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View Full Version : So what's my problem? (soldering problem that is)



imbluenote
04-13-2012, 02:53 PM
So I am fairly new to soldering and before working on a controller board, i bought some protoboards and made some wall wart tamers and they all work fine on the solder joints. So i bought some FAST from DIYLED Express and that is going well to on the soldering front and have one completed and working.

So i got the part and boards for the Ren 64XC, and i don't know what my deal has been with soldering on this board but i seem to have problems with alot of joints. There is a couple that has me perplexed, specifically the clock oscillator. I soldered it in initially and it went o.k. then when i turned the board over two of the legs weren't flush to the board. So i desolder and tried again and it still wasn't. So i desoldered the whole thing and saw the little "nubs" on the bottom and realized it wouldn't be perfectly against the board. So when i tried to resolder it 3 of the pins just don't seem to take the solder right (not creating the conical shape on the bottom). It just seems to puddle there and stays on the iron tip when i pull it off. The part is in there like there is some solder joint there, but doesn't have much if any solder on the bottom pad. Is there was a good deal of flux and tried to clean it of but no dice. I have another pin on one of the channel LED's doing the same thing.

Is this something i should try to fix now or wait until i try to diagnose the board once complete? Also it doesn't look like i burned the pads off, but could there be some burnt/caked on flux keeping the solder from adhering?

Skunberg
04-13-2012, 04:53 PM
I have the same type of trouble from time to time. If something doesn't solder nice on the first try, I try to save it in place.
But if I have to take a part out, I throw it away and put in a new one. Trying to clean up a used (removed) part for a good install is hard.
Then after a few items pile up on the work bench I make a order to mouser for spare parts. The scubby pad looking tip cleaner helps a lot.
Putting on some flux when trying to save a joint helps.

Brian

jcross
04-13-2012, 05:06 PM
I would like to offer good suggestions but I can only think of:
- if you remove the glob of solder do you see the copper pad on the PCB... For sure?

It is quite easy to overheat the trace and then it comes off when you use your solder sucker or wik. If that's the case then you may have to fix the pad by running a single wire from a cat5 cable to the next solderable point. You can also sometimes scrape off the mask and use a small wire to bridge the gap between the trace and the component.

Also please be careful with crystals. If you heat them for too long they can stop working. I blew one from a kit 2 days before I needed it.

Jason

imbluenote
04-14-2012, 07:50 PM
Thanks for the info. Looking at it again it looks like the pad may be gone. But it is still hard to tell even with a magnifying glass. I finished the rest of the ren 64, and went through the beginniners step if you are unsure about building the board and it all checks out so far (voltage is right, all indicator LEDs light and an attached ssr will turn on the corresponding channel). If I do wind up having a problem with the oscillator, how would it manifest itself?

jcross
04-15-2012, 01:23 AM
I believe that if it blows it will affect dimming. I'm not sure what else it would impact as I haven't looked at the schematic for a while. You are probably okay. My words were more a warning.

imbluenote
04-17-2012, 12:48 PM
I've completed the build and the beginner's guide to set up. Everything Checks out. Installed the Pics and tried to run a sequence and nothing happened (no lights turned on through SSR's nor the LED indicators on the board). I'd tried different cables/serial adaptors/pc's/used tried the serial and RJ45 inputs on the XC its self and I don't think it is from the PC to the Board. Which leves the the board itself. Doing some trouble shooting I want to check that the oscillator is connected properly and I want to make sure i am looking at the traces right. looking top down at the board the two pads that i had problems with were soldering were the bottom right and the bottom left. The Bottom right looks like it is the input power from the output of the Voltage Regulator and the bottom left pin is the output to U8 pin 2 and U7 pin 2. Am i looking at that right? I assume the top two pins are to ground? If needed could i just jumper to another ground pin?

Also one other thing that comes up in the trouble shooting is to check R13. I must be blind, but i cannot find R13 on the board, am i over looking it?

ErnieHorning
04-17-2012, 01:22 PM
Doing some trouble shooting I want to check that the oscillator is connected properly and I want to make sure i am looking at the traces right.
It might help you to compare with the look through picture of ďThe BoardĒ in the wiki. http://doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php?title=Renard_64XC Here you can see the traces on both sides. With an ohmmeter, you can check for continuity to another pin. If itís open, just solder a wire between the oscillator pin and something else close that should be connected to it.

Most likely if you removed the pad, you also damaged the pad on the opposite side also. My recommendation, the next time you find a crooked part, is to just leave it that way. A crooked part will still function just fine. A crooked part that works is better than a straight one that doesnít.


I must be blind, but i cannot find R13 on the board, am i over looking it? R13 is the resistor SIP going to the LEDís for U10.

ctmal
04-17-2012, 01:38 PM
If you are able to program pics it might help you to install the diagnostic firmware. This would test the to see if the Oscillator is functioning and whether you're looking in the right spot.

imbluenote
04-17-2012, 01:39 PM
It might help you to compare with the look through picture of “The Board” in the wiki. http://doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php?title=Renard_64XC Here you can see the traces on both sides. With an ohmmeter, you can check for continuity to another pin. If it’s open, just solder a wire between the oscillator pin and something else close that should be connected to it.

That's what i was looking at, but just wanted a second opinion that I was looking at it correctly. I think i did check for continutiy as well, but i cannot rememeber for sure since i have messed with it so much.


R13 is the resistor SIP going to the LED’s for U10. Yep Blind it is! all the indicator LED's will light with the PIC removed and jumpering the pins per the Beginner's guide so that's shouldn't cause any problems (R13 being bad) other than not lighighting the indicator LED's correct?

I have also swapped U4 and U5 just to make sure one of those wasn't bad and no change.

PinakBERT
04-17-2012, 05:14 PM
usually the oscillator has a rounded bottom or something that it doesn't really sit flat on the board. I use the approach of soldering one leg first, with some tape holding the part on the other side. turn it over to look at how the chip is sitting then kinda push with a something other than your finger, unless you can take the heat, and reheat the soldered leg to seat it better. then solder the other legs when you are satisfied that it looks straight or flat or however your want it. takes a little while longer, but if your want that whole looking straight feel, then that's how its gotta be.

Hardest things to get all straight is all those LEDs on the Ren64 board.

imbluenote
04-17-2012, 05:17 PM
If you are able to program pics it might help you to install the diagnostic firmware. This would test the to see if the Oscillator is functioning and whether you're looking in the right spot.

I did try that...but i am not 100% sure i interpreted the results correctly. I am going to try it again tonight. Is one firmware better than another "the regular" vs the beta verison?

imbluenote
04-17-2012, 05:19 PM
usually the oscillator has a rounded bottom or something that it doesn't really sit flat on the board. I use the approach of soldering one leg first, with some tape holding the part on the other side. turn it over to look at how the chip is sitting then kinda push with a something other than your finger, unless you can take the heat, and reheat the soldered leg to seat it better. then solder the other legs when you are satisfied that it looks straight or flat or however your want it. takes a little while longer, but if your want that whole looking straight feel, then that's how its gotta be.

Hardest things to get all straight is all those LEDs on the Ren64 board.

Yeah unfortunately i realized that after i took it off. Oh well...worst case is (well hopefully worst case) is i fried the oscillator taking it off and just need a new one.

I actually didn't do to bad i don't think with the LED's (at least my opinion), but then again so long as they lit up that was my main concern!

ctmal
04-17-2012, 07:08 PM
I did try that...but i am not 100% sure i interpreted the results correctly. I am going to try it again tonight. Is one firmware better than another "the regular" vs the beta verison?

Either one should work. Post your results if you're unsure what they mean. There are plenty of people here to help you interpret it.

imbluenote
04-17-2012, 07:35 PM
Either one should work. Post your results if you're unsure what they mean. There are plenty of people here to help you interpret it.

O.k. So i just did it again with the Beta version. All tests pass. up to the point of running the vixen sequence. I have it all connected and the LED 2 and LED 5 will remain blinking, LED 6 Stays off and LED 7 & 8 are off as well. I looked at the steps in the WIKI:
Make sure that your interconnect cable is built according to the Renard SS24 Controller wiki. (done USB adaptor data sheet shows pin 3 as TX and pin 5 as gnd. Serial cable is a factory made cable and pins 3 & 5 have continutiy end to end)
Make sure that the Renard Dimmer plug-in is selected in Vixen (checked this a few times all looks right)
Replace U5 (swapped with U4 since i don't have a spare)
Inspect the solder pads of U5 and the input data connector (pads look o.k.)

Just out of curiosity i tested the Resistors that are connected to U5 and R3, R4, and R7 test to the correct values. R5 and R8 don't. They are supposed to be 27K , but R5 is measuring at 1k and R8 at about 7.5k. R14 which is another 27K measures fine. This it is with U5 out and no power to the board. are the diodes causing the funky results?

ctmal
04-17-2012, 08:12 PM
Well, the good news is your Oscillator should be working ok and I think your right in looking into the data transmission area for the board. I don't have an Renard 64 so hopefully others will chime in if there's something more specific to add.

My first question is how exactly are you connecting the data to the board. What usb adapter are you using, is it RS232 to RS485? If it is RS232, are you connecting it with a regular serial cable(if not I would definately try that).

Also, just for clarity, when you create a Vixen sequence you need to make sure the data is always changing. For example, send a bunch of ramps to the channels.

In the meantime I'll read up a bit on the 64 to see if I can help.

ctmal
04-17-2012, 08:15 PM
Have you seen this? It might help.

http://doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php?title=Troubleshooting_Guide_Renard_64XC

imbluenote
04-17-2012, 08:51 PM
I am using a USB to rs232 adaptor. Manual shows pin 3 as tx and pin 5 as gnd. I also had another one (rs232 adaptor) that I tried. As far as model i dont know, but it shows up as a ftdi chipset. I also tried a pc at work that had a serial port and no luck.

The cable is a db9 straight through. Pin3 on one end is pin3 on the other same for pin5.

The test sequence I made ramps on for a sec, then off for a sec the off and on for a sec on all 8 channels. I would think I would see something with that.

I have read through the troubleshooting guide and other that bad part I am stuck. I guess I could have gotten two bad ics for u5 and u4, but is there a way to test them or anything else I should be looking for?

ctmal
04-17-2012, 09:18 PM
Hmmm.....
Ok, thinking out loud here...you're connecting using the DB9 port. According to the manuals you need a jumper on JP1 to receive RS232.
What OS is your computer using? Not sure if this'll make a difference but can't hurt to know.
In Vixen you have the Renard output plugin set for 64 channels and using the same COM port that your dongle is set to in the device manager, correct?
Depending on which Diag firmware you used, the Baud should be set to 19200(the older firmware) or 57600(for the newer) and needs to be set in both Vixen and the device manager.
Try rebooting your computer(I know sounds useless but it fixed issues for me before). Reboot after you made any changes to the com ports and with the dongle still in the port.
I'm just trying to make sure at this point that you're getting output from your computer.

imbluenote
04-17-2012, 10:02 PM
Yes I have the shut on the jumper for the rs232 data. I've tried it with it off too just to make sure and nothing.

It is running windows 7 but the other of I tried was xp.

I have a test profile set up with only 8 channels, since I only have the one pic installed. But I tried sequences with all the channels I am planning on (more than 64). Does the controller channel count in vixen have to match what is connected to the pc?

I am getting some thing through the com port. There is a tx light on the dongle that blinks when data is passing. I will need to check the device manager settings though. I did use the newer firmware so 57600 matches what is in vixen

imbluenote
04-17-2012, 11:14 PM
In Vixen you have the Renard output plugin set for 64 channels and using the same COM port that your dongle is set to in the device manager, correct?
Depending on which Diag firmware you used, the Baud should be set to 19200(the older firmware) or 57600(for the newer) and needs to be set in both Vixen and the device manager.
Try rebooting your computer(I know sounds useless but it fixed issues for me before). Reboot after you made any changes to the com ports and with the dongle still in the port.


tried it with the two dongles i had. Device manage was set up to 9600, changed it and rebooted after each change and still nothing passing.

I have been searching for a similar issues in the forums and i saw a suggestion to create a sequence w/o a profile and tried that and nothing.

imbluenote
04-18-2012, 11:47 AM
I am at a loss on this one, other than ordering new bt485 chips is there anything else to look at?

ctmal
04-18-2012, 12:23 PM
There are a couple more things to try...I find it to believe you got 2 bad RS485 chips.
In the Beginners setup, you did confirm that the SD lights up with the jumpers, correct?(Steps 8-13). That would stink if it's just a bad/backwards led.
I think the next step would be to try another serial cable or make the com - rj45 connector if you don't have access.

The values you gave on the Resistors are bothering me but like I said, I don't have a Ren64 to test them out(I know readings in circuit can be misleading). The schematic looks the same as a RenSS so I'll see if I can test anything out tonight.

Also take a look at all of your solder joints(and/or reflow them) on R3,R4,R5,R7,R8,D5, D6, U5 and the DSUB. Basically everything in the receiving circuit. Also check the joints on the Pic(I think it's U10). Then, double check that the diodes are installed in the correct direction. And finally, make sure U5 is installed in the correct direction.

Materdaddy
04-18-2012, 01:30 PM
Does the USB->RS232 device you have contain LEDs for Tx/Rx? Do you know data is going out? Sometimes these issues end up being on the software side (i.e. output plugin disabled in Vixen) and everybody suspects the hardware because of an issue like you had with the oscillator.

imbluenote
04-18-2012, 02:18 PM
There are a couple more things to try...I find it to believe you got 2 bad RS485 chips.
Same here...but you never know. I was reading before about the bad batch of opto's in one of the group buy. Just looking for some thing to point to a problem.


In the Beginners setup, you did confirm that the SD lights up with the jumpers, correct?(Steps 8-13). That would stink if it's just a bad/backwards led.
Yes i did they all work. I did the jumpering and the beta firmware and they all work.


I think the next step would be to try another serial cable or make the com - rj45 connector if you don't have access.
I think i can dig one up...if not i'll try the DB9 to Rj45 that i made as listed in the wiki, but i'll check to make sure i made it right.


Also take a look at all of your solder joints(and/or reflow them) on R3,R4,R5,R7,R8,D5, D6, U5 and the DSUB. Basically everything in the receiving circuit. Also check the joints on the Pic(I think it's U10). Then, double check that the diodes are installed in the correct direction. And finally, make sure U5 is installed in the correct direction.

I'll take a look tonight, but i don't remember anything looking too bad there. And I am 99% sure i have the diodes in correctly. I'll post a pic to make sure. Same for U5

@Matterdaddy - Yes one of them i am using has indicator light and shows that data is being sent from the PC through the Adaptor. I have never seen the RX light turn on @ the dongle...but I wouldn't think that i would either since only the TX pin is used on the cable/board correct?

ErnieHorning
04-18-2012, 03:54 PM
Yes one of them i am using has indicator light and shows that data is being sent from the PC through the Adaptor. I have never seen the RX light turn on @ the dongle...but I wouldn't think that i would either since only the TX pin is used on the cable/board correct?

There is no return path from the Ren-64XC, otherwise you could have jumpered a couple of places and used your Rx light for trouble shooting.

Hereís a trick you can try though. In the Vixen plug-in for the Renard, set the baud rate to 2400 (the lowest that it will go). Now look at the output (pin 1) (Red lead) of the RS485 input chip (U5) with multi-meter set to low voltage AC and the Black lead connected to ground. . When you send any data from Vixen, you should see a voltage change on the meter. The actual voltage is unimportant, just the fact that it changes from when there is no data sent. If nothing changes, the problem is either the RS485 chip or something before it.

If that checks out, move the (Red) meter lead to the fist PIC micro (U10), input (pin5) and you should see that same result as the previous test. If not, find the problem between here and the RS485 chip.

Donít forget to change the plug-in baud rate back when youíre done.

ctmal
04-18-2012, 09:21 PM
I took some quick measurements of the resistors in a Ren8. The setup is similar to that of the Ren64 as far as I can tell. I didn't have the jumpter set when I took the measurements but all of my 27k resistors measured over 19k. Assuming that the setups are at least fairly similar that would lead me to believe there might be an issue in that area of your board. Especially with 27k resistor that is only showing 1k.

jimmy
04-18-2012, 11:10 PM
i recently built my first ren 64. And do not have a real good meter yet. but with the jumper on and u5 removed i am getting about the same values you have. i have U4,U6-U14 installed.

imbluenote
04-19-2012, 11:42 AM
I was able to do altarpiece more trouble shooting last night.

I set up the test Sequence at 2400 baud and saw voltage changes on pin 3 of the db9 connector in the Renard 64. At u5 pin one and u10 pin 5 there was a steady 5v. I reflowed all the joints on the resistors and diodes for the incoming signal (which already looked ok) and had the same voltage readings.

I verified the diodes were installed correctly (black line matches silk screen), with seeing constant voltage there is it pointing to a diode bad or installed incorrectly ( swapped the diodes position of d5 and d6)

ErnieHorning
04-19-2012, 02:38 PM
At u5 pin one and u10 pin 5 there was a steady 5v.
This tells me that there is something wrong at U5 or before it.


I verified the diodes were installed correctly (black line matches silk screen), with seeing constant voltage there is it pointing to a diode bad or installed incorrectly ( swapped the diodes position of d5 and d6).
These diodes are only needed when using RS232 as the input; theyíre not needed if you will only be using RS485. If U5 was good and you swapped the two diodes (I believe theyíre different voltages) and connected RS232, itís possible that the chip is no longer good. The diodes are voltage limiters to protect the input of U5 from going over its maximum voltage rating. I donít know what the likelihood of failure would be though, since some parts seem to survive over voltage for short periods of time.

Clearly, if the data stops at U5, itís either U5 itself or something before it.

imbluenote
04-21-2012, 12:39 PM
I had a chance to do some more troubleshooting:
Verifed the Diodes are installed in the right place and correctly.
Verified color code on resistors and that they are installed in the right place.
Test voltages on U5 while recieving a sequence: U5 Pin 1 5V steady, pin 6 213mV steady, pin 7 voltage fluctating from around 20mV to 90mv, pin 8 steady 5V. when not recieveing a sequence all were the same except pin 7 was a steady -152mv.
Swapped u4 and u5 and same result. Reflowed the 8 pin socket and still have the same result.

Anything else before i try to replace all the IC's, resistors, and diodes on incoming data path?

imbluenote
04-26-2012, 01:35 PM
I went ahead and ordered some more ST485BN chips just to see if that is the problem (and if not i have spares now!). I am going to try to get this thing working tonight, but is there any thing else to look for if that doesn't work? I'll try reflowing all the incoming signal solder joints again,if the chip replacement fails.

I verified the diodes/resistors were installed in the right spot and correctly. I am trying to post a pic of the area but I am guess the work network is keeping that from happening.

ctmal
04-26-2012, 02:10 PM
I'm kind of at a loss at the moment but it might help if you post pictures of the board.

CaptKirk
04-26-2012, 04:24 PM
Sorry if this a stupid suggestion or a repeat from before, but I have seen this before- is it possible you soldered the sockets in backwards to the board and are installing the 485s following the backwards socket pin 1 instead of the BOARD pin 1 marking?? It is an easy thing to do. All you would need to do is flip the chips around so they follow the board marking (and hope that did not blow the 485s if they were in backwards).


Kirk

imbluenote
04-26-2012, 04:36 PM
Sorry if this a stupid suggestion or a repeat from before, but I have seen this before- is it possible you soldered the sockets in backwards to the board and are installing the 485s following the backwards socket pin 1 instead of the BOARD pin 1 marking?? It is an easy thing to do. All you would need to do is flip the chips around so they follow the board marking (and hope that did not blow the 485s if they were in backwards).
Kirk

That was one of my intial thoughts (either socket or chip installed wrong) but looking at the pic the notch is oriented to the right (looking down) and dot for pin 1 is in the upper right.

I'll post a pic when i get home.

imbluenote
04-26-2012, 06:58 PM
here's the pic

13784

I just tried the new ST485BN and reflowed all the incoming signal solder joints. And still not working.

Just was poking around trying to think of things JP1 should be on (jumpered) when RS232 data is incoming correct?

CaptKirk
04-26-2012, 07:29 PM
OK the backwards 485 was a dumb suggestion- your picture shows it is correct. Here is another weird question- where did you get your RJ45 connectors? I was astounded to find that there are RJ45 sockets designed for networking that have noise supression and other "anti-magnetics" circuitry in them. I've found that those types of connectors have a cap on the back and since your connectors have those same caps on the back, I was wondering if you accidentally used some of those types of connectors. The type of RJ45 that work for us tend to allow you to see the wires as they connect all the way straight through the RJ45 housing and obviously do not have the added circuitry. If you have the "anti-magnetic" type, it would cause all sorts of havoc on the signals from the serial port going in either the RJ45, OR the DB9 since those are both connected in common. Since nothing else explains the issues you are seeing, I am trying to think outside the box.

FYI: this bit the Rasberry Pi boards but in the opposit way- they got the type of connector we like to use instead of the ones with integrated "magnetics" - http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/781

budude
04-26-2012, 09:15 PM
Just was poking around trying to think of things JP1 should be on (jumpered) when RS232 data is incoming correct?

If connected directly to the PC with RS-232 - then yes - JP1 must be ON. If from another Renard or an RS-485/DMX dongle - then it must be OFF.

imbluenote
04-26-2012, 09:46 PM
OK the backwards 485 was a dumb suggestion- your picture shows it is correct. Here is another weird question- where did you get your RJ45 connectors? I was astounded to find that there are RJ45 sockets designed for networking that have noise supression and other "anti-magnetics" circuitry in them. I've found that those types of connectors have a cap on the back and since your connectors have those same caps on the back, I was wondering if you accidentally used some of those types of connectors. The type of RJ45 that work for us tend to allow you to see the wires as they connect all the way straight through the RJ45 housing and obviously do not have the added circuitry. If you have the "anti-magnetic" type, it would cause all sorts of havoc on the signals from the serial port going in either the RJ45, OR the DB9 since those are both connected in common. Since nothing else explains the issues you are seeing, I am trying to think outside the box.

FYI: this bit the Rasberry Pi boards but in the opposit way- they got the type of connector we like to use instead of the ones with integrated "magnetics" - http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/781

The plugs I have had laying around. Just regular rj45s. The jacks I got from the small group buy that ukewarrior had a couple of months ago I havent used on any other projects yet other than ac ssrez for this ren64. However I am using a USB to rs232 with a straight 9 pin serial cable from the pc to the ren64. The 9 pin on the board was harvested form a old pc mobo. I tested continuity on it an there is nothing crossed and everything seems fine there. I do have the jp1 shunted for rs232. I give up for tonight.if some on else is in st.louis it might be in the trash at the curb tomorrow...this thing is giving me fits!

CaptKirk
04-27-2012, 01:53 PM
Bad trace(s), cosmic rays, the light from Venus bouncing off some swamp gas.... the root cause here is a real puzzler...

And has been said before, get the pinout of the USB to serial adpter DB9 (should be a PC like male on the USB to a female DB-9 cable connector pinout like below), and the pin in of the Ren and make sure the TX on the USB (likely pin 3) goes to the RX on the Ren. and GND (likely pin 5) to GND on the Ren!!

13789

The XC documentation sure calls for a straight through cable so the RX on the REN has to be also on pin 3 of it's DB9. I guess the unknown is the pinout of your adapter.

budude
04-27-2012, 02:48 PM
I give up for tonight.if some on else is in st.louis it might be in the trash at the curb tomorrow...this thing is giving me fits!

If all else I'm sure you will get numerous takers here to troubleshoot the board for you simply for cost of shipping back/forth. I'd be glad to but I'm not as close as others but the offer stands. It's always more gratifying fixing things yourself but there's nothing wrong with reaching out too...

mschell
04-27-2012, 04:08 PM
Have you posted a picture of the back of the board?

Since the diag firmware will run, and at least light up the lights on the first PIC, it seems like things are working a little. Focus on just the first 8 channels. Post a picture of just the upper left hand section of the board, front and back. What size transformer are you using to supply the 6-12V AC to the board?

Just try putting the first PIC and not the rest of them and see if you can get anything to work from the PC.

I think we're starting to grasp at straws but without any other info it's hard to figure out what's going on...

Wayne J
04-27-2012, 06:14 PM
You are more than welcome to ship me the controller. I will see what I can do with it.

imbluenote
04-27-2012, 07:48 PM
Here is the pin out from the manual which at least lists pin 3 as tx and pin 5 as gnd. I have tested the cable and pin3 and pin 5 are straight through.
13792

Here are pics of the front and back of the board (upper left on back upper right on front).
1379313794
As was the initial point of this thread my soldering isn't the best be has seemed adequate (and i haven't cleaned off the flux yet either)

I only have the one pic in with the beta firmware and everything lights and 2 had 5 flash once it is done checking all the channels. When i have the pics out and SSR connected i can jumper it in the socket, so it really does seem like it is an incoming signal problem.

I am using the 6.3V transformer in the BOM.

Wayne - Thanks for the offer. I have some Ren SS's on the way from the group buy so i may just set this aside and see if after i get one of those done to work. If i can get those to wok but not the ren64 i may take you up on the offer.

imbluenote
05-16-2012, 01:46 PM
OK I'm back to trouble shooting this darn thing! I ordered a USB to RS-485 on ebay http://www.ebay.com/itm/320894973109?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649#ht_5235wt_1396 and cabled everything up and success! Well sort of. I have at least gotten over the major hurdle of not communicating at all with the PC. With the Beta Diagnostic firmware on PIC 1 and only PIC 1 installed, the channel led's go through their thing a few times and then LED 2 & 5 flash as they had been. When i run a Vixen Sequence now through the RS-485 adaptor, Ch 6 lights that it is receiving data, but so does ch 7 (FE led). I assume this is a framing error? I checked the vixen settings and they are correct as well as the adaptor settings in the device manager for Windows. I tried a PIC with the operational firmware and none of the LED's lit when I ran a sequence.

The Wiki says to check the LED FE and R13, but what am i checking for? The Beta firmware startup shows that they are functional.

Also in the device manager for the RS-485 adaptor there is a Flow control option should that be anything in particular?

g2ktcf
05-16-2012, 01:52 PM
yes...that's a Framing error....somewhere one of your settings is wrong.

ErnieHorning
05-16-2012, 01:55 PM
A framing error almost always is caused by an incorrect baud rate though inverted data would also cause this. The test code software has always been either 9600 or 57.6K baud, depending on whether the internal or external oscillator is used. In both versions, its 8 bit, no parity and 1 stop bit.

ctmal
05-16-2012, 02:45 PM
Also keep in mind that there are 3 places that the baud rate shows up. Vixen, the Device Manager, and the pic firmware.

Also, make sure you reboot the computer once with the adapter plugged in(sometimes this is all it takes).

imbluenote
05-16-2012, 05:02 PM
i checked all the settings on one PC so i figured i would try a different PC just to make sure. I get the same results result. Here are the screen shots:

13936 13937

And the Renard firmware is straight from the Wiki but here it is just in case there is something i am missing. I have rebooted both PC's a couple of times after verifying settings.

any other things to look at or am i missing something?

g2ktcf
05-16-2012, 05:04 PM
The Renard Dimmer should be checked for one.

imbluenote
05-16-2012, 05:14 PM
The Renard Dimmer should be checked for one.

Whoops! It was....i must have unchecked it when moving windows around. I checked it and tried again...same results as listed above.

imbluenote
05-19-2012, 02:36 PM
i've played around with this til i am blue in the face, i have verifed the baud rate settings in vixen, windows and the PIC. I have restarted the PC numerous times after chaning settings and I am still getting the Framing Error light. Once i start the sequence. Since i never got the DB-9/RS 232 port to work is it possible one of the resistors/diodes on that handles in the incoming signal is bad. If so any one that would be suspect? Or is there anything else at all to look at?

ErnieHorning
05-19-2012, 03:50 PM
I'll make an offer to fix it for you, no charge, just ship it to me any way you want. I've fix several Renard controllers for DIYC members. Heck, I even resurrected a Light-O-Rama controller that spent 3 years, outside, in a drainage ditch.

There is nothing more frustrating then to only have one controller and it doesn't work. I typically make my own controllers, so they're usually 'one of a kind' anyway, so there wouldn't be anyone to ask. They don't always work on first power up.

This is what I do for my day job too. I have access to a lot of very expensive equipment but probably the most useful is a high power stereo microscope that exaggerates the 3- vision and errors become more obvious.

I think you've spent enough time on this but it's up to you.

PM me if you're interested.

g2ktcf
05-19-2012, 04:41 PM
of course the same offer Ernie makes comes from me as well. I believe WayneJ has offered as well. Do not beat yourself up over this. It can be fixed/solved.

ErnieHorning
05-19-2012, 05:21 PM
I know it can be frustrating when you have nothing that works yet. Once you have a set working, you then have something to compare with, otherwise you could be looking in the wrong place or changing something that's working fine.

I remember working on THE first Renard-64 that I finally got enough of it working at 10:00 pm to show at a Mini that started at 8:00 am the next day. It ended up having two defective micro's.

We're not trying to take your thunder, just offering to give you a push.

imbluenote
06-09-2012, 10:38 AM
I MAY have figured it out. I got my ss group buy order and finished one last night. I did the beginner startup and everything was working as it should. I put the diagnostic pic in and no framing errors on the ss16. I put the operational pics in and it worked as it should! So some success. I thought I would try to swap the pics between the ss16 and 64xc. I did that and the problem followed, so I had fe's on the ss16 and not on the 64xc. So I must have screwed something up in the firmware for the pics I programmed. I read the hex file from the pics in group buy and wrote it to the pics I had, and got the 64xc fully functional (at least the channel LEDs all lit.) I am goin to try to break it today just to confirm but I think that was the problem. Thanks to everyone for their feedback and assistance.

Skunberg
06-09-2012, 11:34 AM
That's a common issue. So how is your soldering skills coming?

Brian

imbluenote
06-20-2012, 12:22 PM
They are coming...still go a little to fast at times and the tip has t heated up, but i haven't really had any major rework yet and all the ss16's I have built Have worked 100% off the bat. So it probably wasn't a soldering problem all along keeping the ren64 from working (although I can still use the practice soldering).

I still havent been able to determine what my problem is though Assembling the firmware from the wiki and flashing the pic. If I flash a pic with the .hex file I imported form the Renard group buy it works fine. But usin the .asm file from the wiki and making no changes to it and assembling the flashing, I get the framing errors. I've watched the videos on assembling and flashing a couple of times, and no luck. I have also had success assembling and flashing the FAST controller firmware. Is there something I am overlooking with the Renard firmware that I need to do before assembling into hex, since that seems to be where my problem is since I can flash a pic from the gb hex file just fine?