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[Discuss-gnuradio] Four channel tx/rx loopback failure

From: Rob Kossler
Subject: [Discuss-gnuradio] Four channel tx/rx loopback failure
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2015 18:38:40 -0400

I am having a failure with the attached GRC flowgraph. It is a four channel Tx/Rx loopback using 2 Ettus X310 USRPs.  The flowgraph is simple in that the Tx is simply a constant (center freq tone) and the Rx is displayed on a QT freq sink.  Externally, the RF signals are looped back from TX to RX with attenuation.

There are actually two flowgraphs in this attachment, but one of them is disabled.  The one disabled is the two channel version which works fine.  By "fine", I mean that there is no UHD Warning message reported in the reports window, the TX LEDs both come on, and the QT freq sink shows a tone on the center of the four RX channels, as expected.

When I run the four channel version (presently enabled in the flowgraph), I get a UHD warning (see below and/or in the attached file "tr_test.out"), the TX LEDs do not come on, and the displayed spectrum has no tone at the center.

There is hardly a difference between the four channel flowgraph and the two channel flowgraph.  The four channel version has motherboard and channel counts of 2 and 4 while the two channel version has corresponding counts of 1 and 2.  Additionally, the device address field has 2 addresses rather than 1 in the four channel version.

This failure does not seem to be intermittent.  Every time I have run the two channel version, it has been successful and every time I have run the four channel version it has been unsuccessful.  Also, this was executed after having just re-built both UHD and gnuradio via "./pybombs update".

Here is the pertinent info from the reports window when I run the four channel version.  Note that the full output is available in the attachment "tr_test.out".

<<< Welcome to GNU Radio Companion 3.7.8git-111-g1425e482 >>>
linux; GNU C++ version 4.8.2; Boost_105400; UHD_003.008.003-0-g87dfdc3c
Using Volk machine: avx_64_mmx_orc

UHD Warning:
    x300_dac_ctrl: front-end sync failed. unexpected FIFO depth [0x7]
thread[thread-per-block[1]: <block gr uhd usrp sink (2)>]: RuntimeError: x300_dac_ctrl: front-end sync failed. unexpected FIFO depth [0x7]

>>> Done

Finally, on a perhaps related note, it is really not clear to me which USRP configuration parameters should be repeated between the UHD source and sink.  I am familiar with operating directly with the UHD driver from C++ where you create a single USRP with various config information such as device address, clock ref, timing ref and then create separate RX and TX streamers.  When operating from GNU radio with both a UHD source and sink, it is not clear if all of that config info should be repeated in both source and sink (which is what I did in the attached flowgraph) or if some of it does not need to be repeated.  For example, I have both source and sink with "sync" option of "unknown_pps".  Perhaps this is only needed in one or the other??  Perhaps the clock and timing ref parameters are only needed in one or the other??

Rob Kossler

Attachment: tr_test.grc
Description: application/gnuradio-grc

Attachment: tr_test.out
Description: Binary data

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