BCD536HP: Run sentinel on apple computer?

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motorman105

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I'm SURE this has been asked ad nauseum but I can't find it....
My Dell computer is giving me BIG problems.....
If I get an apple laptop will Sentinel run OK?
Thanks!
 

kc2kth

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This has been covered a few times in different threads so the information is somewhat spread out. The answer is that Sentinel can work on a Mac via Windows running under Parallels, VirtualBox, or VMware. I haven't seen anyone mention Wine yet. However there seems to be an issue with connecting the scanner with the Uniden provided card to the Mac where the card becomes corrupt. This leads to reformatting of the card and downloading the content again from Sentinel.

The best bet and what finally worked for me was the following:

1. Get a new high quality SanDisk microSD card, I'm using a 32GB one recommended elsewhere here

2. Use an adapter to connect the microSD card to the Mac using the built in SD card reader (my mbp has one) or get a separate card reader - USB 3.0 is good, USB 2.0 works fine as well - not slow at all for this purpose

3. Running Windows under Parallels I told Parallels to capture the device exclusively when connected to prevent Mac OS from writing anything to the card. Without this step Mac OS writes a few files there such as Spotlight data. If this happens, delete those files from the Windows virtual machine once the drive is mounted there.

4. Tell Sentinel to erase user data and then update the full database to the "scanner" (really just the card in this case). You may need to tell Sentinel to scan for the correct drive or to list all the first time until Sentinel writes its signature to the card the first time.

It's far from as simple as it really should be to use Sentinel under a vm, really because Sentinel doesn't seem to expect anything other than it's own files on the card. It seems to treat these alien files as an indicator of a corrupt card.

Note that disconnecting the card before dismounting it properly in Windows can cause it to show as corrupt for some reason as well. It could be that the Uniden provided card is more susceptible to becoming corrupt by this action and this is why so many people have issues with corrupt cards even on pure Windows systems. I haven't done enough testing to confirm, but this is my gut feeling at present.
 

Minus1

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I've tried Wine (via 'Crossover') so far without success — the SD card became 'corrupted' almost as soon as I connected the scanner. The problems KC2KTH mention about might explain some things.

I have a new SD card and reader on order, both so that I can see what is 'corrupt', and so I can create a new appropriately formatted SD card; because there appears to be no way to fix any problem on the scanner alone. It is very poor that if the SD card gets corrupted the scanner is 100% unusable — you can't can't even key in an FM broadcast station manually!

It is also a very poor show in this day and age that mac software was not provided from the launch of the 436/536. Unfortunately, Uniden seem to have tunnel vision when it comes to computer operating systems. Perhaps when the iPad/iPhone app appears, they might start to notice that we are now in the 21st Century.
 

ChrisP

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Just my quick 2 cents worth on this subject - I've been running Sentinel on my MacBook Pro with Parallels for quite a while now, and the only time I've had any issue with the SD cards being corrupted are when I try to access the card with it mounted in the scanner (both the 436 & 536). Using the same card in an external USB card reader has had no problems reading or writing to the card.

I don't think the problem is with the cards, or with the Mac OS. I suspect the problem is with the driver that Windows is trying to use when seeing the card in the scanner. It apparently sees the card in the radio as a different sort of "device" than the card in an external SD card reader.And I was able to recover the cards by re-formatting them, so they weren't permanently borked.

- Chris
 

Minus1

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An update on my 'corrupted' SD card problem: Having acquired an SD card reader (basically just a USB stick with an SD slot, and dirt cheap), I found that the 'Corruption' the scanner reported was just a missing folder — the entire data folder. The 'setup' folder was still intact. Uniden need to stop the scanner firmware panicking, and get it report the actual problem. So I lost all my manually input data, but it's now easier to recreate using Sentinel writing the SD card in my SD card reader.

I'd endorse the comment of ChrisP above and say that if you have a BCD436/536 and a Mac DO NOT CONNECT THEM using the USB – micro USB cable! Put the cable back in the box and label it "DO NOT USE!" until such time as Uniden sort out whatever the hardware/firmware/software problem is.

You can program the SD card directly in the SD card reader, Sentinel seems able to detect it easily and treat it as if it is the scanner. Of course this means swapping the fiddly SD card in and out, which is not to be recommended doing frequently.

Being able to copy and paste data from a spreadsheet into Sentinel is a great time saver, though Apple Numbers doesn't have a Tab Seperated Variable format, so you have to export as CSV and use a text editor such as "TextMate" to convert the commas to tabs. (/t being the regular expression for a tab).
You can figure out the record format by copying a few rows from Sentinel into your text editor.
 

Stavro35

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I MANUALLY programmed my radio earlier this evening . It's a lot of work, but worth it. I am still waiting for a replacement MicroSD card from Uniden. I gave up on them after a few days, and went and got one from a drug store.
 
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