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Thread: Astro Spectra + programming issues

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    Default Astro Spectra + programming issues

    After upgrading a W3 Astro Spectra to a Plus, I verified my command board had JU518-521 all installed (per W3AXL wiki) and made a programming cable. I used the “high power” DB25 since I was told I can program via the second front DB25 like a high power unit. Verified all my pins (used DB9 and DB25 to RJ45 adapters) and even tried a different CAT5 cable between them. Zero. Nada.

    Am I able to program via the front DB25 or am I just going to need to admit defeat and make a programming Y-cable like I did for other Astros using the DB15?


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    These boards are picky. You have to have the correct jumpers etc. if you only have the one AS+ and another AS spectra you can just put the vocon in the other radio do your programming and transfer it back.

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    Sadly this is the only one I have at the moment... still waiting parts to build the second one.

    I just took my DB9-RJ45 and a piece of CAT5 and pinned it straight into the DB15 ignition sense/speaker and tried again... no luck.

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    I tried the second VOCON I had just to make sure it wasn't an issue with the board... so I bit the bullet and bought the HKN6155 cable. It was $96 via MOL so I will at least have yet another cable for the collection...

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    I have a wall full of cables. Im happy I tagged them all. The AS cable is pricy but for all the trouble it avoids its worth the $$ in the long run.

    I have programmed tons of AS+. In all cases they program fine through the heads. If you dont have a real serial port on your computer then watch out for potential connection problems. If its a 4meg vocon then remeber the firmware is to v9.00. something. I have ran with v20.50.09 on all the AS+ using W4 and some W7 heads. The firmware updates fine with the OEM and serial port set up.

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    I've never had an issue with the rear DB15 and RS232, interesting. That being said, I've only had about six or so; not a very large sample size.

    Something else I've been meaning to do for a while is post the schematics for a homemade HKN6155 cable. It's doable with a small TTL converter and a couple passives. I've got to dig the info out from wherever I put it though.

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    For TTL levels I usually just loop the signal through a pair of inverters that gives a nice clean TTL signal without the complications of gate 'math' and time delays. The can all be done on a 7404 chip in whatever case style is desired. powering it can be from a 7805 again in whatever case style is desired.

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    I think the original circuit used some sort of old nokia cable, it was whatever the guy who came up with it had lying around.

    The more important part is the specific lines on the front mic jack that are tied to +12v, +8v, and GND. These are what allow the cable to do all the fancy flash upgrades that the RS232 cable can't do.

    The wiki page has been updated

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    I was shocked as well. I swore the DB25 method would work since the interconnects for mid and high power AS models allowed the same programming ability from the front. So when I pinned the DB15 and had no luck I was quite displeased... and now I have to replace the DB15 connector for my efforts (not a big deal since I had spares sitting around and a D-Sub crimper).

    The cable will be worth it in the end. With an influx of XTL5000s and possibly even AS+'s hitting the surplus market with them being discontinued and off life support something tells me I will be seeing more use for the cable in the future.

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    The other option I have seen is to take a old AS head and just hardwire the connections to it.

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    the AS+ cable also works on the W series XTL heads if you have those installed.

    It's a lot easier to program those from the head rather than trying to get access to trunk mount radios.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jry View Post
    the AS+ cable also works on the W series XTL heads if you have those installed.

    It's a lot easier to program those from the head rather than trying to get access to trunk mount radios.
    I just use a long USB extension, and sit in the drivers seat while doing the programming - makes it pretty easy.