Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Programming the ICOM M710 with DIY CI-V

Success and failure...USB-TTL to ICOM M710 programming cable

I need to reprogram my I-COM M710 Marine SSB/HAM HF rig. I have been using it aboard my sailboat since it was new in 2006 with an older Pactor IIe.

I would like to play with WinMOR and soundcard modem and some of the digital modes.

I searched the Internet and found most people were making (8 years ago) clones of the ICOM interface OPC-478.

So I first made clone cable like the CI-V cable  with  dual 2N2222s, a diode, some resisters and a DB9 connector. It needed to be plugged into my current laptop with a USB-serial adapter/emulator.  It failed. I must have put a transistor in backwards or something. Then I found the ICOM software. The software for cloning and configuring the M710 seems to be EX1726.exe for DOS. It does direct manipulation of the serial port register so a PC with an real DB9 serial port running DOS, not Windows, would be required. I do not have these.

I kept searching.

I next found web page that says the ICOM clone port is TTL open collector, just one wire. And also elsewhere found the clause, "NMEA 0183 sentences at 4800 baud".

And a note describing how to make a clone cable from a USB-TTL adapter, commonly used to program Arduinos, and a phone plug.

   connect tip of mono phone plug to Rx and Tx soldered together and ring to ground of a USB to TTL serial adapter. I used a PL2303 based 5 pin adapter.

Mine shows up in syslog as:

Feb 2 14:50:18 nav3 kernel: [27157.768171] usb 1-4.4: Manufacturer: Prolific Technology Inc.
Feb 2 14:50:18 nav3 kernel: [27157.768585] pl2303 1-4.4:1.0: pl2303 converter detected

The user  belizesailor at Cruiser Forum says the DosBox emulator for games emulates the serial port so well that the ICOM software will work.

OK! I quickly made the cable for the USB-TTL adapter in the photo. Then downloaded DosBox from www.dosbox.com, for debian to my ubuntu 15.10 system.

I actually used the synaptic package manager and checked the box to include dependent packages from the repository. It worked fine. All this after a failed attempt to download the source tar ball and compile it myself. And I had also tried to install the packages on WinXP, but I have no XP driver for the Prolific USB.

Then found EX1726.zip at http://ea4yx.jimdo.com/software-radioaficionados/control-equipos/software-icom/

After unzip'ing it, edit the config file ~/.dosbox/dosbox-0.74.conf
 to set the serial ports to emulate, these two lines:
serial1=directserial realport:ttyUSB0
serial2=directserial realport:ttyUSB1

So to program the M710 from Ubuntu-Gnome 15.10, select:
Menu> Games> DosBox

Then in DosBox:

Z:\> mount c ~/Data/Radio/EX1726

Z:\> C:

c:\>  ex1726 /expert       # see the README maybe called M710.DOC

ESC > Clone > Rs232 >port2    # ttyUSB1

ESC > C > T   # read from transceiver to PC


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