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False MINI60 antenna analyzer

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Software' started by BG6GLL, Jun 20, 2017.

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  1. W2WDX

    W2WDX Subscriber QRZ Page


    Still waiting for further emails as of today. Four days in my hands and it's not working as advertised. No joy on Bluetooth ... still.

    "Genuine" Mini60 not functionally different from any other clones so far.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  2. W2WDX

    W2WDX Subscriber QRZ Page

    Received an email today asking for a photograph of the inside of the Mini60 and a voltage reading between two pads. Sent the image and asked what voltage range should be measured, which is what should have been sent to me in the first place. Next ....
  3. DH1KLM

    DH1KLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Would you post the photos here? Just out of pure curiosity
  4. W2WDX

    W2WDX Subscriber QRZ Page

    Got an email reply to above. It appears (I'm not sure) the Bluetooth power supply is disabled for some unknown "security" reason, and a resistor has to be added to the board to get it functioning between 4.5 to 5V. I cannot understand the reasoning for this. No instructions about this security measure comes with the unit and you must send the seller an image of the security label via email showing a hidden serial number to get a very cryptic reply describing the solution. And in fact I wouldn't have known about the scratch off label, short of accidentally scratching the label and exposing a number underneath. There was no way to know this fact, since there was no instructions. Also there is the problem of translation since meaning in Chinese do not translate to English well. Such as "serial" and "security".

    I still have yet to resolve this issue and get the Bluetooth working, all the while my antenna remains on the ground.

    I was trying to be fair to Mark Bao, letting him go through his process to see how and why this is being done this way, but at this point the lack of specifics and clear instructions is leading to more frustration than simply receiving a non-functioning Mini60. I would assume that due to the amount of manufacturing in China right now, many electronic hobbyists have the specialized tools and parts for SMD. However the rest of the world this is not always the case. Only a handful of hams worldwide have what is required to do that kind of micro-work. In China it may be very common, but elsewhere not so much. Especially with most hams worldwide being elderly at this point. To assume end-users know how or have the ability to do this type of micro-electronic work is a huge assumption. How about some instructions and a simple header jumper? Yeah that would work, but no. You have to accidentally stumble upon the scratch-off serial number since there is no mention of a scratch-off label, take images, send emails, wait for replies, get cryptic explanations, take more images, wait for more emails, and on and on and on.

    I don't have this SMD stuff and my eyesight and steady hands are not what they used to be, and I'm in my 50's. I managed to solder some axial resistors in place which should work.

    Here's the images. The ones with the red circles and such are from the seller. The first image is what was sent with the message, "Please install the anti-theft resistor". The last image is my Mini60 with the resistor I added and annotations by the seller. No explanation as to why he circled my resistor pointing to a picture of an SMD. Is he saying I have to use an SMD device? I have no idea. Is he saying my value is wrong? No idea. Am I wrong, but resistance is resistance. Is it not? I tried resistors ranging from 1k to 30k, and no joy. So ... I wait.

    Hey Mark ... how about shipping me a working unit, and after I confirm the unit functions I'll send this one back to you, if you pay for return shipping. Shipping from New York to China costs almost as much as I paid for this useless thing. This is just crazy. Anti-theft resistor ... REALLY?

    MINI60S-ON.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  5. W2WDX

    W2WDX Subscriber QRZ Page

    Looking at the image again, I think he is saying I have the resistor soldered on the wrong pads. What the image doesn't show is the leads are bent behind the resistor and attached to the correct pads, and the SMD that was in place was removed. Again I tried numerous values in the ranges he suggested. Nothing seems to work. I just did it again to see if maybe my soldering was poor quality. (Ha! Not likely, but I checked).

    Currently, I get 4.2V at the test points he mentioned. So do I increase the resistance or lower it? Who knows? No schematic. No instructions. A range of values instead of a specific value and tolerance of resistance. So back to email I guess. Soooooo .... next?
  6. W2WDX

    W2WDX Subscriber QRZ Page

    So today I received another email after sending the above information. It said simply,

    The Bluetooth module is powered normally. If you still can't search for the Bluetooth module, please contact the dealer for replacement or return."

    So I guess that's it. Mind you, I thought I was speaking with the dealer, apparently not. Since this was bought on eBay my only option is to return the item, pay the $70 return shipping to China to get a $99 refund.

    Here's some conclusions I have made in this test. From what I have been able to glean from several China based forums, these units are being mass produced and distributed in China to numerous individuals, mostly hams or electronics enthusiasts. The kits are then assembled by these individuals and they are marketing them for sale outside of China, many on eBay. There is talk about lots being available and individuals buying them on these forums. The original "kits" are apparently being made by several OEM's and the quality varies; however, they are all being assembled and marketed not by companies but by individuals running small businesses.

    Now while I have nothing against this type of entrepreneurial spirit, there is a point where this falsely appears to consumers to be one manufacturer's product being sold by various dealers; since the products all look identical. This is not the case. These "kits" are being made by several OEM companies and being assembled and marketed by many individuals. The quality is all over the map as a result.

    To be honest, I do believe Mark Bao was honestly trying to sell "his" version of this kit as a high quality version, maybe as a response to the complaints he has seen globally on these Mini60's. He did go through the extra step of making sure his were, as he put it, "genuine" by printing labels and giving each unit a serial number and making sure end-users had to contact him to take the steps to make the unit functional. However, since he is not the manufacturer or the originating source he could not add to the PCB an easy way to activate the product, such as header pins and a plug in resistor. So the execution of his security method is lacking and difficult for hams or any buyer not capable of dealing with SMD devices.

    The situation with the Mini60 Antenna Analyzer is the classic example of too many cooks. Many different OEM's, assembly performed in uncontrolled circumstances with little or no QC, and those same hobbyists making and marketing these units not able to supply adequate or in some cases any customer support. To make matters worse, there are apparently many of these assembler/dealers who are just running selling scams by selling non-functional Mini60's. All of this leads to one conclusion, do not buy a Mini60 Antenna Analyzer from anyone, except another ham in your country who has a working one in hand and can demonstrate it functions.

    This thread is not about China bashing or even a comment on the politics that is creating this global problem. Instead it was meant as a discovery of the situation and to expose the risks that are all to present when buying this (and thousands of other products) from this free-for-all money grab culture that exists with no governmental over-sight or regulation. This is much worse than the situation with Japan in the 60'-80's. It's not a matter of dumping product to upset specific markets; instead, this is a proverbial feeding frenzy fraught with chaos on a global scale.

    Many of these conclusions are speculative on my part, but from what I have determined by looking at Chinese websites where these individuals are discussing and trading, this information contained here does seem to be close to the reality. I was happy to spend the $100 to see if my suspicions were correct, test the response of the sources and post it in this forum which, as I have said previously, is crawled by Google and is already showing up in searches for the Mini60 Antenna Analyzer. Hopefully, global consumers will find or see this thread and not buy these products ... from anyone.

    What I should do is clone and manufacture these myself here in the States. Sure ... they'll cost a bit more, but they'll work. !!!! LOL! Kidding.

    Sidenote: Since this unit is made to a better quality than others I have seen, I am going to continue to test and try to get this unit working on my own. I'll let ya'll know the result. I could use one of these things.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  7. DH1KLM

    DH1KLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree with you in every way.
    It looks like everyone who offers the Mini60 acts also as if he were the developer of the device.
    But when it comes to problems or special questions, they are at the end of their knowledge.
    They are friendly and endeavored but they have big problems with the english language.

    As i already wrote somewhere else, I have seen a lot of this devices and all of them had the same taobao shopname on the pcb.
    Of course, that confirms what you said about the different OEMs.

    Btw, as I read "Anti-theft resistor" I had to laugh out loud.

    I would like to help you to repair the device, but had no Mini 60S on the table until today.
    But maybe the guy in this video could be helpful for measurements etc.
  8. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's a Chinese site called Taobao which sells items cheap. You'll find the exact same items on Aliexpress for 20 to 30 percent more. You'll find the same items on E-bay, often for that expanded price, or even a bit more.

    My sister-in-law writes and understands Chinese, so she orders direct from Taobao in China, sent to Korea. They had/have a deal where you can fill a certain-sized basket and get free shipping in short order. She does that.

    Know that whatever you buy off of E-bay or Aliexpress out of China is probably marked-up from Taobao.
  9. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

  10. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

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