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Author Topic: Palstar ZM30 to pc interface problems  (Read 960 times)
N1SRM
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Posts: 5




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« on: September 24, 2008, 05:45:21 PM »

I just purchased a new palstar ZM-30 antenna analyzer.
I chose this product because I could interface it with my pc to display the results on the monitor.
The unit comes with a serial connector, My pc uses usb only
the munual states that a usb to serial adaptor MAY work.
The revised manual on the palstar website now says that this will not work.
Has anyone else had this problem? and if so are there any fixes?
thanks
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K5MBV
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Posts: 265




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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2008, 06:01:58 AM »

You should be able to get your money back since the
product was misrepresented. I don't know if there
any "workarounds" or not, but unless you have nothing
better to do asking for a refund is a logical fix.
Ken  K5MBV
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12856




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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2008, 06:27:45 AM »

Before I gave up I'd try a USB-Serial adapter that uses an FTDI chipset. I've found these to be the most compatible with various computers/software. One example of these is the USBG-232MM available from usbgear at: http://www.usbgear.com
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AA4PB
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2008, 06:39:01 AM »

Also note that the new manual says USB-Serial converters are not supported FOR UPLOADING NEW FIRMWARE, which has critical timing requirements. It does not say that the USB-Serial converters are not supported for plotting data. They may well work for the plotting application. Also, "not supported" means that Palstar will not be held responsible if you have problems using one with a particular computer/OS/converter combination. I would not take this statement as an absolute that no converter will ever work.

At any rate, I had timing issues in USB-Serial converters on a firware load application at work that was corrected by using the previously mentioned USBGEAR converter.
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N1SRM
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2008, 04:52:32 PM »

thanks for the recommendations, I will look into the usb232mm.
I did call Palstar, and they said that I would need a computer with a serial connector as the adaptor cables will not work, they made no mention of using a serial card.
thanks again
73
Steven
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AA4PB
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2008, 06:20:16 PM »

I got my ZM30 yesterday and had some time to play with it tonight. My FTD USB/Serial converter works just fine to download plot data. I didn't try any firmware upgrade because my firmware is up to date.

BE SURE TO INSTALL THE DRIVER FROM THE CD SUPPLIED WITH THE CONVERTER BEFORE YOU ATTACH THE CONVERTER TO THE USB PORT FOR THE FIRST TIME. Note the COM port it is assigned to or look in Device Manager on the computer.  You will need to set that same COM port on the TeraTerm (terminal program) Palstar has you download. The info about TeraTerm and the COM port is in manual Appendix B (Loading New Software into the AM-30). After you set the serial port in TeraTerm be sure to select the "save setup" selection under setup or you it will default to COM1 when you exit the program. This is especially important when using ZM plot because it opens TeraTerm to get the data and it doesn't give you a chance to look at the settings - it will just fail if you haven't save the COM port settings.

Don't forget to go to SETUP and set the Data Options to "Send During Scan".

The manual is a bit confusing because it doesn't give you this information in Appendix E (ZM Plotter). You have to dig the serial setup information from other portions of the manual.
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N1SRM
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2008, 05:06:00 PM »

Can you tell me a little more about the FTD converter. I looked for it but couldn't find anything.
I did order a serial card from usb gear.
so I guess I'll try that first.
but I would like to know more about the one your using.
Also what version of tera term did you use?
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12856




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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2008, 06:44:03 AM »

The converter is a USBG-232MM. The following is a link to the page: http://www.usbgear.com/USB-PRODUCT-DETAILS.cfm?sku=USBG-232MM&catid=&cats=

The TeraTerm version is v2.3 which I downloaded from the link given in the Palstar manual.
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N1SRM
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2008, 06:10:42 PM »

I did look for that converter, but at the time was unable to find it so I called usbg, they recommended a serial card so I ordered it.since then I did locate the 232MM on the website.But since the card is already on it's way, I'll try that first.They both cost about the same but the card has a sunix chipset in it.usbg say's that the card will let the ZM30 see a genuine serial port.we'll see.If there are problems I now know what one to swap the card out for.
I did install version 2.3. I've never used a program like that before so I'm not too sure how to set it up.
I will post again as soon as the card arrives with an update.
Thanks

Steven
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12856




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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2008, 06:52:40 PM »

The serial card should work just fine.

The TeraTerm setup is:

On the menu select Setup and then Serial Port
Set the following fields in the Serial Port setup dialog:
  Port: select the com port that your serial card is set to
  Baud Rate: 9600
  Data: 8 Bit
  Stop: 1 Bit
  Flow Control: None
  Under Transmit Delay set:
    0 mSec/Char and     40 mSec/Line

Click OK and then on the menu select Setup and then Save. It should default to the TERATERM.INI file so just click OK to save the new settings into that file. Don't forget this "save" step or the old settings will return next time you run TeraTerm which means it will not work correctly when ZM-Plot tries to use it.

Make sure you get a straight through serial cable that has a 9-pin male on one end and a female on the other. A Null Modem cable will NOT work - it must be straight through (pin-2 on one end to pin-2 on the other, etc.).

You can test that TeraTerm is working by leaving the program open and watching the screen while placing the ZM-30 in scan mode. If its all working you will see a bunch of readable text lines scrolling across the screen. If that works then the ZM-Plot program should work. ZM-Plot automatically runs TeraTerm to download the scan data when you use the CTRL-T function.
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N1SRM
Member

Posts: 5




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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2008, 03:17:52 PM »

I reinstalled the radio shack converter cable that I was trying to use from the beginning. then I followed your settings as posted.
It worked.
I was quite suprised to see just what my antenna looked like.
It seems I had one setting that was incorrect in terraterm.
now I am able to plot just as I had hoped to.
when the card arrives I will install and use it and stash the converter cable.

many thanks to you
and to all who have offered their help
thanks again

73
Steven
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