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Aug 14, 2013, 10:29 PM
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Mini-HowTo

How to use USB AS3X Programmer SPMA3060 with Windows 7


There has been a lot of discussion, and a lot of difficulty experienced many who have tried to install the AS3X USB programmer, Spektrum part number SPMA3060, with Windows 7.

I've gotten it successfully installed and running a number of times now, repeating the process to make sure that it is a reliable way to install.

So herein I will define the procedure that worked for me and attach some pictures of my desktop as I go through the installation.

First, unzip the downloaded file. Inside you'll find a subfolder called "SPMA3060" and inside that, two more subfolders "AS3X_Software" and "Model Configurations", and an instructional PDF.

Next, inside the "AS3X_Software" folder are a couple of zip files, "Driver for windows vista and windows 7.zip" and "Driver for windows xp.zip", and the actual executable file to run the AS3X interface. Unzip the "Driver for windows vista and windows 7.zip" file and you'll get an installer file called "PL-2303 Vista Driver Installer"

Run the PL-2303 Vista Driver Installer and follow the normal prompts to install the proper driver for the SPMA3060.

**THE NEXT PART SEEMS TO BE THE KEY TO MAKING THIS WORK AND IS VERY IMPORTANT, SO READ CAREFULLY AND BE PREPARED TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS SOMEWHAT QUICKLY.**

I do believe that the issue faced by most trying to get this software installed is the version of the driver. The version of the driver included with the software has never failed to work for me, but when you plug in the SPMA3060 Programmer to your USB port, Windows attempts to download and install a driver through its online discovery service and the driver it finds does not seem to work with this programmer.

So, plug in the SPMA3060 Programmer and you will see a balloon pop up in the system tray area of windows which says "Installing device driver software. Click here to see details"

QUICKLY click on the balloon to see the details, and you'll see a small link which says "Skip obtaining driver software from Windows Update." CLICK THE LINK. It will bring up a prompt that says "Do you want to skip getting driver software from Windows Update?"

-- Ever notice how Windows is like the movie Spaceballs? "Prepare for Warp Speed!" "Preparing for Warp Speed!" "Why are we always preparing for things??" --

Obviously answer YES to this question, and do it quickly, because Windows will be busy trying to install a different version of the software that I can't say will work or not. Once you answer yes, it will STOP searching online for a version of the driver, and it WILL use the drivers that we installed in the previous step with the included installer. I do not know what the version of the drivers are which Windows Update installs. The version of the drivers which are installed from the included installer is 3.0.1.0.

If it works properly, you'll be prompted to restart your computer. Do it.

After the restart, set your brick to X-Port mode with the programmer plugged into the X-Port. On a mode 2 radio, it's left stick UP and to the RIGHT, and on a mode 1 radio you'll use right stick UP and left stick RIGHT. These are diagrammed in the printed instructions for the SPMA3060 which come with the device. After holding the sticks in the proper position, plug in the battery to the brick, and the LED will come on solid then blink 3 times rapidly. That will activate X-Port. Your brick will probably go nuts, since the AS3X sees the up-throttle signal and activates so your servos could go into severe jitter mode. Just pull the battery out, and return your throttle stick to 0 before plugging the battery in again.

At this point you'll be ready to start the software. You must do this by right-clicking and selecting "Run as administrator." Once you do that, if everything is working properly, you'll see the COM port field, the first on top of the Programmer interface window, read the COM port that the SPMA3060 is communicating on automatically. You will NOT have a blank field or have to type anything into the field.

To verify, click the Read button on the bottom "STATE" section, and all of the values for gain, stick, pcb position (orientation) and switch gyros on/off will be populated from the brick plugged in.

So, what if you've already tried to install, and have the wrong driver versions, and want to start fresh? Simply plug in the SPMA3060 adapter, and go to device manager. You can get there by pressing the windows key and pause/break at the same time, or just click the start button and type "device manager" into the search box, and run the control panel applet. Expand 'Ports (COM & LPT)', find the Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm port' item, right click it, and select properties. On the 'Driver' tab, the final button is "Uninstall", which you will click, and then check the box for "Delete the driver software for this device" and then click OK. Unplug the SPMA3060 and start over at the top of these instructions.

Note, I did not even attempt to use the Windows Update provided driver for the Prolific chipset inside the SPMA3060. I went on the assumption that if the drivers were provided with the download then that is the version that should be used. The drivers from Windows Update may in fact work, however, the one or two times while trying to grab screenshots for this mini how-to that the Windows Update drivers did install, I was unable to get the programmer to communicate with the brick. I never did fail, after five runs through of this procedure, to get the programmer to recognize and communicate with the brick.

Feel free to PM me with any questions or feedback.

================================================== ========
Extremely Helpful Resources
valiantGLX has provided a brilliant guide on how to use the AS3X Programming software. This thread was only ever meant to help with installing it on Windows OSes other than XP.

Find his guide here: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=2140166

kalmon most graciously hosts the 'advanced' version of the software with individual gain settings and on/off via ch5. The link to the software can be found in his post here: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...2&postcount=19

mdmyers has posted some additional information on how to install with Windows 10:
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...&postcount=303



================================================== ========

Hope this helps!
Ben
Last edited by bhoov128; Jul 07, 2016 at 08:52 AM.
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Aug 14, 2013, 11:42 PM
Сделайте Америку Великой Снова
7oneWo1f's Avatar
It is very kind of you to take the time to type this up.
Aug 15, 2013, 07:09 AM
Parkzone junkie
kalmon's Avatar
Ben, I tried this on one of my win7 installs and it didn't work. It worked fine on my other. It seems to be a hit of miss type of thing, however I think it has something to do with a compatibility issue. On that computer no matter what driver I installed or order of install It never worked.
for reference that system was:
Core i7 920
Asus P6X58D-E
6GB Ram (3x2GB)
Nvidia GTX470
Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium
Windows 7 Ultimate (bitlocker turned off)

Of note I also had USB drivers for CastleLink, Hacker ESC controls, FMA/Revolectrix Fumi3 before I ever tried to install the Spektrum USB driver.

*I'm not asking for help as it works fine on another system just wanted to add this to the discussion.

-Brian
Aug 15, 2013, 11:43 AM
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Brian, did you clear out the programmer device in device manager first, uninstalling all drivers, and make sure to skip the Windows Update driver? Just curious to see if there could still be a conflict.

Ben
Aug 15, 2013, 12:32 PM
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kalmon's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoov128
Brian, did you clear out the programmer device in device manager first, uninstalling all drivers, and make sure to skip the Windows Update driver? Just curious to see if there could still be a conflict.

Ben
Yes I removed the driver in device manager. For kicks I also tried the winXP driver, removed that then tried the windows update driver, removed that as well! I eventually setup a dual boot of WinXP sp3 and Windows 7 on that system. Since then I've formatted and reinstalled and now have a tri-boot( slackware Linux, win7, and WinXP).

I never did try the usb programmer on that system since the format. It might actually work now...

I am a IT tech, have been for 10 years, been building custom PCs since before it was cool (since intel 386 days).

There was definitely some strange incompatibility as I could open the com port manually when I installed the correct driver but the stupid software wouldn't see it.

-Brian
Aug 15, 2013, 01:55 PM
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OK If anyone else has exceptions make sure to post them. I in no way guarantee the method described will work for everyone due to the plethora of different PC configurations, hopefully this can become a discussion of solutions to getting the SPMA3060 to work properly for most involved. Also, if someone replicates this and it works for Windows 8 please let me know, I do not have access to a Windows 8 PC (nor do I want access to one!! )
Aug 16, 2013, 02:49 PM
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wayfaringdreamer's Avatar
Thanks for this thread.
Aug 17, 2013, 10:51 AM
Registered User
This whole SPMA3060 mess goes back to Spektrum and its poor instructions and less-than-bullet-proof-fool-proof software. The manuals have carefully-written dense legalese, to protect Spektrum, but the instructions for us naive end-users are badly done and incomplete, AFAIC.

I used a WinXP notebook for the software. I struggled several times to program my receiver's gyro and gave up in frustration, particularly after having puffed a 2S pack during the programming! Grrr!

Then late last night I got a brainstorm: I remembered that the instructions for the UMX MiG15 require that, after connecting the 2S pack, the TX throttle needs to be brought up briefly to activate the gyro. (The MiG is a very nice flyer for my ancient reflexes, BTW.)

So down to the basement I went, turned on the DX8, and powered up the receiver, into which I had plugged aileron, rudder, and elevator servos. The servos were quiet. I throttled up, and the servos twitched! I moved the receiver around, and the servos acted as if the gyro were working! Hooray! Now to build an airplane around this set-up.

Bottom line: I don't know what I did right when I "programmed." Or even if I did right for certain. The software wouldn't let me select the Sport_Scale configuration to download. Nor did the software show me that the download to the receiver was taking place. So why am I getting indications, via twitching servos, that the gyro is working? I have no clues.

BTW, if I really didn't successfully program the gyro, is the servo twitching an indication that Spektrum had already programmed the gyro? Even though the instructions clearly state that the AS6410NBL gyro is already programmed OFF? I confess I don't know.

Jim R.
Last edited by JRuggiero; Aug 17, 2013 at 12:02 PM.
Aug 17, 2013, 11:49 AM
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Jim,

The servo twitching should be normal. During X-Port activation - which I don't know if you have activated it or not - the programming instructions require the throttle stick to be full-up and the rudder stick to be full-right. As soon as the brick powers on, and the X-Port is activated, the brick reads the full-up throttle and activates the gyros, so your servos begin twitching. Mine actually went nuts and started the brick dancing all over my table.

Unfortunately, during x-port activation/deactivation I can't tell any difference in the sequence of lights - the LED comes on solid, and blinks rapidly 3 times. The only reliable way I had of knowing was the Spektrum software was able to read the configuration on the brick.

I understand that Spektrum released a half-assed program and poor instructions on the programmer. That's the purpose of this thread though, kind of like any of the other help/mod threads for aircraft and radios, if we can all figure out how to get the programmer working on particular operating systems and configurations then there will be a reliable source for a workaround for all of us who would like to tinker with the AS3X's capabilities.

I would suggest plugging in the brick and doing the procedure to activate the X-Port. Watch the LED, and when it comes on solid and blinks 3x, you can power it off again and return your tx sticks to 0 throttle / neutral. Then plug the battery back in, and you'll have the X-Port activated for communicating with the SPMA3060 and the gyros will be inactive. If the programmer can't read the brick, remove the battery, set the sticks for activating X-Port, and do it again. I absolutely know that during one of my attempts to write the above guide I had deactivated X-Port and it wouldn't communicate until I realized what I'd done.

Hope that helps - report back with results, if you give it another go!

Ben
Aug 17, 2013, 12:10 PM
Registered User
bhoov128,

I've activated the X-Port twice. I think. IIRC, the first time I got a solid red LED, but no three blinks. Second time, solid, then three blinks. After that the rest of the programming hassles began. Last night I wanted to start over, so I tried activating the X-Port again. Solid LED, but no three blinks. Continued software hassles. How did you deactivate the X-Port? By repeating the throttle-rudder routine at the TX? Did I do a deactivation, from what I've described?

I thank you for your help to us all in this matter, but this is a work-around for what should be a straight-forward procedure worked out properly by the manufacturer, not by users who've paid money for this receiver and the USB programmer.

Jim R.
Aug 17, 2013, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRuggiero
bhoov128,

I've activated the X-Port twice. I think. IIRC, the first time I got a solid red LED, but no three blinks. Second time, solid, then three blinks. After that the rest of the programming hassles began. Last night I wanted to start over, so I tried activating the X-Port again. Solid LED, but no three blinks. Continued software hassles. How did you deactivate the X-Port? By repeating the throttle-rudder routine at the TX? Did I do a deactivation, from what I've described?
Deactivating X-Port is the same procedure as activating, unfortunately. I wish they'd put in perhaps up-throttle and full-left to deactivate as opposed to same programming, but it is what it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRuggiero
I thank you for your help to us all in this matter, but this is a work-around for what should be a straight-forward procedure worked out properly by the manufacturer, not by users who've paid money for this receiver and the USB programmer.

Jim R.
I'm in 100% agreement Unfortunately we face this reality, unless (or until) they release a more robust version that's tested for the multitude of operating systems and configurations out there.

Ben
Aug 17, 2013, 12:33 PM
Registered User
Ben,

Thanks again for your help and for your knowledge. I'll try reactivating the X-Port again, per your instruction.

Maybe Spektrum will recognize the work of unpaid volunteers like you who try to give aid and comfort to guys like me, and release a better program and better, integrated instructions.

Jim R.
Aug 19, 2013, 01:57 PM
WHAT THE...
barmonkey's Avatar
Thanks for doing this...I managed to get things working properly with your help!

Some issues I have had:
1) Activating the export can be a challenge without a helper. Attempting to plug in the battery while holding the throttle and rudder sticks in the proper positions is quite challenging. My solution was to hold the stick with my foot LOL

2) I plugged the USB programmer in another USB port and Win7 wanted to install it again on Port 5. The program only looks for Port 1 or 4.

3) The other was that the program must be started by right clicking on it and choosing "Run as administrator". I think you mentioned this.

4) Wasn't sure how to turn the gyro on and off with my DX6i. I was expecting that the Throttle Cut button would be the one since it is channel 5. Instead it is the Gear/ F Mode switch on the Left side of the radio next to the Trainer switch.

Thanks again!
Aug 19, 2013, 02:15 PM
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I had a helper for the transmitter position to set the x-port as well but if someone does not have a helper, a rubber band around the base of the antenna to the stick on a Mode 2 radio will work as well

Ben
Aug 19, 2013, 02:22 PM
WHAT THE...
barmonkey's Avatar
Thought about the rubber band, but didn't have one handy...so I went with the footie.

One question...Do you think it is wise to shut the Export off after programming? Just wondering if it will drain power.

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