6809 SmartNet controller information

Moderator: Queue Moderator

Post Reply
KJ7BZC
New User
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:51 pm
What radios do you own?: An APX6000 and too many others

6809 SmartNet controller information

Post by KJ7BZC »

Hello all.

I know what I am about to explain seems completely insane, and like a waste of time and effort. I get it, this isn't going to be an easy project but I am willing to take on such a challenge, and am simply looking for a bit of help, telling me its impossible doesn't help.

I am looking to get an old 6809 based trunking site controller and restore it back to operation. This is not going to be used as a full system for actual use, but really for educational purposes and fun. I want to learn how these old systems worked, try and decode/document their control channel protocol, and eventually make a good demonstration on how it all functions. I want to preserve the details of these and how they operated before its all lost to time. I know pretty much all that I'll need but am looking for input on a few things.

First off, manuals. Does anyone here have, know where I could get, or at least have a list of the manuals for this controller? I just bought the installation manual for it (68P81039E20-A) which should be here tomorrow, but really am looking for manuals that are going to describe all the operations of the terminal interface, the pinouts to the connectors on the back, a list of cards and how everything interfaces with a zone controller. There is almost no information on these apart from what's previously been posted on this board, and what bits and pieces I can find from other places.

Second, information on the U48 EPROM and its data format, or even better, an address map for it. I know that most the controller settings are done through the terminal, but the channel information, station ID, connect tone, and probably a few other things are set in that EPROM. It would be great if there's someone who has the ability to program one of those chips, or can confirm information about the "field programmer" I have seen mentioned before. But if all else fails, I am completely prepared to attempt to decode the format of it on my own, and figure out what values change what parameters. I know there's others who have done it before, and have mentioned that there's several (yikes) checksums in that chip. It would be great if anyone here who has dealt with it previously could provide any information on it, or BIN files read from other systems. I'm mainly looking for the addresses that determine the frequencies, and the station ID, and obviously any checksums that need to be updated.

And finally, here's just a list of other things that I'm still not really certain about, that someone here can probably answer:

-Is control channel rotation programmed in the EPROM, or done through the terminal?
-If any, what is the default login to the terminal interface?
-I see it has several serial ports, do these all run as terminal channels, or do they have other functions?
-Is it possible to whitelist radio IDs that can affiliate and be granted a channel?
-Can the system run with a single control channel and a single voice channel, or is there a minimum number of voice channels?
-What's the general architecture of a SmartZone system with these controllers, and any models of a zone controller?
-Is a telephone interconnect simply another card (if so, what model), or is it more complicated?
-Is there any other super important details that I am clearly missing?

I would really appreciate any help on this, this forum is really my only hope for getting any form of explanation of these, considering how old they are now.

Thanks in advance,
Keith
User avatar
d119
Posts: 3533
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2002 4:00 pm

Re: 6809 SmartNet controller information

Post by d119 »

So for a telephone interconnect, you need a "Central Interconnect Terminal" or CIT. The CIT contains boards such as the PLIB, PLIC, etc. It also has a shelf of audio transformers that convert the telephone lines into four wire audio for transmission over the rest of the system. It's its own card cage, usually below the 6809 controller.

You might have more success preserving a StartSite controller. StartSite had a little CIT of its own that sat on top of it.

6809 is going to be a real adventure. Be ready to change a ton of capacitors, board-mount batteries, etc.

If I recall, 6809 needs more than one voice channel available to trunk, otherwise it puts the system into failsoft.

For SmartZone, starting from the master site all the way to the actual repeaters, it works like this:

The Master Site has a Zone Controller. That Zone Controller connects to all of the Prime Site controllers. Each "cell" in a SmartZone system has a Prime Site controller. The Prime Site controller then connects to the rest of its cell's actual RF site controllers called Remote Site Controllers, or ReSCs. Those ReSC sites have the actual base radios connected to them. In a simulcast, each site in that cell's particular simulcast has a ReSC, and all of those ReSCs are connected back to the simulcast cell's Prime Site Controller (PSC), which then talks to the Zone Controller.

In SmartZone 4.1 which I spent most of my time working on, all of those controllers were built from Motorola CPX2000 series industrial computers, using plug in CPU boards, namely the CPCI-6020. You have to have certain cards with certain firmware on them in order to make it work.

You'd probably be better off focusing on something like StartSite or an MTC-3600. 6809 is just long in the tooth. Without the ability to reprogram the codeplug EPROMs (or reprogram the codeplug file) for ANY trunking controllers, you're fighting a losing battle.

I've used the software that generates the codeplugs. ONCE. It was a Motorola owned system that ran on a laptop computer. It was during rebanding back in 2013-2014.

I really don't miss any of that stuff. Especially the newer Astro25 7.x systems where everything is commercial off the shelf hardware running poorly written software.

If you really want to screw around with this stuff, just bite the bullet, spend the money and buy this thing: https://www.ebay.com/itm/254178645682

At least you'll be getting something "assembled" that includes the newer StartSite CIT. You'll have the repeaters, the controller, all of that and at least know what System ID, frequencies, connect tones, etc. it's on.
KJ7BZC
New User
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:51 pm
What radios do you own?: An APX6000 and too many others

Re: 6809 SmartNet controller information

Post by KJ7BZC »

Thanks d119 for the reply!

I actually ended up having my offer on a similar listing accepted, so I have a 6809 “Smartworks” system, which seems to be a smaller than a typical 6809, but still the same layout and architecture. After greatly studying the schematics in that manual I got, and slowly figuring out the terminal interface, I have it up and running.

It is actually in really good condition, and by some stroke of luck I haven’t had to recap it yet. I ended up just removing the RAM batteries as they didn’t have any voltage on them at all. I have it connected to a CDM1250 for low power transmit, and GM300 for receive through a custom interface. I have been running it on the ham bands for now by manipulating OBT parameters in my radios, with the help of a PIC12F675 to CW id for me. I’m able to get portables affiliated to it, send pages, and emergency signals just fine. I’m just awaiting the arrival of another VHF antenna so I can get a voice channel going. The controller goes into trunking if there are at least two functional channels, one for control, one for voice. I have the voice channel just simulated for now.

In terms of cards, I have all the standard ones, plus the ACB and TCI for connecting to a Centracom, MATRIX card, and the MCB. It has slots for a PLIB and TRIB card as well, which to my knowledge is what’s needed to get telephone interconnect working on it apart from the CIT to convert the four wire to standard loop start lines. If it’s E&M out of the controller then I may just end up making a custom interface for that too…

I’ve looked around in the U48 EPROM a bit and I haven’t figured out much yet, the encoding is rather difficult to reverse engineer, mainly because a lot of the data in all the EPROMs are copied to several of them for some reason. If I could get a logic analyzer connected to that EPROM somehow while the card is still in the chassis I may be able to get a bit further with it.

Thanks for the information on the Smartzone side of things, that’s a lot I didn’t know about yet. Do you know if there existed a zone controller before they used the CPX2000 chassis? And in terms of the MTC3600, it seems like everyone is saying it’s going to be easier, but I’m still not seeing any way to program them, unless everything is done through a similar terminal interface. I feel like the 6809 is less proprietary, and at least all the important stuff is in a single EPROM instead of a codeplug file that i’m still not sure if I would be able to extract from an existing MTC3600.

Keith
User avatar
d119
Posts: 3533
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2002 4:00 pm

Re: 6809 SmartNet controller information

Post by d119 »

Sent you an e-mail to your QRZ email address. I'm having massive reliability issues with Batboard right now.

I did find this:

SmartWorks Systems
SmartWorks is a single-site trunking system that can support up to seven channels.
SmartWorks has the following capabilities:
• Designed for small system users
 Expandable to supports from 3 to 7 channels
 700 radios or less
• Provides Single Site Coverage
• Based on SMARTNET II technology
• Can support Type I, Type II, or hybrid operation
• Has many trunking advanced features
• Less costly than full featured trunking systems
• Telephone Interconnect
• Console Interface for Control Center Dispatching
• Supports SECURENET encryption subsystems at 800 MHz

I see no mention of OBT SmartWorks systems, just 800 and 900MHz. That's not to say it couldn't be done. I'd guess the differences between SmartNET and SmartWORKS is firmware.
Post Reply

Return to “Smartnet/Smartzone/Project 25 (Phase I/II) Systems”