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Uniden Bearcat 980SSB Remote Face Project

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NavyGator

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Hi,

I’m new to the forum but a post I came across in another thread caused me to join up to post a project and hopefully get some support from the members.

I know there are concerns about voltage drop, interference, etc with this project and it might not work in the end.

My goal is to take a Uniden Bearcat 980SSB and make it a remote face unit to mount in my 2016 Tacoma. There is very limited dash space to mount aftermarket accessories in my truck and I don’t want a huge radio up on my dash or just randomly placed.

I’m working on designing a shell to mate with the face of the radio and one to mate with the body to be 3D printed from an online source. Both pieces will need to have room to mount a breakout board for at least the 35 pin FFC cable and a chassis/panel mount connector(s) to connect the body and face together.

I need help identifying the 4 internal connectors attaching the face to the main board. If you can provide some help here guys I would appreciate it.

35 pin FFC/FPC looks like probably .5mm pitch

4 pin connector

6 and 8 pin look to be same style with different pin counts

I will update the thread as I progress through the project.

Rich
 

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jonwienke

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Don't bother. You're going to have problems with RF interference and leakage, and the ribbon cable in particular is not designed to handle a situation where it is likely to get knocked around regularly. Your remote head isn't going to work reliably, and you'll probably have lots of issues with RF interference affecting the other electronics in the vehicle.

There's also a distinct possibility that the circuitry is not designed to handle long wire runs (especially the ribbon cable), and if you extend things, it simply won't work at all. Look up why there are cable length limits on USB, Firewire, Lightning, etc. Besides cable losses, you also run into timing issues when you lengthen the wiring.
 

JayMojave

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Hello NavyGator: Iam sure it can be done making a remote control panel, its doable, but may cost more in time/labor and parts than say a ham radio that has that option, with same or close control head size. However:

Suggest you probe the connector pins with a oscilloscope and determine what the signals are, like lighting voltages, grounds, power voltages, digital pulses, and what ever else is in those connectors.

I understand that Uniden has not released a service manual for the 980 radio making it more difficult for such a mod. I would call Uniden any how, with such a technical they may connect you with some tech or eng that knows how that is done and can send you some info, be annoying and constant. Publish their phone number.

Next I would figure how do the ham radios use a small number of wires in a shield using a modular type connector to control there radios like a Yaesu FT891 and FT857 radios as a example.

Iam sure theres someone out there who knows how this is all done, or you need to do the engineering and figure it all out. In my simple mind there is a multiplex circuit that can do all the functions without too much hoo raw. Good luck, please keep us updated, very interested project.

Jay in the Great Mojave Desert
 

NavyGator

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Nov 14, 2016
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Hello NavyGator: Iam sure it can be done making a remote control panel, its doable, but may cost more in time/labor and parts than say a ham radio that has that option, with same or close control head size. However:

Suggest you probe the connector pins with a oscilloscope and determine what the signals are, like lighting voltages, grounds, power voltages, digital pulses, and what ever else is in those connectors.

I understand that Uniden has not released a service manual for the 980 radio making it more difficult for such a mod. I would call Uniden any how, with such a technical they may connect you with some tech or eng that knows how that is done and can send you some info, be annoying and constant. Publish their phone number.

Next I would figure how do the ham radios use a small number of wires in a shield using a modular type connector to control there radios like a Yaesu FT891 and FT857 radios as a example.

Iam sure theres someone out there who knows how this is all done, or you need to do the engineering and figure it all out. In my simple mind there is a multiplex circuit that can do all the functions without too much hoo raw. Good luck, please keep us updated, very interested project.

Jay in the Great Mojave Desert
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not allowed to transmit on CB frequencies with ham equipment even if its capable.

Unfortunately, my test equipment is limited to a multimeter and a bottle of jack daniels so a lot of this is gonna be using the measure twice cut once approach.

I will also need to figure out how I'm going to solder the FFC connector to the breakout board as I have never done any SMT soldering. I'm hoping I can call in a favor at work to get it done.
 

NavyGator

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Nov 14, 2016
Messages
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Don't bother. You're going to have problems with RF interference and leakage, and the ribbon cable in particular is not designed to handle a situation where it is likely to get knocked around regularly. Your remote head isn't going to work reliably, and you'll probably have lots of issues with RF interference affecting the other electronics in the vehicle.

There's also a distinct possibility that the circuitry is not designed to handle long wire runs (especially the ribbon cable), and if you extend things, it simply won't work at all. Look up why there are cable length limits on USB, Firewire, Lightning, etc. Besides cable losses, you also run into timing issues when you lengthen the wiring.
ummm....thanks for the input.
 

NavyGator

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Nov 14, 2016
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Digi-Key will probably be my source for most parts due to typically having more wallet friendly quantities available than Mouser.

Here is what I have so far for the FFC parts. The breakout board has more pins than I need but it seems like it will work best for me. Digi-Key part numbers are listed.

Adafruit
FPC ADAPTER 50PIN 0.5MM PITCH
1528-1096-ND

Molex
35 Position FFC, FPC Connector Contacts, Bottom 0.020" (0.50mm) Surface Mount, Right Angle
WM8856DKR-ND

Wurth
35 Position FFC Cable 0.020" (0.50mm) 3.94" (100.00mm)
732-5184-ND
 

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jonwienke

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Next I would figure how do the ham radios use a small number of wires in a shield using a modular type connector to control there radios like a Yaesu FT891 and FT857 radios as a example.
They use a data connection that sends messages between the mic/remote head and the radio indicating what control has changed and what its new status is. For example, when the channel up button is pressed, a digital message is sent to the radio. The radio responds by sending messages to the head indicating the new channel number, channel name, channel frequency, power level, etc. It's the only practical way to have a remote head.
 

muskrat39

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north central Indiana
I used a modded Icom 751a for several years as a CB base. Worked fine, audio was clean, and reception was excellent, much better than even the top line CB base units. My adjacent channel interference was non existent on my Icom.
 

cmdrwill

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Your 'remote control ' idea ' should work. Motorola uses a flat ribbon 'control' cable on GM and M series remote mount radios. Never had a problem.

Do NOT let the ney sayers affect your idea.

We even had Johnson CB radios remoted AKA trunk mount.
 

KD8DVR

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Amazon is famous for putting returns right back on the shelf for resale.

AntiSquid Disclaimer: All comments are personal opinion only and may not imply actual fact.
 

NavyGator

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The 4, 6 and 8 pin connectors are all 2mm pitch.

I need to try and identify the actual connectors now. Hopefully, it will be rather easy between mouser and digi-key.
 

NavyGator

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I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out what kind of connectors these are. It would be awesome to find cable assemblies with these connectors on them.

Single row
8 pin
2mm pitch
Keyed
Locks in place with 2 small nubs that mates with the socket on the board

The 6 pin connector is identical.

The 4 pin connector looks to be the same style of connector with the same pitch but for a smaller wire gauge.

Any assistance would be appreciated.
 

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NavyGator

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I think I might have found my connectors and sockets. Looks like I will not be using a special crimper for this project....700 to 1000 dollars for one lol. Needle nose pliers it is.

JST Sales America
4 Position Rectangular Housing Connector Receptacle Natural 0.079" (2.00mm)
455-1164-ND

JST Sales America
6 Position Rectangular Housing Connector Receptacle Natural 0.079" (2.00mm)
455-1162-ND

JST Sales America
8 Position Rectangular Housing Connector Receptacle Natural 0.079" (2.00mm)
455-1189-ND

JST Sales America
Contact Crimp Socket 24-28 AWG Tin
455-2148-1-ND
 

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NavyGator

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Do any of you guys have a thought on some kind of connector/cable to use between the face and body of the radio?
 

NavyGator

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It looks like I will probably use 2 separate cables. DB25 and DB50.

I would have liked to found one cable to use but this looks like my best option.

I will use the DB25 for the 4, 6 and 8 pin connectors and the DB 50 for the 35 pin FFC.

I need to think about it and decide if I want to use a connector on the head unit or just solder the wires directly to my breakout board and the jumpers inside the unit.
 
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