Posts Tagged ‘NV20’

Does Your Transmitter Run on 66 Vac?

October 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Friday and my family was in L.A. I was planning on taking the train up to meet with them as it as Grandma’s birthday, but it was contingent on how the week was heading. South, that is where it was heading!
Sitting at the my desk doing a couple of things the the silence alarm goes off.  Not just one, but two stations collocated.  For that to happen their are only two things that will cause that, main STL to the site or power.  I quickly switch one to the our Aux site, the other I poke at and switch STLs.  Back on.  Off to the site I go.  Mind you I get a low power warning, and both transmitters were on at about 3kW each.  Each transmitter is a Nautel NV20, the very ones that I have posted about before.  In addition a get an high room temperature alarm, so HVAC is down.

I get to the site.  Sure enough the TV station’s generator is running.  I open my door and greeted with hot air.  My lights work, but two of 3 UPSs are beeping away running on battery.  Looking at my surge suppressors, two phases are missing!  Yes, two, and one NV20 was on.  I had turned one off earlier when I switched that station to an Aux site.  Out comes the Fluke and I start measuring the phases.  One is running fine at 120V, the other two are running 66V.  One rack is powered while the other two are on battery.  I make provisions to route power to equipment in a backed up rack preparing for the batteries to die.  I look at the transmitter running.  3.6kW TPO and the status tells me 2 phases are missing.  All I can say is, “wow.”  I had a similar incident years ago with a single phase loss, but this time 2!

Once I had my stuff stable, I noticed the power company, SDG&E, was already outside on the street.  Ah, they were doing something and it went wrong.  Of course the guy in the truck had no update nor did he know where the issue was.  The guys at the fire station, following protocol, had moved their trucks out and were talking with another SDG&E person.  Eventually 3 trucks were up the street.  Within about 45 minutes of being on site, power was restored.

Chalk another one up to Nautel.  The power distribution and fold-back on the NV20s worked flawless.  Needless to say, my HVAC recovered and all other equipment survived the trauma.  Let’s see if the rest of the weekend remains quiet.



Categories: Equipment, Nautel, NV20 Tags: , , ,

Fixin’ Things: Week’s Update

Figured I would try and and get back into the swing of things and update a bit more often.  Mostly boring stuff, but, hey, someone has to do it! This week I have a bit of F.O.R.D. action to mention along with plans to  repair a Nautel NV20.  Also a little fun with NexGen and Sage communications.  A little bit of everything.

F.O.R.D. = Fix Or Repair Daily.  Harris Z10.  This box just sits there and is used on occasion when I do a Nautel update.  As it sits, it fails.  No, it doesn’t need to be turned on, it just fails.  I should clarify, it shows Faults.  Currently 4 when I look at the logs, used to be 5.  Let me remind you, it gets these just sitting idle.  Apparently 2 of the 4, was 3 of 5, are PA modules showing the PS#_OT, or over temperature fault.  Again, it isn’t running.  A little research and some interaction with tech support a couple months ago, I finally ordered the parts through Mouser and did a test repair.  This repair entails the replacement of a capacitor and thermistor.  Easy enough except they are surface mount, so I finally got a chance to experience this type of repair first hand.  All I can say is it takes patience.  Needless to say, the test PA module installed and fault is cleared.  I have 2 more to do.  The other faults I will act on when I get these obvious ones out of the way.  Unfortunately it looks like one of these pending faults corresponds to a dead PA.

But, wait, did I say a Nautel repair is imminent?  Yeah, I guess I pushed the old beast a bit too hard as I prepare for an HD carrier increase.  I began to adjust the HD PA voltage to accommodate the new power increase and two PA modules said they did not like that, and Poof!  I just finished doing some research and I have all the parts to replace them.  I even have the tools!  What did I find out today?  I have version A of the modules and all the latest documents show they are up to C, and they look more modular!  The old ones require de-soldering and then replacement.  At least it doesn’t look to bad.  I also get to perform the modifications that the modules required a few years back to improve efficiency.  All in all, I call this fun.

We us IP to control most everything these days, and this includes how the RCS NexGen communicates with the Sage Endec.  Sure enough, this week I noticed that the RWT did not fire properly.  This is normally caused by the old architecture of NexGen where it just decides to not talk.  After a couple of tests I had to do the old CTRL+Alt+Shift+F4 on the A-server so it would load a fresh database.  Why it decided to start doing this is beyond me.  The other two stations do not have this issue.  I know we will be moving off this system some day, so whatever we use better be IP savvy in running all tests and alerts.

Interspersed among all this fun is Microsoft and Windows 10.  Thanks.  Apparently there is an issue with Win 10 and USB 3.0.  At least with some of our stuff, more specifically Digigram and the UAX-220v2.  Thought he device uses generic Windows drivers, the system will throw a fault and reboot spontaneously.  When trying to track it down, the Event Logs show nothing except the “previous shutdown was unexpected” error.  I finally caught a memory dump and analysed it.  A reference to a USB device was there.  As a test I removed the UAX and that machine has settled down.  I think I will need to experiment with a couple of other USB sound devices and see if it is isolated to Digigram or it is more universal issue.  Sad if it is the UAX as the beauty of it was plug and play with no special drivers.

If you get a long weekend, enjoy!  If not, take advantage of the time you have!



Engineering Week Successes

Motivation has been lacking.  Been waiting a while for the sale to go through, so now we are a new company.  Very cool and it looks to be quite fruitful with the resources that appear to be had.  Many little/minor repairs have been done since my last post.  If you read the trades much in terms of streaming and connected media.  While all that goes on there is still radio and still needs to be met.  As a broadcast engineer the main deed is to keep our stations on the air!

Granted I had no off air time this week, I did have to deal with a couple of issues.  One is an auxiliary exciter that decided not to produce power.  This bad boy is an old Harris Superciter.  I believe it to be a post-Digit exciter and dates back to 2006.  As I had a spare Digit I was able to bring the Superciter to the shop for work.  Acquiring the schematics and manual was fun, and I dug up a schematic set, but no manual.  GatesAir was able to forward me a manual and another set of schematics.  After poking around I got frustrated as I did not know what readings I needed to see as certain points to determine what direction to go.  A few more emails and a better understanding led me to testing each stage.  Eventually I got really curious, so when I got to the Power Amp (PA), I began static testing the transistors which began to look good.  As this exciter is an Aux and just sits there with a quarterly turn on and run I figure it was time to really look for dirty contacts everywhere.  Anything I saw I cleaned.  I reconnected everything and had forward power!  Crossing my fingers, I put the box back together thinking it won’t turn on when I do.  Luck on my side, it came on again.  Ran it for over an hour into a load without issue.  I’ll fire it up again Monday to verify and plan on taking it back to the site.

As if this exciter thing was a pain, one of my main transmitters started doing something odd: It began having power fluctuations.  This is an “old” Nautel NV20.  Yeah, remember, I have the oldest ones out there at 6 1/2 years old now, so I get to experience the aging process.  No faults were showing except for PA module foldbacks and, sitting down, “Module # not responding.”  If a PA module is not responding there must be some fault somewhere.  I looked at everything.  I ran it into the load and watched it.  It didn’t matter which module it just randomly picked on as not responding, or two, three….  What else can I do?

I did what anyone would do.  Shut it down.  Remove each PA module and reset it.  While I did that I also checked the fans on each, though not showing failures, I’ve had a couple fail from old age already.  Found 2 that showed signs of failing and replaced them.  I check the connections to the exciter.  All good and tight.  Flipped the disconnect back on and let the AUI boot up.  I took it slow and selected a low power preset.  I stepped to to a low power with HD preset.  I went for the gold to full TPO of 10 kW.  I watched it with eagle eyes.  I dared it to do something.  Rock solid.  Heated that room up good running it into the load for 20+ minutes.  Time to put it back on the air, and it came right up.  Again I eyed it.  Both via front monitor AUI and via remote web browser, one on the main screen and the other on the status screen just waiting for it to mess up.  Rock solid.  Absolutely no power wavering.  I watched that thing for an hour, and then called it good.  The conclusion:  Even 20 kW Linux computers need to be rebooted, from a cold boot, on occasion.

Hope all your repairs turn out to be as simple and successful as mine have.  Look for the signposts while troubleshooting and take the proper path.  The repair becomes easy.  (Oooh, a Zen moment there.)


Categories: Equipment Tags: , , , ,

Another Week, Another Update

February 6, 2011 Leave a comment

I thought this week was going to be routine, maybe even slow.  Not the case when you walk in and find the IT guy at the HD rack restarting all the devices due to a UPS failure!  Luckily that is all it was.  The only odd thing is the UPS was an Eaton-Powerware UPS.  I have had good luck with these.  The lesser models, the acquired MGE UPSs, are not worth the effort, but the Powerware models usually hold up well.  At this point you are thinking batteries, but not the case.  Darn thing bellied up and will not pass AC or even attempt to go into bypass.  It took a power hit and protected the equipment by committing suicide.  Oh well.  I had a spare.

Finished Monday off well with the second NV20 field modification.  Like last week, the modifications went well with only one hitch.  Some excessive RF was getting into the monitoring and control of one PA module and affected the fans; shutting down said module.  I was short ferrite beads, so we took a shot and added one, and only one, to a fan lead.  All errors cleared and we were in business.  This NV also received the cooling modification.  Both modifications were completed in 3 hours.  After doing the NV modifications I asked Nautel if the same modification to their V series would work and improve performance.  The answer is a yes, but I figure I will wait and see if it is really necessary.

I got to meet with a Studer rep.  Remember Studer?  Yeah, they still exist.  By the way if you have their old reel-to-reel machines, they have someone who will service them.  Our meet was to discuss consoles.  I cannot elaborate, but it was a good discussion.  Ask yourself how many Studer consoles are there in radio stations in America?  Europe?  You see where this is headed.  Anyways, I have some thoughts to make on how I will proceed in future console installs, but  I will remain adamant that a console be simple and intuitive for the air talent, but flexible enough to perform technically without too many bells and whistles.

The last technical headache of the week involves Windows and USB to Serial adapters.  Timed SAS automation events will not run if your computer running the Router Control Software is not functioning.  We found out the hard way.  Though many are convinced that something occurred with the SAS 32KD system, the logs and dump file show that an error with the device driver for the USB to Serial device caused a kernel crash.  What a pain.  Be aware of this if it has not happened to you before.  We are researching other manufacturers of these devices, but since they seem to be made on the cheap the potential for issues remains at a moderate level.

It looks as though I am able to spend a couple of days at the NAB Show this spring.  Automation or audio deliver systems will be high on the list of products for me.  I look forward to attending my first Nautel Users Group meeting.  Should be interesting.  I hope to meet some readers out there.  On to next week and beyond!


Categories: Equipment Tags: , , , , , ,

Nautel NV LUT (Look-Up Table)

December 8, 2009 1 comment

Talking with a colleague there appears to be some confusion on what a LUT is.  This is referenced in the new procedures when upgrading to version 2.7 of the software.  To be honest, with our NV20’s we do not even have saved LUTs.  If your transmitter is running IBOC with either FM+HD or HD only it is recommended that a LUT is saved.

The instructions provided with your 2.7 update will take you through the recalibration process.  We performed ours BEFORE the revised procedures came out.  Overall ours went well except that one transmitter lost its Transmitter High RF Drive Power threshold.  Huh?  Yes, we had to manually set the threshold level again so we could make full TPO.  A minor annoyance considering how complicated this box is.

I’ve read the new procedures which includes the reset of the LUT.  Again, the LUT is a look-up table.  If you have one configured, located under Hardware Settings, it contains information on the mode (FM+HD or HD only), TPO, and frequency.  The location number is what is referenced in the Preset under Other Audio.  The LUT height is figured out to compensate for any overshoot (power) when the transmitter is turned on.  In addition the ramp up time or the time it takes the transmitter to achieve full power is indexed and is the LUT gain.  Once the height is set, you work the gain to achieve a nice smooth ramp up to full power.

The bottom line is the LUT is used as a reference and target for a preset running an HD mode.  If you are running FM Only, the LUT is not required or important.  The transmitter references the LUT and then powers up smoothly and stops at the desired TPO.  If you run two presets with differing power levels it is recommended you create a LUT for each one.  The information is then stored in the exciter.

That is my understanding of the LUT.  Hopefully this clears up some confusion on the purpose.  As I learn more I will modify this post.


Categories: Equipment Tags: , ,

Nautel NV20 Updates and Maintenance

November 12, 2009 Leave a comment

As promised, I will give you an account of our Nautel NV20 maintenance.  All is routine and a pretty boring read, but you always have to be prepared for the unexpected.  Having the first ones does make for some interesting servicing and surprises.  All in all, the maintenance was complete within two hours.

The first part of the process was to upload the new 2.7 software to the “20kW Linux computers.”  No surprises here, so there isn’t much to report there.
The second part of our maintenance before apply the software was to remove a power module and place a ferrite on a fan lead which was reporting the wrong speed.  The tachometer was reporting varying speeds due to RF getting into the circuit.  Of course this only shows up while in hybrid, FM+HD, mode.  In FM only the problem went away, so we knew something was up.  Removal of the module was a breeze.  After taking the cover off, it was easy to clip the ferrite around the lead.  We also took note of how the power amps were installed and then we turned the unit over and removed the back panel.  All heat sink.  I must say the power modules are built very simple and neat.  If you wonder why they are so big it is all heat dissipation from what I can tell.  The components themselves are compact and cleanly installed.  Once the ferrite was in we put it all back together and tested to make sure this took care of our reporting error.  It sure did.  We have extra ferrites if we see this problem crop up in any other modules.
Third we proceeded with the software updates.  The first NV was flawless.  At the end of the update we performed the recalibration procedure with no issue.  The second update took with no issues. After recalibration the thing would not go over 5kW!  Whoa, boy.  What the…?  Identical boxes and one was not happy?  After some checks and comparisons with the first box we checked the threshold settings.  Sure enough the update reset the default thresholds.  After adjusting to what they should be we were back in business.
Fourth, we had some housekeeping to do.  As these are the first ones out there was some test files and configurations that did not get removed causing a bit of network traffice, though not much, was not necessary.  So we eliminated the file and cleared that up.

We are now working smoothly.  All this “work” took less than two hours.  Now if we can get AT&T to maintain the T1’s we will be golden.  We keep pushing them to install fiber.  We continue to wait and call in trouble as we get it.

Categories: Equipment Tags: ,

What?! Nothing Happening?

November 2, 2009 4 comments

Wow,  I cannot believe I have not posted in over two weeks!  Well, yes I can.  Nothing is going on.  As my tweets have mentioned I have updated our NV20’s to Version 2.6.  Guess what, 2.7 is available.  From what I can tell I may not need 2.7 at this time as i am not experiencing the issues of which it contains.  I do not update just for the sake of updating, so on this one I will wait it out just a bit and research more on what it is supposed to do.  I am quite happy with 2.6.  No issues.  Uh, Oh, now there will be something.

Harris?  This buffer overflow thing seemed to be the issue.  I still am surprised that an HD data overflow would mute the exciter.  How can you put something on the air that is NOT critical but can cause a critical outage?  Flabbergasted is a word for that.  Hey, at least we’ve been on the air since I changed the Exgine delay setting.

DaySequerra M2.2R?  Not back yet.  Still waiting.  This better work when I get it back!

Time change.  Hopefully everyone who needs to made their changes.  When you get down to it I find it amazing how many things have clocks in them.  I also find it amazing why.  I know my processors have dayparting, but we do not use it.  Need a clock?  Not really, but we check them anyways.  Anything that logs need updating.  Now my Nautel transmitter clocks need to be checked so I can get accurate logs on any issues.  Nice feature, eh?

The super secret item mentioned in a tweet?  It is a Tieline product.  I am beta testing for a week coming up here.  I don’t think I am supposed to talk about it yet, though it is a product they demonstrated at NAB.  I am honored to be able to test something for a company.  They trust I will either like it or can find issues with it.  I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

That’s all folks.  I’ll keep you posted and may even write an opinion on something like HD power increase.

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