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View Full Version : Firegod Flicker is back....



jcizek
11-26-2010, 10:34 PM
For 2 weeks I have been testing and running sequences, checking channels, fixing lights, even ran the whole show through 2 full times wed night, not once did I ever see a flicker... tonight, now that I have "launched" my show to play every night, it looks like it's having a seizure... the flicker is HORRIBLE.

I have spent a bit of time tonight trying to isolate this... I am not 100% sure if all channels within a field module are flickering together, but one thing I do know is that the flicker is not the same across all field modules (and some have none at all).

The fact that this has not been seen once in 2 weeks makes me believe this is some kind of outside influence to the signal somewhere along the chain... If you look at the flicker close, it almost looks like a data burst from something. I have torn my hair out trying to go back through the house to see if something is on that wasn't before but can't find anything.


So, what I am really after here today is asking for any ideas on where to look for something that might be interferring with my controllers (btw- the Renard's are not having the issue at all) Don't know if David will see this post, but wondering what all you suggested to Greg in Canby (or maybe Greg will see this!!) to try on his setup this year?

Thanks... Between this problem and the ledtriks problems I am having this year, I'm about ready to go tear the entire display down and give this hobby up. This flicker is so bad you can't even see half of the sequencing because everything is flashing instead of just what should! (I didn't think it was possible to have TOO much flashy) :)

Thanks everyone. -James

Greg in Canby
11-26-2010, 11:25 PM
James,

I hope you don't give up.

It's perplexing about the stable test but flickering show.

I believe (can't prove it) that using a 2 amp power supply and replacing the big CAP on the computer interface fixed my issue. I'm not however all set up nor fully tested with actual lights. I did my testing with either fake loads on the FM's or actual SSRs some with AC lights, some without. Appeared to be stable.

Other issues have pushed back my setup big time and to make things worse, I have to go to work tomorrow, gone til Monday.

Keep with it. My only advice is don't let small pieces of evidence limit your big picture troubleshooting.

dirknerkle
11-27-2010, 12:44 AM
How long are the cables from the PC interface to the field modules? I don't own a Firegod system but I wonder if there may be a timing issue with the ZC if there is a long distance to travel or possibly if the cat5 cable goes near anything magnetic such as a motor or fluorescent light, which could inject noise into the cable. Would shielded cat5 (or perhaps cat6) be helpful?

I'm just throwing darts at the wall here, but I recall reading in a different thread that passing a ZC signal along too long of a cable to a Renard board causes inconsistencies, too.

I'll butt out of the conversation here because I know squat about Firegod... just trying to think outside the box a little at "outside influences."

jcizek
11-27-2010, 10:25 AM
Dirk, please don't butt out!! I appreciate the insight!! I have 7 field modules out there, 5 of them are within 20 feet of the PC modules, and 2 are about 50 feet away. 6 of the 7 modules within 20 feet are flashing, and only one single channel on one of the two 50 feet away is flashing. I really need to get a 2 channel scope setup on this so i can see where the problem is, one on the output of the FM and one on the input of the SSR.

Greg, I probably won't give up, I was just super frustrated (we've all been there right?) Just needed to walk away from it for a while :-)
Do you know which capacitor it is that he suggested you replace? and how big of one to replace it with? That's an easy thing to try! Did you measure what kind of current draw you were seeing on the PC module? I wonder how close to the 1 amp it is...

I'll do some more testing today and get back with more details.

Thanks. -James

jcizek
11-27-2010, 02:22 PM
OK, I threw a scope on an opened up SSR to see what things look like.
When the lights are just sitting stable at 34% dimming, this is what they look like:

(sorry for the bad quality, my cell phone doesn't do macro very well)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ_UoW-6Tgg

Not really so much of a flicker to 100%, but sort of "hunts" around the right level.

Now, the input to the optocoupler of that SSR while sitting at 34% on the scope:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah8b0uvip_s

and a scope view of a dimming effort (I had the "test" channel panel up in vixen, set it to 0% and held the up arrow to let it slide to 100%)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88V0yMB5hqA

Even though we don't see spikes in the dimming, the lights flicker to 100% quite badly during the dimming/brightening process.. Worse then by far than just sitting at one dimming level.

So the only thing I can see here is that this MIGHT be a zero crossing problem. Due to the fact that I see no vertical artifacts on the scope (ie, not falsely triggering) but there is horizontal movement indicating that the SSR is being sent the command at slightly different times.

I had the scope set to sync with "line". My biggest problem is that my scope is really old and in kind of sad shape (guess that's why i got it for free!) and I can't read the horizontal timing dial. I *think* it's set to 1ms/div in this video from the best i can read it :(

Anyone have any guesses with this info where I might go looking next?
Thanks. -James

Greg in Canby
11-27-2010, 02:32 PM
Greg, I probably won't give up, I was just super frustrated (we've all been there right?) Just needed to walk away from it for a while :-)
Do you know which capacitor it is that he suggested you replace? and how big of one to replace it with? That's an easy thing to try! Did you measure what kind of current draw you were seeing on the PC module? I wonder how close to the 1 amp it is...

I'll do some more testing today and get back with more details.

Thanks. -James

Yes, yes I have been there.

I replaced it with the stock value but have several bigger ones ready. I did measure the current draw for each FM but am not sure where those records are. It seems to me that my flickering was worse when all channels were on, either dimming or set at a constant level less than 100.

Looking for the details today before work.

Greg

jcizek
11-28-2010, 12:39 AM
Well I have learned even more... I am fairly sure at this point that my flicker problems are NOT the firegod!! I had all my white lights on as the sun went down and left them at 35%. I noticed that several sets had no flicker, while others it was quite bad. I put the scope on BOTH sides of the optocoupler in the SSR, sure enough, clean signal going in, and spikes to full on coming out. I also noticed that I have something modulating the zero cross of my powerline that looks to be several volts high.. Something either in my house or a neighbors house is splattering the line up something fierce. I had just discovered all this and was ready to head to my breaker panel to start turning things off and then the problem fully disappeared. The entire show played tonight all night with no flicker at all. I guess I'll just watch for it to come back and then start back tracking the source. I did have a chance before it went away to swap some SSR's that were flashing with some that were not..l the problem stayed with the SSR (different field modules) so I am fairly confident that the problem is power related and that some SSR's parts are more prone to this interference than others.

On that note, anyone know what the likelihood of power line noise causing either the triac or the triac substrate in the opto to fire erratically if there were noise or some other type of modulated signal on the power line? I think that is what is happening, but wanted to see if anyone had any input on that... you can clearly see the opto conducting the entire half cycle on certain cycles where it should be conducting only part of the cycle..

Thanks. -James

dirknerkle
11-28-2010, 12:46 AM
Could be the boys in Cheyenne Mountain playing games with your gear... :rolleyes:

Glad you found something out and that your show ran smooothly. I'd think something that creates that much noise on the line ought to be able to be found fairly easily. One thought I had was the possibility a neighbor is using a PowerLine network, which, if you're on the same side of the transformer, could possibly leak into your house, too.

Good luck!

budude
11-28-2010, 02:29 AM
Light dimmers and X10 stuff could cause some havoc - do you have any of that type of stuff in your house?

jcizek
11-28-2010, 04:55 PM
I have a bunch of X10 stuff, but have quit using most of it because lots of stuff turned itself on and off without being commanded to do so... makes me think that whatever the interference is it's probably messing with the X10 stuff also... I haven't seen the problem now since Friday, but I am patiently waiting for it so I can try and track it down.

-James

somtng4u2c
11-28-2010, 05:24 PM
James are you using a differant plug for your ac then you did last year and also when we were working in you shop the power went off and we werent using that much power to do that could you have something in your junction box loose?

51fordf2
11-29-2010, 09:50 PM
Jumping in here...

Early this year, I sent Greg my Firegod, and he didn't have any flickering with it, if I recall. Maybe he'll jump in and briefly give details on what all testing he did. I ran mine last year, with not a single glitch.

I'm not putting up a display this year - just too busy, but watch out next year!

R

budude
11-29-2010, 10:16 PM
Hey Roger - good to see you back even if you don't have a display this year!

jcizek
11-30-2010, 09:58 AM
@som: I found that problem John, looks like they sold me a brand new bad circuit breaker!! It got so bad it started tripping a 20amp breaker with just a desk fan plugged in... i replaced it, checked the wiring on that end, as well as the outlet and everything been perfect since!


Well geez... this is proving to be more difficult than I first expected :)

I have run several nights now with NO flicker at all, but last night it started up some... so as soon as I saw it, I stopped the show, threw on a bunch of white channels and set them to 50%, got the wife to stare out the window, and by the time i made it to the breaker panel, it all quit!! We did try cycling all the refridgerators, freezer, bathroom fan motors, shop lights, the various computers, anything I could think of that might cause interference but no joy so far.,..

Has anyone ever called the power company to have them put a line monitor on the line? I suspect that their tell me if the power is "on" they have done their job, but it was a thought that had crossed my mind!!

Glad you guys are having pretty good luck! I am bound and determined to find this!
-James

Greg in Canby
12-01-2010, 01:39 AM
Would powering your PC Interface via a computer UPS filter out all the power nasties?

Spit balling here, as it's a bit of a mystery.

If you were closer, I'd loan you mine to test the theory.

Greg

jcizek
12-01-2010, 09:53 AM
well, I am actually thinking that the pc module is doing ok at filtering enough itself as I am not having any flashing or weird spikes on the scope. The problem seems to be power going to the SSR's themselves...BUT that's still an excellent idea, I can put a UPS on a section of the display and see if that solves it (for example I could power all my minitrees with the UPS)

Thanks Greg! I'll try that tonight! -James

Greg in Canby
12-05-2010, 07:49 PM
James,

Y'all have an update??

Greg

Stgtech
12-06-2010, 12:27 PM
Unfortunetly, I am having a similar problem here in Florida.
Finished up enough of the Firegod to get some of the show online last night and anything below about 100 % flickers like stobe light. I originally just thought that was the way my LED's dimmed until I noticed that the LED's on the field module are flickering with the same frequency as the attached strings. So that rules out the LED's themselves the way I see it. So some of the LED's dim perfectly and some just flash like mad- and they are all sharing the same power. As a matter of fact in some instances 2 sets of LED's are plugged into the same channel (I had to double up sets on my megatree) and one set will dim properly and one set will strobe. In other cases both strobe and in others still neither do. The whole pattern of things seems completely random.

On a side note- one channel will not turn off regardless of the command issue from the Vixen. Anyone know off the top of their head what this is? It is an issue with the field module not the SSR as the LED in the field module remains on and I already swapped SSR's.


Let me know if there is anything I can do to assist in testing. I will attempt to put some of the SSR's as well as my PC Interface on a power conditioner to see if that clears anything up. Anything that requires a multimeter or such I can measure but unfortunately I don't have a scope.

-Aaron

jcizek
12-06-2010, 07:01 PM
Hi Aaron, sounds like you are having the problem more like Greg had... Mine seems different, I don't have any flicker in the LED's on the field modules, absolutely none.
I tried powering my PC modules from a UPS, it didn't help at all.

I did put a scope on all this stuff, I have a clean signal coming out of the field module, where i see the issue is between the opto coupler and the triac. I see the shortened sign wave turn into full sign wave which of course turns the triac on to 100% brightness.

Greg in Canby worked with David (firegod) to work on some of these issues, things you might consider is changing your 5volt regulator to a 6 volt regulator on the PC module. That has helped some people. I believe he also changed out the capacitor on the main PC module.

As far as your channel staying on, does the LED on the FM stay on too? That will help isolate this to between the FM and the SSR. (btw- what ssr's are you using? are you using sourcing or sinking code on the FG?)

-James

Stgtech
12-08-2010, 11:11 AM
Yes, the FM LED remains lit no matter what regardless of the SSR connected (I have swapped around different ones). I am using SSRez's.

In regards to the flicker... do you have any more specific details on what regulator he switched to and how that all worked out?

Thanks, Aaron

jcizek
12-08-2010, 11:18 PM
If the field module LED stays on when you disconnect the SSR, then you likely have a solder bridge or other flaw on the board. If the LED goes out when you disconnect the SSR, you might have a bad cable or a short on the SSR board. Does it work right if you switch 2 of the SSR plugs?

The voltage regulator is a 6 volt, like this:
http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Fairchild-Semiconductor/KA7806AETU/?qs=PeFKkYunQooOH3A19Q2JfA%3d%3d

That will help you a lot i think, it helped me resolve a lot of issues with mine, especially if you have long cable runs, cat5 cable runs that are real long will drop a fair amount of voltage and since the FM's are powered by the 5 volts down the wire, longs runs can leave you with 4 or less volts at the field module... the 6 volt reg will help that situation a lot!

-James

Greg in Canby
12-09-2010, 01:27 AM
I am using a 6V regulator, a 2 amp power supply and had to R & R the big cap on the PC interface. 72 hours from a full scale test. I'll report results.

Greg

Stgtech
12-10-2010, 03:59 AM
So I have discovered that when I unplug the SSR the LED goes out. Yet switching SSR's makes no difference whatsoever. The same LED remains lit no matter what Vixen says or what SSR module is plugged into that group of 4 channels. The LED is on unless the SSR is completely unplugged. The whole FM seems to be iffy about responding to Vixen so im going to go over it with a fine tooth comb tomorrow. But if anything comes to mind I'm all ears.

Greg- what cap did you replace yours with, and is the 2 amp power supply you are using still a 10v AC like the one spec'd? I ordered the 6V regulators but they have yet to arrive. My cable runs to the FM are very short <25' so I really can't believe that is the problem but my fingers are crossed.

Aaron

Stgtech
12-10-2010, 04:46 PM
To follow up- the show is finally opening tonight and most everything appears in order. I am still having some pretty bad flickering through the Firegod but will work with that when the new regulators arrive.

As far as the problem with the channel staying on-
while soldering the pic socket on the FM I made a bad joint which grounded that particular channel- thus locking it on for whatever reason (that will teach me to cheap out and order my PBC's without a soldermask) . With that said the FM appears to be functioning perfectly now.

I would still like to know of any other modifications to reduce the flicker and also what upgraded power supply to go with.

Thanks,

Aaron

Greg in Canby
12-11-2010, 02:01 PM
I would call my issue (which may be resolved . . . still finalizing the FG plan - it's late, I know) as pulsing rather than strobing or flashing. It was that same for all FMs so I figured it was a PC Interface issue. I would not let myself believe that I got bad components so I chased other problems. Visual, pin outs, chasing traces (my board is a REV1) I even got one of Roger's (51fordF2) boards to compare and test. I never got to the point of putting a scope on it (N7XG was going to loan me one) before I started throwing parts at it.

I purchased a transformer:
http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/TX-122/12-V.C.T.-2-AMP-POWER-TRANSFORMER//1.html

Based on David's comments I R & R'd the 2200 uf cap on the PC interface and that's as far as I had to go (I think).

Couldn't help adding to the heat sink - just seemed to run a bit warm.

Good luck,
Greg

Greg in Canby
12-11-2010, 09:03 PM
Update:

At the moment, FG is OPERATIONAL! I'm only using FM3 (13 channels worth) but all seems well.

My son built up 3 Cat 5 cables (PC Interface -> FM), the first two were bad but when I hooked one bad one up, I saw what may be the strobing your talking about. Maybe try to use some commercial cables for a test as the strobing went away with good cables.

jcizek
12-12-2010, 12:06 PM
Geez Greg, I never thought about using a transformer that sat by itself, I was always hunting down 2amp+ walwarts which are super pricey. That setup of yours looks very nice!

I'll have to try that, that's one thing I haven't tried. I kind of suspect it won't solve my problems as some nights I run all night without a single flicker, but worth a try nonetheless!

After the last week and a half of having horrible flicker, I ran Friday night flicker free again. I can't put a finger on it, the ONLY difference I could find that night is that it rained (and the wind blew 75+mph, can't believe the display survived!!) about 2 hours before showtime. The first thought that comes to mind for me is static...but I'm not sure how I'd track that one down.

I still think I am fighting a different problem than you all have as my field modules have NEVER had the flicker on the LED's, they have always been rock solid, only the lights plugged into the SSR's flicker, and at that, not all flicker with the same frequency.

Very glad to hear that your FG is up and running well!! I'm giving the FG's till the end of this season to figure out the flicker, if I can't, i might be building a bunch of Ren's this summer....

-James

51fordf2
12-12-2010, 05:21 PM
Geez Greg, I never thought about using a transformer that sat by itself, I was always hunting down 2amp+ walwarts which are super pricey. That setup of yours looks very nice!
-James

James - I ran 220 channels on two FG systems last year, without a single hiccup. No flicker or anything. I ended up sending one system to Greg, so he could use it to troubleshoot his system, and see if he had any flickering/pulsing with my system. If I recall, he didn't have any noticeable flickering with it.

I also used separate transformers for each system. When I got my parts in the group buy, one of the wall warts was DOA, and it was replaced. It worked for a while, but got really hot (as hot as the heatsink) and smoked, after probably two hours of use. At that point, I switched to two serious xfmr's from Radio Shack, and used them all season. I ran from Thanksgiving to Jan 7th last year, every night, from 6 pm to 10 during the week, and until midnight on the weekends.

I didn't set up this year - too many "personal" things - but plan to go big next year. I am hoping to use the Helix, as I have 512+ channels of Helix, and own the lot across the street, where my shop is. so I can orchestrate BOTH sides of the road!

I hope you don't give up on the FG - as I said, it was flawless all season. Possibly I can send you one of mine, as well, if you want. PM me. I'm not interested in selling, but might be down the road. But it's nice to have a "back-up" system.

Good luck!

R

Greg in Canby
12-14-2010, 01:33 AM
Geez Greg, I never thought about using a transformer that sat by itself, I was always hunting down 2amp+ walwarts which are super pricey. That setup of yours looks very nice!
-James
Thanks for the compliment. The case and install are mine, the idea for the transformer is 51fordf2's!
Thanks Roger.

I wish I could be more effective help with your issue. Keep us posted.

Greg

Update: Running 29 channels on one FM - all is well. Adding 32 channels and a second FM on Thursday.

jcizek
12-15-2010, 09:44 AM
OK, next question... Roger, Greg, STG, are you guys running sourcing or sinking code on your FG's?? Also, what SSR's are you using?

I am still thinking that my problem *may* be SSR related... one thing I have noticed the last few nights while watching more closely, is that NONE of the SSR's I have built THIS year (ie, different batch of parts) is flickering on any night... only the one's i built for last years show (first year doing it). I am wondering (mostly due to discussion in another post about bad triacs) if maybe I am having a problem with a bad run of parts! I haven't had any fail, but it seems odd that only last years SSR's are flickering (including if I switch an SSR from one position to the other, putting a "new" ssr in seems to solve the flicker)

Also, can you guys tell me what Triacs you are using in your SSR's?

Thanks!! I don't really want to ditch the FG, just once in a while seems like I run out of ideas on what to check next!!

-James

Greg in Canby
12-15-2010, 12:40 PM
James,

I totally can relate to your frustration - don't lose faith.

I'm using sinking code, FM address hard coded in the chip, no jumpers.

At the moment, I'm using home etched SSRneons but will add today, 8 SSREZs. I'll run those tonight and hopefully have good results (pulsing wise).

I will edit this post later today with part numbers.

Greg

jcizek
12-16-2010, 10:29 AM
Well, I grabbed a couple of 3 Aamp transformers yesterday, got home, wired them all up and got ready to install them, by that time the show had started and as I went outside, noticed I had NO flicker at all, all night! So I left it alone for last night, but have the transformers sitting here ready to go for tonight. We'll see if that makes a difference! Figures that soon as I have them ready to go, the show runs smooth :-)

Will report back after tonight's run! -james

Greg in Canby
12-17-2010, 02:42 AM
Good news, perplexing, but good news. It's REALLY difficult to nail down intermittent issues - as you know - but were all rooting for you!!!

Greg

jcizek
12-18-2010, 12:16 AM
Well, I installed the new 3amp transformers today. Had some hope that it might help, but it did exact nothing. Flicker is *really* bad tonight, so went out and switched to the new transformers mid-show... didn't solve a thing. Flicker is just as wicked as it was with the walwarts...

I think my next step is to build a sort of tester. I think build a board with a PIC that doesn't take any serial input, just constantly outputs a fixed timing pulse after the zero cross (for example, it just constantly always outputs a "50% dim" signal ) that I can plug the SSR into instead right at the field module. Basically a replacement basic field module. It will need to have the ability to power from the PC module, OR provide it's own power and ZC signals (to isolate further that the problem isn't coming from the ZC or power from the PC module) Hopefully I will have time to build one tomorrow and test. More to come... -James

-James

jcizek
12-19-2010, 05:13 PM
Well guys, I did some more testing today and *think* i have further confirmed that this is some kind of SSR problem, I still am not 100% sure, but I have started a post over in the SSR forum (http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14027 ) to see if anyone has any ideas.

I am not gonna have any hair left after this season :-)
-James

jcizek
01-09-2011, 09:12 PM
OK, as you may have read over in the SSR forum, i'm back to thinking this is an FG problem after all and not an SSR problem.

One question, do any of you that have used the FG in your display have any video? I'd love to see what the dimming looks like on someone's FG that is working properly! Thanks. -James

Greg in Canby
01-10-2011, 11:13 AM
James,

I posted in the other thread about your dimming comment - I think. New board format.

Anywho, I'm digging out the FG interface and FM4 from storage to try and shoot some video for you today. I'll be using a still camera with video mode - it's all I have to use. I hope the quality of video will be enough to help.

PM me your email address and I'll fling you video that way.

Greg

Update. Have some video and some stills. Searching for the cable to download. I really need to clean up all the work areas.

Update. Ready to email. marshall@canby.com

Update: Emails sent - good luck!

Stgtech
01-23-2011, 09:40 PM
Video of this years display. My biggest problem was some of the LED sets would dim at certain voltages and others would dim at different voltages... they would even do this if they were plugged end to end. So take that into account while watching

http://vimeo.com/18431274

jcizek
12-09-2011, 09:41 AM
Is anyone running Firegod this year? I have 7 field modules out for this year's show mixed in with several Renards. I am still having the flicker but it's no where near as bad this year. I now have a storage o-scope and have built a break out box I can connect in line with any of the RJ45's in the system to measure the signals. I haven't had the opportunity to do this yet between the subzero weather and some family issues but hope that this weekend will present the chance.

I noticed something this year that I don't think I have not given any consideration for... wondering if this will spark any ideas... the flicker only happens when dimming , not when already dimmed (ie, if everything is at 50%, then things are solid, but if I have a large number of channels moving from say 100% to 50% they all flicker randomly) Also, I noticed that if only a few channel are dimming at the time, no flicker, it only happen when large amounts of channels are doing dimming. For example, in a sequence where each of 20 minitrees are being light and dimmed one at a time (or sometimes 2 at a time) no flicker, but dim all 10 or all 20 at a time and not only do those channels flicker, but so do many other channels on different field modules!! It's almost like it's still an inadequate power issue (though I have moved to very large transformers for the PC module power now,... i think they are 4 amp transformers)

Anyway, I hope to have more info this weekend, but wanted to toss that new info out and see how everyone else using FG is doing this year!
Thanks! -James

corytcline
12-09-2011, 08:33 PM
there has been a lot of talk about this in the renard forums
http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?18060-flicker-fixes

jcizek
12-19-2011, 12:43 PM
Well, the persistence was well worth it!!
David (Firegod) has been an incredible help with all this, and just continues to be a wonderful person to work with. Always willing to do everything he can to help, regardless of where he is in all of his travels.

The problem turned out to be that my SSR's were staying fired (occasionally, hence the flicker) for the next part of the half cycle on the power line. When this happened, the bulb burned very brightly for that entire half cycle since the triac stayed fired.

Firegod sent me a new set of firmware files that turned the output of the channel off just a tiny bit earlier each power line cycle than the previous firmware. Problem 100% solved!! Not even the slightest bit of flicker. This also solved the rough dimming issues since the lights are staying at there commanded levels throughout the dimming cycle.

He suspects that either my oscillators are not running at exactly 40mhz or possibly that the power to my home isn't exactly 60hz, I am going to take some measurements of that after the season, but for now, the FG dimmers are running absolutely smooth and flicker free.

Another wonderful success in my holiday decorating woes :)
Thanks again David, and all the wonderful folks on this board that have helped over the years!
-James

lbro
12-19-2011, 01:09 PM
Good news James.
Did David update the Firmware files on the forum? or just send you new ones?

Lou

jcizek
12-23-2011, 12:40 PM
So far he's just sent them to me... i'll ask him about posting them. Don't want to do that without permission! -James

Stgtech
12-23-2011, 11:12 PM
I would really appreciate those files as well. Flicker is worse this year than ever before. I had to switch all my sequences to on or off only even with the EMI power conditioners :(

51fordf2
12-24-2011, 12:37 AM
I worked really close with David, my first year, and he helped a lot getting me going. However, I know he can be extremely busy, and sometimes really slow to respond back. I am inclined to believe, that he wouldn't mind at all, you sharing the files, to help others. the original files are freely given, and I know he has worked a LOT with Greg and others, trying to help with the flicker problem (I never had it). I think I would share those files, since every day could be hurting someone's show that much more. And david I'm sure would concur, as well as probably be very appreciative, since he would know that works, at least in your case.

Just my $.02 worth. He put the system out there, for enjoyment, not to withhold files...plus, it's FAR easier to beg forgiveness, sometimes, than get permission...

R

Greg in Canby
12-24-2011, 02:44 AM
Another wonderful success in my holiday decorating woes :)
Thanks again David, and all the wonderful folks on this board that have helped over the years!
-James
Super Congrats!!
I agree David is a great guy! And the wonderful folks mentioned certainly include Roger too!
Greg

Stgtech
12-24-2011, 03:01 AM
Ultimately, I am not even sure which flicker this post started about. Some of us (myself included) experienced flicker that was fairly uniform across the display (i.e. random flicker on all channels at the same time and rate & was also reflected on the **Field Module LEDs themselves**) while others simply experienced random flicker at random times across random channels and was not reflected in the FM LEDs. To cover all my bases I tried most every solution I found 1) checked and rechecked all Cat5, solder joints, and software settings, 2) replaced original 5Vregulator with a 6V model. 3) replaced main transformer with a beefier 3 amp model 4)Added EMI/RF sure suppressors to all SSR's. Still no luck.

Aaron

jcizek
12-26-2011, 12:06 AM
Fair enough!! Merry Christmas to all... attached are the new files.

***Be aware though, these files are for SOURCING SSR's, not sinking. I have all sourcing SSR's like the original Firegod design.
Hope it helps!
-James

Stgtech
12-29-2011, 05:29 PM
Hmm- im using the sinking SSRez's any idea if there is an easy way to convert the files?

teddpoit
11-17-2012, 07:30 PM
I tried using the new sourcing files (above), and they worked great to fix flicker! However, when I program the source2 hex file on to my PIC chip, it thinks that its address is actually chip 1. So basically, using those four files, I get two chips addressed as field module 1 and two that are correct at 3 and 4. Has anyone had similar problems or been able to fix this? Thanks for all of your help!

randaman55
11-23-2012, 12:03 AM
I could really use the new files configured for sinking ssrs. The flicker has always been there on my system. Any chance this could be done?

**UPDATE**
Well I finally may have figured this out after reading many times what everyone else has been saying about using emi filters. I just couldn't bring myself to believing I would need emi filters on every ssr circuit so I didn't give it much thought. So, reluctantly I thought I would give it a try. First I put an emi filter on a single dirkcheap ssr on my bench and the flicker did not improve, actually looked worse for some reason. So, I browsed through some more posts, and I was about to order a 6V regulator and a beefier transformer when I decided I would put another emi filter on the 12vac power transformer to see if that helped. To my surprise, it cleaned it right up. Just to be sure, I removed the emi filter to confirm and sure thing the flicker came back, replaced the emi filter, and sure enough the flicker was gone. So, hopefully this is the only location I will need an emi filter. I am looking forward to a flicker free display this year. Gonna be a long weekend getting setup - I feel behind, but since our HOA has a 30 days before a holiday rule, this is the soonest I can put up lights...

FireGod
11-24-2012, 03:51 PM
You should put a filter on the 12 VAC transformer only, that should fix it. Also i posted some new code but if the zero cross is getting random spikes then all bets are off.

Good luck!

Sorry i have been absent but we finally got moved into the new house and I got most all the large construction jobs done. I'm actually considering putting up some lights this year!

Greg in Canby
11-24-2012, 05:33 PM
Sorry i have been absent but we finally got moved into the new house and I got most all the large construction jobs done. I'm actually considering putting up some lights this year!
Great to see you back and hear all is well!
Greg

jcizek
12-01-2012, 08:42 AM
Yes, great to see you back David!! Since I was the OP on this flicker post, and everyone on this thread has given me so much help. I thought I'd circle back and let you all know that my display is up and running and is 100% flicker free!!! The code adjustment David made for me at the tail end of last year (changed the timing a tiny bit as it seems my power isn't *exactly* 60hz here!! Fixed everything perfectly!! I have 256 Channels of Firegod running and they look just as beautiful as the 128 channels of Renard I have mixed in this year!!

Thanks again to all of you. This forum houses some of the kindest, smartest, and nicest people in this crazy hobby!! Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!! -James

FireGod
12-03-2012, 09:32 PM
I just fixed steelpanz flicker problem. It was a corroded RJ45 socket on a field module. It caused the entire system to flicker. I assume it caused noise on the power supply or the zero cross. Anyway it is fixed for now.

And yes, I did get my lights put up for the first time since 2009 and I also had a corroded RJ45 jack I had to replace. I guess sitting outside for a month in the damp/cold conditions then being stored in less than perfect conditions can cause that.