck Smith

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Question for Flex: Is there plans to address this design flaw? I understand you are doing the restart procedure quickly and I applaud that. My concern is if we go 6 or 8 weeks without applying AC power the failure can reoccur. That is fine for a relatively new unit that Flex is willing to fix but what about a Maestro that is several years old? Will that be a costly fix? 
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Brenton Meadows

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Good question Chuck, I think my Maestro would be a couple of years old, (must check the serial number) as mentioned in a previous post, bought secondhand from a mate in New Zealand, however your question does raise the question that also may be relevant, will all models of Flex maestros be able to assume the Version 2.0 software with the ability to "hotspot" as this is a crucial feature for our customers requirements.  Ideally we will be able to utilise the new version 2.0, we are in trouble if not as we have to quickly get another one to meet our deadlines with projects we are involved in.  All will become clear very soon.
Cheers
Brenton VK3CM
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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The version license is bound to the Radio Not the Maestro.  So as long as there is an internet connection any Maestro can be upgraded or downgraded to be compatible with the version of software currently installed in the radio it is attached to. 

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Chris DL5NAM

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= a Maestro cant work without a F6xxx

... and the Maestro cant be a couple of years old - it's still newest hardware from FLex on market
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Brenton Meadows

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Hi from an Australia newbie,
Loving the 6700 and the maestro
Just wanted to get clarification.
My maestro tends to be plugged in to power 24/7 somewhere in the house but was advised the internal battery, as in the user removable needs to be removed and recharged by an external charger, hence why I have bought a number of backup batteries (in transit currently) for the unit to quickly chuck in if running totally portable with no accessible power from elsewhere. Now pls remember, my old service manager said there is no such thing as a stupid question but I feel I may be asking one, and we are defence force contractors for a living, so time is always our biggest challenge to keep up with things.
I assume from what I am reading that the maestro has an internal backup battery that much like an icom ic751 etc can lose everything if not used regularly. Design wise, it would good to see a modification a user could do to combat this , especially being over here in Australia. I also would love to hear about thoughts on powering the Maestro from a vehicle and what anyones thoughts are on this area?  We would be fitting into anything from civilian cars to armoured vehicles and more nasty tanks etc.
On charging the internal removable battery, does this problem occur if no power is applied to the maestro while changing the rear battery for a new charged one?
And just to clarify, that removable rear battery has no trickle charge of any description being applied to the battery.
Just need a quick bullet point breakdown for a newbie, mainly usage of rear removable batteries, any pitfalls to watch out for, and the above concerns regarding the Maestro falling into being a very unusuable brick.  I suppose the other question is, when on rear removable Battery power only, is the internal battery being effectively charged by the rear battery.  also a link to the maestro manual as i grabbed this one from a mate on the mainland over in New Zealand. Also a link the 6700 manual would be great, finding almost everything is very intuitive, well with the help of my good aussie mate Tony VK5TT, but to not be bothering him constantly, I want to be active on this forum as well so he can at least sleep some nights without me waking him haha.  We have run some encryption software we use commercially with the 6700 and whilst this is proprietary and I cant say much, the 6700 easily adapted to what we use with some very high end Military equipment and this is where we are looking at further applications for the Flex series of products in the Defense industry that puts food on the table this side.
Cheers Brenton vk3cm
Position and Navigation Systems Pty Ltd Australia
(Edited)
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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There are two batteries used in the Maestro.  There is an internal battery that is integrated into the display unit.  This battery is not removable.

There is the battery bank, and this is the battery that is located in the battery bay and is removable.

When the Maestro is on and has external power applied, either from a battery bank or from using the AC power adapter, the internal display battery is charged.  It uses a rapid charger and will fully charge in less than an hour if it is close to being discharged.

When the Maestro is powered down, the internal battery is always on in a low power draw state - it cannot be turned off. If the internal battery is fully charged and the Maestro does not have an external power source applied to it for approximately 6-8 weeks, the internal battery will discharge to such a low state that the charging circuitry can not wake it up for it to take a charge.

The internal display battery, when fully charged has enough power to sustain operation of the Maestro during a battery bank change if performed expeditiously.  If you take too long to swap the battery bank, the Maestro will power down well before the internal battery is depleted.

The technical "pit falls" of using a battery bank is that you want to the battery to autostart when current is drawn. Some batteries have to be manually started by pressing a button on the battery before it will provide voltage.  This is very inconvenient. Also, battery banks that provide a higher amperage than 2.1 A are recommended, but not required.  Batteries with a higher mAh rating are desired for obvious reasons; longer run times. 
(Edited)
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Michael Coslo

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Does the charger use  the so called "smart charger" circuitry? I've had this problem with my drone. If the battery reaches a certain level of discharge, the charger refuses to charge it, The trick to rejuvenating in this case is to plug the battery in to charge. A small amount of charge will be accepted until the charger determines it wont charge any more. At that point, the charger flashes a red LED and shuts down.

Then you unplug it, then plug back in, and endure another ten second charge, then repeat until the battery voltage gets just high enough for the charger to decide "Hey, I've got a good battery here!" and finish charging it.

Smart chargers are not quite smart enough. And LiPo's are amazing batteries that require hand holding from time to time.
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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TIm, if it does not divulge protected, internal FRS information, when a  Maestro is returned to be serviced for this issue, what does the the FRS technician do fix the problem?  Do they put leads to the existing battery and charge the battery or replace the on board battery, or replace the whole board that the battery is mounted on?

My question stems from an ongoing support standpoint.  At some point, these first generation Maestro's are not going to be covered by warranty.  We as consumers will have to decide whether to continue to send the Maestro to FRS to be repaired or if possible, to repair the out of warranty device on our own.  

I know the preference of FRS would be to return the unit, have the customer pay the fee to have the battery recharged/replaced and then returned.  Your clientele, by their very nature (hopefully) are technically savvy and should be able to make the repair themselves after warranty coverage expires.  

I'm hopeful that FRS would be forthcoming to its customers as to how the technicians at FRS accomplish this task and how it can achieved in a satisfactory manner sans an expensive trip to Austin for such a rudimentary repair.  Such disclosure would hopefully include information as to any required equipment, experience or necessary skills necessary to complete the repair.

Many thanks in advance!
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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These are all good and reasonable questions.  Currently, the immediate issue is resolved by returning the Maestro to Austin for service and we will handle it as a warranty repair regardless of the warranty status of the Maestro.  

I am not trying to be evasive, but at this time, I do not have an answer as to what changes to the current the policy will be going forward. This issue is on the agenda for our senior staff to address, so I am certain that an announcement will be forthcoming.
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Tony Hateley

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I have this problem with my maestro,but I’m in the uk,could someone tell me where I can get the internal battery replaced.thank you
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KENT HUFFORD

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I had the same dead internal battery issue on an original Maestro. No warnings at the time to charge it every 30 days. I was lucky, left it plugged in for 48 hours and it came to life.
The issue is the internal battery dies, so there is no way for the computer to sense that you are pushing the on button to turn it on.
 
FLEX did come out with a warning to Maestro owners about a month or two ago..

I sold back my Maestro in OCT 2017. I had had enough. I have a great 6600 now, and use a Microsoft Surface Laptop with a touch screen as a remote.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Tony - contact Norbert at our Service Center in Germany to address your issue.
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Philip KA4KOE

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Same here. Mine has sat for a few months and just hooked it up to a DC supply. No luck. Will leave it on the PS for awhile.