Recent Comport Issue Workaround Discussion

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I've been working with folks to hash out workarounds for some of the recent Comport problems, in the #FlexRadio channel for several days. Anyone interested in help, or helping, is encouraged to join in on the discussions, by clicking the webchat link in my post signatures. I try to watch for new arrivals when I'm in the shack. Just posting a message in there will notify me when I'm in.

  SDRgadgets

#FlexRadio IRC chat

  73, Jay - NO5J

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Jay / NO5J

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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Rick Hadley - W0FG

Rick Hadley - W0FG

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I'll second that suggestion.  With Jay's help, I got rid of 85 Com ports that were flagged as 'in-use', but not showing up in Device Manager at all.   It can be fixed, but it presupposes more than a casual knowledge of Windows internals.
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Norm - W7CK

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Rick,
How did you FIX it and was it a permanent fix or do they come back as (in use) after you reboot a few times?
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Jay / NO5J

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Norm

You would probably need to be walked through what Rick and I did. It's solved it so far, for me at least. What we did, seems to work but I wouldn't recommend anyone,  trying it unassisted. If you're stuck needing a fix. Catch me in #FlexRadio and I'll be happy to explain it and step you through it. We don't yet know what's really causing the problem. We're only applying a fix, for the symptom. A workaround, that seems to work.

  SDRgadgets

#FlexRadio IRC chat

  73, Jay - NO5J

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Norm - W7CK

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I'd encourage anyone having trouble with COM ports showing up as (in use) to file a support ticket with Flex.  I thought I was the only one having this issue, but have since talked to a couple others experiencing the same thing.  I'm guessing there are other folks with the issue that may not even be aware of it. 

Here is the scenario:

I'm using Windows 10 Pro.  I'm not positive but the issue seems to be related to FTDI drivers being loaded on the same machine as the Flex Beta software with SmartCAT.   Everything appears to be normal until you go into Device Manager, select a non Flex COM device and try to change its COM port number.  Up comes a list of all of your com ports.  What some folks are seeing is that a BUNCH of them are flagged as (in use).   In reality these port numbers are not actually assigned to a device, have never been assigned to a device and are not being used.

This is a separate issue from ghosted ports.  For some, it also appears that each time the pc is rebooted, 8 more port numbers are tagged as (in use).  I had over 130 ports flagged as (in use).

Please remember that SmartSDR 1.10 is Beta software.  I think it is pretty nice that Flex released it as beta and is giving us a chance to play with it and help flush out some of the bugs.

I'd like to have anyone running Windows 10 that also have FTDI drivers loaded on their machine along with the Flex Beta release to check their com ports and see if they have a bunch of (in use) ports listed.

Anyone else experiencing this issue?   Anyone running FTDI drivers and Windows 10 that is not having this issue?
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Larry: KE2YC

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Hi Norm,

Thanks for your post on in use com ports. I am starting to accumulate in-use com ports as you described.  Have about 15 right now.  If what you say and experience that it happens when you open cat.  I don't use much cat at this time but will check on this as I reboot my machine and let you know how many get added.

Larry ke2yc
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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It may be related to the FTDI drivers.  I have them installed but don't normally use them unless I'm programming one of my mobile or handheld radios.  In doing further checking, I've determined that every time the computer is rebooted, 4 or 5 com ports are 'stolen' by the Windows Com Arbiter, even though they are not actually being used.  This is cumulative, so it doesn't take long to have dozens of ports clogged up if you are in the habit of shutting down the computer and rebooting frequently.  As there are no apparent reports of this happening before the release of the SSDR Beta, I have to believe there is some relation.  Tim, if you're reading this, can you log this problem as a defect?
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Norm - W7CK

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Your correct Rick.  I don't have the issue unless I have a device loaded that uses the FTDI drivers.

I have done quite a bit of testing.  It does NOT happen on previous releases of SmartCAT.
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Norm - W7CK

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There is a utility you can use to clean up the (in use) ports, but I wouldn't advise using it unless you make a copy of the registry entries that it changes.  It will (sort of) fix the issue, but the byte count of the registry entry goes from 64 down to 32.  If you make sure you keep a copy of the registry entry, you will always be able to restore that entry back to the present 64 byte count, although corrupted.....

I'm guessing there are a few more folks that have the issue but just don't know it because they aren't usually in their Device Manager mucking around changing COM port assignments for various devices.

I don't believe it is a major problem, it is just something that needs to eventually be addressed.

Norm
(Edited)
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Jay / NO5J

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All 

It's more of an annoyance than it is a problem. Not all that annoying, really. Easy to workaround. Hard to figure out. 

  SDRgadgets

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  73, Jay - NO5J

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Tom N5MOA

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I didn't think to check until I read this thread.........if I wanted to change the Com port for my WinKeyer, I now have  256 Com ports to choose from.

Actually, a bit less than, about 25 show "in use".

Since it doesn't seem to be causing a problem, and I'm a computer idiot, I'm going to leave it alone until the "here is how to fix it for dummies" is published.
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Jay / NO5J

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The problem is that the fix may not be dummie safe. So there may never be a How-To. Beyond what's in this thread. The fix will likely turn up, built into the next release.

  SDRgadgets

#FlexRadio IRC chat

  73, Jay - NO5J

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Tom N5MOA

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Even better if it is built into the next release.

I can click "download" and follow directions. :-)