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View Full Version : Everything Up, But Getting "Stutter Effect"



we87
12-08-2008, 07:54 PM
I am running four Olsen 595 boards, all with their own power supplies. As far as Vixen is concerned, everything is on and running just fine.

However, when I play my sequence using the "Simple 595" Plug-In in Vixen, The lights go nuts :( It plays like it should, however lights just turn on at random thru-out the entire sequence. Like for example, I dont have the archs in my sequence at all....but thru out the sequence the turn on erratically.

I'm sorry if I'm not making any sense, but its kind of difficult to explain...


I made sure and set my Parallel port to "EPP" Mode as said in the Wiki. But other than that, I really dont know what else to do :(

Thanks in advance for any help. I really appreciate it.

dnesci
12-08-2008, 08:25 PM
When the board goes nuts, it can be a power supply problem. What type of power supplies are you using? Is the voltage output 5 volts? Is it a filtered powers supply? Is it DC? What is the amperage rating of each of the supplies?

What is the voltage output of your parallel port? If the supplies are greater than the port voltage, erratic results are common.

Macrosill
12-08-2008, 09:44 PM
double check your grounds are all bonded.

we87
12-08-2008, 09:46 PM
Thank you for the reply. I appreciate it.

I dont know for sure what rating the powersupplies are. But they are actually old enclosures that were sitting in my closet back from YEARS ago. They used to hold old Apple Tape Drives. But they are feeding only 5 volts into the boards using a modified molex connector.

I only did this because I was using the +5volt line from the computer's power supply. But I got lots of dimming with that, so I went for the external power supplies.

How could I check to see if the power supplies are putting out more voltage than on my parallel port?

Toaster
12-10-2008, 01:38 AM
(I'm the dad of the OP ..........)

The powersupplies are supplying +5v (red/black) from the Powersupply's. How do we check if the "gounds are bonded"?

we87
12-11-2008, 05:40 AM
Well, since I am not 100% sure how to test for the parallel port's power versus our power supply power, I went for Macrosill's route about the "grounds being bonded". And I have to be honest, I have no idea what that means :)

However, what I did try is changing the power cords going to the power supplies, and the computer, and running them all from the same outlet- so they would have the same ground. (That sounds bonded to me?) We also tried changing from the power supply alltogether and connected the Molex Y-Cable that is feeding the Olsen boards to the computer's power supply, so EVERYTHING would be on the same powersupply. This didnt give us any different result, there is still misfire's of lights on at the wrong time.

Any other suggestions?

John Benedict
12-16-2008, 12:45 PM
Check your LPT port settings in your bios to see if it's set to EPP. Was a problem for me last year when I did this.

we87
12-17-2008, 03:52 AM
Check your LPT port settings in your bios to see if it's set to EPP. Was a problem for me last year when I did this.

That was the first thing I set when I built the computer :) But I did recheck it, and even used the other settings like ECP (and changed the settings in Vixen) just to see if it would work in a different mode. No dice.

WWNF911
12-17-2008, 05:28 AM
I am running four Olsen 595 boards, all with their own power supplies. As far as Vixen is concerned, everything is on and running just fine.

However, when I play my sequence using the "Simple 595" Plug-In in Vixen, The lights go nuts :( It plays like it should, however lights just turn on at random thru-out the entire sequence. Like for example, I dont have the archs in my sequence at all....but thru out the sequence the turn on erratically.

I'm sorry if I'm not making any sense, but its kind of difficult to explain...


I made sure and set my Parallel port to "EPP" Mode as said in the Wiki. But other than that, I really dont know what else to do :(

Thanks in advance for any help. I really appreciate it.


Has your set-up ever worked. i.e. have you tried breaking it down. 1 595, 1 SSR, small test sequence to check out each 595 output etc. ?

XmasInGalt
12-17-2008, 11:05 AM
I didn't see this question asked so I'll ask it cause it's one that got me. Does the number of channels in the Vixen sequence match the number of channels connected to the parallel port? If Vixen shows that you have less channels than you physically have, you will get some wierd results and see channels go on that you did not program in the sequence.

deplanche
12-17-2008, 11:41 AM
I didn't see this question asked so I'll ask it cause it's one that got me. Does the number of channels in the Vixen sequence match the number of channels connected to the parallel port? If Vixen shows that you have less channels than you physically have, you will get some wierd results and see channels go on that you did not program in the sequence.

Is this true only for parallel port or in general? I am having similiar problems on a Grinch with Ren-C/Ren-T connected thru a usb-serial port. I have 64 channels set up in Vixen, but am only using 40 of them for my show.

we87
12-17-2008, 10:42 PM
Has your set-up ever worked. i.e. have you tried breaking it down. 1 595, 1 SSR, small test sequence to check out each 595 output etc. ?

It worked last year with no misfires, but there was dimming which we thought was due to lack of AC Power for the actual strings of lights. Thats why this year, everything is plugged into two separate breakers to help distribute the power. And why we chose to go with the power supplies to juice the 595's themselves. I did try changing the power for the 595's back to the actual computer power supply, and that gave me the same misfire result.

As far as testing goes, I did not test each individual SSR one by one, but after everything was wired in and hooked up, I ran down each individual channel to make sure that it worked. Thats also how I built my channel list. So I went thru all of my channels, selecting only one at a time, turning it on. All on works aswell with no issues of dimming, or certain lights not on. If that makes sense :)


I didn't see this question asked so I'll ask it cause it's one that got me. Does the number of channels in the Vixen sequence match the number of channels connected to the parallel port? If Vixen shows that you have less channels than you physically have, you will get some wierd results and see channels go on that you did not program in the sequence.

Actually the program itself, and all of the sequences are set to 256 channels, when we are actually only using about 205 channels give or take. So its not >less< its >more<. Do you think this still can cause the issue?

holtm
12-17-2008, 11:01 PM
How far are the Olsens from the computer (wire length)? Does it work with just one olsen?

we87
12-18-2008, 12:35 AM
How far are the Olsens from the computer (wire length)? Does it work with just one olsen?

It does work with just one board, yes. And the boards and the computer is about two feet apart.

Mudsculpter
12-18-2008, 12:52 AM
Don't use the Simple 595 plugin with your setup. Use the Olsen 595 plugin,.. It will do you good.

we87
12-18-2008, 02:08 AM
Well I grounded all of the powersupplies together, and that didnt fix the issue.

I made a completely new profile with a new sequence, with only the exact amount of the channels that are in use, and that didnt fix the issue.

I also tried using the "Olsen 595" plugin instead of using the "Simple 595" plugin, and that didnt even make anything light up.

Now, I have run out of things to try. :(

Mudsculpter
12-18-2008, 07:30 AM
Are there any flourescent bulbs (twisted ones) in any of the displays? Try putting regular bulbs in them. I remember I had some fluorescent energy saver spotlights that were giving me grief last year.

Mudsculpter
12-18-2008, 08:13 AM
I made a completely new profile with a new sequence, with only the exact amount of the channels that are in use, and that didnt fix the issue.

The plugin needs to reflect the number of channels available "for use" but not necessarily "in use" (have lights hooked up to them)

Still check for those fluorescents.

we87
12-18-2008, 02:04 PM
I made sure the plugin was set correctly for the exact amount of channels in use, and all 256 just to make sure. And I dont have any spotlights in my display, just 100ct mini light strings.

sjwilson122
12-18-2008, 09:30 PM
Are you using the same computer as last year? There is a possibility that the com port has gotten a little weaker and is putting out slightly lower voltage than last year. Have you tried lowering the voltage to the grinches?

we87
12-18-2008, 10:06 PM
I dont have any Grinch's... Im using some old enclosure boxes that have psu's in them.

sjwilson122
12-18-2008, 11:28 PM
Sorry, my bad. Guess you could say fingers got ahead of what I was thinking. I know that if the com port voltages are low, the grinches will act very erratic. One of the fixes for this is to reduce the supply voltage. Since the grinch is a variation of the 595 boards I was wondering if the 595 boards reacted the same to low com port voltages.

we87
12-19-2008, 12:15 AM
Any idea how I could check to see what voltage my Parallel port is spitting out? What pins to check with my volt meter?

RavingLunatic
12-19-2008, 12:30 AM
RJ45 IN connector
Pin 5 (Clock)
Pin 7 (Strobe)
Pin 8 (Data)

Or you could check at the first 595 chip
Pin 11 (Clock)
Pin 12 (Strobe)
Pin 14 (Data)

BTW: Remember that Vixen on sends data when event data changes, so use a sequence with something changing as often as possible. Or create a test sequence that has all channels ON except one that is constantly switching ON/OFF every event interval. That will give you the best chance to see what the port voltages on the Clock and Data line are.