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Using an RCH3000 with a standard (non-consolette) Astro Spectra/Spectra Plus

Discussion about Centracom (Button & LED / CRT / Gold / Elite), MC Series (MC5500/7100/7500), and legacy console equipment.

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W3AXL
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Using an RCH3000 with a standard (non-consolette) Astro Spectra/Spectra Plus

Postby W3AXL » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:36 pm

Hi all.

Did a little experimenting today and figured I'd share the results with all of you. I had an Astro Spectra Plus R-split sitting around, flashed for a W9 head, and also happened to have a spare RCH3000 kicking around. I figured since nobody seems to have done it yet, I'd try and make the two talk to each other. Normally you'd want to use a consolette model Astro Spectra, as the manual states, but all the same signals exist on the front J5/6 connectors on the mid-power remote faceplate. I did a bit of searching in the DSM, and came up with the following pin mapping.

Remember that the RJ45 on the RCH3000 is numbered in reverse. (looking with the tab on the bottom, pin 1 is on the right)

Code: Select all

RCH RJ45 Pin    Spectra J5/6 Pin
--------------------------------
1   BUSY        23    BUSY
2   BUS-        14    BUS-
3   RX AUD HI    6    FLT-AUDIO
4   MIC HI      12    MIC-HI
5   MIC LO      11    MIC-LO
6   AUD GND     10    ANA-GND
7   BUS+         5    BUS+
8   DIG GND     18    DIG-GND


Pin namings are taken from the Spectra Control Head Service manual and the RCH3000 installation manual.

Hopefully this is useful to anyone else who enjoys using the RCH3000s. This pin mapping should work for the regular Astro Spectra as well as the Spectra Plus (which is what I'm using it with) and as long as your spectra is flashed as a W9 the button mappings will be 1:1.

Cheers everyone!

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motorola_otaku
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Re: Using an RCH3000 with a standard (non-consolette) Astro Spectra/Spectra Plus

Postby motorola_otaku » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:18 pm

Well done!

Have you tried running the RCH as a second head with a regular W9 attached?
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W3AXL
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Re: Using an RCH3000 with a standard (non-consolette) Astro Spectra/Spectra Plus

Postby W3AXL » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:17 pm

Unfortunately I don't have a W9 lying around to test. I actually don't have any of the cables for remote mounting spectras; all of mine are dash mount.

That being said, I would think it would work. The J5/J6 connectors are essentially connected to each other, with a few jumpers in the way. Currently I'm using the second (non-control labelled) connector to power the radio up with a jumper between 20 and 22, but a control head connected should do the same thing.

On my MCS2000 with the RCH connected, the M3 control head still works just fine. Essentially what the RCH3000 does is send the same button and ptt commands via SB9600 that a standard control head would. Audio is handelled in a similar fashion.

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4n6inv
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Re: Using an RCH3000 with a standard (non-consolette) Astro Spectra/Spectra Plus

Postby 4n6inv » Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:31 am

OK. Dumb question: How are you powering up the radio? Through the 15 pin on the rear of the radio? Or, does the radio detect the RCH3000 as an "On" W9?

Incidentally; I built a rapid deployment case with an 800 AS using the AIB from the consolette inside the case with a straight through cable from the J2 to an RCH3000, and a DB25 splitter between the radio J5 and a W9 control head. Worked great. Posted some photos on another site several years ago.

Next challenge: Could an MC3000 or CommandSTAR Lite be coaxed into doing the same?

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W3AXL
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Re: Using an RCH3000 with a standard (non-consolette) Astro Spectra/Spectra Plus

Postby W3AXL » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:00 am

To the first question about power, I added a jumper between 20 and 22 on the second front connector to power the radio on. I turn on and off all my radios with a master power switch.

In theory the MC3000 should work the same way, provided the signals sent to it are the same. I don't have one to test but it should work in a similar way.

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4n6inv
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Re: Using an RCH3000 with a standard (non-consolette) Astro Spectra/Spectra Plus

Postby 4n6inv » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:17 pm

Sadly; I tested the MC3000 and CommandSTAR Lite last night without success. Looked good on paper, but didn't fly.

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W3AXL
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Re: Using an RCH3000 with a standard (non-consolette) Astro Spectra/Spectra Plus

Postby W3AXL » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:36 pm

The pinout is going to be significantly different. I mean to imply that in my previous post but I didn't do a good job of it.

I pulled this chart out of the MC3000 installation manual. If you send the correct signals to the correct pins it should work. Use my guide above for what pins to use on the radio-side and match them up to what's below. The pin numbering for the MCS2000 should be correct in this table, but I believe the consollette numbering is slightly different than the standard J5/6 connector on the remote mount spectras.

Image

Also make sure the MC3000 is set to the correct mode for whatever radio you're using (MCS, Astro, iDEN).

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4n6inv
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Re: Using an RCH3000 with a standard (non-consolette) Astro Spectra/Spectra Plus

Postby 4n6inv » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:42 pm

Did all of that. I've done direct wires to consolettes with both flavors with success. Yes, the wiring is different, and you better watch it closely or you'll be very unhappy. I tried the Busy signal both ways with no success. Gaitronics vs. AML are quite different, with the latter being the most finicky.


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