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IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

This forum exists for the purposes for discussing service monitors (This includes but is not limited to Motorola, HP, Aeroflex, GD, etc). Additional topics allowed include test procedures, interpretation of test results, where to find information about specific tests, antenna VSWR, return loss testing, duplexer and filter alignment, etc.

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SHADO
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IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby SHADO » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:21 am

My IFR COM 120B has been working great for years until today. I turned it on and noticed that there was no spectrum analyzer or scope on the display.
I could not use the tracking generator so I checked the clock/calender and the date and time was erratic. I set the date and time but when I turn off and turn on the monitor, the date and time was erratic again.
I ran a diagnostic and it shows a "Real Time Clock Fail", everything else passed.
Any input on how to correct this problem will be most appreciated.

Thanks,
Marshall
N6RTR

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Wowbagger
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby Wowbagger » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:08 am

The RTC module has a built in battery, which has probably died. That kills the options storage, so the unit forgets it's serial number and installed options. It's tricky to replace, as the modules aren't being built anymore - I've heard of people carefully cutting the top off and replacing the battery.
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

I WILL NOT give you proprietary information. I make too much money to jeopardize my job.

I AM NOT the Service department: You want official info, manuals, service info, parts, calibration, etc., contact Aeroflex directly, please.

jry
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby jry » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:49 am

The RTC modules are still available but will need to be programmed.

Normally I do the NVRAM battery and RTC modules on the controller / Up Board.

SHADO
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby SHADO » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:50 am

Thanks for the information. Where may I find a place that has the modules? I am in the Southern California area. Would you know of a place where I may order a module, or a repair shop or would it be easier just to replace the NVRAM battery myself? Sounds like I may need the calibration code in order to reprogram the options back into the monitor. I don't have a clue what the calibration code is and it looks like I may need to take it in to a shop to be repaired.

bh7juo
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby bh7juo » Wed Jul 22, 2015 7:31 pm

I remeber some people said COM120 series option status and calibration data storaged both in NVRAM and eeprom in front panel CPU.I tried to replaced battery in COM120B,first power on it showed "loading ????? in front panel",and options no changed.But I'm not sure there is another battery in DS???? NVARM chip,or only one on CPU board.
BH7JUO Mark
HF DX,test set repair,PCB design,MCU coding,DIY......still have not enough time

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Wowbagger
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby Wowbagger » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:19 am

No, the options are NOT stored on the front panel, only the calibration settings (upon reflection, I wish I had stored a copy of the options structure on the front panel, and in the flash file system, but oh well).
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

I WILL NOT give you proprietary information. I make too much money to jeopardize my job.

I AM NOT the Service department: You want official info, manuals, service info, parts, calibration, etc., contact Aeroflex directly, please.

jry
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby jry » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:27 am

PM sent

bh7juo
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby bh7juo » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:09 pm

So if we lost battery on 120A/B,we will lost all options set?How should we do if it happens.
BH7JUO Mark
HF DX,test set repair,PCB design,MCU coding,DIY......still have not enough time

jry
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby jry » Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:12 pm

The battery is internal to the RTC module.

The NVRAM battery is separate on the processor/controller and may cause the loss of some settings and files ...cal will be copied back from the flash as was mentioned before.
One way to tell if you have a dead NVRAM is getting the message about restoring calibration from front panel during power on.

When the RTC battery goes you usually fail the power on self test and the options typically go as well.

jstigler
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby jstigler » Fri Oct 23, 2015 10:46 pm

So did anyone come up with a replacement part for the DS1286 on the controller Bd for the Com120B.
I see some other RTC modules in Mouser. These Dallas chips are prone to fail due to age. I have
changed many of them in other equipment.
Johnny S.

gmrsinc
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby gmrsinc » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:04 pm

Com-120B also real time clock fail, all options gone.
Changed clock module, pass all tests, still no options.
Obtained option codes from Aeroflex, entered numerous times, still
no options installed.
Any suggestions appreciated

Chris
gmrsinc
tracomm@yahoo.com

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Wowbagger
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby Wowbagger » Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:18 am

You need to have the serial # set before the options numbers will take - otherwise the serial # embedded into the options won't match the unit's, and it won't be accepted.

Since the 120 is now well and truly out of support, give me a bit to verify my memory, and I'll give you the commands to reset the serial number. You'll need a serial terminal on the unit (or, I suppose, you could use GPIB).
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

I WILL NOT give you proprietary information. I make too much money to jeopardize my job.

I AM NOT the Service department: You want official info, manuals, service info, parts, calibration, etc., contact Aeroflex directly, please.

gmrsinc
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby gmrsinc » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:55 am

Thanks for the information, your assessment certainly makes sense.
Any info to reset the SN# would be greatly appreciated.

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Wowbagger
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby Wowbagger » Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:44 pm

I've posted some info over the the Aeroflex questions thread.
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

I WILL NOT give you proprietary information. I make too much money to jeopardize my job.

I AM NOT the Service department: You want official info, manuals, service info, parts, calibration, etc., contact Aeroflex directly, please.

jstigler
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby jstigler » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:56 pm

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1pcs-DS1286-128 ... 1363982582
DS1286 1286 DALLAS WATCHDOG TIMEKEEPER SRAM DIP-28
I bought two of these for about $8 ea.
Problem solved. Clock OK now & Spectrum Analyzer OK.
I did put in a socket. This was a Bear to get out without damaging the board.
Holes a tad bit small.
Johnny

ken2457
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby ken2457 » Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:45 am

My COM120b clock still keeps good time. It gets a fair amount of use. When not in use, it is usually plugged into AC on the bench. I wonder if leaving the COM120 plugged into AC would help preserve the battery in the Dallas clock?
Ken

jry
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby jry » Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:12 am

keeping it just plugged in by itself will not help.

Maybe if you left it turned on but then you have a worse problem of the screen burning in.

The RTC has to be programmed to the unit so just replacing is not enough. It should get it past the self test though even un-programmed.

MOTOROLER
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby MOTOROLER » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:06 am

Hi all.
Excuse for my bad English, I hope you'll understand me.

In my COM120B just died back-up battery in RTTC timer, and I lost irrecoverably all my highly-valued options. Therefore I try to warn all IFR COM120 owners, as a precaution my sad end..
All IFR COM120-B instruments are in danger - irrecoverably loss of all options is unstoppably approaching. Unfortunately, loss of options is unsolvable accident for most of us..
Here are my observations, experiences and tips to prevention of accident. I hope that will help you.
Our popular IFR120 contains Real Time Clock - Watchdog Timekeeper Dallas DS1286, located on the board "Controller tray".
Dallas DS1286 contains a timer, RAM, 3V lithium battery backup for RAM and 32kHz crystal encapsulated in one plastic black box. There are impotand information stored in the RAM relating to the instaled options, state of operating hours and so on. Discharged internal backup battery means you can lose all data from memory. The instrument usually displays "System failure, Real Time Clock is bad“. It seems easy to solve - You buy cheaply on ebay new timer DS1286 and you'll think, it's ok. Unfortunately, it's not a win, especially when you had options installed. There are a two problems:
1)If you had options, you lost them (new DS1286 timer has not the correct contents of memory)
2)All DS 1286 timers are very old today, although purchased as „new“. Production of this timers ended in about 2007. China has warehouses full of these old circuits, so on ebay is many offers. So even „new and unused“, it is old circuit produced about 10 years before. So contains a battery which is about 10 years old. The battery is permanently discharged from the moment of manufacture. The manufacturer guarantees 10 years without voltage = today you can not buy a timer with fresh batteries = death of battery are approaching. May come today, tomorrow or in five months, but it surely will come. Infrequent use of the instrument = sooner death (internal backup battery in the timer is automatically disconnected once device is on the Ucc). But permanent running of the instrument is unreasonable solutions.

What is the solution?
1)Absolute matter of priority - read the contents of memory in the timer DS1286 and save it. Once you have saved the contents of your memory, we won. Any possible problem with timer will not destroy our valuable options from now. You must extract timer from the board. I recommend preheating the board, but be careful - internal battery does not exceed +85 st C. Beware - on the board is still second big Inorganic Lithium Battery 3,6V - I do not know what backups, but is clear - on board will be an additional circuit(s) under voltage from this big backup batt. So beware of random interconnections or short connections during handling. After extraction I recommend to put the socket for DS1286.
2)Now is time to solve the battery problem - only way to do it - carefully grind the plastic housing up to the internal battery, disconnect from timer and connect it to fresh external 3V Lithium battery (+batt to pin 25, -batt to pin 21).

The operation is demanding on accuracy, it is necessary to have small engraving milling machine.
I did everything to easier it for you. I do not take any responsibility for your failures or accidents with this solution.
When you succeed this operation, you never need to solve the problem with the DS1286 or loss of your options.

If anyone knows how to backup data from RAM in DS1286 without extraction from the board, please give info.
Good luck!

Image
Image

Farside
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby Farside » Wed Feb 08, 2017 8:08 am

Hello everyone ,

when all else fails try Fourms . Thats where im at since finding out Aeroflex was bought by Cobham , no more support for my Com 120B
I have lost All options , Possible RTC failure but date , time OK, system passes all tests , even RTC
if iv had a RTC failure and lost options am i screwed Now? i had almost every option installed except i think 3 of them .
can i repair the loss of options by any means else ? or is there some other failure that happened .
when i go into spcl button mode it shows everything still , but when i execute them it says NOT INSTALLED
going into version menu only shows the options which are hardware options , not my software options
i got my quote from custom cal a few months ago planning on replacing battery in RTC . i should have done it last month . Murphys Law i guess

PLEASE any help very much appreciated , here is my info on unit
Com 120b Serial # 500009822
Options Tag 003040507111213141516

also here are some photos
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0u9Jbzi3WZzby1IZnp5NTRBMTQ
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0u9Jbzi3WZzeHFaSENoY29EVG8
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0u9Jbzi3WZzQXRaODFvVGVwN3c

Farside
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby Farside » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:18 am

update , the clock does not keep time. stands still after shut down. date as well . so RTC has failed . so even with a new battery installed i wont be able to reinstall all the lost options ? does anyone know if Custom-Cal can get the options back or another service center that could. i have never ran into a issue like this before. but with equipment that's 15yrs old its always a possibility , i have tried resetting factory defaults in the system menu no prevail. should the start up screen show initializing then system test every time , cant remember
any information appreciated ,
Keith N

nucknfutz
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby nucknfutz » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:36 pm

I'm in the same boat. I lost my RTC too, and options. Replaced the RTC, and my Options are blank, but at least it's passing all tests and not failing the rtc test now, and keeping time. Any help to get the options re installed would be great. My serial is 50010357.

ljohn6
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby ljohn6 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:23 pm

So according to maxim integrated the DS1511 is a replacement to the DS1286 according to them the only difference is the DS1511 does not count down to the hundredth of a second, Not sure if this would make a problem but it may be a replacement option, I am sure JRY or Wowbagger could chime in as to weather this would be an issue. hope this is a good option.
John

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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby jry » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:28 am

looking briefly at the Maxim site the DS1511 is equivalent but not a direct replacement. Didn;t really look much further but that implies it would be an effort to switch to that device.

Would just source the DS1286 vintages as long as they are around. lot''s of vendors will carry obsolete chips for just these support issues.

Of course the problem is on this device the shelf life of the battery is limited so literally the clock is running on the parts on the shelf. It's a looong life but it's still and issue to be aware of.

Farside
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby Farside » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:43 pm

well the com120b i had was not fixable in my situation (second hand purchase) . but like a great one once said " all machines eventually fail " i understand age of components but man what a BAD place to store $$$$$options$$$$$ in volatile memory. they tried a few cards from parts units , but with no luck of having any options . and the few options that where still showing in my unit where gone on the other units card. the options where the hardware installed ones. second af gen, RF amp they disappeared.probable issues with the SN not matching or no options where on those cards. it was a very strange failure, lost half of the options and the others still showed. the clock wouldn't keep time or date. was a RTC failure but didn't see one fail like this , from what people have said. to you other guys out there , maybe start a new thread , people don't always check these old ones<<<<<<
Best of luck

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Wowbagger
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby Wowbagger » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:21 pm

OK, everybody, from the top:
1) I will help who I can, when I can. The most assured way you can get me to put you last on my to-do list is to keep pestering me by IM.
2) I need your serial number, the options you had (don't give me every option - I don't take well to being snowjobbed). Either give the options BY NAME, or better still, give me the output of the *opt? command before you lost your options.
3) Tell me what RX IF filters you have installed, esp. if you have the second optional filter.

If you have a COM-120 and your RTC hasn't died yet: RUN THESE COMMANDS RIGHT NOW!
*opt?
*idn?

and save the output. That tells me what I need to know.

Last: If you are having other problems with your COM-120 - please, don't ask them on to me by IM, ask them ON THE FORUM.
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

I WILL NOT give you proprietary information. I make too much money to jeopardize my job.

I AM NOT the Service department: You want official info, manuals, service info, parts, calibration, etc., contact Aeroflex directly, please.

mvrx
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby mvrx » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:48 am

I started my unit up after 3 years and looks like I'm good, but I plan on changing the battery (parallel a new one) on the chip.
Took photos of my active options and ran a few tests. In case it will fail so I can get them back.

Wowbagger , when you say
"RUN THESE COMMANDS RIGHT NOW!
*opt?
*idn?"
do you mean by GPIB, by serial? What's the procedure to run the commands? Sorry, never hooked up anything to the unit other than a coax cable.

One more question. The Dallas chip is on the "controller board" which is the number X from the front panel?

Thank you!

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Wowbagger
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby Wowbagger » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:12 pm

Hook a serial cable from the RS-232 port on the instrument to a serial port on your computer - either a built-in or a USB to serial adapter. Set up a terminal program - Procom, Windows's terminal program, Minicom, whatever. Set the terminal program to the same settings as under the "Settings->Serial" page of the COM-120. Make sure echo is ON on the 120. You should be able to hit return a couple of times and get an "!" for a prompt.
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

I WILL NOT give you proprietary information. I make too much money to jeopardize my job.

I AM NOT the Service department: You want official info, manuals, service info, parts, calibration, etc., contact Aeroflex directly, please.

wthrush
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby wthrush » Sun May 21, 2017 2:57 pm

I have used the procedure to replace the RTC chip battery on my friend's COM 120B. He says he is still getting the "Real Time clock fail" message..... I assume something needs to be done to reinitialize it, and I also need to know how to reset the options. The "Options Installed" sticker says "O0010812" & S/N is 500009442 . Can send pics of stickers if desired. When/if you give me the info, does it need to go in via the serial port or can it be done with front panel keyboard? Thanks in advance for any assistance you are able to give!
William Thrush, P.E. N7MLL for Jack Williams W7HNH
bigdaddy@superxstudios.com

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vk3khz
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby vk3khz » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:47 pm

I have the same problem with 2 x IFR-1600S units, clocks stopped updating and are about to lose their S/N & option bytes as the battery gets flatter...

mvrx
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby mvrx » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:27 am

Hi Wowbagger,

Today I was able to remove the tray and replace the battery by the means of drilling my way to the pads and soldering a new one on top of the potted battery that had only 0.4Volts left. Although I was super careful, the options are now lost, the run time shows a bogus number but the replacement succeeded.

I would like to ask you for help to restore my lost options. Everything required is here : https://goo.gl/iXBBmm
Images were taken before attempting anything.

Please help!

Thank you!

Raz

wthrush
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby wthrush » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:12 pm

Is Wowbagger responding to anyone?

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Wowbagger
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby Wowbagger » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:18 am

I've been on a week's vacation, and will need some time to get caught back up.
This is my opinion, not Aeroflex's.

I WILL NOT give you proprietary information. I make too much money to jeopardize my job.

I AM NOT the Service department: You want official info, manuals, service info, parts, calibration, etc., contact Aeroflex directly, please.

mvrx
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Re: IFR COM 120B Real Time Clock Fail

Postby mvrx » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:32 am

Wowbagger, any chance you could help?
Thanks


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