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View Full Version : Vixen 3 arduino mega FREEZING



si_champion
11-23-2013, 05:35 AM
Hi i hope someone can help, i am running vixen 3 with arduino mega2560 controlling sainsmart 16 channel relay board which in turn controls 15 outlet plugs hooked up to my christmas lights.

When i play my sequence everything works fine and the relays all light up and work in time but as soon as i plug in more than one plug the relays and arduino freeze and everything stops apart from vixen which carries on playing. I then have to switch everything off and reboot the software to get everything back again.

Does anyone know what the problem might be?

Rodney D
11-23-2013, 03:02 PM
Hello si_champion

Unfortunately I can't help with your issue because I have the same issue. Although it's an annoyance I just restart everything when that happens, but I will be watching with you for someone else to answer your question.

I'm curious about your settings in Vixen under the controller and your Arduino sketch that runs your show.
I also have a Mega2560 also and I'm using 18 outputs 2 through 13 and 44 through 49.
My show was running great till two days ago I adjusted the scheduler and the lights are now displaying random blinks.

I was wondering if you might take a moment to share your settings in Vixen for the controller and your Arduino sketch so I could compare mine to yours and see if I can find my problem. I don't know enough in Arduino sketch writing to resolve my issue yet if that's where it's coming from, but I actually think it may be my settings.

Ive linked my sketch in word format below and my controller settings are:
Generic Serial: Com4
parity:none
Data bits:8
Stop bits: one
header : VIXEN_START
footer :END

Thanks in advance
Rodney

LightUp
11-23-2013, 03:31 PM
To confirm what you experience, it only happens when you plug in more than one light in a relay that it then freezes?
If you don't plug in any lights, the relays happily chatter away in accordance to the Vixen sequence, endlessly?
If so, then I would think that its not the relay circuitry directly causing the problem.

Does it also happen with the Arduino Uno?

Would you know the load current of your lights when the problem starts? 1amp?, 500ma?
I'm thinking of lamp current being interrupted that may translate into some kind of noise on the USB port, or its circuitry.

If no one else chimes in with a solution, I may have to buy a relay board and see if I can duplicate your symptoms. I have an oscilloscope for further probing. However, it may take a week or two before I can get a relay board. Its got me curious though, as to what mechanism causes your symptom.

wrongway1960
01-23-2014, 07:06 PM
Hello si_champion

Unfortunately I can't help with your issue because I have the same issue. Although it's an annoyance I just restart everything when that happens, but I will be watching with you for someone else to answer your question.

I'm curious about your settings in Vixen under the controller and your Arduino sketch that runs your show.
I also have a Mega2560 also and I'm using 18 outputs 2 through 13 and 44 through 49.
My show was running great till two days ago I adjusted the scheduler and the lights are now displaying random blinks.

I was wondering if you might take a moment to share your settings in Vixen for the controller and your Arduino sketch so I could compare mine to yours and see if I can find my problem. I don't know enough in Arduino sketch writing to resolve my issue yet if that's where it's coming from, but I actually think it may be my settings.

Ive linked my sketch in word format below and my controller settings are:
Generic Serial: Com4
parity:none
Data bits:8
Stop bits: one
header : VIXEN_START
footer :END

Thanks in advance
Rodney

I dont know a lot about this stuff kind of new at it but know that the arduino doesn't source much current out from its control lines,are you using a extra power supply for the relay board,and or the arduino? I run a arduino UNO with a 16 channel relay board not a problem other then I have not much knowledge of how to setup VIXEN 3 sequences first time user and I am running 3.0.10...also do U have your com. port in windows and vixen set to the same baud rate..if different they will act up bad...code looks good from my quick check I can look closer and see if there is anything I can add if you want...just my 2cents hope this helps alittle...also when I send a header and foot my vixen crash's or just wont start at all...thats all I can think of right now...sorry not much help

Rodney D
01-24-2014, 12:12 PM
I dont know a lot about this stuff kind of new at it but know that the arduino doesn't source much current out from its control lines,are you using a extra power supply for the relay board,and or the arduino? I run a arduino UNO with a 16 channel relay board not a problem other then I have not much knowledge of how to setup VIXEN 3 sequences first time user and I am running 3.0.10...also do U have your com. port in windows and vixen set to the same baud rate..if different they will act up bad...code looks good from my quick check I can look closer and see if there is anything I can add if you want...just my 2cents hope this helps alittle...also when I send a header and foot my vixen crash's or just wont start at all...thats all I can think of right now...sorry not much help

Hello wrongway1960

I created my own relay board using SSR's. "Not random fire SSR's, so no smooth dimming effect"
The Arduino is directly controlling the SSR's with a ribbon cable I created.
The power source for the Arduino is the computers USB line. I probably should use a separate power source, but this was my first attempt at this and I started putting it together late. "2014's setup will be much better".
The Com port on both computer/Arduino are set the same @57600.
I can send a header which is VIXEN_START no problem, but what I have found is that the original sketch's footer was VIXEN_END. I had to change it to just three characters to just "END" or your correct it would crash.
I believe that's a programing issue with Vixen. I found the problem because it seemed to read fine right up to the point it received the footer. Once it received the original footer it would execute what seemed to be random outputs or crash as you say.
Removing it didn't work so I tried different words and found reducing the word to three characters did work. Very strange. lol
The end result is the Vixen sequence works but still randomly stops and it's completely unreliable to start and stop by the program.
I think I will try what you suggested a separate power source and see it that does the trick.
If you think of anything else I would be glad to hear it.
Thanks for the advice.