Doing battle with the DJ-X11

I dragged my Alinco DJ-X11 out again to play with a new project and for some reason decided it was a good time to update the firmware. Simple I thought since I had purchased a cheap clone of the ERW-7 programming cable.

The Firmware update software, the cloning software, and the remote software all seem to have been written by the lowest bidder. And they were drunk at the time. And possibly suffered from massive head trauma. In any case, do not expect to enjoy using any of them. They *do* work to some extent I suppose. I will say I was unable to get them to work under Windows 7. I had to resort to a Windows XP box to make anything work reliably. Even then using the ERW-7 I bricked the unit on my first update run and had to do the restore, which worked after a while although was very slow. I would suggest perhaps lowering the transfer speed as suggested by the instructions for the firmware software.

While doing battle with the software I thought I had a bad cable, so I dug around on the net for information about them. I couldn't find much directly but I did determine a few bits of info that may be helpful. The ERW-7 is apparently wired the same as the Icom OPC-478. And furthermore the OPC-478 is the same as an CI-V interface cable if you swap the tip and center conductor or if your CI-V cable has just a mono plug you just have to wire up an adapter to connect Sleeve toegether and connect the CI-V Tip to the new plug's Ring ( tip will be disconnected ).

I happened to have an FTDI TTL-232R-3V3-WE cable ( available from the usual suspects like Mouser and Digikey ) so I wired it up to a 3.5mm stereo connector I had around. Black wire to the sleeve, orange+yellow to ring. It still didn't work under Windows 7, but it *did* work under Windows XP.

At this point I had an upgraded radio and a working ERW-7 ( actually two ) so I decided to see about making an ERW-8. I found some information on this page http://gm.stackunderflow.com/blog/pivot/entry.php?id=161 which got me started. I took apart my charging cradle to confirm its wiring per the page, then cut the mini-usb plug off a cable and wired it to the above mentioned TTL-232R-3V3-WE. Low and behold it worked with the remote software and cloning software just as poorly as before.

The cable wiring

Assuming you cut your USB cable open and it has the standard red/black/white/green wires:

USB CableDescriptionTTL-232R
GreenDataOrange+Yellow
BlackGroundBlack
RedVCC (+5vdc)Red

White is not connected

So, why? Well, you can get the TTL232 cable for about $15 easily and a miniusb cable for a couple bucks, and make the ERW-8 cable which costs about $45 and no one ever seems to have. If you wanted to get tricky you could make up some adapter cables and replace the ERW-7 and ERW-8 with a single TTL-232 cable. If you already own an ERW-8 and bricked your DJ-X11 during a firmware update you could also just make an adapter cable using a 3.5mm stereo plug and a mini-usb female from a mini-usb extension and a little soldering.

Enough ramblings for tonight. I figured at some point someone else might be looking for ERW-7/8 information and want some more resources.

73,
Tom K6AET
Categories: gas, equipment
Date: 2011-11-08, 5 years and 348 days ago

Comments

  1. Marco:
    2011-12-22, 5 years and 304 days ago

    Hi Tom

    Great job.
    So, if I get a OPC-478 you say that it should work as an ERW-7 ?
    Is that correct?
    And, to make the ERW-8, just connecting the TTL232 cable to a mini-usb plug with the indicated wiring is enough ?

    Regards
    Marco

  2. Tom K6AET:
    2011-12-22, 5 years and 304 days ago

    I haven't confirmed it myself by actually by trying one of the OPC-478 cables, but multiple websites say they are the same -and- you can find supposedly tested schematics of the OPC-478 and it looks correct. As far as making the the ERW-8, yes, assuming your USB cable has the same color code ( it is a standard but who knows with all the cheap far east cables around ) it should work just fine. I've actually carved up several USB cables for various projects and never found one with a non-standard color code.

  3. marco:
    2012-01-11, 5 years and 284 days ago

    Hi again Tom.
    I got the FTDI cable from Sparkfun ;-)
    Before giving my battle to it (w/o frying my Dj-X11 lol) I need you to specify one point.
    When you say "..so I wired it up to a 3.5mm stereo connector I had around. Black wire to the sleeve, orange+yellow to ring".

    Was your stereo connector a 3 poles one right?
    I mean, was a TRS (tip, ring, sleeve) with nothing being connected to the tip ?

    Sorry for bothering you again.

    Cheers
    Marco

  4. Tom Arnold:
    2012-01-11, 5 years and 284 days ago

    No problem at all.

    Yes, that is correct, you are not using the Tip at all. The X11 puts
    transmit and recieve on the same pin, so its half duplex.

    The connector is a standard 3.5mm TRS plug like you'll find on any set of cheap headphones.

  5. Marco:
    2012-01-20, 5 years and 275 days ago

    All done. Cable, connections, everything.
    But...but I get Error-01 in a pop-up window appearing on Win-XP.
    No LED on the DJ-X11 flashed after clicking Start on the software.
    Obviously no documentation on the Alinco Web page... ;-(

  6. Marco:
    2012-01-21, 5 years and 274 days ago

    I found the trick that nobody told me (neither the Alinco manual).
    After connecting the DJ-X11 ans have set the appropriate COM port you have to press the Main dial know to establish the connection with the PC. The Firmware update software started to flash it automatically.
    Thanks Alinco for not mentioning this little detail in Section 12-2 of the manual!
    Now I have a 2.10E version :-)
    Thanks Tom

  7. oldBill:
    2015-01-29, 2 years and 265 days ago

    I have just received a new DJ-X11 Radio today. The dang thing is completely counterproductive to setup, and jumping around various manual pages confuse.

    My actions:
    Assembled the pieces.
    Charged the battery.
    Power-on the unit. ]] See display of 145.000 Main
    *** Plan to enter a few Ham channels around 146.520 or 146.850 Mhz

    At that point ANY control I attempt to use places the radio
    into SEARCH mode! I cannot stop it.

    I read the manual - it's giving the general function of controls only!

    THERE ARE NO STEP-by-STEP EXAMPLES OF A
    COMPLETE SINGLE CONCERTED ACTION.

    ]]] Read all pages in the manual/instruction book second time.
    ]]] Then read the manual how to select a band,
    ]]] Then read the manual on how to select a channel,
    ]]] Then read the manual on how to program that channel
    ]]] CRAP.
    NOTHING WORKS AS EXPECTED OR EXPLAINED

    So - DUPLICATE ALL THESE STEPS AND MANY OTHERS, REPEATING & EXPERIMENTING UNTIL THE MIND BECOMES NAUSEATED WITH CONFUSION!

    Anyway - the dealer has informed me that within 10 days I can return
    the radio then receive full refund of my money. So, probably I will!

    To the point: If any reader can recommend a non-factory manual or link where I can get usable info ]]] then I will send them a check for 99 Zillion bucks yesterday!

    Billy

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