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Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

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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Wowbagger
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Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:40 pm

I just thought I'd start a topic for questions about Aeroflex (IFR Systems) gear. Just to recap for the newbies: I am a Principal Software Engineer at Aeroflex Wichita (what used to be IFR Systems). I helped design the COM-120A/B/C, the 2975, and the 3900 service monitors, the AN920/930 spectrum analyzers, and have done a little work on the 1600/1900/AN-GRM family of service monitors.

As my sig says - I'd appreciate any requests for calibration or service actually go to the Service department. I design them, I don't fix them!

I'll gladly try to answer anybody's questions on any Aeroflex gear - that which I did not design I can probably find out who did.

I'd appreciate those questions being asked in the public forums rather than in private messages, so that everybody can see the answers.

One other caveat: obviously, I work closely with many different manufactures under non-disclosure agreements, and obviously I know about Aeroflex projects that are not yet publicly announced. I cannot talk about those: not on the board, not in a private message, not in an email. I get paid too damn well to screw over my whole career.
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby xmo » Thu Oct 16, 2008 6:09 am

We appreciate you taking the time to help folks here!

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby SlimBob » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:52 pm

Seconded.
An armed society is a *polite* society.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby wpaperman » Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:52 pm

Any advice available on dealing with EL panel partial or complete failures in the COM 120 and COM 120A?

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby mike m » Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:10 am

I had to give up my loaner/demo 3920 last month and I never got around to checking to see if it was capable of doing encryption on P25 trunking talkgroups ?


Mike

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:08 am

mike m wrote:I had to give up my loaner/demo 3920 last month and I never got around to checking to see if it was capable of doing encryption on P25 trunking talkgroups ?


Mike


Yes, it will do DES and AES (if you buy the AES option), and you can use a standard keyfill device to load the keys.
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.

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Re: 1900CSA CTCSS Generation

Postby fineshot1 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 6:19 am

Anyone know how to generate ctcss on a 1900CSA or if its possible? I found the info on dcs generation but not ctcss.

Thanks.....
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby tvsjr » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:14 am

I don't have a 1900, but I've used several. If memory serves, all you should need to do is use the audio function generator, set the frequency to the CTCSS tone desired, and set the deviation about 1Khz. My 8921 has two audio generator options on the main RX test screen for this purpose - I typically use 1K/3Kdev in one and the PL in the other.

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CTCSS

Postby Wowbagger » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:51 am

Yes, the way you generate CTCSS is to just use one of the function generators. You can either enter the frequency directly, or select CTCSS mode and pick it from a list. You then pick the modulation and modulation depth you want.
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby fineshot1 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:23 am

Wowbagger & tvsjr thank you both &happy holidays to all....

Ooops - sorry I have one more question re 1900csa.

Can you also count(display) the received tones(ctcss or dcs)?
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:14 am

fineshot1 wrote:Ooops - sorry I have one more question re 1900csa.

Can you also count(display) the received tones(ctcss or dcs)?


Well, you probably don't want to "count" DCS, but decode it. That you can do: you will need to select the DCS decode, which IIRC means going into the setup and selecting DCS decode there.

For counting CTCSS: you'll want to configure the audio frequency counter to look at the demod signal through a 300Hz low pass filter (to strip out the voice).

(I don't have a 1600 in my office, and I don't have the same level familiarity with the 1600 as I do with the boxes I designed like the COM-120 and 2975, so I am going from memory here. If you need more help ask and I'll go find a 1600 and get back to you.)
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby fineshot1 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:53 am

ok Wowbagger - thanks. I will play around with this over the holidays & post back if any questions.....
fineshot1
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby grubstake » Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:10 am

Wowbagger, thanks much for your very kind offer of help and advice!

My younger brother (also a ham, in Mass.) was recently given a non-working IFR COM-120A, and since I have a few decades of career experience in analog design (mostly instrumentation and power-electronics), he's asked for my help in getting it fully working.

Via google, I found this great forum, and the several prior threads where you've posted about these units.

However, when I followed some of your links tonight, I was saddened to discover that the app-notes and such that you've referred to in the past have apparently all been removed from the Aeroflex website.

They come up as 404 pages now; and the 'search' function wouldn't locate them; and oddly, there isn't even a -mention- of the COM-120A/B on the site any more. It's as if all your prior great design work doesn't even exist any more! :x

So, my first and most important question is: where can I download PDF's of the operator's and service manuals? Without those, we're sunk. I'm retired on no income, and my brother was just laid off; so spending big-bucks on manuals etc. is now out of the question, I'm afraid.

The original sales-brochure for a 120A would also be of help.....so that we at least know what the unit does! :lol:

Seriously, it would be good to have something like that brochure which highlights the 'hot' features in the unit; that we might not even know exist.

Second question: as I understand it, there were various software packages available; some for internal load, and some that ran on an external PC. It would be helpful to have a list of all the software programs/modules that run in or with the 120A. Similarly, a firmware revision-history that tells what was fixed or added at each rev-number would be really great.

Thanks very much for any help you can offer Wowbagger; either here, or via PM. 8)

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:45 am

grubstake wrote:They come up as 404 pages now; and the 'search' function wouldn't locate them; and oddly, there isn't even a -mention- of the COM-120A/B on the site any more. It's as if all your prior great design work doesn't even exist any more! :x

Unfortunately the COM-120A/B/C are discontinued products, and so they don't get to be in the limelight any more.

We just got a new web master (who has been a close friend of mine for many years) - I'll call that to his attention, as I wouldn't think they'd remove those guides. Can you give me the URL you were trying to follow?
grubstake wrote:So, my first and most important question is: where can I download PDF's of the operator's and service manuals? Without those, we're sunk. I'm retired on no income, and my brother was just laid off; so spending big-bucks on manuals etc. is now out of the question, I'm afraid.

I've been griping at the Marketing/Communications group about that for some time: IMHO we should have a lot of those up (we have them on the internal server, so it's not like it would be a great deal of work to make them externally available). I'll once again suggest we do this - maybe that will happen now.
grubstake wrote:The original sales-brochure for a 120A would also be of help.....so that we at least know what the unit does! :lol:

That could be a trick: I don't know if we still have that laying around.

grubstake wrote:Second question: as I understand it, there were various software packages available; some for internal load, and some that ran on an external PC. It would be helpful to have a list of all the software programs/modules that run in or with the 120A. Similarly, a firmware revision-history that tells what was fixed or added at each rev-number would be really great.

Unfortunately our software engineering process wasn't that mature during that time. I'd have to go to the release archives for each release, and that's not trivial.

I can tell you this: If you have a COM-120A it is going to be fairly limited vs. a COM-120B. The A had a much weaker 80188 CPU (a battle Engineering fought and lost - it was SUPPOSED to be an 80386SX, but we got overridden by The Powers That Be because "The 1200S gets by just fine with a 188 - SO WILL YOU!"). The COM-120B had a 486SX processor, and was a much more capable unit. IF you can find the COM-120B CPU board, it will work in a 120A chassis (but finding such a board is going to be a real trick).

As for the applications: there are 2 that are of real interest: EasySpan and EasyCOM: EasyCOM was a program that ran in the instrument and automated the testing of a mobile radio and generation of a report, EasySpan ran on the PC and enhanced the functioning of the spectrum analyzer (allowing for wide sweeps, accumulating data over a long time, etc.). I don't know if those are even still available - try mailing mike.fortna@aeroflex.com and see what he can do.

I don't know if EasyCOM will even work with a COM-120A now, as there were a LOT of features added in the B to support it.
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:28 am

You might also check out http://legacy.aeroflex.com - I found my App note there:
http://legacy.aeroflex.com/products/com ... es/898.pdf
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:51 am

wpaperman wrote:Any advice available on dealing with EL panel partial or complete failures in the COM 120 and COM 120A?


Sorry, just noticed your post.

The EL panel in the 120A/B became unobtainium for us - that's what drove the COM-120C design (TFT LCD panels are easy to get, we already have them in many other projects, and the change was fairly minimal to make it work).

The best advice I can give would be:
1) check on the surplus market, and see if you can find them there.
2) Contact Service, and see if you can get a COM-120C panel and display board (NOTE: You will need the latest COM-120B firmware for this to work - COM-120A need not apply).

Those of us here who have 120's are jealously guarding our personal stashes of spare parts (and no, I don't have a spare panel.)
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby grubstake » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:51 pm

WB, thanks much for your reply.

'legacy'...ahhh...I'll bet that all the links you've posted over the years are still the same, but with that prefix in front of the domain.

fyi, there's no link to that 'legacy' section from the 'discontinued' page on the site.....at least not that I could find.

Interesting that a 120B cpu-card will slide right in.......is the entire rest of the instruments the same then?.....same RF deck, same capabilities and specs ?

Over the weekend, I called my brother Mark and we did the first power-up together over the phone. From what he's describing, I'm getting that sinking feeling that the mixer is blown.

(ps; I've encouraged him to join up here himself)

Power-up was fine, RF gen appears to work....can be heard in a 2m HT...and the power-meter is working....seems to give results in the right range anyway (i.e. 2.32 watts from mid-power setting on the HT, etc..)....but the Rcvr and SA don't respond...sigh...

Putting a rubber-duck on the ANT jack of the IFR, and keying the HT up a few ft away, produces no response....no change in the trace. I figured there was an atten in the unit, but he checked that and it's set to 0. I've asked him to go through the menus, in case there might be functions/settings which disable or disconnect the input....and which may've been left set that way and stored in nvram by the last user....but he hasn't found anything along those lines yet.

Are there any such settings?.....anything that might produce the impression of a 'dead' input/front-end?

Is there any internal self-test switching that connects the gen to the SA-input?

My brother Mark found one self-test-results screen in the diags, and all tests passed....but it didn't list a test specifically of the input/mixer.

What -is- the mixer?.....discrete diodes on a pcb?....a little HP gaas quad in a pill?.....or something like a Minicircuits solder-in 'dip'?.....or a standalone connectorized metal-box type....or ??

That name/email you posted before.....is that your friend who's now running the website?

Would you mention to him that Mark KB1ESS will be emailing him for help getting the svc-manual? That might grease the skids a bit...lol...

thanks again VERY much for your kind assistance WB....it's given us much hope for a successful conclusion to this project,

Richard

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ke2d » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:22 pm

I have a Com120B that I bought at a bankruptcy auction a few years ago, and the internal switching PS was fried. It appears that some idiot tried to replace the AC fuse with a 20a fuse, and you can guess the rest. When I first bought it, I tried to fix the supply, but with no tech/service manual, I gave up. Anyway, for the price I paid, I use it strictly as a shop-only unit and power it via my bench 12vdc supply. Works fine otherwise. About three years ago the master reference oscillator failed; a shorted electroytic cap and fried inductor (as a result of the cap), and I was back in business.

The only downside to the whole thing is that is was a fairly limited/optioned unit. Basically no options...

Anyway, since I use this for ham related stuff, I have always wanted to have the tracking generator option, and the second variable tone generator. I lost count how many times I have had to sacrifice PL encoding to be able to sweep a receiver or repeater controller for audio response curves, but had to put the repeater in carrier squelch to complete the task. I also hate having to use my Tek SA whenever I need to tune a duplexer. It would be nice to have those options, but for strictly ham radio related usage, I could never see investing the thousands necessary for them.

My understanding is that the hardware for the SA and second var. tone gen. is already in place, and that challenge type codes were necessary to field-enable said options. Now being that the 120B is long past it's life cycle, is there any chance in hell that information on said entry codes might be found to fully enable the unit's functionality?

Also, any info on the service manual PDF file would be greatly appreciated. If I can find it, I might take a stab at the switching PS module. Especially since my other montior (R2670A) was stolen last month. ....

Thanks
Eric
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ke2d » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:23 pm

Also, any way to upgrade the Com120B firmware ourselves?

Eric
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:07 am

OK, working pile-up:

"Also, any way to upgrade the Com120B firmware ourselves?"
On a B or C, the answer is a qualified YES: you'd need a terminal program that can do Xmodem, and the files. You'd then need to follow a script for the commands, or you'd need to run a DOS program (that can run under DOSBOX/Windows) to do the actual upgrade, OR you'd have to get a PCMCIA card with the files on it.

On an A, you'd have to get a replacement EPROM and swap it out, then possibly swap out the EPROM on the video card as well.

"My understanding is that the hardware for the SA and second var. tone gen. is already in place..."
Partially true: in the early 120As the 2nd tone generate actually was a removable unit, and wasn't in place if you didn't buy the option. Later it was decided that the cost of the connectors to make that possible was greater than the actual cost of the hardware, so the second function generator was built-in.

"is there any chance in hell that information on said entry codes might be found to fully enable the unit's functionality?"

Unless I get official direction to make that happen *I* am not going to do so. As I have said before, I get paid too damn well to jeopardize my career in that way. What I would suggest is that you get together a petition, and send it to Rob.Barden@aeroflex.com and ask him to make it happen. There is a technical issue, however: the option code system for a COM-120 is such that you don't "enable" or "disable" options with a code, but rather set the option codes for the whole unit: so I'd have to generate a set of option codes for all possible hardware options. Also, if you had a unit with options like AMPS, EDACS, or MPT-1327, you'd need an option set for that or you'd lose those options.

"Also, any info on the service manual PDF file would be greatly appreciated."

I'm working on getting those manuals up on the web site. However, currently Service sells those, so that would be stepping on their toes. Granted, I think the total profit from those PARTICULAR manuals would just about buy a cup of coffee a month from the vending machines, but....

"I might take a stab at the switching PS module."
If I remember correctly, the 120 power supply used a standard Vicor module for the 120VAC/240VAC input, so if that's what went FOOM you should have a fairly easy time swapping it out. I'll have to dig out my copy of the service manual and check.

"[I]s the entire rest of the instruments the same then?"
Yes, the only difference between the A and B was the CPU, the chassis (for the PCMCIA card socket), and the video/function generator card.

"From what he's describing, I'm getting that sinking feeling that the mixer is blown."
Not if self-test checks out: self-test loops the generator around to the receiver.

"Rcvr and SA don't respond"
Do you mean the spectrum analyzer doesn't show ANY trace, or just shows grass line? Try connecting the HT to the TR port and switching to that: it may be the antenna input amp got blown.

"I've asked him to go through the menus, in case there might be functions/settings which disable or disconnect the input"
The only thing is the ANT/TR field on the receiver screen, analyzer screen, and duplex screen - other than that there are no setups to disable an input port.

The first thing I'd suggest doing when you get a 120 is reset it to factory defaults: you can either do that from the SETUP menu or by holding down softkeys 1 and 6 when you power it up. That will clear any macros that might be running on startup, and reset all screens back to the defaults. It won't clear your options or anything like that.

"That name/email you posted before.....is that your friend who's now running the website?"
I've not posted my friend's mail, as he couldn't help anybody here anyway. Rob Barden is the Marketing Director in charge of the Communications Test line of products.
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ke2d » Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:24 am

Thanks for the reply, wowbagger.

How does one go about getting the files for the Com120B? I have an older dos computer I use for radio programming, and have Procomm Plus also. I've done plenty of Xmodem flash updates on controllers and infrastructure, so no big deal here.

If anyone with a SM can provide a Vicor part # for the PS module, I would greatly appreciate it. I could then finally make this box work off of AC again, which would be nice. Worst case is I'll take the unit apart again, but that would be a real PITA to leave it apart while obtaining a new module.


Thanks
Eric
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:51 am

ke2d wrote:How does one go about getting the files for the Com120B?

First, contact Service and see if they can provide it. The latest version is 4.18. If they cannot, I'll see what I can do.
ke2d wrote:If anyone with a SM can provide a Vicor part # for the PS module, I would greatly appreciate it.

I checked my copy of the Service manual, and it doesn't list the PSU data. I'll have to dig further.
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ke2d » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:16 pm

No luck with service being able to provide firmware info. Basically told to "send it in". My current versions are:

Main 3.04
Bios 3.02
DSP 3.03
Keyboard 3.01
DSP 3.05

Is there much to gain in updating the firmwares?

Eric
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:39 pm

ke2d wrote:No luck with service being able to provide firmware info. Basically told to "send it in". My current versions are:

Main 3.04
Bios 3.02
DSP 3.03
Keyboard 3.01
DSP 3.05

Is there much to gain in updating the firmwares?

Eric
KE2D


You have a B, right? If so, yes - IIRC the offset tracking generator went in around 4.x, and that is really helpful when aligning a radio's IF section (which is why I put it in).
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ke2d » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:02 pm

Yes, Com120B. Only option present is "0" according to the rear label.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ke2d » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:05 pm

Thanks for the suggestions on the 2975 and 294xB series. Nice units indeed, but damn... I looked into the 2975 and 2944B/2945B, but they are way up there. A 2944 equipped similarly to an R2670B is just over $20k, and the 2975 is close to $25k. The 3920 is a dream come true - i made the mistake of reading over the manual for it, but @ $30k it is out of my budget. The 2670B is running just shy of $16k. Looks like I might have to settle for another 2670 based on those numbers!

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:37 am

ke2d wrote:...and the 2975 is close to $25k.


What options are you looking at on the 2975? Last I'd heard, they were on "sale", and unless you are going nuts on the options you should be able to get into one for about US$16K IIRC.

Also, you can get a 2975, and add options later - you order the option, you get a file, you put it on a floppy or push it into the unit over the network, and you are good to go.

Although I do remember one time, I had to generate a license file (because the options were new enough that the tool that the Sales and Service folks use didn't know about them - obviously the engineering version of the tool will do what I tell it to do). I ran the numbers on the options being enabled, and the OPTIONS tallied up to US$45K.
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.

DJP126
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby DJP126 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:15 am

ke2d wrote:Thanks for the suggestions on the 2975 and 294xB series. Nice units indeed, but damn... I looked into the 2975 and 2944B/2945B, but they are way up there. A 2944 equipped similarly to an R2670B is just over $20k, and the 2975 is close to $25k. The 3920 is a dream come true - i made the mistake of reading over the manual for it, but @ $30k it is out of my budget. The 2670B is running just shy of $16k. Looks like I might have to settle for another 2670 based on those numbers!


An R2670B for $16K? Is that with options or a digital ready box? You might want to look at the R8000A also. You can see the info for it at http://www.gdsatcom.com/cte.php . I don't know the pricing, availability , etc., but it looks interesting and it can be configured to do Motorola TRBO. It also appears that GD is the support provider, not CTDI.
Dave

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby grubstake » Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:01 pm

WB, great reply!......thanks so much.

I'm pretty damn sure he told me it passed all those tests on the screen in the 'diags' section of menus. So it's sounding possible that the mixer is good; which would be wonderful. An input-amp sounds easier/cheaper to repair or replace than the mixer.

ps; which test in particular is doing the input-looping and verifying the mixer? I didn't see any test-names that specifically mentioned the mixer. thanks.


2nd, that 'reset to defaults' suggestion is excellent, and I appreciate the instructions for doing it. That was my biggest worry when I was working with Mark on the phone....that there was some hidden "gotcha" setting screwing us up....that we'd never find. It will be a relief to know that all is reset back to defaults.

OK on the name/email....I must've misunderstood your posting.

Petition: that sounds like a plan....altho I'm not sure that just the two of us (Dave and I) would get a response......2 doesn't sound like much of a 'large group'...lol....

If others chime in here tho, we could probably get something going.....especially if they're all non-profit/non-commercial like my brother.....that aspect usually carries at least a little weight...

WB, thanks again.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:10 pm

grubstake wrote:ps; which test in particular is doing the input-looping and verifying the mixer? I didn't see any test-names that specifically mentioned the mixer. thanks.


The whole thing. We tune the RX to 105.0025 MHz, the TX to 105 MHz, set the RX input to TR, set the TX output to TR, set the TX level to -40dBm, set FGEN 1 to 1kHz tone, triangle wave, and then look at the RX level, AF counter, frequency error, distortion, and deviation.
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ionsignal » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:30 pm

Wowbagger,

Thanks so much for your information and advice for these SM's. As my Brother grubstake has prodded me, I have joined this forum to ask info and share my experiences learning, and maybe fixing, the 120a that I have.

When we talk about the 'self test' are we speaking about the test that happens after the initialization at power up? or the tests within the setup menus? When I power up the 120a it shows an initialization screen for a few seconds (5-10?) and then a self test screen. The machine hangs on this self test screen, for I have to escape out of it to use any other function. It doesn't tell me any self test failed, just hangs there. Is it failing a test? or should it tell me what failed if it is?

I did transmit the ht into the t/r jack and set the SA to t/r input to no avail, sadly. The power meter worked, but the SA and receiver showed no response to the ht's signal. The SA just shows a grass line.

also, I've read that some people have replaced a blown mixer on certain SA's with a Minicircuits part. Is this feasible on a 120X machine?

Thanks again for your time sharing your knowledge.
KB1ESS
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby cablemonkey » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:45 am

FYI I tried to buy the service manual for a tired 120B that we have here and learned that they are many hundreds of dollars. I can't find all the notes I made from the call but IIRC, the printed version was around $600 and the CDs weren't much cheaper.

-=+=- They took the cross town bus -=+=-
-=+=- Don’t throw trash on the street -=+=-
-=+=- These shoes were black and brown -=+=-

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:55 am

cablemonkey wrote:FYI I tried to buy the service manual for a tired 120B that we have here and learned that they are many hundreds of dollars. I can't find all the notes I made from the call but IIRC, the printed version was around $600 and the CDs weren't much cheaper.


Yeah, I'm trying to pressure folks to put those up on the web site, but that involves a turf war between Service and Marketing/Communications.

Now you guys see why I have to tread lightly on things like that - I don't want the head of Service accusing me of improperly costing him revenue (never mind the fact that it's not like we are moving hundreds of COM-120 manuals a week, but....)
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.

ke2d
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ke2d » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:34 am

Penny wise and Pound foolish, as the old saying goes.

They may get one person out of a hundred to buy a $300 manual for an outdated unit, but at the same time their policy has steered away 99 potential customers from buying their next $20k box, and buying the competitors, where manuals are cheaper, or better yet, available online.

Then again, I think I recall seeing the newer model manuals online, so that pretty much contradicts any reason to not make the older manuals available.

Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:41 am

ke2d wrote:Penny wise and Pound foolish, as the old saying goes.

They may get one person out of a hundred to buy a $300 manual for an outdated unit, but at the same time their policy has steered away 99 potential customers from buying their next $20k box, and buying the competitors, where manuals are cheaper, or better yet, available online.

Then again, I think I recall seeing the newer model manuals online, so that pretty much contradicts any reason to not make the older manuals available.

Just my 2 cents.


Unfortunately, unless The Powers That Be see those 99 potential customers walk away - unless those 99 customers contact us and say "I was looking at your products, but because of your poor support for older products I won't go with you" - then all TPTB see is "We are making some money selling manuals, and you want us to give that up."

This applies to ALL companies, not just Aeroflex - if you don't like something WRITE TO THE COMPANY. Bitching in an online forum is to writing a letter what masturbation is to sex - easier, somewhat satisfying, but ultimately pointless.
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.

grubstake
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby grubstake » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:17 pm

WB, what are your thoughts on what Ionsignal's reported about the 120A hanging on power-up?

Is that indicating a failing self-test?....or some other problem?

Also, in regards to mixer-damage specifically...is that tested for in the diagnostics that are in the 'setup' menus?

thanks!

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IFR 500A mike

Postby Andy Corbin » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:51 pm

Hi,
Nice looking forum going here. I have an IFR 500A that is in good condition, use it mostly for remote locations so I don't have to lug an 'arm stretcher" along.
Anyhow, I have been looking for an IFR microphone for it. I am not in desperate need, but would like to locate one at a reasonable price if possible.
Option #2, it appears the mike jack is a standard DIN configuration with a locking ring. I have inserted a non-locking DIN and feel it would work just fine.
Can someone here help me with the pin-outs on the mike jack and what sort of impedence mike element would work best? Thanks.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:00 am

grubstake wrote:WB, what are your thoughts on what Ionsignal's reported about the 120A hanging on power-up?

Is that indicating a failing self-test?....or some other problem?

Also, in regards to mixer-damage specifically...is that tested for in the diagnostics that are in the 'setup' menus?

thanks!


Given that the self test is not completing, there is a problem. My first suggestion is wait for the self test to complete. It may take a long time if the unit has a problem, but that's why it is there in the first place - to identify any problems.

As I said earlier, the self test tests the entire signal processing chain - receive and transmit, all the way through, so it does test the entire receiver front end. The only thing it doesn't fully test is the power termination system (power measurement), as the unit cannot generate enough power to really drive the power term.

Let the self test complete - even it it takes ten minutes - and then tell me what is happening.
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.

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Re: IFR 500A mike

Postby Wowbagger » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:04 am

Andy Corbin wrote:Hi,
Nice looking forum going here. I have an IFR 500A that is in good condition, use it mostly for remote locations so I don't have to lug an 'arm stretcher" along.
Anyhow, I have been looking for an IFR microphone for it. I am not in desperate need, but would like to locate one at a reasonable price if possible.
Option #2, it appears the mike jack is a standard DIN configuration with a locking ring. I have inserted a non-locking DIN and feel it would work just fine.
Can someone here help me with the pin-outs on the mike jack and what sort of impedence mike element would work best? Thanks.


IIRC the 500 has the same pinout as the 1200 and 120 (which is different than the pinout on the 1600).

The COM-120 pin out is:
1 - PTT out (logic level under control of CPU, used for automated radio test)
2 - Mike audio in
3 - Demod audio out
4 - not connect
5 +15VDC (current limited to 1mA)
6 - not connect
7 - PTT in
8 - ground

Again, I don't recall for 100% sure if the 500 has the same pin out, but I think so (although the PTT out won't be there for sure).

It should be a standard electret mic input level.
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Andy Corbin » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:24 am

[IRC the 500 has the same pinout as the 1200 and 120 (which is different than the pinout on the 1600).

The COM-120 pin out is:
1 - PTT out (logic level under control of CPU, used for automated radio test)
2 - Mike audio in
3 - Demod audio out
4 - not connect
5 +15VDC (current limited to 1mA)
6 - not connect
7 - PTT in
8 - ground

Again, I don't recall for 100% sure if the 500 has the same pin out, but I think so (although the PTT out won't be there for sure).

It should be a standard electret mic input level.]

Thanks for the reply but I doubt the COM120 mike will be compatible. The IFR500A has a 5 pin mike connector.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ionsignal » Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:19 pm

Wowbagger,

More info on the 120a selftest.

I have let the self test at startup run for an hour with no change of the screen. All of the keys were non functional at that point except the power key. I did notice that at the beginning of the selftest the lights for the receiver jack and the t/r jack turned cycled as though they were being tested, but then no other indication of further testing. Running a power cycle so it started the selftest again I found that I could escape out of it and use the machine as a power meter, and possibly other functions but not as a receiver or SA.

I then held down the 1 and 6 soft keys on the display bezel during a power up and got a key board error on the screen. Don't know if that reset to defaults or not. Also I didn't find a menu in the setup menus for a 'reset to factory defaults'.

If the machine is not completing the self test is there a possibility that it is not enabling the SA to receive from the antenna or t/r port?

I noticed that one of the soft keys at the bottom of the screen bezel is not functioning as the others (key number 2). It does not 'click' when depressed. However, it does operate electrically-- but with a very sensitive 'hair trigger'.

Thanks again WB, your time is appreciated very much.
KB1ESS
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:12 am

ionsignal wrote:Wowbagger,

More info on the 120a selftest.

I have let the self test at startup run for an hour with no change of the screen.

Then things are well and truly busted. Try this:
1) Start up
2) Abort the power on self test
3) go to the duplex screen
4) Go to the analyzer screen (this is to make sure everything should be put into a running state).
5) Go to the system screen, and there should be a "Synthesizer status" screen. Bring that up, and see if everybody is showing locked.

Also, try feeding the unit an external 10MHz ref to see if the reference oscillator is hosed.

If it really were the input to the receiver that were blown, you would complete self test with all tests failed.

You aren't completing at all, so I'd think you are failing to get a synth lock on one or more sections, which should show up in the synth status page.

ionsignal wrote:I then held down the 1 and 6 soft keys on the display bezel during a power up and got a key board error on the screen. Don't know if that reset to defaults or not. Also I didn't find a menu in the setup menus for a 'reset to factory defaults'.



Don't "HOLD" - that will cause a stuck key failure.

"Press" - right after the first beep.

And it may have been that menu selection got added in the "B" - but the keys were in the "A".

ionsignal wrote:If the machine is not completing the self test is there a possibility that it is not enabling the SA to receive from the antenna or t/r port?

No. If you've brought up the screens it has activated (or tried to activate) the hardware.

ionsignal wrote:I noticed that one of the soft keys at the bottom of the screen bezel is not functioning as the others (key number 2). It does not 'click' when depressed. However, it does operate electrically-- but with a very sensitive 'hair trigger'.


Those keys use a metal dome style key, much like the old Atari 2600 joysticks of years past. If the plastic laminate that holds the dome down comes loose it will cause that sort of behavior. You could try dis-assembling the front panel and trying to glue the dome down again.

(edit: after the first beep, not the second set of 2 beeps as I had originally written.

FWIW: The beeps are:
First single beep - Keyboard controller booted.
Second double beep - main CPU boot complete, beginning program load.

)
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ionsignal » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:54 pm

Wowbagger,

-Thanks again-

Wowbagger wrote:Then things are well and truly busted. Try this:
1) Start up
2) Abort the power on self test
3) go to the duplex screen
4) Go to the analyzer screen (this is to make sure everything should be put into a running state).
5) Go to the system screen, and there should be a "Synthesizer status" screen. Bring that up, and see if everybody is showing locked.


I started machine and followed your instructions. When I selected the duplex screen the machine gave a synthesizer status screen directly and told me that the First L.O. --unlocked; All others listed as locked.

I selected the Analyzer screeen and got the same synth status page showing 1st LO unlocked. Then I went to the setup/Diagnostics/Synth lock test, got the same screen as I got from the duplex and analyzer screens.

Is there a common failure that would keep the 1st LO from locking? --Or am I well and truly HOSED?-- I know grubstake is just itching for me to open the case and dig into it, and send him some pictures! And I will surely post any info and pictures here that other readers may find helpful. But I want to have some more info to build my self confidence before opening her up.

I'll look into fixing the soft key if we get the machine operational.

Thank you again for your help!
KB1ESS
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ke2d » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:35 pm

If possible, try injecting another 10MHz signal into the ext ref BNC jack on the rear panel. A few years ago I had a similar problem, and was able to get the 120 to start by injecting a 0dbm 10MHz signal from my R2670A. I then removed the ref unit and inside I found a shorted cap, which blew a choke, on the 12v input stage of the unit. I replaced the cap and choke, and was back in business.

Wowbagger, any possibility of finding out any info on the power supply module? Is it a Vicor unit as others have suggested? I'd like to try and get my 120B working off of AC once again.

Thanks
Eric

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ionsignal » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:15 pm

Eric,

Thanks for the suggestion. I do have a signal source that I can try that with. So I would inject that 10mhz signal THEN power the 120?

Wowbagger or Eric,

I can get the rf generator in the 120a to output a 145 mhz signal. I put a rubber duck on the output port and picked that signal up with an HT. Could also modulate that signal as well. What role does that 10mhz ref signal play in the generator function? And what role does that ref signal play in the L.O.?


Is there a confirmation of resetting to defaults when I press the 1 and 6 soft keys after the single start up beep? I see or hear no such confirmation of that happening.

Thanks again, everyone.
KB1ESS
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:56 am

ionsignal wrote:I started machine and followed your instructions. When I selected the duplex screen the machine gave a synthesizer status screen directly and told me that the First L.O. --unlocked; All others listed as locked.



OK, there's the root fault that is preventing everything else from running. I'm curious why you hadn't mentioned the unlock warning before now.
ionsignal wrote:Is there a common failure that would keep the 1st LO from locking? --Or am I well and truly HOSED?-- I know grubstake is just itching for me to open the case and dig into it, and send him some pictures! And I will surely post any info and pictures here that other readers may find helpful. But I want to have some more info to build my self confidence before opening her up.

I've a similar problem to this as well - bad enough that I tossed it over to Service to look at. The service tech found that the serial I/O line that controlled the synthesizer board was faulty - thus the LO PLL was not being programmed.

The simplest thing to do is pull the synth tray (second from the back) and/or the CPU tray (second from front) and eyeball them for leaky caps, then see if things work after you put it back together (on the off chance there is oxidization on the connecters - unlikely but possible).

Failing that, it starts to get difficult: you'd need the extender trays and schematics to troubleshoot the control lines.
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ionsignal » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:41 am

Wowbagger,

Slight delay in response due to my return to school for spring semester--major sked realignment! Thanks again for your interest and info. I hadn't mentioned the unlocked LO because I didn't realize it was going to be the main issue.

The signal generator works. I made the machine generate a modulated 145mhz signal into a rubber duck and received it fine on an HT. Does the generator depend on the LO? That is, could the LO be working but not 'locked'? Just in the need of calibration?

Thanks again.
KB1ESS
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:34 pm

ionsignal wrote:Wowbagger,

Slight delay in response due to my return to school for spring semester--major sked realignment! Thanks again for your interest and info. I hadn't mentioned the unlocked LO because I didn't realize it was going to be the main issue.

The signal generator works. I made the machine generate a modulated 145mhz signal into a rubber duck and received it fine on an HT. Does the generator depend on the LO? That is, could the LO be working but not 'locked'? Just in the need of calibration?

Thanks again.


No, the generator has its own first LO. The RX 1st LO being unlocked is going to kill the receiver and the analyzer.

If the LO isn't locked, it isn't working - that's the whole point. Just to clarify: the COM120 is a standard super-heterodyne receiver, in which the incoming signal is mixed with a signal of a slightly different frequency in order to move the received signal to a known frequency, the intermediate frequency. The source of that "slightly different frequency" is the local oscillator or LO. Usually in a super-heterodyne receiver, all the LOs after the first are fixed-frequency, and it is the first LO that does all the tuning. Ultimately, the 1st LO in the COM-120 is a phased locked loop, and if it is not locked, it is not tuning where you think it is.

Yes, it is possible that all that is needed is an adjustment of the 1st LO to bring it back into tune. It can also be as I described, where a fault in the digital control lines to the LO is preventing the CPU from programming it.

The problem is that in either case you need the extender boards to be able to bring the tray out of the instrument for testing, or you need an actual test fixture to plug the board into. Absent that it is not going to be possible to make the determination what is wrong or fix it.
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.

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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby ionsignal » Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:08 pm

Wowbagger,

Thanks again for the explanation.

Does calibration need extender cards as well?

Would the cards plug into a std slot like an ISA slot? or custom to IFR?

It looks like I should take the case off and pull the cards for a look like you suggested.
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Re: Aeroflex (IFR) Questions

Postby Wowbagger » Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:24 pm

ionsignal wrote:Does calibration need extender cards as well?

No, calibration is mostly covers on, with only a couple of things like the 10MHz reference being adjusted directly. Most of the calibration is done by the microprocessor.
ionsignal wrote:Would the cards plug into a std slot like an ISA slot?

You wish ;)
ionsignal wrote: or custom to IFR?

Yes, the interfaces are custom. Moreover, the extender is different for each tray.
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.


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