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Author Topic: WinKeyer dropouts  (Read 1178 times)
K1HMS
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Posts: 463




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« on: June 28, 2017, 07:46:16 PM »

The last 2 Field Days we lost QSOs due to the WinKeyer dropping out. It seemed related to the battery. We would remove and replace the battery, sometimes with the same one, and it would work for a while.

With its diode "wired or" the Keyer should use the USB power if the battery is low or removed.

Using a Beagle USB analyzer it appears the problem is the USB powers the FTDI FT232 USB to Serial chip and the default Windows setting is to remove the power from inactive USB ports. Once the USB VBUS power is returned the FT232 chip isn't re-initialized causing the Keyer to fail.

The apparent solution is to remove the battery when using the keyer with a PC, and via Windows Device Manager disable the USB auto power shut down. I used this approach with two keyers and they are both working after 24 hours.

Has anyone else exprienced this?
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2017, 10:13:54 PM »

This may be helpful, or not:

I've found that the WinKeyer is quite sensitive to "RF in the shack".  I was having similar dropouts, and cured them with a ferrite toroid on the USB cable.


A question about what you wrote:

. . . If you disable "USB auto power shut down", why should you remove the WinKeyer's battery?

Thanks --

.        CHarles
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N3QE
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 02:48:10 AM »

I've never had any problems with RF and the WinKeyer USB. I've had some problems with RF on keyboard and mouse USB wiring but none with the WinKeyer.

I've had a lot of woe with Windows power save features. Universally the recommendation is to simply disable all Windows power save features.

I don't think you have to take the Winkeyer battery out. But you do have to disable Windows power save features.
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N3HEE
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2017, 05:20:54 AM »

I've had winkeyer lock up before. Removing and replacing the same battery restarts it.  Not caused by RF though.  Caused by COM port getting stepped on by another application I was using.  I have many applications sharing COM ports via Virtual Serial Port Emulator (VSPE) software.
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Joe
N3HEE
CW Academy Advisor (Level II)
K1HMS
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Posts: 463




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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2017, 10:56:33 AM »

This may be helpful, or not:

I've found that the WinKeyer is quite sensitive to "RF in the shack".  I was having similar dropouts, and cured them with a ferrite toroid on the USB cable.


A question about what you wrote:

. . . If you disable "USB auto power shut down", why should you remove the WinKeyer's battery?

Thanks --

.        CHarles

If you are using winkeyer without a computer you need the battery.

When used with a computer; No battery = no beeping everytime it gets touched, and there are no batteries to leak when ignored for a year or two, you dont know they are dead because USB is supplying the power.

Diodes DA2 selects the higher voltage of the battery or the USB VBUS to eveything except the FT232 VCP chip which is only powered by USB.

Without a battery the entire winkeyer is reinitialized when the USB is connected. Depending on the battery's condition and the USB's voltage  dis/re-connect of the USB might only power cycle the FT232 VCP chip but not the PIC chips.

Using the Beagle USB protocol analyzer the WinKeyer does not always recover when the USB power is removed by Windows to conserve power. This happens more often with a battery. The WK apparently doesn't like it when the USB FT232 is de-powered and the rest of the circuit isn't re-initialized when USB power is restored. (I used a break out box to power the USB VBUS and to replace the battery, with a matrix of voltages for each.  The protocol fault can be repeated.)

With the battery removed and the USB power set to not sleep, two winkeyers have run for several days without a single fault even through multiple computer sleep cycles. That is a record.

Thirteen Colonies starts Saturday. I'll throw on some  ferrites for insurance.

Hamilton K1HMS
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 03:57:06 PM »

Quote
. . . The protocol fault can be repeated. . . .

Then my suggestion is definitely "just in case".  That's a very subtle problem you diagnosed.

.     Charles
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