5300 Programming Nightmare

Forum dedicated to discussion on EF Johnson Radio products

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btrains
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:00 pm

5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by btrains » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:40 pm

I'm trying to program a 5326 (VHF, 110 watt, dual control head - of which I'm only using one, since it only came with one) and this has been an absolute nightmare. The first number displayed on the radio (control head info I believe) is 3.17.21, and the firmware number is 4.14.5. I am trying to program this radio using PCConfigure 2.12.7. I am also trying to read the tuning parameters via PCTune 3.0.17. I am using a RFGuys 5300 programming cable, with a USB to serial converter. None of my computers that run Windows XP have a serial port on them. I have a bunch of computers that run Win 98SE that have serial ports, but nothing newer. I also do not know anyone, or have access to, a computer running XP or newer with a serial port. I would have to spend a good chunk of change to go to the used computer store and buy a laptop with XP and a serial port, which I am not financially capable of at this time.

My problem is as follows: On all of the computers I have tried, when I plug the cable into the radio and try to read the info from it, I receive a "Communication Problem During Upload." message. This happens trying to read the radio info, version info, or options info. I have tried two laptops and one desktop, as well as two different USB to Serial Converters (one from Prolific, the other from Gigaware), and even two different EFJohnson radios! I've tried to read a 5317, as well as my 5326. Every single time I get the same useless error message.

If I connect my radio and then try to read the RF info via PCTune, the radio freezes up. Literally the scan icon stops sweeping, none of the function buttons will do anything, and I have to shut off the power supply to get the radio to turn off. Once I unplug the programming cable, PCTune will give me a message that says "Communication Problem. Is the radio plugged in and on?" Once I unplug the cable from the radio, I can turn it back on and it operates "normally." I say "normally" because I have no way to test it since I do not know what frequencies are currently programmed in it (bought used from a public safety department), I cannot transmit because the high power drawer requires more amps than my power supply can deliver, and therefore I cannot use another radio to try and transmit to see how this one receives.

I have been told that these RFGuys programming cables sometimes do not work. I've also been told Johnson radios HATE USB to serial converters. I've been told to try lots of different things, including different copies of software, but at the end of the day, none of them work. I have previously read a codeplug from a 5112 handheld using an aftermarket Johnson handheld cable, and my USB to serial converter, with the PCC 2.12.7, on my laptop. So I know that the PCC software works. I just don't understand what's going wrong. Since this was a dual control head radio, it has two control head cables coming out of the back. So I've even tried plugging my control head into each of the cable plugs, and still got the same result. I paid well over $100 bucks with shipping for this RFGuys cable, and I will be furious if their cable just doesn't work. I do not know anyone except the nearest Johnson dealer that has an EFJ "official" programming cable. The whole point of buying my own cable is so I can program my own radio, not drive clear across town and waste an afternoon trying to get some dealer to do it for me.

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Intrinsically Safe
Posts: 344
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:19 pm

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by Intrinsically Safe » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:46 pm

I can understand and completely relate to your frustrations, let me see if I can shed some light and maybe help you out.
The 3.17.21 is the control head firmware
The next set of numbers is your radio firmware. According to your post, you saw a 4.14.5 which is the latest release for that model radio.
Using the secret EFJ decoder ring you should be using PCC 2.10.2 to program that radio.
The sanctioned PCTune should be 3.0.14 although I think 3.0.17 should work fine.
Ok, on to the important stuff. The 5300 series radios utilize an RS485 interface for communications to PCC and PCTune. I cannot speak for the RFGuys cable you bought but I know that MOST USB to Serial converters do not have native RS485 support in their drivers and/or interface. The only one that EFJ recommends is sold by Keyspan. It is a little more pricey than the Belkin (and others) you can get at Wal-Mart, Target, Radio Shack etc...
The 5100 series radios use RS232 which is why you (and myself) as well, have had no problems using just about any USB-serial converter.
I can tell you from personal experience that I have NEVER had an issue using the Keyspan devices on the older 5300s that I program. The others have been very hit and miss, and mostly miss.
What you are seeing happen with control head when you plug in the cable sounds like it is feeding 'bad information' to the head thus causing corruption in the processor that controls the head.

Hope this helps a little bit. If not, please reply back and I will see what I can do for you further.

I.S.
Sean Penn: Last year I went to Iraq. Before Team America showed up, it was a happy place. They had flowery meadows and rainbow skies, and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles.

btrains
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:00 pm

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by btrains » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:38 am

I've also heard that the RFGuys cable is possibly built wrong, with two of the pins reversed. I was told that somewhere on this board is a lengthy discussion about the DB-9 pin reversal, but I can't seem to find it.

In the mean time, I'm building a computer out of spare parts that will run Win XP and have a serial port. If I can't get the cable to work then, I will definitely look for more assistance!

btrains
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:00 pm

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by btrains » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:26 pm

I have built an older computer running Windows XP that has a serial port installed on the motherboard. I plugged my radio directly into the serial port, and have received the same communications error.

What do I do now!? I'm about to throw this radio in the garbage. Biggest waste of money I've ever spent!

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Intrinsically Safe
Posts: 344
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Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by Intrinsically Safe » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:36 am

Make sure you are using the correct PCC. File format changes will prevent proper communications. PCC is MUCH less forgiving as far as backwards compatibility than the MOT CPS.

I.S.
Sean Penn: Last year I went to Iraq. Before Team America showed up, it was a happy place. They had flowery meadows and rainbow skies, and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles.

btrains
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:00 pm

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by btrains » Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:07 pm

So I have picked up PC Configure version 2.10.2, which is the *correct* version for firmware 4.14.5. I am also using my same RF Guys programming cable, plugged directly into a serial port on my Windows XP computer. I am STILL receiving the "Communication problem during upload." Error message. The guy I purchased this radio from is selling an identical unit and claims to have last programmed these radios with 2.12.6. Is that even possible? At this point I'm not willing to buy or try to locate software anymore, because I've gone through four versions of PCConfigure now, and none of them work.

What can I do now?

My firmware is 4.14.5.
Software versions that DO NOT work:
2.4.6
2.10.2
2.12.7
2.16.3

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Intrinsically Safe
Posts: 344
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Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by Intrinsically Safe » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:35 pm

Your WinXP computer that is running the serial port, which RPI box are you using to try and read the radio?
Couple things to note here:
1. You will need to use a 023-5300-000 box. Any older 9800 box or 9755 box will not work
2. You will need to use a 023-5300-001 box if the computer is a dual core processor (or you'll need to shut down one of the processors if still using the -000) box

I will need to check my scribbled notes from years past regarding the file format differences between 2.10.x and 2.12.x to see if there were any changes that may be causing some issues as well.

I.S.
Sean Penn: Last year I went to Iraq. Before Team America showed up, it was a happy place. They had flowery meadows and rainbow skies, and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles.

btrains
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:00 pm

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by btrains » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:33 am

I do not have an RPI or any official Johnson programming stuff. My programming cable is the RF Guys aftermarket cable. It has the 5300 mic connector on one end and a serial port end on the other end. Supposedly there is a board inside the serial connector that converts RS 485 to RS 232, but without the right software, I don't know if it's the cable or the software.

faradaycage
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:04 am

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by faradaycage » Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:10 pm

Has this been resolved yet?
There are no compatibility issues reported with RFguys cables for any 5300/5400 radio/firmware combinations (and they've been sold for years) so please let us know if you still need any assistance!

RFguys

btrains
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:00 pm

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by btrains » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:02 pm

No, this has not been resolved yet. I have tried numerous computers, both with native COM ports, and with different manufacturers' USB to Serial converter cables. I have tried, at last count, 5 different versions of PC Configure software. Nothing will read this radio. Therefore, I believe the compatibility issue is with the cable. It couldn't be anything else! I've tried PCC 2.10.2 (the version designed for firmware 4.14.5) and I've tried PCC 2.12.6, which is what this radio was reportedly last programmed with. Neither have produced results.

mancow
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2002 8:00 pm

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by mancow » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:14 pm

It sounds like EFJ needs to throw some effort toward cleaning this version dependent mess up.

btrains
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:00 pm

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by btrains » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:40 am

Here's my latest update.

I sent my RFGuys cable back to the company to receive a warranty replacement. I received the replacement about 3-4 weeks later. I tried using the replacement cable to program my radio, and low and behold...

IT STILL DOESN'T WORK!

I have NO idea what to do at this point. I feel as though I've flushed several hundred dollars down a toilet every time I look at this radio.

Would the fact that this radio is a 5326, and has a gray 53SL control head, have anything to do with this mess?

You guys are my only hope!

jim202
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2003 9:47 am
Location: New Orleans region

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by jim202 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:04 am

I have run into a couple of radios where I had to change the program data speed. One radio would only program at the lowest speed available. May not be the problem, but it might be worth a try.

Jim

ee1993
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:34 pm

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by ee1993 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:39 am

Were you ever successful? I have an 5318 that programs with an RF Guys cable for the HHC. I have a 5328 that I can program with the EFJ RIB.

W0VNE
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:51 pm

Re: 5300 Programming Nightmare

Post by W0VNE » Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:44 pm

Did you try changing your baudrate? I find that 5300 want higher speed serial date. It simply doesn't work at some of the slower speeds so check out 115k or 56k.

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