The Easy Digi boards are a great kit for those who want an easy project. I've done a couple other posts about them and if you want more details click here and here.
|1st Easy Digi Interface|
This time the goal is simplicity. I needed to create an interface that has one USB connection to the PC and a modular plug for connecting to a transceiver. That means I have to cram all the components into a box and try to keep it compact enough you can easily throw it into your go bag.
You need three major components to make this interface work. You need the Easy Digi circuit, a serial device to trigger the PTT, and a sound device. Fortunately today all of these components are relatively cheap and easy to get.
For this project I picked up (Total $38.83) :
- Easy Digi Interface Kit ($12.55)
- USB to DB9 Serial module ($5.95)
- USB Sound Card ($5.28)
- 4 Port USB Hub ($1.98)
- CAT5e RJ45 M/F Panel Mount ($5.95)
- ABS Plastic Project Box 3.5 x 3.5 x 2.24 inch ($7.12)
|Easy Digi Assembled|
The first step is to put the Easy Digi kit together. I won't go into detail for that here, the instructions with the kit are very easy to follow.
After that I started taking plastic cases off all the stuff I ordered so everything would fit in the project box. Luckly the enclosures were all just fitted together and not glued, so they just pulled apart.
|USB Sound Device|
|USB Sound Device with case removed|
Next I needed to attach the USB serial device that controls the PTT circuit. There needs to be a connection from the DTR, RTS, and ground pins on the serial device to the corresponding solder pads on the EasyDigi board. Note that when looking for a USB serial device, you need one that presents the correct voltages. I've found that usually the adapters that actually have a DB9 connector on them provide the 5+ volts necessary to operate the optocoupler for the PTT. Don't bother trying to use the cheap UART devices.
|RJ45 Panel Mount|
|RJ45 Panel Mount wires exposed|
|RJ45 Panel Mount wired to Easy Digi|
After that, I needed to install the RJ45 panel mount that will connect the device to the radio. I chopped the plug end of the panel mount cable off and wired it to the board using the following pinout. This assumes the panel mount is wired as a T-568B standard, starting with the orange/white, orange wires.
PIN Color Function
1 Orange/White RX Audio
2 Orange RX Audio
3 Green/White MIC In
4 Blue MIC Ground
5 Blue/White PTT High
6 Green PTT Ground
7 Brown/White Not Connected
8 Brown Not Connected
|Windows Installing New Devices|
|Device Manager showing new devices|
|Install Old Prolific Driver if needed.|
Running the UZ7HO soundmodem software and Winlink Express, I test my connection using the interface. Once I'm sure the components are working correctly, I installed them in the project box.
|Inside a finished Super Easy Digi|
To route the cables out of the box. I used a rotary tool to cut a notch in two of the sides of the box. One for the USB hub cable to come out and one for the RJ45 jack. Luckily the USB hub cable has a molded strain relief still attached and I was able to reuse it with the box. The RJ45 jack is held in place by the lip of the enclosure. It pinches the cable enough that it takes quite a lot of force to either pull it out or push it into the box.
|Complete Super Easy Digi|
I hope you enjoyed this project! 73
Is the Easy Digi necessary in all cases? I'm trying to get into digital on my Yaesu 450D. I installed Fldigi on a Raspberry Pi and want to interface that with the Yaesu. Someone told me this can be done with two cables and a sound card dongle and others have suggested the Easy Digi but I just don't know if it's needed. I do appreciate your wiring write-up..it's the only one I have found so far.ReplyDelete
You don't need one in every case. It's primarily for isolation between the rig and computer. With my rigs, I've noticed issues when just running cables. For example, my HF rig would keep getting interference. When I experimented with using only audio cables, it did work, it would just sometimes transmit a dirty signal.Delete
Another example is using HT's and mobile rigs. If you try to simply use cables with many HT's or mobile rigs, the wires short to ground when plugging them into the computer's sound card and the radio will get stuck in transmit. The transformers installed on the EasyDigi gives the electrical isolation to prevent this and make things work smoothly.
Thanks for your tutorials! From your YouTube tutorial on WinLink and EasyDigi, I don't see how to get WinLink to use the software TNC. When selecting Open Session, the popup asks for which TNC you're using, and our software TNC isn't in the list. Did I miss an important part of the setup?ReplyDelete
I will answer my own question: to use WinLink with a softmodem, set it to KISS mode. I should have been able to guess that, but there you go.Delete
Thanks for visiting the blog Dylan! Glad you figured it out. You are correct that it needs to be setup as a kiss type tnc inside of Winlink Express.Delete
Thanks Josh for this detailed write up. Would it be possible to include part numbers for the various parts ? And what radio are you using this with. Will this work on HF too. The picture you show and list as a "Sound Device" I am particularly interested in. Bill AF7ZAReplyDelete
Hey Bill, thanks for visiting the site. Part numbers might be a little hard to come by since I sourced most everything from eBay and it was all generic and made in China. The sound device is a generic USB sound card. They are really cheap, only a few dollars. It will add an extra sound card to your computer to use specifically for this interface. Your best bet on finding the components will be to search the name of each on eBay or Amazon.Delete
I'm using this interface with many different radios including HF. I have tested it with a Baofeng UV-5r, Kenwood TM-281, Yaesu 1900, and a Yaesu FT-840.
I've had lots of success with digital modes on HF as well as using this for packet operation on VHF. This is the only interface I have used for the past couple years.
How did u wire the 3.5 cables? what is the pinout for connecting to the easy digi?ReplyDelete
please contact me - KG7QEO
The 3.5mm connectors are wired as follows.Delete
Tip/Ring -> Audio
Shield -> Ground
This article has a little more detail on wiring up the audio connections.
Josh: Do you use a standard ethernet between the microphone port on the radio and the panel mount connector on the Easy Digi Box? Is there some sort of adapter for RJ-45 to to the 3.5mm inputs that the Baofeng radios use?ReplyDelete
The side that is connected to the EasDigi is a standard RJ45, the other end is custom to what ever rig needs to be connected. In the case of the UV-5r, it requires a 3.5mm and 2.5mm plug for the speaker and mic jack. I didn't have any 2.5mm plugs handy, so I found a 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter for connecting to the speaker connection.Delete
Here's a link to another post I did where I show some more details in cable construction.
cool idea, i wanted to replace the netowrk cable with a fm traciever.. like a car radio fm trasmitterReplyDelete
Great write up..ReplyDelete