Re: Diagnostic software for uBitx #ubitx

K9HZ <bill@...>

I will never again build a kit that doesn’t have the diagnostic tools built in.  I’ve seen the light.  Take the uBITx for example.  The Arduino needs to be working in order for the radio to work.  If the Arduino works, it could have been designed to have a number of useful tools built onto the board next to it for pennies.  Move some fractional cent jumpers to a different position than “normal operation” and it’s a volt meter that could be ranged by a jumper in the right range place (resistors on the board).  Move another jumper and it’s a variable frequency source, Move another jumper and it’s a frequency counter.  Move another jumper and it’s a LC meter.  Maybe even a low frequency scope (crude of course).  This is really simple and basic stuff for very cheap… gets a guy that could otherwise not afford all this test equipment some reasonably good diagnostic equipment for virtually pennies.  When I send out my next kit, I’ll even include an extra set of extra-long DuPont M-F jumpers to use as sample probes.


And if you don’t want to use the diagnostic stuff… don’t ever go into diagnostic mode or move the jumpers from normal position… and you spent just a few extra wasted pennies.



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email:  bill@...



From: [] On Behalf Of Jack Purdum via Groups.Io
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2018 12:51 PM
Subject: Re: [BITX20] Diagnostic software for uBitx #ubitx


My guess is that anyone who consistently reads this Forum and has seriously thought about how to put diagnostics into the µBITX, and assuming a minimum wage opportunity cost, has already invested several thousand dollars in their $110 rig. True, a lightning strike probably doesn't need any diagnostic tools. (Honest! My µBITX was right where that charred spot is on the desk!) For me, adding diagnostics to the rig is not about "using them". Indeed, I hope I never have to use them. Rather, it's about the enjoyment I get out of writing code to solve a problem.


When I saw Hans' QCX transceiver I just said to myself: "This is just stupidly cool!". Every kit that has a microcontroller should do something like that. So here I am dinking around with my µBITX, hanging a Teensy 3.6 on it with a megamunch of memory and a clock that's so fast I have to waste CPU cycles so the SPI interface can keep up, yet I never even thought about adding any diagnostics to it until I saw his QCX. I still haven't added that code, mainly because it needs to be thought out more completely than I have done and adding it at the end makes sense.


The weak spot in all this is the assumption that the µC is functional whenever a problem crops up. However, think about how many issues trace back to the PS, and if that's down, the diagnostics are moribund. Perhaps an external device with the diagnostics is warranted, but then if you're doing a SOTA activation and something goes south, do we really schlep our test gear along with us? Probably not. The choice is the old rock-hard place tradeoff and a true dilemma: Two choices, both bad.


I don't know where this is going, but I plan to tag along just for the enjoyment I'll get out of it.

Jack, W8TEE




On Saturday, April 28, 2018, 1:26:25 PM EDT, Lawrence Macionski via Groups.Io <am_fm_radio@...> wrote:



40 years as a senior field engineer on big main frames and such.. Self diagnostic hardware and software is wonderful provided the machine is actually working when you run the diagnostics. most engineers who rely on diagnostics puke when they can't run them for various reasons.

I have a few thousand airline miles "fixing" for instance a VAX 11/785 mainframe down for 3 days.. Can't boot, can't run diagnostics. The 11/ 785 CPU was 29 24x24 inch boards, all were changed. Even changed the microvax computer -boot loader. (a 8-12 board mini-computer w/ 8"floppy that loaded the mainframe microcode). My Solution/findings: Every 8" floppy on site was bad, the ones I brought worked just fine. Perhaps a disgruntled employee demagnetized all floppies but the one that was loaded in the loader. then it eventually went bad..(The perfect crime)

Drove all night- Detroit to Indianapolis once for a 1amp 5 volt fuse..System down 3-4 days. (SUN Microsystems 3/xxx series computers, had the 5 volt line to the optical mouse fused.) in order to log in you had to move the mouse to the login window even to log in as root. The local engineer even changed the MOBO- and the new MOBO had no fuse in the fuse holder.. National Tech support told him to keep checking the configuration berg jumpers never even knew there was a fuse on the board.. The old MOBO had a blown fuse.. BTW- Sun Microsystems never had a part number for that fuse or even mentioned it in engineering documentation.. a 3rd MOBO arrived by air courier  as I was leaving. It did have a new good fuse

If you've read this far. I have to ask this question:
uBITX are not $3000 radio's.. DXpeditions don't depend on 1 radio but pack extra's. For the $120-180 we have invested in a working rig, Isn't it realistic to invest in a second?  I have multiple rigs as perhaps I'm blessed. but there are times (close lightening strike) that can render a uBITX or anyother rig perhaps unfixable.  Still they are fun aren't they?


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