996XT Base, MINI USB Repair

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firerick100

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Aneyone know if the mini usb prot on the front of scanner can be replaced?
That's funny that you posted this,mine is messed up to from plugging the remote head into it ,I can't solder so it looks like I. Have to send mine in to be replaced.
 

lep

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I decided early on in the life of my 996XT that the front port was in-the-way and I do all my programming and remote logging only through the more substantial REAR port. Works fine for almost everything and saves wear and tear on the front port for those times you must use it.
 

firerick100

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I decided early on in the life of my 996XT that the front port was in-the-way and I do all my programming and remote logging only through the more substantial REAR port. Works fine for almost everything and saves wear and tear on the front port for those times you must use it.
I looked in the back of my 996xt there is no mini USB port on the rear for the cable for the computer or the remote head ,how are you doing it?
 

lep

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The mini USB connector is the FRONT port just a little below the round knob on the right. The REAR USB port is a full size screw-down connector, that is why I prefer it for remote control as it doesn't fall off or otherwise get in the way.
I have two different type USB cables one to use on the FRONT and one for the REAR.
 

cg

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Both are not USB ports but are serial ports. The Uniden branded cable for the front jack is a Serial to USB converter. You can use a plain DB9 cable on the rear if you have a DB9 port on your computer.

chris
 

lep

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Yes, I should have been more specific but old habits die hard. USB means of course, Universal SERIAL buss..
The cord I use on the REAR port has the adaptor electronics inside the shell of the DB9 connector. Mine is a Sewell Corporation SW-1301 and includes a mini CD with windows drivers, like other devices of this type it is made in China,, I have several 'brands" of these that may be all made in the same factory but have different names on them.
Electronically they are the same for the FRONT <or> the REAR with different plugs. Having a DB9 is mechanically IMHOP superior to the front mini plug troublesome front connector.
 

kruser

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Yes, the original port can be replaced/repaired or someone can grab the signal lines and abandon the front port entirely and wire it up to a new additional rear port. One word of caution that has been pointed out in many threads in addition to this thread is that the front port is NOT USB.
It may look like it and to make matters worse, there are cables made that will plug directly into that connector and a USB port on a computer but doing so will likely fry something and maybe beyond repair. The front port is actually a serial (RS-232) port that uses standard serial port signal levels.
Of course Uniden also sells a cable the will convert USB to serial that also plugs directly into the front port. Or they sell a cable that breaks out the front port back to a standard DB9 serial connector shell. That cable was also included with the radio.

I ended up splicing into the front serial port and ran a set of wires to an additional DB9 connector out the rear of the radio. That little serial port connecter they used on the front panel was just too fragile for my taste if I were to have something plugged into it all the time. So I duplicated the port into an additional DB9 out the rear. I did the same with the PC/IF jacks on my GRE radios or the RadioShack clones. I hate cables coming out the front of my radios! They get in the way, are prone to getting hit and broken off etc.
If a radio has no rear line out jack, I'll add one of those as well while doing my serial port mod. That comes in handy for using your own external amplified speakers or for recording at line level. I'll usually also add a true discriminator tap even on the Uniden's or GRE's that already have data outputs which are not discriminator level outputs. If there is room on the back panel, these extra jacks go there. If no room, I build a small breakout box with the jacks mounted on it but I still usually mount some form of connector so I can remove the entire thing if I won't be using it. A DB9 or HD DB15 in a DB9 shell will give plenty of pins to carry pretty much any signal you may need. Cutting the opening for a DB9 shell can be a pain though. After I manually cut a few DB9 shaped openings with a Dremel tool, I'd had enough and invested in a DB9 chassis punch. And later, a DB25 punch for those projects that required lots of signal lines.

The serial jack on the front panels of my 996's are still wired and active so I can do firmware updates but I usually have a permanent serial cable plugged into my new rear mounted front port DB9 connector anyway.
I'd need to get at the back of the radio if I needed to use the front jack so I could disconnect that cable before I could use the original front jack.
For my remote head, I simply built a long cable with a shield and two more conductors wired to a DB9 shell and a 1/8th inch stereo plug. The remote head only needs ground and the TX plus RX lines. It does not use any of the other signal lines available on a true serial port. I've ran the remote head over serial level signals well over 500 feet before. Or today, they sell serial to ethernet adapters and you could plug in your remote head halfway around the planet if you wanted too. I do it at work over a VPN sometimes. Getting the audio can be a bit tricky though.
I've since switched to using a small cable with two individually shielded pairs of cable in one jacket. One pair for the remote head data and the other pair to get the amplified speaker level audio out to the room I'm using the remote head. That works well thanks to Uniden using digital squelch and audio circuits that can be adjusted over the serial bus.

My remote heads are really running from the front port when I use them but I connect them to the DB9 connecter I spliced into the front port so nothing is hanging out the front of the radio.
I also used unused pins on the original rear port DB9 connector to supply power to my choice of GPS unit. I rewired all my GPS capable Uniden's for the same wiring scheme so my GPS would work when simply plugged into the radio.
I also found the needed front panel plugs and built some custom cables for the 396's.

If you extend your front port to the rear like I did, you just need to remember that you can't use both at the same time as serial ports cannot be shared. That's usually not a problem with the 15 or 996 models as they both have two isolated serial ports but sometimes, I wish they had three.
One for remote head, one for scanner control or CC monitoring if not using a discriminator tap and one for GPS.
I think someone built a box that allowed for the rear port to receive signals from a GPS at the same time the scanner could be monitored over the TX line with programs like ProScan set to the slower 4800 baud GPS speed.
I never messed with that idea myself and don't know if it worked.

You can build a box with a diode or two and 'sniff' what is going over your serial connection.
That can be used to find undocumented commands or for troubleshooting if the computer or radio are not talking. Or it could be used for the above idea of sharing a port with a GPS and some type of logging program at the same time.
 
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firerick100

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Do they make an adapter that plugs into the serial port on the rear and and accepts the mini plug into that?
 

lep

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You can find almost any type of plug combinations with enough searching, but my Question would be Why? I whole point of using the REAR port was to get rid of the mini-plug that does not provide a secure mechanical connection, just a pressure connection that an flop around and come loose.
 

firerick100

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You can find almost any type of plug combinations with enough searching, but my Question would be Why? I whole point of using the REAR port was to get rid of the mini-plug that does not provide a secure mechanical connection, just a pressure connection that an flop around and come loose.
I have a remote head because I have my scanner is in the back of my car and I need an adapter that would allow the mini plug on the cord plug Into and utilize the serial plug on the back and same goes for programming it would need a USB to serial port cord,I'm assuming radio shack might have these I looked on uniden but no luck
 
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UPMan

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If you want to extend the RH-96 cable, just use any stereo headphone extension cable.
 

lep

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Sorry I still don't understand the problem. In my vehicle I have a 996 under the passenger seat and a remote head on the console. I use the REAR port on the 996 with a DB9 screw down cable just like the one on my desk in front of me, I don't use the min plug on either for the stated reasons of it being insecure mechanically.
 

firerick100

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Sorry I still don't understand the problem. In my vehicle I have a 996 under the passenger seat and a remote head on the console. I use the REAR port on the 996 with a DB9 screw down cable just like the one on my desk in front of me, I don't use the min plug on either for the stated reasons of it being insecure mechanically.
That's what I want to do but cannot find An adapter or cable like that , the one that came with my remote head has the mini plug on one end for the scanner and the other end is the head phone type plug that goes into the remote head
 

fnnm400

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Upman, here is the problem, the remote head cable will not stay plugged into the radio. The connector on the radio is apparently bad, I would opt for coming off the back but unaware of cable for remote head from serial.
I tried a new cable and it is abviously the the plug is bad, so what to do. Disappointed that uniden didn't do a better job and having the remote head is the only option for me?
help or thoughts appreciated
 

firerick100

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I was reading the 996xt online manual and it says you may need a gender changer and null moden adapter if using the rear port.i found some online at staples and radio shack and other online stores.i am going to run my Remote head into the rear port and also update my scanner when needed from the rear port,the cables are much cheaper then sending out the scanner to be repaired which is 50.00 plus 10 dollars for them to ship it back on top of the cost to ship it to uniden.
 
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