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Old 02-07-2015, 15:21   #1
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PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

So, I'm turning the corner in my new computer rebuild.

I took out my old HD which I'd had as the 'D:\" drive, from which I'd gotten all my relevant files.

In the meantime, I started the migration with Winlink, while both drives were still present, and used it extensively with my PTCIIe running from an actual serial cord to the computer from the radio, and a Serial/USB adapter to the computer from the PTC.

During my initial setup, I =think= I recall some invitation to update software, which I think happened pretty much without any excitement other than to say 'it is done' - and everything worked.

However, now that I'm about ready to button up, I took out the other drive, and reconnected all the various cables to - as it turned out, not the same ports as before, as I had to reconfigure the GPS puck and control cables' port numbers.

The GPS puck works just fine. In Winlink, I can open a dumb terminal for the appropriate port and cycle the modem power and see the changes - but the terminal claims not to see the modem.

Attempting to update firmware in the 'tools' section gets me no place to direct to the 4.0 firmware file (the browse button is grayed out), and invites me to check my modem (I'm not on the boat at the moment so don't remember the exact terminology).

Attempts in hyperterminal (or whatever it is when you select your station; not in the program so don't remember) get failure to initialize. While I've had OCCASIONAL failures on first use, it's always followed by success if I repeat. This time, I'm getting that I've reached my limit of P3 trial connections, and then a popup saying the modem's not talking to it.

So, I'm without a modem, effectively. Ideas on how to remedy that?

Thanks.

L8R

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Old 03-07-2015, 13:41   #2
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

So, I'm back on the boat, and start rooting around.

I get to the point of successfully upgrading the firmware to 4.0.

(image below)

Still no joy, however, in initialization, though the terminal session in Winlink where I did the upgrade DID finish at that point with a notice of successful initialization.

(second image below, last line)

And, in Hyperterminal and dumb terminal, both, connecting and then hitting the 'enter' key gets me the cmd: prompt. However, no keystrokes appear if I type.

So, I'm confused.

Plain power cycling (not worrying about communication) works - all the lights flash and do their thing before settling down to a pong-like bounce back-and-forth, with none of the side lights lit.

The dumb terminal tells me that I have v 4.0, when I hit the 'enter' button:

PTC-II System 68360/DSP-56156
Version V.4.0 Level 3
(C) 2009 SCS GmbH & Co. KG

524288 bytes SRAM detected

Packet Radio Port: SCS - DSP MULTI MODEM detected

BIOS: Version 2.08 detected

FLASHCALL: *SCSPTC*
[11]
*** STBY >>

cmd:

This is confusing, as I'd seen the v 4.0 just a moment ago; now it's saying 2.8 (???) Or is that just the hardware?


The HT in Winlink gives me the error message, again, "ptc-IIe initialization failed, Check controller setup and try again (It may also be necessary to power off and on again)"

(3rd image)

Yet, I seem to be able, now, to communicate with the modem over dumb terminal, as 'enter' got me the cmd: and I was able to wander around in help.

As well, I now, again, have the cryptic last line of the last image below, telling me that I have no more P3 trial connects. What trial?? I thought upgrading was supposed to fix that. (???)

So, if I can talk to the modem, and it's got an updated firmware, what's missing to make it go onto HF Terminal in Winlink? The unit does its defibrillation bit (fast flash across the bar, blinking rather than Pong-ing) bit upon the failure notice. Power cycling makes it go right back to behaving (well, doing a proper startup routine of all the lights, then the Pong bit).

Thanks.

L8R

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Old 03-07-2015, 15:30   #3
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

Whatever serial port # you are using with the "dumb terminal" program should be the same port # you use for Winlink. If the dumb terminal works then so should Winlink on the same port. Are you sure the baud rate is set right for Winlink?

I can't tell for sure but it sounds like the code to unlock the Pactor III feature has been erased. You should be able to send an email to SCS and ask them how to reenter the Pactor III unlock code.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:06   #4
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

I'm thinking that the problem may be with the serial/usb driver. Might try uninstalling it and then re-installing it (check for driver updates). I've had a similar problem in the past and doing this fixed it.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,
Mike
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:15   #5
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krakato View Post
I'm thinking that the problem may be with the serial/usb driver. Might try uninstalling it and then re-installing it (check for driver updates). I've had a similar problem in the past and doing this fixed it.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,
Mike
Thanks. I did that, in fact.

However, I think it must be, somehow, a failure of the P3, which has worked since I installed it; my clips, above, show the message claiming no P3.

I'm also able to interrogate it via both Hyper and Dumb terminal, so I figure the connection is OK.

I'm going to punt this to Pactor in the morning.

L8R

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Old 06-07-2015, 11:18   #6
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

After the above responses, I took a couple more screen shots.

From them I can see that I have a SN, and the modem initialized - but the sound was wonky compared to what I'd have expected, and it tried for far longer than usual to not-connect (so I did that manually).

I can't imagine that Pactor won't have an answer for this.

I'll report back after hearing from them.

L8R, y'all
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Old 06-07-2015, 11:27   #7
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

And, just in case you wonder:

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Com4 is Pactor, Com2 is radio frequency control, Com5 is GPS puck, and Com1 is currently unused.

LPT1 is a USB printer, or unused...
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Old 06-07-2015, 11:58   #8
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

However, as I try to go to uninstall airmail or winlink, which ever it is I have, I see:

Which suggests that I don't have the program installed...

Despite my using it regularly until this happened...
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:13   #9
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

And...

I don't have airmail in the programs file.


So, I'll just try reinstalling...
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Old 17-07-2015, 13:15   #10
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

I'm currently in conversation in the SSCA forum, as well. Scott Berg, a techie and current SSCA president made a very specific recommendation, which I followed - but have some problems, still:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Berg
I keep saying this... throw away the prolific stuff... the ONLY serial to USB adapter I've found that ALWAYS works is the KeySpan from Triplitte. Not cheap but very well supported and works every time; just that change has solved many problems.

High Speed USB to Serial Adapter Keyspan(USA-19HS) | Tripp Lite
Well, I'm back on the boat and trying to test this device.

I have at least two problems. One is probably trivial, and the other may also be, but:

I need a longer cable. It came with an A-B USB cable, 3'. It looks about like any other A-B cable other than perhaps not as robust as some.

The unit has no screw-down stem attachments. Instead it has female mounts, like the one on the modem. Which means it won't seat.

Reading the instructions makes me think of the early days with modems, and all the technical stuff which had to be done to make them work. I'm trustful it won't be that exciting once I solve those two problems.

The instructions are silent (at least in my first read) about resolution of both issues. I can't imagine some other A-B USB cable wouldn't work as well, and the real key is the end at the modem. Perhaps someone here has done what I need to do and can say that it works. Looking again at the package says that any USB cable will work, but they use the term " up to 80' " - which is the standard limit for active USB cables; would I need an active cable to extend this pigtail, or can I use a standard, say, 6' A-B USB cable?

On the other hand, I don't know if the female parts are actually holding that plate/DB9 male into the housing. I'm not thrilled about not being able to secure it, but I'm more worried about whether I can unscrew those female-ended posts without negative repercussions. And, whether I have to disassemble the modem to get the converter to stay on the receiver end at the modem, if they can't be removed (I.E. remove the same on the modem and use some internal means to secure against the female receivers in the adapter).

Until I solve those issues I can't move forward to determine whether the modem needs restoring the password (I have that means from Pactor) to restore the P3, or if there's some other issue (perhaps the capacitor cure they have, of which a photo was also sent to me from Pactor).

Thanks in advance for any illumination...

L8R

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Old 17-07-2015, 13:42   #11
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

I had a semi similar problem. Been awhile since I've used it, but I believe I have the modem off with the toggle switch. Then I open the connect window in airmail. As soon as that window opens, I switch the modem on. This solved my "failed to initialize" problem.
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Old 17-07-2015, 13:58   #12
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

With the modem off, I can't even open the terminal window (well, that is, it can't see the modem to initialize it):
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Old 17-07-2015, 14:11   #13
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

I use the 19HS daily for work. I've lost the USB cable several times, and replaced it with whatever I had in my bag. It's just a normal A-B cable, so get what length you need.

For the screws that are in the way, you have four options:
  1. Get a serial cable that is 7' long. The 19HS does not have to be plugged directly in to the modem, and this will allow you to screw together the various connections.
  2. Remove the screws from one device (whichever is easiest).
  3. Get a "socket saver"
  4. Remove them from one device and replace them with screws that you can use (most difficult).

You can get a socket saver here:

Slimline Socket Saver, DB9 Male / Female - DGB9MF

the screws that it comes with can be removed. You can also look at their right-angle adapters, or some of the none-slimline options if you want the screws to remain in place:

DB9 Adapter | D-Sub Adapter | D-Subminiature Adapter | L-com.com

L-Com also sells serial cables, I'd just get a straight through cable that meets your length requirements and that way you can screw everything together.
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Old 17-07-2015, 14:30   #14
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
I use the 19HS daily for work. I've lost the USB cable several times, and replaced it with whatever I had in my bag. It's just a normal A-B cable, so get what length you need.

For the screws that are in the way, you have four options:
  1. Get a serial cable that is 7' long. The 19HS does not have to be plugged directly in to the modem, and this will allow you to screw together the various connections.
  2. Remove the screws from one device (whichever is easiest).
  3. Get a "socket saver"
  4. Remove them from one device and replace them with screws that you can use (most difficult).

You can get a socket saver here:

Slimline Socket Saver, DB9 Male / Female - DGB9MF

the screws that it comes with can be removed. You can also look at their right-angle adapters, or some of the none-slimline options if you want the screws to remain in place:

DB9 Adapter | D-Sub Adapter | D-Subminiature Adapter | L-com.com

L-Com also sells serial cables, I'd just get a straight through cable that meets your length requirements and that way you can screw everything together.
I love L-Com; I've done business with them many times.

However, my problem is that I have female studs at the end of the adapter. I also have female studs on the modem. One or the other of the pair have to go for it to make it onto the modem. The picture shows the female studs; that's what's on the modem, too, and would normally be, instead, screw-down pins extending behind the adapter.

If I were to buy one of the L-Com adapters, I'd have to remove the stud (of no effect to the adaptor) to make it work - but then I'd have an even more difficult stress situation, as the T-L USA-19HS would then be not only not secured to the modem, it would be further out from the port (more leverage) as a result.

I'm already nervous about not being able to tie it down, as I sometimes brush that area when I'm remounting the mike in the holder...

I've also got a query into Tripp-Lite. As much as I'd prefer to have it secured, if I can remove the studs with no ill effect, I can do that...
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Old 17-07-2015, 14:32   #15
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Re: PTCIIe won't talk to Winlink/Airmail or update

PS the reason there is an adapter in the first place is what I have to do for a cable run. I can't get a DB9 through the area between the modem and the computer. My old computer, after one of its upgrades, had 6 actual COM ports - but my cabling run wouldn't allow it.

BTW that computer is now available inexpensively in Vero Beach, with a factory XP3 load...
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