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Motorola Spectra Programming Help

This forum is for discussions regarding all aspects of Motorola radio programming, including hardware, computers, installation and use of RSS/CPS, firmware upgrades, and troubleshooting. There are subforums for discussions of codeplugs, and also for software/firmware release notes and issues.

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Motorola Spectra Programming Help

Postby maceffects » Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:30 pm

I have a stack of Motorola Spectra VHF Radios that I am going to program, NO I DO NOT WANT Software, I already have that (the newest version), as well as the RIB Box, Cords, Power Supply, etc... However here is my problem.

I get Serial Bus Error: Power Fault error in RSS, when I do anything to communicate with the radios (all don't work, not just one), and the RIB box lights up, and the radio reads "PROGRAM" but I just asked me to retry and I get the same Serial Bus Error.

Now I am using a Toughbook CF-27 with XP but I'm running it in DOS, I think maybe the computer is too fast? IIRC its around 600-800mhz

Really need help here I got a lot invested into this as you can tell.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Motorola Spectra Programming Help

Postby txshooter » Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:49 pm

There are a variety of problems that can cuase this. The radio and the computer are not communicating. The first thing I would try is a slower computer running native MS DOS. You can not program these radios using a DOS window. You may want to go to and read the programming primer and this may help you work through some of the possible issues on your own.

FYI for those radios, I personally use a Dell 486 Laptop running nothing but DOS.
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Re: Motorola Spectra Programming Help

Postby maceffects » Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:10 pm

I just bought a old IBM 486 Thinkpad, running Windows 3.11 and DOS. And I assume that I can run only DOS, I haven't used 3.11 in YEARS... I susspected my Toughbook that is around 800mhz was to fast. And XP is a no no. So I suppose I will try the IBM, if not err I have no idea. The radio goes into "PROGRAM" so thats a good sign.

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Re: Motorola Spectra Programming Help

Postby Tom in D.C. » Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:41 pm

IIRC, W3.11 does not "take over" your computer as a full operating
system but rather runs as an executable program which happens to
be one with a GUI. Therefore your DOS as you see it on the machine
should work with the RSS with no problems.

If for any reason you need to find DOS 6.22 in its pure form it's available
online for free.

Please let us know how this all turns out.

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In 1920, the U.S. Post Office Department ruled
that children may not be sent by parcel post.

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Re: Motorola Spectra Programming Help

Postby kcbooboo » Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:16 am

I have used my 850 MHz Dell P3 laptop to program my Spectras. The software is well-behaved at that speed. I use a DOS floppy disk to boot the computer into pure DOS, then run the programs that I've got stored on the hard drive, formatted as FAT32, NOT NTFS. Works great, so I doubt your machine is too fast. Many of the last versions of NLA software are CPU-speed independent.

There may be some port settings in the BIOS SETUP screen on your laptop that are preventing all of the handshaking signals from working the way Motorola's software wants them to. Sometimes laptops have internal modems or infrared ports, and these can interfere with normal serial port operation. IBM Thinkpads are notorious for this, and you often need a special configuration CD to access the settings.

I'd try another computer, maybe an old (pre-2000) desktop unit if you can lay your hands on one.

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Re: Motorola Spectra Programming Help

Postby maceffects » Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:02 pm

The IBM I have doesn't even have a CD Rom its 1991 I think, and I ordred it online it will be coming soon, and I figure I can toy with it to work it doesn;t have IRdA IIRC

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Re: Motorola Spectra Programming Help

Postby jmr061 » Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:07 am

IF you are running true DOS on your toughbook you should have no problems programming those radios. If you are using DOS through XP then forget about it working.

I would set up dual boot on the machine using a partitioning program and make a section XP and the other DOS.

I'd recommend using a usb thumb drive as a boot device and set up DOS on it but I think the CF 27 is too old to support this.

I have a CF18 running at 1.2 ghz that programs the spectra just fine in true DOS.


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