Retrofit CAT on older QCX (serial #675) #cat


Ham Radio
 

Looking thru the latest QCX manual, I can not seem to find docs on the CAT pins.  What pins are RX and TX on?
Probably in the manual? Nothing on the schematic.  I assume these are TTL levels and a RS-232 to TTL converter will do the job.

I just flashed the firmware to 1.05.  Attached is a pic of my old QCX with a laser cut case that I made years ago.

Looking at the schematic,  I need to add 2 resistors, 1 diode,  and a header

Has any one done this upgrade?  A pic with the suggested placement of new parts on the older rev board  (and the new CAT header) would be great.

Thank you for reading my post.


--
73, Bernie, VE3FWF


jjpurdum
 

Bernie:

I'm using the CAT interface, but I'm running it with a Teensy 4.0 because I want to ultimately do a spectrum display for the QCX. I'm using pins 14 and 15 on the T4 (A0 and A1) as they are dedicated serial ports for Serial3. So far, my interface looks like:



Alas, a shelf above my work table decided to give up the ghost and landed on my QCX during a working session, so I French-fried parts of the QCX and the T4 and its display. I guess it's a good thing that it happened while I was upstairs having lunch...at least I didn't have to see my friend die on the table.

I've ordered a new QCX, but continue to work on the code "blind" in the interim.

Jack, W8TEE

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 9:17:55 AM EDT, Ham Radio <bernard.murphy@...> wrote:


Looking thru the latest QCX manual, I can not seem to find docs on the CAT pins.  What pins are RX and TX on?
Probably in the manual? Nothing on the schematic.  I assume these are TTL levels and a RS-232 to TTL converter will do the job.

I just flashed the firmware to 1.05.  Attached is a pic of my old QCX with a laser cut case that I made years ago.

Looking at the schematic,  I need to add 2 resistors, 1 diode,  and a header

Has any one done this upgrade?  A pic with the suggested placement of new parts on the older rev board  (and the new CAT header) would be great.

Thank you for reading my post.


--
73, Bernie, VE3FWF


Hans Summers
 

Hi Bernie

Looking thru the latest QCX manual, I can not seem to find docs on the CAT pins.  What pins are RX and TX on?
Probably in the manual? Nothing on the schematic.  

Apologies for the confusion, this is in the manual but NOT the current PCB Rev 5 manual. To see the details of how to connect CAT to an older QCX see the Rev 4 manual. https://www.qrp-labs.com/images/qcx/assembly_A4-Rev-4f.pdf
And search for "CAT control"... I forget what page it is on. 

I will take this manual information and put it in a section on the main QCX page so that it is easy to find... 

I assume these are TTL levels and a RS-232 to TTL converter will do the job.

Yes they are TTL levels. RS232 levels won't work.

I just flashed the firmware to 1.05.  Attached is a pic of my old QCX with a laser cut case that I made years ago.

Nice!

By the way - a reminder to everyone: all QCX firmware versions are compatible with ALL QCX PCB revisions even the earliest PCB as of the August 2017 launch. 

But in this case where you want to create a CAT serial port, if your PCB is Rev 4 or earlier, you need to add two resistors and a diode. If your PCB is Rev 5 then these components are already included on the PCB. 

73 Hans G0UPL 


 

I think it's only on V5 boards. It's on my V5 20m unit, but not on my V4 40m unit.
Look at chapter 4.28 on page 106 of the V5 manual. You'll see the 3-pin header connection on the board edge, at the north east corner of the processor on V5 boards. I'm not sure if or where it exists V4 or before, hopefully somebody else knows this.


Gregg Myers
 

Hi Bernie,

For Rev 4 (aka older boards) Brent, AB1LF, had the excellent suggestion in using a Sparkfun 'FTDI Basic' interface and to make use of four unused solder pads on the QCX to make a really nice header on the QCX for CAT Control to my PC. You can search for Brent's original post in the forum. I just followed what Brent showed in his post. In the pictures below, the TX and RX labels are from the perspective of the FTDI 'USB to Serial Converter' side. On the QCX side, the TX and RX are reversed as per the schematic. It worked out great for me. See my pictures below.

73,
Gregg w7grm





On Tue, May 12, 2020 at 8:01 AM Julian Opificius <n4jo@...> wrote:
I think it's only on V5 boards. It's on my V5 20m unit, but not on my V4 40m unit.
Look at chapter 4.28 on page 106 of the V5 manual. You'll see the 3-pin header connection on the board edge, at the north east corner of the processor on V5 boards. I'm not sure if or where it exists V4 or before, hopefully somebody else knows this.


 

Added resistors, diode, heat shrink tubing and hot glue for stability.

Aug
AG5AT


Glen Leinweber
 

Stop for a moment and consider what Hans has achieved in the QCX:
  • Multi-band versions of high-efficiency QRP radio
  • A manual setting a new quality benchmark
  • Software-assisted alignment, troubleshooting, reprogramming.
  • prompt bug revisions
  • key included with more: Keyer, CW decoding, message menu & more
  • WSPR support
  • CAT support
Hans could likely add a few that gave him considerable trouble, that I've missed.
Gives me a shiver when considering that one brain contains all the interactions
between these functions, especially where some were added as afterthoughts.

When Hans brain explodes, a large committee of software & hardware engineers
would cat-fight their way towards retro-engineering the QCX, and likely fail.
Hans - Humpty-Dumpty of QRP radios X-(

CAT was such an afterthought...herding cats into an already-crammed ATmega328
flash is a very impressive feat - who howled & squealed more:
cats? ATmega328? Hans?
Never has versatile hardware been pushed so close to the limit. The fur must
have been flying.

I hope Hans re-thinks such an attitude for QSX: basic good performance should
have priority over added features. Having empty flash & unused processor cycles
is OK. Take some time to chill, Hans - let no brains fry before their time.


----------------------------------------------
Hans, the cat-herder wrote:
By the way - a reminder to everyone: all QCX firmware versions are compatible with ALL QCX PCB revisions even the earliest PCB as of the August 2017 launch. 

But in this case where you want to create a CAT serial port, if your PCB is Rev 4 or earlier, you need to add two resistors and a diode. If your PCB is Rev 5 then these components are already included on the PCB. 


Ham Radio
 

Thank you to all that replied!  

Hans, if you could add a table of contents item for “CAT” in the manual, that would be great.

I am going have a crack at remoting  the QCX CAT commands via an ESP8266/Arduino combination using a Web Browser. My Web coding skills are not that good but will see if I can GET/POST commands to flow using coding examples from the ESPWiFI library.  Getting audio to flow over an HTTP steam is beyond my ability at the present time ...

--
73, Bernie, VE3FWF