Andromeda???

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Aivars
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Andromeda???

Postby Aivars » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:09 pm

Hello around ;-) I would like to ask about real state of Andromeda project. I guess it is most corect place to ask ;-) All things what depends on, looks old :-( It looks like abandoned... That was promising, but luck of human power, as always :-( I would like to put my Hermes in box with full control directly. But it out of my knowlegde :-( I reported time ago, that I bought mainboard with i7-8550U and it look like very good in our tasks ;-) As well, I asked smart guys to optimize PSDR for small touch screen action, but... Are there any chance, this project will go forward? SunSDR MB-1 looks like very good. MB-1 interface and control are kind of way ;-) There are another project from RA3PKJ, about to control any PSDR, but it is without separate screen, just control. He is separated project to free and comercial. About comercial he didn't give a lot of information.
YL2GVC 73!
Helmut
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby Helmut » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:47 am

Andromeda was presented by Kjell Karlsen LA2NI on the Ham-Radio-Online 2020 Youtube-Stream - which was only online during the 28. June - but as I heard - the stream will be cut into the different presentations and shoud be online in ? one to three weeks ? on the SDR-Academy-Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1GAlg ... pgQ/videos

The Andromeda was presented as prototype Tranceiver based on the Orion II (7000dle) with onboard Windows-PC in one enclosure and with a real good developed front-panel by Kjell :) There was the almost finished all-in-one tranceiver-prototype to see - which was made from Apache-Labs. I think it will be the similar setup like the Flex 6000M-series with knobbed GUI (front panel with Touch screen plus GUI on separate display).

Andromeda has a special Thetis-Version adapted to fit the needs of the front-panel on a collapsed Thetis display.

It was vy interesting - the prototype from Apache-Labs looked extremely well in the presentation from Kjell and I hope we all can see this knobbed-Tranceiver in the near future on the SDR-Academy-Channel.

I was only lucky in having the time to see the Livestream from the Ham-Radio 2020 on Youtube - but it was not stored there in full length and hope it will be cut into the different presentations soon. so you can see it all there :D

73 Helmut dl9eri / oe9eri

P.S.: it would be vy helpful if Kjell LA2NI could present his development here in the one and only platform for this SDR-TRX
Aivars
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby Aivars » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:32 am

I missed that :? I searched for this presentation, but found only two years old one. It would be really helpfull to post more info anywhere ;-) And I hope, it will not be fully comercial project ;)
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DH1KLM
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby DH1KLM » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:01 am

There is a GitHub repo https://github.com/laurencebarker/Andromeda_front_panel with all the needed stuff.
73 de Sigi / DH1KLM
Helmut
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby Helmut » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:02 pm

The stream has to be cut into separate presentations - this will take place soon.

It looks then like:

Unbenannt.JPG
Unbenannt.JPG (78.12 KiB) Viewed 5034 times


And by searching around in the net i found a Thetis User-Manual as PDF from G8NJJ ::

http://www.nicklebyhouse.co.uk/index.ph ... -draft-0-4

73
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w-u-2-o
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby w-u-2-o » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:19 pm

Although no formal announcements from Apache have been made regarding Andromeda, I'm taking the liberty of moving the discussion to the Apache Labs News sub-forum to give it a bit more visibility. So until there is real news and a real announcement, this topic is very much "unofficial".

I have no information about when this item may or may not go on sale.

The version of Thetis used is not special. The Andromeda-specific UI additions are already very much a part of the currently released Thetis 2.6.9 as well the 2.7.0 beta.

The many additional CAT commands that were added to Thetis to support the desires of Kjell and Laurence can be used by anyone for anything. So you can build your own user interface based on those CAT commands.

When this project started I had suggested to Kjell and Laurence that they make the interface completely programmable so that it might be used with any radio. Since the entire front panel merely generates a series of CAT commands for each button push or knob rotation, it would not be terribly difficult to have a programmable table, e.g. a text, XML or CSV file, that carried the specific CAT command string to be used for each knob increment or button push. This would allow it to be used for any CAT capable radio (pretty much all of them). However, they chose to make it Thetis-specific.

If there are any developers getting itchy, a cool project would be to take the new CAT commands and make them available as part of the MIDI support already built into Thetis.

The official SDR Academy video production team is slowly grinding out the videos from the recent conference here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1GAlgAQrkjeeLmIkCB8pgQ

but the official Andromeda video is not up yet.

Nevertheless you can find Kjell's presentation here right now:



A very important consideration is, since this project requires Thetis, that means it also requires Protocol 2 firmware be loaded onto the Orion MKII board. As we all know, the current state of the P2 firmware is such that there is not a single firmware revision that will meet timing on every serial number Orion MKII board. This means that for Andromeda to be launched as a successful product that Apache will have to do one of the following:

a) Solve the P2 firmware timing closure problems on the Orion MKII board.

or

b) Test and ship the correct firmware revision that works for each serial number (and this will require formally releasing all of those variants).

On a more personal note, I continue to greatly prefer having my UI on my 4K display, particularly now that it supports DirectX. As Kjell himself points out towards the end of the video, there are very few controls required during a contest, and I have those on my small MIDI controller. Combined with the "Focusmaster" feature to prevent losing focus off of the N1MM logger, I don't see a huge UI advantage here. However, life is all about options and there are some who still vastly prefer a "knobified" interface. I'm more of a SpaceX Crew Dragon kind of guy, all big computer screens and that sort of thing ;) But no doubt you Space Shuttle switch and knob jockeys are pretty excited by this!

73,

Scott
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DH1KLM
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby DH1KLM » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:39 pm

I would like to mention that the front panel also works with a Hermes board. With kind support of Kjell, it was possible to make the necessary connections.
The Orion connections used for the frontpanel can be tapped on the Hermes board on the J16 connector and the separated Andromeda I/O board.
It works with Thetis 2.6.9 and 2.7.0. All encoders, pushbuttons and so on can be configured in Thetis>Setup>CAT Control>Andromeda.
Orion-specific functions such as diversity... naturally do not work with Hermes.
My Andromeda project is currently on hold due to lack of time (rehab). With a little luck I will get the faceplate back from laser cutting in the next few days. The mechanical work is more time consuming than I thought.
73 de Sigi / DH1KLM
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w-u-2-o
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby w-u-2-o » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:10 pm

It will work with any Apache board. J16 is the same on all of them.
Aivars
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby Aivars » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:54 pm

I should take my words back :oops: Andromeda move forward 8-) I check time by time, what new around. Kjell presentation make things clear ;)
If someone could answer, what are options for display, except mentioned in documentation?
YL2GVC 73!
laurencebarker
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby laurencebarker » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:26 pm

Hi Scott

The Andromeda front panel is quite different from the Odin we had two years ago, and only uses something like 5 CAT commands to express "knob 7 turned clockwise" for example. The necessary documentation is published on Github. You could intercept those commands into DDUTIL and process them differently, if you want. So I did act on your suggestion! (And I did send you a message to that effect some time ago...)

There is nothing that would stop someone from interfacing those CAT commands into PowerSDR, if they choose.
Laurence Barker G8NJJ
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby laurencebarker » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:29 pm

Andromeda has a 7" touchscreen display on its front, as you saw in Kjell's presentation. It will be possible to connect a USB3 hub to the NUC via a back panel connection to gain an HDMI port and attach a second display to that. Kjell uses it like that all the time.
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Aivars
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby Aivars » Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:24 am

Hi Laurence! I mean "main" front 7" display. Requirements for possible options(bigger size, higher resolution), as well as for encoders. I think it will be interesting not only for me. One more thing, I tried several PCB producers and no one would accept this Gerber :-( I can't say about most producers, they check design only after order :-/ What is possible size for VFO knob? I have stored from IC-761/765, but without modification of PCB and FP, it won''t fit for sure. May be smaller from another rig.
P.S. I'm bit slow :lol: Checked more carefully :roll: Any display, as I understund.
YL2GVC 73!
LA2NI
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby LA2NI » Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:01 pm

Hi All.
I have not visited this forum for some time so I´ll try to answer some of the questions about Andromeda, specially the Front Panel.

The 7 inch display that the Front Panel is made for is Newhaven PN: NHD-7.0-HDMI-HR-RSXP-CTU. It has all the connections placed on the back side of the control PCB. To keep the distance from the Front Panel PCB to the back side of the Front Panel as short as possible, the Control Board is placed on the back side of the PCB and the display itself on the front of the PCB. This means that, to my knowledge, no other 7 inch touch panel displays is going to fit on the Andromeda Front Panel.

You have to have access to some 1 mm insulated spacers to get the correct distances between the main PCB and the controller PCB and the display. Also some 10 mm long 3 mmØ spacers must be used for installing the main PCB to the Front Panel.

I know that the format on the Gerber files that my old Ultiboard CAD program is using make problems for some PCB manufacturers as they do not understand the order of the files. But if they read plain English, all the information of the file type (Notation TOP, Soldermask TOP, Copper TOP, Copper BOTTOM, Soldermask BOTTOM, Notation BOTTOM and so on) is printed and can be read on any Gerber file viewer. I have used boktech.com. They make good PCB´and have a reasonable price. I also know that seedstudio.com can make PCB´from my Gerber files.

I hope this clears up things a bit.

73, Kjell LA2NI
Aivars
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby Aivars » Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:31 pm

Thanks Kjell! May be is it possible to post anywhere hires images of all things to understand all better ;-)
Are there any plans for group buy? Make 5 big PCB for yourself are excessive as well as front panels outcome in big batch should be much cheaper.
Anyway, all things together will not be cheap journey :-/
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w-u-2-o
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby w-u-2-o » Thu Jul 02, 2020 6:05 pm

laurencebarker wrote:Hi Scott

The Andromeda front panel is quite different from the Odin we had two years ago, and only uses something like 5 CAT commands to express "knob 7 turned clockwise" for example. The necessary documentation is published on Github. You could intercept those commands into DDUTIL and process them differently, if you want. So I did act on your suggestion! (And I did send you a message to that effect some time ago...)

Laurence,

I do remember that message and at that point I dropped the subject because you actually went in the opposite direction and made the solution even more Thetis specific. It is not at all what I suggested, nor what I described in my post above, exactly the opposite in fact.

Intercepting the commands using DDUtil or any other method is an overly complex method. The good news is that, being an Arduino, someone talented (that would not be me!) could do what I suggested, which is to perform the mapping of the relevant CAT commands to the physical controls in the Arduino, thereby allowing simple changes to the sketch by non-skilled folks, who would only need to change the CAT strings, not the code per se, to achieve control of whatever radio it was attached to (assumed to be not Thetis).

I can partially see why this happened. With the advent of the soft-keys in Thetis, it was necessary to have some code content in Thetis. But that is not true for any hard button or knob.

With the code the way it is, highly dependent on code in Thetis, it will discourage others from reusing the design elsewhere without generating a bunch of new code. It is not truly a generic CAT command generator because the CAT commands it generates are unique and specific to the Andromeda front panel. They are not Kenwood or PowerSDR CAT commands.

73,

Scott
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby administrator » Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:11 pm

Laurence, Doug, Kjell and myself have been working on Andromeda for a while now and most specs are now locked.

The front panel implementation by Laurence & Kjell is in my opinion fantastic, the control layout is very ergonomic and all buttons/Encoders (Except for the tuning knob) can be reassigned functions by the end user.

One can choose from either the 10th GEN Intel Quad Core i5 or a 6 Core i7 NUCs, performance is excellent with lots of headroom. You can add two external Monitors via a USB 3.0 HUB (there are two 10Gbps USB 3.0 GEN2 Ports on the back panel) and one USB 2.0 on the front panel.

The GUI can be used in both Collapsed Andromeda Mode on the 7 inch touch screen or in the usual PC expanded mode on an external Display.

Andromeda is packaged in a much smaller enclosure (35.5CM DEEP x 30CM WIDE x 13CM HEIGHT), it runs off 13.8v DC

Abhi
Front1_Updated.jpg
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby w-u-2-o » Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:36 pm

Abhi,

How do you propose to sort out the Protocol 2 firmware issues?

73,

Scott
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w2ner
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby w2ner » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:03 pm

Nice idea but not a new idea. I think Apache Labs should put the time into developing their own UI and update the interface. Its very old in the tooth..... It's time to grab the bull by the horns and make this a complete product developed and made by apache labs, not depend on the volunteers in the hobby for the interface (UI). This approach was good when it was first introduced to get it into the market and use the open source. Its time to take full ownership of your product.

My two cents.
dj1yr
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby dj1yr » Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:54 pm

then they end up like Flexradio -> no news in the software,

the CUSDR project could be taken further
Aivars
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby Aivars » Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:37 pm

OK, now my two cents 8-) Sorry but VFO knob are about nothing :( It's looks like cheap plastic peace. On such a rig, as well on other, it's main tool. And that is what eyes caught first. It should be something like on IC765/775 etc. Not that a size, at least design. Next, I'd prefer to buy just front panel DIY kit. I'll never buy full rig with Andromeda, I just can't afford it. And I think not only me. One more, steady signs on front panel are not the best way. If somebody would change usage of buttons and knobs, as it was promised. Better way are metallic badges with necessary signs/letters, which you can exchange 8-)
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w-u-2-o
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby w-u-2-o » Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:09 pm

I think it's a nice design. Not my cup of tea, but nice. It could use a fancier knob, but I bet that knob is more than adequate. It looks very much like the knob a lot of us used for homebuilt piHPSDR controllers and that worked very well.

It sure would also be nice to see this as a stand-alone. Same design, maybe sloped back 10 degrees, perhaps 2 or 3 inches thick with the NUC bumped out the back so you could get to all the NUC connectors without them sticking out the sides. Use a standard NUC power supply. It would be everything the piHPSDR isn't/wasn't. It clearly can work with any hardware that Thetis supports. With a USB headset it would be a killer kitchen table companion. And, with a USB to serial adapter, the ability to attach a key or paddle to the PC instead of the radio hardware unit is finally a realistic option for 200D and newer hardware thanks to the W2PA QSK code in Thetis and the firmware.

What would help is a Front Panel Express design file for the front panel as open source. Then with the open source schematics and Gerbers people could roll their own.
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby laurencebarker » Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:18 am

Hi Scott

there already is a front panel designer file: Andromeda Front Panel_rev5_Prot_Updated.fpd

Its labelling isn't the same. Kjell would be able to confirm if the positions are accurate.
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Aivars
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby Aivars » Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:34 am

I think, it is necessary to make small clarification about front panel ;) You should go to this page: http://www.frontpanelexpress.com Download this application: https://assets.frontpanelexpress.com/fpd/Version-6.2.1/FrontDesign-US-6.2.1-x64.exe Open file *.FPD with this application and you are free to modify it and order directly 8-) But keep in mind, if order more than 10, there are significant price break 8-) Good opportunity for group buy.

Question to Kjell, I tried to check your Gerber compatibility with AllPCB service and got such notification: All the hole sizes are the same(0.8 mm). Please kindly check if it's normal? If not,we need you to re-upload the NC drill file. I think it should be OK. By the way, it offer cheaper price than Boktech. But as in all of these services, minimal quatity are 5.
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w-u-2-o
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby w-u-2-o » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:36 am

That's fabulous, Laurence, thank you. Would you please clarify the exact URL of the GitHub repo people should be looking at?
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby K1LSB » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:38 am

w2ner wrote:Nice idea but not a new idea. I think Apache Labs should put the time into developing their own UI and update the interface. Its very old in the tooth..... It's time to grab the bull by the horns and make this a complete product developed and made by apache labs, not depend on the volunteers in the hobby for the interface (UI). This approach was good when it was first introduced to get it into the market and use the open source. Its time to take full ownership of your product.

My two cents.

1) "I think Apache Labs should put the time into developing their own UI and update the interface." And who do you nominate to pay for that effort? Apache Labs is strictly a hardware manufacturer, they clearly state such on their website. They are a tiny company ... when someone calls Customer Support the CEO answers the phone. They don't have a warehouse of ready-made radios, they make-to-order and they tell you the lead time up-front.

2) "It's time to grab the bull by the horns ... Its time to take full ownership of your product." Says you? I'll repeat this one more time ... software is not their product. They are under no obligation to "take ownership" of something that's not theirs.

[/rant]
Aivars
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby Aivars » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:40 am

YL2GVC 73!
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby laurencebarker » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:44 am

The front panel hardware and Arduino sketch is located at: www.github.com/laurencebarker/Andromeda_front_panel

I think you need to navigate down to the hardware rev 5 folder
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w2ner
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby w2ner » Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:37 pm

K1LSB wrote:
w2ner wrote:Nice idea but not a new idea. I think Apache Labs should put the time into developing their own UI and update the interface. Its very old in the tooth..... It's time to grab the bull by the horns and make this a complete product developed and made by apache labs, not depend on the volunteers in the hobby for the interface (UI). This approach was good when it was first introduced to get it into the market and use the open source. Its time to take full ownership of your product.

My two cents.

1) "I think Apache Labs should put the time into developing their own UI and update the interface." And who do you nominate to pay for that effort? Apache Labs is strictly a hardware manufacturer, they clearly state such on their website. They are a tiny company ... when someone calls Customer Support the CEO answers the phone. They don't have a warehouse of ready-made radios, they make-to-order and they tell you the lead time up-front.

2) "It's time to grab the bull by the horns ... Its time to take full ownership of your product." Says you? I'll repeat this one more time ... software is not their product. They are under no obligation to "take ownership" of something that's not theirs.

[/rant]



1: They are under no obligation to "take ownership" of something that's not theirs.. Are you taking drugs? The entire product line is theirs and if they want to compete with the big boys they need to step up and hire who they need too and develop their own UI, simple as that. It does not take a lot of investment to do coding.

2: They are a tiny company ... when someone calls Customer Support the CEO answers the phone. They don't have a warehouse of ready-made radios, they make-to-order and they tell you the lead time up-front. Okay then if they can't compete then close the doors. Its called innovation and repackaging components they already have is not that.

When a volunteer quits doing updates / coding on the UI, the entire community is on their own. If apache labs really cares about their products and the community, hire a coder and start developing their own UI. Now THAT would be value added..
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby laurencebarker » Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:45 am

We had discussed the possibility of a standalone unit. We'd considered putting a USB3 hub in the unit to give HDMI & USB and having a USB sound module. But yes you could put a NUC on the back and make a single integrated unit; sound could then be interfaced using the 3.5mm "TRRS" connector possibly. Putting the VESA mounting points on the back might enable both options. You'd also need a speaker or two.

You would need a fairly robust mechanical mounting because you need it to stay still while you press buttons, turn the knobs or touch the screen. My "Odin"s are mounted at an angle; I used a 20cm x 10cm billet of aluminium probably weighing 1Kg then with friction hinges so I could adjust the angle. Probably over designed but it looks nice. You can operate that without it wanting to skittle away across the desk.
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Aivars
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Re: Andromeda???

Postby Aivars » Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:58 pm

Laurence, posted FPD differs from that what we see on Andromeda. as well there are mistake, name SHFT, should be SHIFT. Not a big deal, I already corect, but for group buy, if it will take place, should be right one ;)
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