Viavi Eastcap-1 B3030 Crashes

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jthorusen
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Viavi Eastcap-1 B3030 Crashes

Post by jthorusen »

I'm curious to know how many of you are using the Viavi (formerly Trilithic) Easycap-1 EAS EnDec. This is the new model which supposedly complies with the latest FCC / FEMA requirements.

We are using one and it will not run for more than 24 hours without crashing, requiring a power-on reset / reboot. Sometimes it will only last 4 hours or so, other times it will run for about a day, but never more than that. We sent the unit back to Viavi; they ran it for 5 days and said it ran fine; no trouble found. I just got it back in the rack Thursday, and by Friday it was down again.

The unit runs Linux on a dedicated processor, which supports the Viavi software which handles the EAS functions. It acts as a web site so that you can log onto the unit through the local network to configure it, i.e. set monitoring options, alert types and areas, etc. When it crashes, if one attempts to log onto it, one gets a "404" error stating that the web page is unavailable. This means that the Linux operating system is still running, but the Viavi software layer has crashed.

I'm wondering if anyone else is running this box and what your experiences with it are. I would like to try to pin this down to either a software problem or a hardware problem. In our case, the unit is mounted in a rack that contains the main transmitter for the station. The local RF field is fairly high (we are meeting the exposure guidelines, but only just). I would think that if the unit was RF susceptible, it would crash the entire system including the Linux layer, not just the Viavi layer.... but who knows?

The unit is fed with the same AC power as the computer controlled transmitter (BW TX V3) and also the station automation computer, neither of which is crashing, so I am reluctant to assign this to a power glitch... unless the Viavi power supply design is marginal.

Anyway, the situation is unacceptable from a rules and regs compliance standpoint, and I need to gather some data to see if we can hold Viavi's feet to the fire on this.

We haven't gotten back to them yet, but my next suggestion will be to have them send us another unit. When we get it, we will send this one back for exchange. We will then be certain to nail it down to a hardware problem in our specific box or a software problem. If the latter, then surely other people must be experiencing problems as well... hence this request.

Thanks,
James K. (Jim) Thorusen
KB6GM
Central Coast Electronics
www.centcoast.com
NW Oregon Consulting Bdcst Eng.

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kkiddkkidd
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Re: Viavi Eastcap-1 B3030 Crashes

Post by kkiddkkidd »

Jim,

I have exactly zero of this unit but...:

A. Is the power supply a wall wart and was that power supply sent back to Trilithic with the unit? Failing wall warts can cause all manner of weirdness.

B. You might try taking the unit away from the site to see if it is RF related.

C. When I was checking update prices for last year's major FEMA security update last November..., I talked to a Trilithic support tech who said "what update?". I talked to a support supervisor who said "what update?" I talked to a sales girl who said, "what update?...". They were apparently not aware of a forced software upgrade that had been talked about for at least a year and was happening in less than a month.

Regards,
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

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jthorusen
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Re: Viavi Eastcap-1 B3030 Crashes

Post by jthorusen »

Thanks for the reply, Kevin. The unit has a built-in power supply fed by a standard computer power cord (I forget the NEMA number for that three pin connector, but I'm sure you know what I mean).

I am wondering if it is RF related, but it is unusual in that only the top layer of software (the Viavi program) is crashing... the Linux operating system soldiers on. Normally a problem with RF getting into the system wouldn't be so selective.

Viavi apparently did get their act together and design a new box... this is what we have. Their old box was not upgradeable.... (I have a thread somewhere in the history section of this Forum looking for solutions to the old box being obsolete.) This gadget was unfortunately, the cheapest practical solution. It was at least 25% less money than the Sage box and it has two built-in monitor receivers which we would have had to procure as separate pieces if we went with the Sage machine. The budget just wasn't there, so we were stuck with Trilithic (Viavi).

I may try taking the box home with me and running it for awhile, but it is difficult to do that. The audio jack field is not yet installed and I really don't want to go through the routine of fabricating jumpers for the phoenix connectors again.

Mainly, I just want to gather a knowledge base of people who have the things and whether or not they are working. This is a real booby-trap, as we didn't know the system had crashed for some days after the first failure. No one at the studio knew enough to ascertain that the front panel screen was blank and no one was trying to log onto the system. It wasn't until the station manager tried to log on to download the logs that he became aware that the system had crashed. If there are stations out there that only download their logs once a month (or worse yet, once a year) they may be completely out of commission and not even know it.

Hopefully, I will get some feedback from users of the system so I can ascertain if this problem is unique to us (possible) or if it reflects a genuine software problem that is prevalent across the entire installed base of these units (my personal suspicion).

Thanks,
James K. (Jim) Thorusen
KB6GM
Central Coast Electronics
www.centcoast.com
NW Oregon Consulting Bdcst Eng.

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jthorusen
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Re: Viavi Eastcap-1 B3030 Crashes

Post by jthorusen »

Well... the plot thickens. Viavi was able to use putty to check out the EAS unit and discovered that the hard drive was bad. Why they didn't discover this when they had it back for repair the last time is anyone's guess. So... back it goes again. Fortunately, I moved the installation of a patch bay to the front burner last Tuesday and so we were able to pull the thing out of the rack with minimal effort or disruption to the program.

I'm kind of surprised that no one else is running these things... (at least I got no responses to this posting)... especially when they are the lowest cost unit. However, I gather that most people here are running Sage boxes and the later ones of these were field upgradable, or so I understand.

So... as the one and only user, I guess I will have to assume the responsibility of keeping y'all informed as to how the box is working out.


Stay tuned....

Oh. yes... for Kevin... item C "What Update?"

I think that there may have been a semantic issue here. There never was an "update" for the Trilithic units. The solution to the new FCC mandate was to buy an entirely new unit... which we did. The older units were declared "end-of-life" and are not upgradeable. So, if you had asked them about a new unit to meet the latest FCC specs, they probably would have given you the sales pitch. But in asking for an upgrade, they correctly (from their point of view) reported that it didn't exist.

Regards,
James K. (Jim) Thorusen
KB6GM
Central Coast Electronics
www.centcoast.com
NW Oregon Consulting Bdcst Eng.

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kkiddkkidd
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Re: Viavi Eastcap-1 B3030 Crashes

Post by kkiddkkidd »

jthorusen wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 1:00 am
So... as the one and only user, I guess I will have to assume the responsibility of keeping y'all informed as to how the box is working out.


Stay tuned....

Oh. yes... for Kevin... item C "What Update?"

I think that there may have been a semantic issue here. There never was an "update" for the Trilithic units. The solution to the new FCC mandate was to buy an entirely new unit... which we did. The older units were declared "end-of-life" and are not upgradeable. So, if you had asked them about a new unit to meet the latest FCC specs, they probably would have given you the sales pitch. But in asking for an upgrade, they correctly (from their point of view) reported that it didn't exist.

Regards,
Ahhhhh... I see, but they never mentioned that there was actually a new unit either. Although I have never seen one of these units, I would be interested in hearing how it works out.

I had a DasDec at a station that developed a bad hard drive. It worked but acted extremely weird (weirder than a normal DasDec...) I could change various settings, save them and they appeared to save, leave the page and go back to the page that I had just left and some/all of the values were back to the old values. Sometimes it would decode alerts for days and then not for days. Monroe replaced the hard drive and it acted normally again.

This is also the same DasDec unit that I inherited with a new client and after finding that it had never received a single alert and was also dutifully sending RWT's for a location in WI or MI (it is in TN). They had bought the POJ used and a traveling ministry engineer had just stuck it in the rack, wired it and left without programming anything other than the call sign. It still had the old FIPs codes, etc. I reprogrammed it and it worked fine for a year or more before developing the corrupt HD.
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

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jthorusen
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Re: Viavi Eastcap-1 B3030 Crashes

Post by jthorusen »

Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD wrote: They had bought the POJ used and a traveling ministry engineer had just stuck it in the rack, wired it and left without programming anything other than the call sign. It still had the old FIPs codes, etc.
.... and people wonder why the national EAS tests go so badly.... :roll:

Regards,
James K. (Jim) Thorusen
KB6GM
Central Coast Electronics
www.centcoast.com
NW Oregon Consulting Bdcst Eng.

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