XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

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XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby ASTROMODAT » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:45 am

I just received a new XTL5000 VHF mid-power (10 – 50 watts, programmable) radio, model M20KSS9PW1AN. The enclosed Motorola factory "Radio Test Data" sheet shows that it passed all tests. The power output results on the 10 test frequencies showed a power output ranging from 21.20 to 21.69 watts. These were all marked as "Pass." Keep in mind that this is a 10 to 50 watt (programmable) radio, and in the past these Motorola Test Sheets tested/verified the radio’s power at the top end (e.g., 50 watts).

For example, my previous XTL5000 VHF mid-power radio, model M20KSS9PW1AN, showed it also "Passed," but its power output was about 53+ watts, which is to be expected (e.g., a tad bit more power is demonstrated compared to its top end rating of 50 watts).

Both radios are the exact same model number, and both radios are rated to be 10 to 50 watt radios.

BTW, I certainly realize that the user can set the Max Output Power via the CPS to be much less than the top rated power. Even so, in the past, Motorola has tested these radios at the high end rated power, so if they set it to 21 watts for the test, this makes no sense. I wouldn't want them to speculate by extrapolating that if the radio makes 21 watts, it can surely make 50 watts, etc. by seting the max power at 50. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to read this radio and check this setting. If it is set at 21 watts from the factory, it would be the same big mystery to me as to why they would do this, rather than set it at 53 watts, like my other radio. I have not done anything to this radio since taking it out of the box, other than powering her up on its sole Z1/Channel 1 factory codeplug configuration. Haven't even had a chance to connect my PC to it, and I'm the one that opened it up, new in the box.

I received the radio that Passed with 53 watts in June, 2009, while the radio that Passed with only 21 watts (out of a max of 50 watts rating) was received this month (October, 2010).

I don't get it! Does anyone know if perhaps Motorola is purposely using a lower test power because of some sort of an environmental employee thing, or some such other politically correct phenomenon, or did they perhaps screw up?

Help, Please!
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby escomm » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:54 am

Why don't you call your rep and ask them?
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby ASTROMODAT » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:56 am

Was waiting to see if there was a simple explanation before I did so...If not, this will be my next step.

When I get time, I'll read the radio and if it is set at 21 watts max in the factory virgin codeplug, and I change it via the CPS to 53 watts and it makes 53 into the Bird, I ain't gunna lose any sleep over it! Still, if this is the case, it seems weird as to the "Why" of it.

Oh, well...
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby jts203 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:19 pm

Maybe it was ordered or set up by mistake as a motorcycle radio? Motorcycle Spectras used to be about 15 to 20 watts.
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby ASTROMODAT » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:41 pm

I don't think it was set up as a motorcycle radio as they run 15 watts max, and I don't think they'd set the CPS at 21 watts for this application. I will read the radio tomorrow when I have the time, and see what I find.
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby ASTROMODAT » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:58 am

I read the radio this morning, and the radio was shipped with the High Power set to 22 watts, and the Low Power set to 11 watts. I reset things to 53/15, and all is well, per our Bird 4391A Power Analyst, and our trusty GD-2670. Full power on both analog FM and P25 digital.

Why they set it to 22 watts at the factory, I haven't a clue. Go figure...
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Cable Length & Type for Power Output Factory Test

Postby ASTROMODAT » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:11 am

Does anyone know what the Motorola factory uses, and/or what the Motorola Maintenance Manual calls for, in terms of the 1) Cable Length, and 2) Cable Type for checking the High and Low Power Output on the XTL5000 and/or APX7500 VHF (136 - 174 MHz) Mobile radios?

I studied the Maintenance manual for the XTL5000 VHF Mobile pretty darn closely last night, and was shocked that I did not see any spec on this! Very odd for Motorola to be silent on such an important point, IMHO. I certainly could have missed it, but I looked especially carefully in the Maintenance Manual’s "Test Setup" section, and searched, but No Joy (as we used to say in USAF UPT!).

I used an 18 inch length of RG-213 with a mini UHF connector at the radio, and a Type-N at the Bird 4391A. While I set the CPS to a High Power maximum of 53 watts, I was measuring 50.5 to 51.5 watts output into the Bird, across the 10 test frequency range for 136 thru 174 MHz. Our previous XTL5000 VHF radio was running about 2 watts higher into the same load, with the identical cable, and it was also set to 53 watts High Power in the CPS.

Not sure why the 2 watt difference, as ISO-9000 would usually mean that any 2 XTL's with the identical test setup (e.g., identical cable length, cable type, and cable connectors) would be spot on, in terms of extremely little, if any at all, power output differential betwen the two radios. Then again, the 2 watt higher XTL shipped to us in June 2009, while our latest XTL came in this month. BTW, both radios showed a slight power variation across the 10 test frequencies from 136 to 174, and they varied at the same spots, by the same percentages, so this was consistent, and to be expected.
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby akardam » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:33 pm

A VHF XTL5000 is rated for 50w TX power. You're making rated power. Why are you concerned? You're worried because two radios manufactured over a year apart from each other are exhibiting a tenth or two dB difference in TX power?
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby ASTROMODAT » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:00 pm

1. Independent of any issues with my particular power output empirical experience with my 2 identical radio models, my question remains: Does anyone know what the Motorola spec is for verifying output power in terms of A) cable length from transceiver to load, and B) cable type? I'd like to keep this as an independent issue from any other aspect of my findings. A very simple question, looking for a simple, factual answer. Thanks, in advance, too!

2. If you are familiar with ISO-9000 manufacturing standards, ceteris paribus, any 2 Motorola radios of the same model type shipped (even a year apart) should be within a tighter tolerance than 2+ watts, given both are set at 53 watts max, etc. ISO-9000 essentially calls for almost six sigma for manufacturing (and, Yes, I know that the famous six sigma vs/ ISO-9000 debate rages on!).

I sat through a Motorola ISO-9000 and Six Sigma Quality Process lecture recently. They bragged that even a crooked escutcheon (Motorola nameplate) on one of their two-way radios (and I won't even bore you with his engineering explanation of the definition of how much tolerance dictates a nameplate to be defective vs/ Pass), is an error under ISO-9000. And, such a seemingly innocuous error with a frikin' nameplate causes that unit to Fail, no different than if it had Zero power output! It is a defective unit, and is summarily rejected, just the same! Motorola accepts no more than 3 to 4 defects per million units under six sigma standards.

The Motorola EE giving this talk went into great detail reminiscing about how a "hot Micor receiver coming off the line, with a particularly hot front end, etc." was duly noted back in the early 1970's. By contrast to Motorola's modern day, ISO-9000 Quality Standards, he said that APX7000 mobiles come down the line essentially with identical performance tests, regardless if you pull any given radio at random for testing.

Therefore, having 2 radios apart by nearly 3 watts out of 50 is probably not meeting six sigma, albeit as a EE I'll be the first to admit, I don't know this for a fact, but I would be surprised to find that it is acceptable under ISO-9000 standards to have one radio test out at 52.9 watts, and another identical model test out at 50.1 watts. That would be fine in 1972 for 2 Micors, but I suspect (and, as Bill O’Reilly would say, “I could definitely be wrong”) this is not acceptable under ISO-9000 standards today.

Needless to say, I don't plan to send my radio in for warranty attention, but it is an interesting situation to me. Sorry, just spinning some curiosity wheels in my polluted engineering mind.
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby escomm » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:19 pm

Why haven't you called your rep yet?
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby ASTROMODAT » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:33 pm

escomm wrote:Why haven't you called your rep yet?


As I said yesterday, if I found that the CPS setting was the "culprit" for the 22 watts (which it was), I wasn't planning to bother my rep. I didn't feel it would be a good use of his time to come back and tell me why the CPS was set to 22 for a 10 to 50 watt radio (albeit, I can think of a number of reasons, based on speculation). I like to keep my powder dry, and pick my battles (and Motorola favors) for the Big Stuff. I haven't even bothered to ask him when the Mixed Mode GTR8000 VHF base will be available, for example. My call to my rep would have occurred IF the CPS was set at 53 watts, and I was getting 22!

BTW, on a slightly different subject, was it you who was musing over the issue of some details surrounding the new 03 HHCH and the siren/PA playing nice, like arranging the Airhorn to trigger on horn ring depress through the VIP? I was going to harass him on this issue, and partially did (it requires an SP kit, with h/w and an SP FLASHport), but I shelved it and lost interest once we decided to bag siren/PA's with 03’s, since in those cases we exclusively use the 05’s.
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby akardam » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:32 pm

ASTROMODAT wrote:BTW, on a slightly different subject, was it you who was musing over the issue of some details surrounding the new 03 HHCH and the siren/PA playing nice, like arranging the Airhorn to trigger on horn ring depress through the VIP? I was going to harass him on this issue, and partially did (it requires an SP kit, with h/w and an SP FLASHport), but I shelved it and lost interest once we decided to bag siren/PA's with 03’s, since in those cases we exclusively use the 05’s.

Why don't you share what you learned for the benefit of the board?
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby ASTROMODAT » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:11 pm

Not sure what more I can elaborate on, other than what I already posted.

The only thing he told me (and as I previously mentioned, I dropped it mid-stream once we made our 05 siren/PA decision) was that if you want an 03 to play nice with the siren/PA with the Airhorn and horn ring relay thru the VIP, there is an SP kit involving both h/w and an SP firmware FLASHport. I didn't pursue it further, other than the approximate kit price is around $1,000.
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby wavetar » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:28 am

The ISO9000 family of standards is a quality management system. It does not define what is considered pass/fail or by what margin in & of itself. Certification to an ISO 9001 standard does not guarantee any quality of end products and services; rather, it certifies that formalized business processes are being applied. The company itself defines it's own criteria, perhaps to accepted industry standards, perhaps it's own higher standard (ie: six sigma). ISO basically just makes them say "here's what should happen", provide proof it is being checked for, and provide proof it is dealt with should it not happen as they state.

Six Sigma was developed by Motorola. Originally (and most applicable to this conversation) it referred to the ability of manufacturing processes to produce a very high proportion of output within specification. That means, if a supplier made resistors with a +/- 5% tolerance, less than 3.4 out of 1,000,000 resistors manufactured would fall outside the +/- 5% range. It does not mean the tolerance is less than 3.4 parts per million.

In fact, if you look in the electrical parts list of the XTL5000, you'll find just about every resistor lists a tolerance of 5%. Inductors have 2%, 5%, 10% & even 20% tolerances. Capacitors list various tolerances, sometimes in percentages up to 10%, sometimes in +/-...ie: +/- 30 out of 470.

So, given that the above components have the tolerances listed, and said components are, along with varactors, part of every 'softpot' available to adjust things such as output power, it's no surprise that no two radios will be alike. This is why in general, softpot settings will vary from radio to radio. There is also an accepted 'drift over time' tolerance for just about any component manufactured, even solid state ones. This would include the PA module itself. This is why yearly Preventative Maintenance checks are still recommended by radio manufacturers...things can go out of alignment, both to the positive (more power output) or to the negative (less power output).

As far as what cable length & type Motorola recommends for field tuning, I don't believe I've ever seen anything specified in any service manual...though I'm not about to go through them all to check. The key is to keep it consistent within your own testing environment.
No trees were harmed in the posting of this message...however an extraordinarily large number of electrons were horribly inconvenienced.

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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby ASTROMODAT » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:51 pm

The Motorola EE who gave us the Quality presentation specifically stated that Motorola's manuafacturing goal with the APX radios is the same as with their cell phone subscriber sets: 3.4 defects per one million units (six sigma). And, he said that a "defect" can be anything from a crooked escutcheon to a non working receiver. No difference in the end, as both radios would be rejected as Fail.

I don't know if two 50 watt radios leave Motorola's factory, and one of these radios produces 2 watts more than the other radio (ceteris paribus, of course) whether this delta would be within Motorla's six sigma tolerances, or not. My guess is that their tolerance would be tighter than this, but I would only know this for a fact if I were to ask one of the engineers at Motorola who is in the know. Interesting stuff, to be sure, but I ain't losin' any sleep over it, fellas!

BTW, I'm still wondering why Motorola does not publish a spec in their service manual for the cable length and type to verify power output. Seems like especailly near 900 MHz this makes a noticable difference. Kind of surprising for Motorola to be silent on such a simple spec. Is it 4 feet, or 6 inches, etc.? RG-213, RG-8, etc.? Don't know...
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby akardam » Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:46 pm

ASTROMODAT wrote:BTW, I'm still wondering why Motorola does not publish a spec in their service manual for the cable length and type to verify power output. Seems like especailly near 900 MHz this makes a noticable difference. Kind of surprising for Motorola to be silent on such a simple spec. Is it 4 feet, or 6 inches, etc.? RG-213, RG-8, etc.? Don't know...

As long as you know the insertion loss of the cable you're using at the frequency on which you're using it, and have factored that into your measurement, what does it matter?
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby com501 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:52 pm

It would seem to me that any competent technician would know EXACTLY what his bench cable losses were, as well as what his power supply was putting out AT THE RADIO in relation to actual voltage and current, in order to calibrate his test experience. I know I do. That being said, perhaps the actual 'spec' for a 50 watt XTL mobile is 'not less than 50 watts' and a go/no-go for the initial QC would be 'at least 50w and no more than 65w' before final production flash and alignment.

The factory makes those specs in Taiwan or someplace, and the final flash and QC is done stateside where the official 'passed' stamp is placed. I am betting their spec is 'at least 55w but no less than 50w at ship point', or something similar.

Prudence would dictate flexible low loss test cables (I use double shielded RG223), good connectors and known, good, low return loss loads, and I sweep every piece of equipment, including any adapters.
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Re: XTL5000 50 watter Factory Test Report Passes w/ 22 Watts

Postby ASTROMODAT » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:24 pm

These are all excellent points. I guess it comes down to what Motorola means when they say the radio has 50 watts output. Is that at the output jack, or does it include a given amount of dB loss for a transmission line? I am very surprised that given Motorola's penchant for detailed Test Setup Specs and associated procedures, they are completely silent as to the transmission line. Oh, well...
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