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10243Bizzare power failure mode

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  • k7rbw
    Apr 3, 2010
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      After getting the tracker and AIO beacon all tweaked, I thought I'd let them all cook overnight to see what happened. I was running the tracker and it's GPS and transceiver off a small (apparently, too small) Gel-cell, which died about midnight (at least that's when the packets stopped getting logged). When I checked this morning, the DC from the (normally 12-v) battery was 7.6 v. I know that probably didn't do the battery any good, but I didn't expect the Tracker2 to be negatively influenced.

      I was powering the tracker from the radio's mike jack which supplies a regulated 7.0 V. The Nuvi 350 was powered directly from the battery through it's ligher plug adapter. All was pinging happily when I went to bed. The output of the AIO was dialed down to where it was heard only by the tracker 2 which then digi'd it out to where it could be picked up by a nearby IGate.

      This morning, the radio (Kenwood TM-742A) was clearly displeased with the 7.6 volts it was getting and expressed this displeasure by flickering the LEDs on the control panel. After I restored power to an acceptable level, the GPS and the radio came back to life and the T2 would digi packets just fine but it wouldn't connect back to the GPS.

      From the COM port to the GPS, it put out what looked like the Garmin characters (to the extent I can tell what they are in the Terminal program) but the GPS wouldn't bite and establish a com link to the T2. I reset the GPS back to non-FMI mode and it wouldn't pick up on whatever was coming out of the T2 to go back into FMI mode.

      I tried reloading the configuration which let me hook up the command port, but the wierdest thing was that the monitor messages (when the T2 would digipeat a packet) were completely garbled. I ended up reloading (and updating) the Tracker2's software and that seems to have fixed it because it's back to doing what it does best.

      I don't know what the power looked like coming out of the mike jack when the radio was having spasms, but I'm sure it wasn't pretty, which is what I'm guessing scrambled the T2's brains enough to mess up the Com port messages. I suppose this is a hint that I should get one of those battery cut-off boxes that disconnects the battery once it goes below a certain voltage.