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CentraCom 1st version.

K4RBT

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May 12, 2011
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85
I would like to find one or two bays of the 1st generation CentraCom console. I worked on lots when a Tech for Motorola in Harrisburg, PA. I have seen a couple used and like to do as Motorola did, put the power supplies in the bottom, out of sight. There is a company that makes the 19 inch panels with cutouts for any radio, some they have on file, some have to be custom made. They are really nice, I believe water jet cut. Satin black finish.
American Wireless, a dispatch furniture manufacturer, bought the rights to the original CentraCom consoles from Motorola, and manufacture new consoles with improvements. It night just be easier to buy new than have to look all over the US for surplus ones.
I already have started designing the necessary accessory modules, mostly audio control, status indicators, panel mounted speakers (they have a cutout panel that flush mounts the speakers.
I know, I have lost my mind!
 

W9WSS

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Dec 19, 2002
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Westmont, DuPage County, IL USA
.....and to think that the agency I retired from 14 years ago tossed 3 consoles out for scrap when they upgraded their Centracom consoles several years before that. Before I even had a chance to ask, out they went to some scrap heap collector, boards, and all. I imagine the CEB (Central Electronics Bank) disappeared also. WHAT A WASTE!

(NOTE: The photo is NOT of our system; It's a stock photo.Centracom Console 080120-01.jpg
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Dec 22, 2013
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I worked on those in final test at Schaumburg from May 1976 to about 1978. I always liked the furniture. Finding used might be tough, but they do show up from time to time.
 

K4RBT

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May 12, 2011
Messages
85
When we (Motorola) installed the med radio system in Adams County, York County, Dauphin County, Lancaster County and Lebanon County, we also installed some new CentrCom consoles, except Adams, they already had it. About the only thing I can remember replacing was the transmit main push-buttons. No card repairs. The "logging recorder", a home use Panasonic cassette unit, would just not record. The service was in Hershey. Imagine a drive from City of York to Hershey to find out they could not make it fail. then another round trip. A lot of telephone line problems in York County, the others installed microwave. Only had one multiplex card fail. I could not fix it on site as we were supposed to temperature test the cards after repair.
All gone. Sigh!
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Dec 22, 2013
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K4RTB
Was that logging recorder the one for telemetry? Motorola bought a bunch of consumer recorders, cut off the knob shafts and put a black 19 inch faceplate over the front. They were kind of hokey in that I wondered if the knobs were set properly. I had the "fortune" of being the first final test tech to check out the first of the telemetry consoles being shipped to an industry show. It was all miswired and did not work. I had a product manager bugging me every 30 minutes as to why it wasn't passing the 12M. I finally told him I was a technician, not a magician. I did get it working. The gals in production who wired it were very confused as it was a real cluster.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Dec 22, 2013
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The CentraCom one TR module was an intensely complex bunch of analog amps, AGC, audio gates, timers and diode transistor logic. I learned quite a bit in that job. Most of the problems were mis installed or poorly soldered parts. Once I found a main power supply with incorrect bleeder resistor, the color code was read backwards and a low ohm resistor soldered in. Fun stuff.
 

W9WSS

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I recalled a small tidbit when I was with my law enforcement agency's detective division. At that time, I was placed in charge of radios, pagers (we didn't have cell phones yet), and squad car setups. One of the frequencies on our VHF simplex network was adding PL (xmit & rcve). This was for the Centracom 2 (not a PLUS or GOLD) and at that time, the radio contractor didn't have the (DOS) program for the CEB. He had to beg, borrow, or steal a current version to make the change. It took several weeks before he was able to make the changes, which he charged a pretty penny because we didn't have a contract for maintenance, just T&M (time and materials) on our radio system. Then, there was programming 35 mobile radios and 40 or so handie talkies.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Dec 22, 2013
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Programming CC two CEB was definately a bit more involved than working with the old TR modules. In CC one, all you had to do was add a jumper and add a switch button, to activate, say a PL monitor tone.

When I first got involved with CC two I was introduced to the concept of as built documentation. CC two "buttons and LED's" was a very robust product.
 

K4RBT

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May 12, 2011
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You know the animal! I always thought some idiot came up with the cutting of the shafts. Just take out the pots and put in fixed resistors. I always wondered if the pressure of the front plat was pushing on the pot shaft. One thing I did not care for is the on the air test after ambulance repair. Motorola was too cheap to buy a "chicken heart", so I had to be hook up so they could set a test strip. My chest stayed sore and red. I learned to remove the pads myself.
I liked to take the manual and just look at the boards and wiring to prep myself for a repair. Never came. Microwave mux, on the other hand, we only had one frequency selective voltmeter, a large Cushman. You got a mux callout, drove to Harrisburg, picked up the Cushman and drove to the problem. Pennsylvania State Police contract had a time window for making repairs. Fortunately, microwave and mux was exempt. Virginia State Police had ancient Stromberg-Carlson mux, crystal controlled, very LARGE crystals in ovens. They had eyelets from front to be and they would crack the solder. One highway department site would be struck by lightening EVERY storm that passed through. That card had been soldered and unsoldered it look like the devil. Since the tower was theirs, we could not force them to ground it. AH, the old days!
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Dec 22, 2013
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Yeah the knob shafts looked like someone used a bolt cutter on them, very crude. Analog mux is like piano tuning. A lost art. Thankfuly.
 

K4RBT

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May 12, 2011
Messages
85
I miss going to a site with some weird fault and fixing it, even at night or after a thunderstorm. Stupidly, I went to two mountain top sites while the storm was still active. Ahhh, to be young and foolish again. Even climbed towers with ice on the to smack those miserable 4 bay dipoles to make then shed ice. But, WHAT A RUSH!
 
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