UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Powered By Google Custom Search Vintage Radio and TV Service Data

Go Back   UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum > Specific Vintage Equipment > Vintage Amateur and Military Radio

Notices

Vintage Amateur and Military Radio Amateur/military receivers and transmitters, morse, and any other related vintage comms equipment.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 20th Aug 2022, 7:28 pm   #21
mervyn
Pentode
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Whitfield, Dover, Kent, UK.
Posts: 168
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

Looking through my list of Lowe stuff .. i have some of the IF interface chips here for the HF-150 just in case
mervyn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Aug 2022, 6:07 pm   #22
Steve G4WCS
Heptode
 
Steve G4WCS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Preston, Lancashire, UK.
Posts: 563
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by mervyn View Post
Looking through my list of Lowe stuff .. i have some of the IF interface chips here for the HF-150 just in case
Thanks
Steve G4WCS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Aug 2022, 6:45 pm   #23
SiriusHardware
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, UK.
Posts: 8,864
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

Jez, thanks for taking the time to collect and post those scope captures from the output of the IF-150.

I haven't looked at it in much detail yet but what I notice about the IF-150 data bursts is that each one starts with three equally spaced pulses, then a longer gap which is always the same, then 6 pulses with variable spacing between them, the longer or shorter interval from one leading edge to the next probably indicating either a '1' or a '0' bit. If it is the time interval between pulses which indicates the bit value then the data is 5 bits, that is, five timed intervals between six pulses.

The last of those six pulses is followed by a longer interval which, like the interval between the three leading pulses, is always the same before the final, separate pulse.

My initial conclusion is that the three leading pulses and the final pulse identify this as an IF-150 data transmission - possibly a specific one like 'change frequency' - rather than a KP-150 transmission, but the actual data in each data burst is only five bits, the value of which is conveyed by the spacing between the six pulses in the middle of the burst.
SiriusHardware is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Aug 2022, 9:31 pm   #24
jez_145
Pentode
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Southport, Merseyside, UK.
Posts: 108
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

No prob Sirius - I could tell you were itching to get into the depths of the IF-150 !

I think you nailed it in your earlier comment when you suggested that the HF-150 supported an alternative command set that the keypad was not designed to send. Spot on. That prompted me to look into what the IF-150 was actually spitting out.

Incidentally, since I sent the scope shots, I found this site that you may find interesting:-

https://www.nick-bailey.co.uk/if150/

Jerry
jez_145 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Aug 2022, 10:25 pm   #25
SiriusHardware
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, UK.
Posts: 8,864
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

That feeling you get when you are itching to have a go at something... only to find that someone else has already done it.

Great find though! As it happens the originator of the project doesn't seem to provide the source, only the executable code (which is his right, if he so wishes) but it means that I would have to create my own version of it anyway in order to add the transmitter tuning functionality I mentioned, which of course his will not do as it aims to be a faithful clone of the IF-150 and no more.

That said, even if I just loaded up my Arduino Uno with that code that would give me an infinite amount of output traffic to analyse so that I could write something to produce the same data with the same timings.

Last edited by SiriusHardware; 22nd Aug 2022 at 10:31 pm.
SiriusHardware is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Aug 2022, 11:09 pm   #26
jez_145
Pentode
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Southport, Merseyside, UK.
Posts: 108
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by SiriusHardware View Post
.... That said, even if I just loaded up my Arduino Uno with that code that would give me an infinite amount of output traffic to analyse so that I could write something to produce the same data with the same timings.
Exactly, that's what I thought.

But, just because someone else has had a go, don't let that put you off if you fancy deciphering the signalling logic. It's a nice little challenge. I'm slightly tempted myself but I've got too many other things I really should be doing ! Access to the source code - where's the fun in that !!!!

Jerry
jez_145 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd Aug 2022, 7:11 am   #27
SiriusHardware
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, UK.
Posts: 8,864
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

I had a read through the 'terms and conditions' of the use of that Arduino IF-150 code and the author seems quite determined that it is his way or the highway - doesn't want it used in any way except the exact way he intended, so it would seem unethical to ask for it mainly for the purpose of analysing its output in order to make a customised version for my own personal use - clearly exactly what the author does not want.

In the first instance I will have a detailed look through the scope captures you made. I may have to come back to you, if I may, for more details of timing, lengths of pauses between pulses etc, but I will see how I get on with what I have.

It's a shame there is no form of readback from the HF-150 to the interface because it would have been much nicer to make the CW transmitter frequency 'follow' the tuning on the HF-150, whereas any such scheme will currently need a third device (ie, Arduino with a display and a rotary encoder) to control the frequencies of the HF-150 and transmitter in tandem.
SiriusHardware is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd Aug 2022, 10:05 am   #28
jez_145
Pentode
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Southport, Merseyside, UK.
Posts: 108
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

Hi Sirius,

Well, you could always ask the author and let him know what you're trying to do. Drop him an email. What's the worst that can happen! You never know, he may even prove to be very helpful ?

Yes, it is a shame that the HF-150 comms is one way only but I think you have to approach it with the view that it is what it is and work round it. There's ALWAYS a way !

I know, over the years, many people have said "if only the HF-150" :-

- Had a signal strength meter.
- Had better front end high signal handling
- Had a backlight
- Had a display with sub-kHz resolution

etc. etc.

But, as John Thorpe commented, yes, they could have put all that in but then it wouldn't be an HF-150 and you may just as well have bought an HF-225 !

Personally, I like the HF-150 just the way it is and enjoy working around it's limitations. It's all part of the fun. As you know, overall it's a fantastic, easy to use, little set with great audio quality. I own two HF receivers; the other being the AOR AR7030 Plus - another "JT" design, of course and also a brilliant set. I alternate my use of the two radios regularly. For the last 12 months, the 7030 has been my daily driver. Since this thread started last week, I have now boxed up the 7030 and swapped over to the 150 and I'll be using that for the next few months. Sometimes it's good to just go back to basics and enjoy it. You soon get round the limitations.

By all means, if you need any more output/info, just send me a list of what you'd like and I'll see what I can come up with.

Jerry
jez_145 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd Aug 2022, 11:00 am   #29
SiriusHardware
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, UK.
Posts: 8,864
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

A receive meter is what I miss most on what is otherwise a fairly conventional all-HF communications receiver. At least one more digit of resolution on the frequency display would have been nice. I knew about these limitations when I bought it, and I still bought it.

FM receive mode (on HF, not VHF) would have been nice too, but that's a bit of a niche interest area so I understand why it doesn't have it. The manual does actually mention that you can try to resolve HF FM transmissions by offset tuning (slope detection) but it's not the same.

I have owned mine from new and it has survived in its original physical form for all of these years so I have no intention of drilling a hole in it for a meter signal socket, or anything like that.

The only thing I've ever had to do to mine is to hot-glue the speaker back onto the inside of the upper lid - not the fixing method I would have expected in such a relatively expensive receiver, but that was how it was held in place originally.

Oh, and the DC lead and moulded plug on the original Lowe branded mains PSU have been replaced, the original having suffered from wrap-around disease - the inner cables fracturing at the points where they were always folded around the same corners of the PSU in the same places. I don't do that any more.
SiriusHardware is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd Aug 2022, 2:17 pm   #30
JohnBG8JMB
Pentode
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Poole, Dorset, UK.
Posts: 127
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

HF 150 - fired mine up a coupe of months ago, after not using it for about 6 months, to find it will not tune. All the symptoms correspond to a u/s encoder [the tune knob]. This, is as far as I can tell, made of unobtanium. Any suggestions for an available replacement? 50 pulse/rev, ideally.

73
John G8JMB
JohnBG8JMB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd Aug 2022, 2:48 pm   #31
SiriusHardware
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, UK.
Posts: 8,864
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

People sometimes take encoders (generally) apart and repair them, precisely because exact replacements can be so hard to find. If you are certain yours is defective you have little to lose.

What are your symptoms - displays a frequency but the main tuning knob will not scroll the frequency up or down? Does the tune knob work in any mode, so for example if you go into memory recall mode will the tune knob let you scroll through memory slots 1-60?

I can't recall if there is a reset-to-factory default but if there is that has to be worth trying before taking anything apart, although it will delete the contents of all the memories back to their defaults.

Last edited by SiriusHardware; 23rd Aug 2022 at 2:58 pm.
SiriusHardware is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd Aug 2022, 4:18 pm   #32
SiriusHardware
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, UK.
Posts: 8,864
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

I've just been through the user manual and technical supplements and if there is a factory reset I did not see one. Possibly just as well because it looks as though some of the alignment parameters are held in the EEPROM. This is making me wonder if I should take mine out and read its contents while it is still working.

I think it is quite unlikely that the encoder would emerge not working after being put away working perfectly. The usual failure mode for encoders is that they start to get a bit hitty-missy, then they gradually get worse until typically, they will only work when turned in one direction.

If you have a scope look on pins 7 and 8 of the microprocessor 'Q1', you should see pulses being generated on those pins whenever you turn the tuning knob. If you have a dual beam scope look at both of those pins, you should see that the signals on pins 7 and 8 are staggered, offset from each other.

If both pins are staying solid-high check that you don't just have a cracked solder joint on the common pin of the encoder - the tuning control gets quite a lot of twisting and twirling and this could potentially crack or stress the solder joints on the encoder pins.
SiriusHardware is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd Aug 2022, 4:31 pm   #33
SiriusHardware
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, UK.
Posts: 8,864
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

Sorry, I should have mentioned that IC Q1, which the encoder signals go to, is on the vertically mounted control PCB, not the main RF / Audio PCB.
SiriusHardware is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 24th Aug 2022, 3:13 pm   #34
John KC0G
Pentode
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Posts: 231
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBG8JMB View Post
HF 150 - fired mine up a coupe of months ago, after not using it for about 6 months, to find it will not tune. All the symptoms correspond to a u/s encoder [the tune knob]. This, is as far as I can tell, made of unobtanium. Any suggestions for an available replacement? 50 pulse/rev, ideally.

73
John G8JMB
John, please tell the people here that you have already been given the standard answer to this question at the LoweHFReceivers group at groups.io

There the information given in April 2022 included:
"Possible replacements are:
i) Bourns ENA1J-B28-L00064L with a sleeve bearing
ii) Bourns ENS1J-B28-L00064L with a ball bearing bearing
When the Alps encoder ceased to be available, I think that the ENS1J-B28-L00050L or ENS1J-B28-L00025L (very slow tuning rate) was used. There is a 28% increase in the tuning rate with the L00064L. It should not matter.
Availability of both of these parts is very difficult at the moment, but it looks as though some are expected in the US supply chain next month. The usual sources, in alphabetical order, are Allied, Digikey, Mouser, Newark and TTI.

The Bourns encoders have a 1/4" shaft. The Alps encoders have a 6mm shaft. And so you need to drill out the hole on the knob. Tony at Lowe used to do this on a drill press. Just make sure that the knob cannot wobble when you are drilling. And back the grub screw out a bit before you drill."

A second post, after digging through the archives of one of the previous Yahoo groups included:
"The Bourns encoder ENA1J-B28-L00064L is listed at RS Components, part no. 263-2873. Currently they have no stock on their UK web site.

https://groups.io/g/LoweHFReceivers/...p_archive.html
is the archive of the second Yahoo group. I saw that it was missing, and have re-uploaded it.
Message no. 656 says that you should not use Servisol, and that the encoders do not respond well to repair efforts."

Your reply (April 25, 2022) was: "The Bourns encoder when available is eyewateringly expensive (~40)".

There was a recent (July 2022) discussion on this group about replacement encoders. See https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=192608
You may or may not have seen this. But the standard answer was given there too.

At the time you could have got a ENA1J-B28-L00064L encoder from www.mouser.co.uk for 33.50 + VAT delivered to you in the UK. Mouser take care of all of the paperwork, and there are no customs fees, additional handling charges, etc, etc to pay. Mouser no longer stock the part.

You can get an encoder from RS for 43.85 + 8.77 VAT delivered. Currently they are in stock.

BTW the price of the Alps encoder in the Cirkit catalogue (Winter 1988-89) was 5.59. You can estimate what the price might be today.

It seems to me that the Alps 50ppr mechanical encoder was almost unique. I don't know why it disappeared from the market, but disappear it did. It could have been because the market was too small, they could not make money from them, it was cannibalising another market, or there was a product performance issue. It was not in the Cirkit catalogue by Winter 1996-1997. This probably explains why Lowe and/or SMC switched to the (more expensive) Bourns encoders at the end of the Lowe HF-150's life.

It seems to me that you have three options:
1. Repair the radio to as close to original condition as possible. 'Paying the freight' for a good part is part of the cost of ownership of a radio that is now pushing 25 years old. if not older

2. Put (bodge, cludge, pick your favourite word) in a cheap replacement which probably have fewer ppr, and make the tuning rate even lower. I leave it to you to assess how the encoder might last with a metal tuning knob on it.

3. Sell it as is. An informed buyer will reckon to spend at least 50 to fix it.

So, please tell us what you are trying to do.

HTH and 73

John KC0G / M0KCY
Group owner, LoweHFReceivers group at groups.io

Last edited by John KC0G; 24th Aug 2022 at 3:15 pm. Reason: typo
John KC0G is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th Aug 2022, 8:00 pm   #35
JohnBG8JMB
Pentode
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Poole, Dorset, UK.
Posts: 127
Default Re: Lowe HF150 keypad not working

So, please tell us what you are trying to do.

HTH and 73

John KC0G / M0KCY

Hi John
Thanks for your detailed reply- as you say, supply is difficult.#I don't want to spend lots of when I'm not absolutely sure of the fault, so "2. Put (bodge, cludge, pick your favourite word) in a cheap replacement which probably have fewer ppr, and make the tuning rate even lower. "

<<I leave it to you to assess how the encoder might last with a metal tuning knob on it.
At least comparable to tthe original...>15k cycles

I'll revisit the thread and look at availability again - as you say , it was a few months ago when I looked,

73 John g8jmb
JohnBG8JMB is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools



All times are GMT. The time now is 9:05 am.


All information and advice on this forum is subject to the WARNING AND DISCLAIMER located at https://www.vintage-radio.net/rules.html.
Failure to heed this warning may result in death or serious injury to yourself and/or others.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2002 - 2021, Paul Stenning.