News

Manufacturing Reliability Data

We have now shipped over 300 PiDV™, and the ThumbDV™ will soon pass it for units delivered. There are currently 200 more units in process.

Out of the Box MFG, our local assembly house in Renton WA, does a great job on their SMT line which includes automated optical inspection or AOI. We physically tested all of the first 100 units and found 1 failure, which was attributed to a bad AMBE3000 IC, probably due to hot plugging the board during test.

At this point we stopped functional testing and now rely on AOI to flag any assembly issues for operator inspection or remedy. We have had one working unit returned as suspect but it turned out to be a failed R-Pi and the PiDV™ was returned to service with no charge to the customer.

I want to thank Chad, Paul, Brian and all of the people at Out of the Box for their hi-quality and reasonable cost assembly services.

Bryan – K7UDR

Statement of Origin:

The PiDV™ and ThumbDV™ are assembled in the USA by Out of the Box from globally manufactured components obtained thru Dig-Key and Mouser. The PCB Fabs are made in China.

 

ThumbDV™ Passes FCC Approval

Because the ThumbDV™ attaches to a computer using USB, it is clearly a “Computer Peripheral” as defined by the FCC and is required to meet the Part 15 Subpart B standard for conducted and radiated emissions.

We sent a sample unit to Nemko-CCL, an accredited test lab in Utah, and they performed testing to the following standards:

  • EU: EN5022:2010
  • USA: FCC Part 15, Subpart B
  • CAN: ICES-003, Issue 5
  • AUS/NZL: CISPR 22:2009

After passing all tests, a Declaration of Conformity was issued by Nemko-CCL and as of today all units are shipped with a sticker on the back.

ThumbDV Passes FCC 15b

Do the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ Sound Better Than the DV Dongle?

A number of customers have reported anecdotally that the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ (formerly DV3000) have good audio, but is that just perception or is there some truth to it? I spoke with Rich Kovars, Applications Engineer at DVSI, who talked about the ThumbDV™/PiDV™ AMBE-3000 chip vs the Dongle’s1 AMBE-2020.

From the DVSI Website:

“DVSI’s AMBE-2020™ and AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chips, are both DSTAR compatible. iCOM originally introduced the DSTAR system based on the AMBE-2020™ Vocoder chip that utilizes DVSI’s AMBE+ technology. Since that time, DVSI has developed and produced the AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chip that implements DVSI’s latest generation AMBE+2 technology and is fully interoperable with the the AMBE-2020™ vocoder chip used for DSTAR. The enhancements of AMBE+2™ technology in the AMBE-3000™ vocoder chip can provide superior voice quality in some circumstances. The highest level of voice quality can be achieved when the AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chip (or equivalent software2) is incorporated into the equipment used on both ends of the radio link.”

So the answer is a definite maybe.

1 The DV Dongle is manufactured by Internet Labs.
2 Current ICOM D-STAR products use a software vocoder that incorporates the 3000 advancements.

ThumbDV™: Budd Churchward, WB7FHC Video

Budd updates us on his experience setting up the ThumbDV™ under Windows using Node DV (WinDV) from DUTCH*Star.

Also, there is an updated setup guide from the folks at AmateurLogic.tv

ThumbDV™ vs PiDV™

We have received a few inquiries about the functional difference between the DV3000 and ThumbDV™.

The ThumbDV™ is a thumb or dongle type DV (digital voice) device for connection to a computer (PC, Laptop, Tablet, Raspberry Pi, Odroid, etc.) to provide access to AMBE encoding and decoding.  It is the more portable of the two devices in that you can plug it into any USB (2.0 or greater) port on a computer and access it as a serial port via appropriate software to get into the D-STAR system.

AMBE USB 3000 ThumbDV™

ThumbDV™

The PiDV™ is designed to use the GPIO UART pins on a Raspberry Pi (including Raspberry Pi 2 and compatible devices such as the Odroid C1)  to provide access to AMBE encoding and decoding.  It can be adapted to other similar devices using jumper wires to connect the UART, but only maps to Raspberry Pi GPIO pins.

PiDV™

PiDV™

From a software point of view they are equivalent and are accessed as serial ports (COMx under Windows,  tty? under Linux/Mac OS X, UDRx) at 230.4 kbps.  Software for using these devices includes G4KLX’s DummyRepeater,  DUTCH*Star’s Node DV (WinDV), and modified versions of DSD (developers have modified for use with the ThumbDV™/PiDV™ for monitoring DMR, Fusion, P25 Phase 2, etc. — contact the developers for more information).

Visit the resource page for additional information.

 

Email Updates

Hi all,

We’ve received a few support requests regarding order status.

An automated email is sent from orders@nwdigitalradio.com when the order is accepted and another when it is shipped, complete with USPS tracking number. For International orders, USPS delivers to your countries postal service which may or may not provide tracking updates. We have no more visibility than you do.

If you don’t receive an email it’s due to one of the following:

  • The email in your order is incorrect or it’s an email you don’t check
  • It’s in your spam folder
  • Your ISP has blacklisted GoDaddy

We can’t do anything about the first two, but we’re checking on alternatives for the last one. By all means if you don’t receive confirmation, send an email to support and we’ll process it manually.

PiDV™ featured on Amateur Logic TV

AmateurLogic.TV highlights thePiDV™ (previously named DV3000) on the their videocast!  The segment starts at minute 51.

The referenced guide is at http://www.amateurlogic.com/downloads/DV3000.pdf thanks to VE3MIC.

One update: The latest G4KLX DummyRepeater gives the option of using AMBEserverGPIO or accessing the DV3000 directly as a serial device and directly supports ALSA audio.

ThumbDV™: DUTCH*Star Support Under Development

Fred (PA4YBR) at DUTCH*Star has been working on support for the ThumbDV™ in his Node DV/WinDV program.

It is now in beta test and working well.  Watch for more information at http://dutch-star.eu/

Watts Up with the UDRX

After taming some parasitic oscillation, the UDRX is now driving the Power Amplifier Module successfully. We’ll be optimizing the output filter and RX/TX switch next, which will require a minor board spin. Preliminary thermal analysis shows we’re in the ballpark for dissipation. We’ll have detailed analysis after the built-in monitoring is brought up and we evaluate Mitsubishi’s newer version of the module which has better shielding and thermals.

We still have a ways to go, but firing up the PA is a significant milestone.
Bryan – K7UDR

 

Delivery is in the eye of the beholder

Just finished showing the APRS 9600 Transmit Demo at Pacificon.

Dennis has the IQ Receiver socket pushing data thru to his workstation allowing post processing of the eye pattern. Here’s a snapshot:

eye

At this point we’re pretty comfortable with accepting orders for the UDRX this year for delivery in Q1!

I will continue to post progress updates as we move forward.