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Author Topic: Flexradio "Game Changer" = Game Over for Flexradio PSDR  (Read 23445 times)
KE5JPP
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« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2012, 09:27:21 AM »

Another example is when Flex SDR-1000 owners find out that they can't run their SDR-1000 with a new computer with Windows 7 installed.

Flex could have kept to their promise of the SDR-1000 not becoming obsolete by offering an upgraded interface board that was part of the SDR-1000 three board stack.  Instead of a parallel port interface they could have offered an updated USB interface with its own driver that still would work on Windows 7 32 or 64 today.  Instead they broke their promise and made the SDR-1000 obsolete, just like they are in the process of doing with the Flex 5000/3000 being obsoleted by the Flex 6000 series.  Once they get the 6000 series radios out, look for them in a year or two to come up with a lower cost direct sampling radio that is in the Flex 5000 price point and then in the Flex 3000 price point.  At that point in time, the Flex 5000 and 3000 will be just like the SDR-1000 - the obsoleted and forgotten red-headed-stepchildren of Flex Radio.

Gene
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NI0Z
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« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2012, 09:36:49 AM »

You can still get a motherboard with a parallel port, ASUS still has one on the market. 
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2012, 09:49:28 AM »

You can still get a motherboard with a parallel port, ASUS still has one on the market.  

And??? Sure, there are modern motherboards that have parallel ports.  There are also a lot of PCI and PCIe parallel port cards available.  That is not the issue.  The problem is that Windows 7 does not allow direct access to parallel ports like XP and earlier Windows operating systems did.  Flex used a DLL (I think it was called PortIO.DLL) that directly accessed the I/O addresses used by the parallel port.  Windows Vista and Windows 7 does not allow this.   It is not a matter of just updating the DLL.   Flex later offered a USB to parallel interface made by a third party, but the driver for it is not updated and cannot be loaded on Windows 7 either.  So having a modern motherboard with a parallel interface is no use on Windows 7 for the SDR-1000.

There was also a bad issue with some parallel ports only using 3.3V instead of the 5V expected I/O voltages.  The designer of the SDR-1000 made the bad design choice of assuming that all parallel ports were 5V I/O and designed the interface to work with 5V.  At 3.3V, the interface would become flaky and cause random glitches and other nasty stuff.  The USB to parallel interface cable that Flex offered was a partial recommended fix for this design error.  It all could have been solved by offering an redesigned interface board to replace the old one in the SDR-1000 three board stack.  Instead Flex just let the SDR-1000 go obsolete because they were coming out with the new Flex 5000a.

Gene
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 09:57:02 AM by KE5JPP » Logged
N4RMT
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« Reply #33 on: May 24, 2012, 11:34:48 AM »



Comparing an old consumer computer to a old car is comparing apples to oranges and is nonsense.  

Gene

You're absolutely right, Gene.  Which is why I wasn't comparing the two at all.  I was speaking of the mindset that a company is obligated to support everything they ever build / sell forever.  When the new comes available, the old has to give way.  That's the nature of things.   My point was, if you have a nice radio, it's still a nice radio, it doesn't become any less nice or stop doing the things it did before the new one came out.  

Randy
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NI0Z
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« Reply #34 on: May 24, 2012, 12:05:06 PM »

Not sure if you tried this or not, however, I thought I would toss it out there as a long shot.

Under win 7 right click on the icon you launch your software with and click the compatibility and set it to XP and see if it helps resolve your issue.

If your using a parrallel card rather than a native one, you might want to check the bios to ensure the address range that card uses is mapped so the OS truly sees it as if it is a native parallel port.

While not reccomended, you could also download the XP emulation package ( I think it's free with ultimate) and try running it from there.  In the emulation it might make the parrallel port look real to the flex and then map it through win 7 correctly.  IE you'd be tricking it.  Emulations are slower though so you may pay a price.  VMware also sells workstation version of emulators as well.
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #35 on: May 24, 2012, 12:10:33 PM »



Comparing an old consumer computer to a old car is comparing apples to oranges and is nonsense.  

Gene

You're absolutely right, Gene.  Which is why I wasn't comparing the two at all.  I was speaking of the mindset that a company is obligated to support everything they ever build / sell forever.  When the new comes available, the old has to give way.  That's the nature of things.   My point was, if you have a nice radio, it's still a nice radio, it doesn't become any less nice or stop doing the things it did before the new one came out.  

Randy

So why did you bring up the comparison then?  The problem with your argument is that you think the problem is attributed to the user's mindset.  In the case of Flex, it was a promise and a marketing blurb that Flex Radio used.  They said the SDR-1000 would never become obsolete.  Of course, it did become obsolete and there are guys who bought into the SDR-1000 and are not happy with Flex for their broken promise.  

This only goes to illustrate my point.  Flex made the SDR-1000 obsolete years ago when it introduced a new radio that would never become obsolete, the Flex 5000a.  Now the Flex 5000a is on its way to obsolesce with the 6000 series.  Check back to this thread two years from now and see if I am not correct that Flex releases a direct sampling type rig in the 5000 price range.

Gene
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KE5JPP
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« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2012, 12:16:16 PM »

Not sure if you tried this or not, however, I thought I would toss it out there as a long shot.

Under win 7 right click on the icon you launch your software with and click the compatibility and set it to XP and see if it helps resolve your issue.

If your using a parallel card rather than a native one, you might want to check the bios to ensure the address range that card uses is mapped so the OS truly sees it as if it is a native parallel port.

While not recommended, you could also download the XP emulation package ( I think it's free with ultimate) and try running it from there.  In the emulation it might make the parallel port look real to the flex and then map it through win 7 correctly.  IE you'd be tricking it.  Emulations are slower though so you may pay a price.  VMware also sells workstation version of emulators as well.

None of this will help.  The Windows 7 operating system does not allow direct access to IO ports, including the IO port range that parallel ports use.  I am not saying that parallel ports do not work under Windows 7, they do work fine.  But that is when they are being accessed by a printer driver or a driver written to take over control of the parallel port.  To avoid having to write a Windows driver, many individuals and companies (including Flex) used a DLL written to directly access IO ports.  In Windows 7, this direct access is forbidden no matter what - it does not matter if you are running an application in XP compatibility mode or running a virtual XP box.  Windows 7 will not allow direct IO access period.  Allowing direct access to IO ports from user mode programs is a big security issue and that is why it is forbidden and enforced by Windows 7. That is the problem.

Gene


« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 12:19:38 PM by KE5JPP » Logged
N4RMT
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« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2012, 12:30:16 PM »



So why did you bring up the comparison then?  

Gene

You still don't  get it,  do you.  I compared the owners, not the objects...  I can see you are very passionate about your radio.  So much so that it's causing you not to "hear" what you read.  So I'm going to concede here.   Don't use me for an example, though.  I own an SDR-1000 and I'm not mad at anybody.  I bought it used, this past year.  Traded an IC-746 for it, in fact.  Haven't regretted it it for a minute. 

73
Randy
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NI0Z
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« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2012, 01:24:45 PM »

One last thought, see this discussion.

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-hardware/parallel-port-access-through-xp-mode/998f07a8-6b89-4057-9679-a227901cc8c7

BTW, when I suggested the Asus board I was merely suggesting you get a new mb and build yourself a cheap XP box to buy you more years of usage for your radio.  You could even tuck it away as a slave to your radio and access it via VNC with your other computer.  If you were really serious about it, you could buy spare replacement parts now do you're have them.

It's true that if your using other software packages they eventually will not be supported on XP.  

In the end, it may be easier and cheaper to just retire the thing and get a newer radio.

Flex 5K users might ultimately suffer a similar fate as FW dies.

There are days like last night when windows decides it needs an hour of your time to scan the disk after it crashed that make me not want to use an SDR as it was the one hour I had this week to actually use the radio.  SDR life can stink sometimes!

Who knows, I might go for one of these new rigs coming out and leave the SDR world.

Again, what I want is the knobbed SDR with its own screen and with a VGA port on it and cat control to use it with a super client on the desktop.  This way if I want the super operations I use the computer, but if I want easy free hamming I just have to flip on the radio.  The knobbed vendors are missing an opportunity here in my humble opinion.

The game changer in my opinion is to make affordable knobbed SDRs, that would render plain ole SDR's and plain ole knobbed radios seem more obsolete.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 01:30:04 PM by EVERSTAR » Logged

HAMMYGUY
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« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2012, 04:45:22 PM »

I was watching an auction for a Flex-3000 on eBay the past few days.  BEFORE the announcement of the Flex-6000 series, the 3000 could easily fetch at least $1350 or more. With the majority running in the $1400 range.  AFTER the announcement the seller couldn't even unload it for $1300, $1250, and the very last price it sold for was $1025!  This was for a "mint" condition radio with only 3-5 hours use on it with several extra's and free shipping!  Auction number was 170846505970.  

The value of the present Flex series is plummeting.  
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 06:03:24 PM by HAMMYGUY » Logged
N9RO
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« Reply #40 on: May 24, 2012, 06:49:02 PM »

Quote
I was watching an auction for a Flex-3000 on eBay the past few days.  BEFORE the announcement of the Flex-6000 series, the 3000 could easily fetch at least $1350 or more. With the majority running in the $1400 range.  AFTER the announcement the seller couldn't even unload it for $1300, $1250, and the very last price it sold for was $1025!  This was for a "mint" condition radio with only 3-5 hours use on it with several extra's and free shipping!  Auction number was 170846505970.

Guess what?  You are witnessing the beginning of what Flex correctly termed "Game Change".  What most hams fail to comprehend is that this change is more than just a series of radios.  In addition, this change WILL be affecting the legacy knob radios.  If you know what to look for you will see Icom, Elecraft and Kenwood have already signaled this.

73,
Tim, N9RO
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 08:23:12 PM by N9RO » Logged

Real techies don't use knobs.
KE5JPP
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« Reply #41 on: May 24, 2012, 07:11:26 PM »



So why did you bring up the comparison then?  

Gene

You still don't  get it,  do you.  I compared the owners, not the objects...  I can see you are very passionate about your radio.  So much so that it's causing you not to "hear" what you read.  So I'm going to concede here.   Don't use me for an example, though.  I own an SDR-1000 and I'm not mad at anybody.  I bought it used, this past year.  Traded an IC-746 for it, in fact.  Haven't regretted it it for a minute. 

73
Randy

I am not "passionate" about any radio.  I don't know where you are coming up with this.

Do you have trouble reading?  I have not used you as an example of anything.

Gene
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W8JX
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« Reply #42 on: May 25, 2012, 12:22:46 PM »

The Kenwood-990 at the show was even less impressive given the time they've had to get something running. Kenwood has said they'll have specs in about 60 days.

They never said 60 days. (not sure who started that rumor) They said after FCC acceptance in August. As far as time to develop it,Kenwood had a lot of supply sources for new rig wiped out and had to make some changes and told me that even the knobs were a problem. Firmware is still under development and frequency display is not even one it will ship with (that one will have more features)

Amid what we've seen of the 6000s so far, I doubt we'll see a flood of old Flexes coming to market in 2012.

Honestly  I think only game this rig will change is the nature of problems with it.
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You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
N5RWJ
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« Reply #43 on: May 25, 2012, 01:48:51 PM »

Time will tell for Flex,If they go in to Bankruptcy. Wonder who will buy them?
 PS: come out with a new low cost radio.
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W8JX
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« Reply #44 on: May 25, 2012, 02:54:59 PM »

The basic "flaw" of a Flex is it cannot operate without a computer and while some like using a computer for this many do not. It should have been designed to function without a PC and be further enhance or tweaked with one optionally. I have talked to more than one flex operator that suddenly disappeared when his computer locked up or rebooted. When you by a K3 or 590 or 7600 and so on you know they will all work the same regardless but with a flex the computer interface/hardware is a real big variable here. (stability and RFI to name a few) I knew a guy that used to build computer controlled test equipment for manufacturing and he shipped same same computer hardware with every machine is series so they were all the same.
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You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
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