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G4X Laptop connectivity issues


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I have been having stability issues with my laptop connection, the connection drops out randomly and requires the usb to be unplugged before it will reconnect. Occasionally it will give me an error message that says at the bottom NOT_ENOUGH_BYTES_RET, but if i manually hit connect up the top it will work for a while after that. I have also tried using a different laptop, it has the same issue but it doesn't drop out as often. I have tried different cables and different ports on the laptop

Is there a setting in the device manager that i can change to try and keep the stability?

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Are you on the latest firmware 6.19.x?  That seems to help a lot with most users that were having connectivity issues.  

If you are already on latest firmware and still no good then I suggest contacting tech support as they can do some trouble shooting and may give you a different USB cable to try or suggest a return for a hardware mod.  

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I did have a customer Supra that would not connect to the laptop while his CAN gauge was also plugged into the ecu on a G4+ in the past, so we had to disconnect that while tuning.  I'm not sure if that's related or may help.

What hardware mod?  Is this something new?

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Sorry for the long post, but I've been meaning to blog this ongoing issue as I've been trying to resolve it on one particular car here in my shop, and I keep seeing threads pop up with this same issue.  This car was previously running on a G4+ Storm with custom wired PnP adapter to engine harness and had no connectiving issues with the standard Link USB cable and a belkin 10' USB extension cable.  Once we decided there weren't enough tables in the G4+ Storm, we upgraded the car to a G4x - first an Xtreme G4X with the same PnP wired adapter setup and now a G4X plug-in (on a custom pcb).  The issues started with the Xtreme G4X and have continued on with the plug-in.

Here's what I've tried so far: 
1. Newest firmware - marginal if any improvement.  Seems to work a little better on applications that only disconnect every several minutes, but does not cure the disconnecting.

2. Different computer - Tried with a different laptop, tried with a desktop pc - no change.  

3. laptop plugged in versus running on battery  - no change.

4. Tech support USB cable with EMI chokes/Ferrite beads on the end - best improvement so far and cars that I had disconnecting every few minutes, can go to 10 minutes or more.  Does not solve connectivity with a car/ecu that disconnects almost immediately upon engine start up, rather it improves it to disconnecting every minute or two.  Also tested clip on ferrite beads (5mm ID) on the standard USB comm cable and it improves but isn't quite as good as the cable tech support sent.

5. Adding ferrite beads - Adding ferrite beads to the already ferrite beaded cable does not seem to improve the connectivity.  On a miata that was disconnecting every few minutes, the clip on beads (5mm ID) did improve this to maybe 5-10 minute intervals.

6. Active USB extension cable (Tripp-Lite brand) 5m long (16.4 feet) - I ordered a couple of USB extension cables as the vehicle I'm having the most difficulty with is an MR2 and it requires an extension cable to reach the ecu in the trunk.  The "amazon choice" cable wouldn't even connect to the g4x on the bench, but the tripp-lite did and has actually improved the connectivity with the Link tech support supplied USB cable with ferrite beads.  So far this has been the best combination so far.  I added ferrite beads onto the ends of the active extension cable and it maybe helps a little.  I can maintain connection for several minutes at a time and I may settle with ECU logging to get the dyno tuning done on this vehicle though I'm still unhappy with the connectivity.

7. Making a custom USB cable direct from the 5 pin connection on the Link plug-in to a USB A connection using shielded twisted pair wires for the comm (pin 2 and 3) and power (pin 1 and 4) and alternately trying to remove the shielding at the PC end and the Link end.  Total disaster and waste of time.  

8. Making an extremely short USB cable direct from the 5 pin link plug in connectino to a USB A connection using 4 conductor tefzel twisted and shielded wire - about 5" long.  Using this in conjunction with the tripp-lite active extension cable seems to provide very good connection speed on the bench, but noticeably worse than the tech support ferrite choke usb plus the tripp-lite when plugged into the car while running.

9. Shortening the Tripp-lite active extension cable: Since length leads directly to antenna length and attenuation, I thought perhaps an improvement could be had by running a shorter active extension cable, but I haven't found any shorter than 5m.  So I cut the USB A end off of the cable, and cut about 8 feet out of the cable, and reterminated the two sides together.  This worked great on the bench, but once on the vehicle with the tech support ferrite beaded USB cable, at less than a minute the software locks up - it doesn't simply disconnect, but will lock up in less than a minute repeatably with the engine running requiring the usb plug to be unplugged from the laptop and plugged into a different port. 

Next steps to try: 3' standard extension cables by belkin, and I reordered a new tripp-lite active extension cable.

Note: Connectivity is continuous and happy with the key on but engine off.  I would love to have a slow connection over serial port just for this car if that were feasible, or a connection as slow as the G4+ if that would resolve the issue.

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We are still unable to reproduce any of these issues in house so we are still a bit lost as to what is causing it.  We have many times tested extremes such as ignition coils sparking right beside usb cables, high frequency inductive devices on the ecu power wires etc and just cant make it happen.  All of our personal staff cars (including MR2's!), all our dyno engines (20M extension leads), all the cars I tune and support in my personal time, have completely reliable connections... 

There are several things that seem to help as you have found - 6.19 direct USB connection, Ferrite beads on the USB cable, sometimes and active extension, and a small recent hardware change to the USB circuit has helped too.  There have also been many firmware and PC Link changes along the way to make it recover from errors more reliably.  In many cases it has been found to be a laptop specific problem too, some tuners have reported they get a reliable connection with say 2 of their laptops and a unreliable connection with a third.  The general feeling I get is it seems to be the "fancier" more powerful laptops that are giving more trouble.  We are getting enough reports that we know there is a problem, but so far have not found the silver bullet.  The good news is we are definitely getting less reports now as these small incremental changes have been rolled out so hopefully that trend will continue as we make small tweaks to all the variables.

Comparing to the G4+ isnt really relevant as there is much more data going between the ECU and PC Link at about 6X the fastest G4+ rate, so naturally things are going to be more sensitive.   

 

3 hours ago, koracing said:

I did have a customer Supra that would not connect to the laptop while his CAN gauge was also plugged into the ecu on a G4+ in the past, so we had to disconnect that while tuning.  I'm not sure if that's related or may help.

That would be due to them using the old displaylink cable which had the RS232 pins connected as well.  The G4+ RS232 dash output used the same serial port as the tuning port on the G4+, so having anything connected to the RS232 wires (even just wires connected to nothing at the other end) would interrupt PC Comms.  For a CAN device you should only have the 2 CAN wires connected beyond the CANPCB cable.    In G4X the serial ports are separate so no longer an issue. 

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Has anyone ever had any issues with ECU logs not downloading completely?  I had real connection issues up until the latest firmware but they have reduced sugnificantly.  Have noticed slow framerates when trying to alter things whilst tuning and watching the crosshairs though but I'm using a really cheap extension lead so chances are thats not helping problem.  The only real problem I have remaining is the ecu logs can randomly finish at any point of it's download and I only get a portion of it.  It can take 10 tries to get a single 10mb log file.

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When I tested the ignition outputs for all six ignition coils, I had spark plugs sparking on the valve cover , with the USB cable and laptop less then a meter away, no problems with USB comms.  The same when cranking with spark plugs in the engine head. Only when the engine starts running the comms are lost completely and the sofware does not find the ECU to connect again.  I could take some measurement with the oscilloscope I someone can point me to the signals that need to be measured. 

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11 hours ago, Adamw said:

We are still unable to reproduce any of these issues in house so we are still a bit lost as to what is causing it.  We have many times tested extremes such as ignition coils sparking right beside usb cables, high frequency inductive devices on the ecu power wires etc and just cant make it happen.  All of our personal staff cars (including MR2's!), all our dyno engines (20M extension leads), all the cars I tune and support in my personal time, have completely reliable connections... 

There are several things that seem to help as you have found - 6.19 direct USB connection, Ferrite beads on the USB cable, sometimes and active extension, and a small recent hardware change to the USB circuit has helped too.  There have also been many firmware and PC Link changes along the way to make it recover from errors more reliably.  In many cases it has been found to be a laptop specific problem too, some tuners have reported they get a reliable connection with say 2 of their laptops and a unreliable connection with a third.  The general feeling I get is it seems to be the "fancier" more powerful laptops that are giving more trouble.  We are getting enough reports that we know there is a problem, but so far have not found the silver bullet.  The good news is we are definitely getting less reports now as these small incremental changes have been rolled out so hopefully that trend will continue as we make small tweaks to all the variables.

Comparing to the G4+ isnt really relevant as there is much more data going between the ECU and PC Link at about 6X the fastest G4+ rate, so naturally things are going to be more sensitive.   

While incremental improvements are nice, I'm more interested in the nuclear option.  i.e. the somewhat ridiculous but 100% guaranteed fix.  AKA an overkill fix if you will, though if you guys can't seem to reproduce this situation in house, that seems unlikely.  I know the G4+ had no issues on this MR2.  Therefore, I would be perfectly happy with 1/6th the connection speed if it stayed connected.  Is there any easy way to implement the option to try this?

The laptop I use most often is an HP Probook 650 G1 - have tuned hundreds of vehicles on various EMS systems without issue.  The other laptop I tried was a Dell E5500 Latitude.  The Desktop I tried was also a Dell tower.  All are older core i5 processor based computers (e5500 was a core2 duo), all running windows 10, all have RS232 serial ports as well as USB.  

Getting less reports is possibly also partially due to apathy.  I know hitting up tech support for the same issue over and over without a 100% solution coming from Link is frustrating to me.  

This car is running a red top board plug in now, but had the wire in xtremex before that.  USA tech support was unaware of any hardware fix as of yesterday, but I hope to hear more back today.  I think someone from Link USA is supposed to come by today as well.

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I have some good news regarding USB comms problem.

I noticed the engine cover, that covers the ignition coils that are on every spark plug was not on. The cover is metallic.
We put the engine cover on and the car runs and the USB communication will hold on for a few minutes. I managed to make a trigger scope.
I think with a better USB cable, the USB comms would stay on longer. Where  I can get the Link USB cable with ferrite core noise protection?
In the E36 chassis the ECU is on the engine side of the firewall, near the engine and the ingnition coils.   This seems to be the main problem.
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7 minutes ago, link_user said:

I have some good news regarding USB comms problem.

I noticed the engine cover, that covers the ignition coils that are on every spark plug was not on. The cover is metallic.
We put the engine cover on and the car runs and the USB communication will hold on for a few minutes. I managed to make a trigger scope.
I think with a better USB cable, the USB comms would stay on longer. Where  I can get the Link USB cable with ferrite core noise protection?
In the E36 chassis the ECU is on the engine side of the firewall, near the engine and the ingnition coils.   This seems to be the main problem.

Contact Tech Support through the Link website or email tech@linkecu.com to inquire.

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On my bosses 86 trans am running a g4x exteme he had to wire in 22uf capacitor to the can lambda wiring which cured his connectivity problem. He tried wiring it multiple ways including straight from the battery for testing purposes and nothing fixed it until he added that capacitor. It also seams to be a laptop problem too on some cars. My 02 wrx running a v7 g4x would disconnect every time under boost using a lenovo e14, lenovo x1 carbon version 7, and a older hp laptop all running windows 10. Test drove with a 8 year old lenovo running windows 7 and it stayed connected. Once i got a Ferrite beaded cable i have had no problems.

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Other than the obvious annoyance of disconnecting, another annoying side affect of this disconnecting is that when you do reconnect via moving the usb cable or it eventually reconnecting on its own with the same port, if there are any changes you've made that have not been stored, it no longer shows as being an unstored change to the ecu - it's no longer highlighted.  I myself make sure to store and save often, but this has caught me out once or twice so far.

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Another update: I have tried adding a 150uF cap to the inlet power of the ecu right next to where it comes in in an effort to "filter" the noise on the power assuming the issue is on the power input to the ecu.  This had no noticeable affect.  That is all for now.

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Best combination so far is the Tripp-Lite 5M extension cable plus the Link Ferrite Bead USB cable from tech support.

I have some USB to RS485 serial converters (which can communicate up to 4000m typically) coming to try. 

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I received the ferite noise protected USB cable from Link and it made no difference. Before wrapping the entire engine in tin foil I tried a few other notebook computers.

The ultra reliable Lenovo T400 series simply did not want to hold the connection for more than a minute and anything over 2000rpm would cause immediate disconnect.  An office type notebook computer was luckily on hand for a quick test. HP Elite Book 850 G1. Not a single disconnect no matter how hard I tried.
I will get my hands on a newer Lenovo T500 series to test the connection for future use.

There should be a post on the top of the G4X forum with a list  of notebooks that work with G4X to make the life easy for all the G4X users.

 

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There should not *need* to be a list of notebooks that work with G4X unless link plans to do nothing to address the issue completely.   I myself have tried 3-4 different laptops and PCs without any change on the car I have here.  My usual laptop is a HP Probook 650 G1 (I have 3 of these laptops), my old laptop is a Dell E5500 Latitude (on windows 10), a Lenovo owned by Jason from LinkECU was tried, and my desktop tower is a Dell.  I've had two cars same model, same motors, one has this issue and one does not.  I do have another old E5500 on windows XP I may try later on today.

Yesterday I found an old USB 1.1 Hub (Belkin Model F5U100 base 4 port model) I had laying around in a box and connected to the ecu via that based on advice from FTDI (the company that makes the chipset used in a lot of USB adapters) who I contacted to see if they had any insight on this issue.  No real change.  Worked great on a different car here running a G4X, but that did not have issues to begin with.  

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I'm getting an error trying to install the 6.19.65 software on my xp laptop - it says it is not 32 bit compatible (which my laptop is) when I try to run the install.  Am I SOL?

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I'm also having issues with a G4x I just installed in a runaround car. Cannot get the slightest connection with my laptop that I use for Link G4+/Vipec, Motec with no dramas. Spent hours going back and forth through software installing, uninstalling, updating windows back and forth with no success, getting errors saying usb device not recognised. I then plugged in an older Surface Pro and it connected immediately however it's unusable to try and tune as it's so slow and any change in engine state (ie, stall to cranking) will cause it to freeze for 8-10 seconds before I can adjust anything. Very keen on a fix for this. As soon as the cable is plugged in I get a popup "Usb device not recognised" - device descriptor request failed

Photo 24-1-21, 08 51 46.jpg

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13 hours ago, AidoZykowski said:

I'm also having issues with a G4x I just installed in a runaround car. Cannot get the slightest connection with my laptop that I use for Link G4+/Vipec, Motec with no dramas. Spent hours going back and forth through software installing, uninstalling, updating windows back and forth with no success, getting errors saying usb device not recognised. I then plugged in an older Surface Pro and it connected immediately however it's unusable to try and tune as it's so slow and any change in engine state (ie, stall to cranking) will cause it to freeze for 8-10 seconds before I can adjust anything. Very keen on a fix for this. As soon as the cable is plugged in I get a popup "Usb device not recognised" - device descriptor request failed

Photo 24-1-21, 08 51 46.jpg

I would suggest a new thread as this isn't the same issue we are discussing here.  The issue at hand in this thread is the reliable connectivity while engine is off, but disconnecting while running.  

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