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Daemon
05-31-2009, 06:07 AM
Hi all

I have seen loads of posts about ren-c, ren-t and grinch issues so rather than wade through all of them I thought I would ask for suggestions.

I use the H11AA chip for my zero crossing using a no longer needed ac adapter to supply it and 2 resistors.

I have the ren-c and grinch etc working. Heartbeat and power lights are good on the ren-c. The ssr's which are running on 24 volt fire well but sometimes I get unwanted channels coming on. I am pretty sure it isn't hardware related.

I am trying to test some powerboard ssr units I have made up and when using my tester to manually activate the channels by toggle switch then it works perfectly but when I bypass my tester and use vixen to activate the channels I get no lights or flicker and sometimes I get more than one channel coming on at once without it being activated in vixen test mode.

When I run from the grinch into my tester and use vixen to activate channels I get the same flicker and random channel activation(without lights attached). Dimming works well though.

Does this sound like a problem with current from the power supply and perhaps I need the hex inverter added to my setup?

Or I have seen another post with a resistor added to the front of the chips to solve random flicker too.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. At the moment I have a 75% perfectly working grinch ren-c,ren-t setup and I am gunning for 100%.

Cheers
Steve

toodle_pipsky
05-31-2009, 07:00 AM
When I had "issues" the two main culprits were 1. make sure all ICs are installed on the Grinch (even if you aren't using all the channels) and 2. use the "beta" firmware discussed in this thread http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7044&page=4. I think they version I currently have is in post #39 - but there is another version towards the end of the thread. I just haven't had a chance to get to it yet!

I'm going to say try the firmware - it's what caused any craziness I had.

Daemon
05-31-2009, 06:41 PM
Thanks TP
Your problem seemed to be when dimming correct? Mine is simply on/off at this stage as I haven't gotten to the dimming part of the process yet except to confirm it works.

I have all MBI's installed so its not that. I am currently reading up about measuring current so I can try and see if its a lack of current or voltage passed across to the Ren-c from the Grinch or too much current drop from the power supply to the Grinch.

Also a little confused as to why I get no trace of flicker when not using vixen and just using my tester instead. That would seem to suggest the problem is data related from vixen.

Anyway, thanks for the reply.

lboucher
05-31-2009, 07:21 PM
Hi

This problem seems very familiar to a problem i had, that was fixed very easy.
While i have never used a grinch or Rec C the problem sounds the same.
I am new to the hobby and decided to build my own boards based upon the SX chip. Anyways, i got everything together and working and in the end once i added dimming i experience random quick flashes on certain channels.
I don't know exactly what caused it, but i fixed it easily by adjusting the serial settings. Specifically changing the stop bits from 1 to 2. (I think 1.5 worked also.) (For reference i was running 38400 baud.)

Since doing this i have never had an issue.
Not sure exactly what the timing issue was but i really don't care because it works now.

Let me know if this helps ya.

Lucas

scorpia
05-31-2009, 08:31 PM
Thanks TP
Your problem seemed to be when dimming correct? Mine is simply on/off at this stage as I haven't gotten to the dimming part of the process yet except to confirm it works.

I have all MBI's installed so its not that. I am currently reading up about measuring current so I can try and see if its a lack of current or voltage passed across to the Ren-c from the Grinch or too much current drop from the power supply to the Grinch.

Also a little confused as to why I get no trace of flicker when not using vixen and just using my tester instead. That would seem to suggest the problem is data related from vixen.

Anyway, thanks for the reply.


I would ask, are you using the ren-c/grinch from vixen. if so then you are using dimming as the ren-c will do dimming. but yu might be only using the on and off positions. i would follow TP's advice and try the new firmware on the grinch if you are using it.

Also i would ask what MOC opto's are you using? there has been some confusion in the past between 3023 and 3032 chips. one dimms and works fine with the ren-c and the other wont dimm properly but would work fine with a on/off grinch. i cant remember which is which at the moment but double check what yuo have and see.

you also mention that using your tester you dont get flicker. how does this test connect. does it just connect to the ssr or does it connect to the grinch / ren-c and activate the channels though it? if its just a ssr tester then it is very simple compared to the grinch/ren-c and will not give the same results.

also can you give some more info about how things are hooked up when the problem occurs.

anyway see how you go.

Peter

Daemon
06-03-2009, 02:15 AM
Hi Scorpia

To answer your questions. Firstly, I don't have a pic flasher, I bought them already flashed so I am making enquiries as to what firmware they have.

I was using the ren-c/grinch combo but I was trying to say that during test mode I hadn't adjusted the dimming slider, just turned the channel on. Not sure if thats what you were saying or not? I wasn't running a sequence so does the dimming factor in if you are only using the channel test feature?

I am using the MO3023 opto's

Here is a link to the tester I built for you to have a look. The powerboard ssr's are a different issue though I am working through with John Muldrock here in NZ because he supplied me with them and they are a John special and he is helping me sort them out.

My set up is basically the same as Toodle pipsky's. I have made a ZC chip with an H11AA chip and 2 3300 resistors and I have an ac adapter connected to that. They run though the ren-c on pins at JP3. The ren-c is connected to the grinch and the grinch has the jumper on at J1 to pass the power to the ren-c. The grinch has all the MBi's installed and is complete.

I have set the vixen plugin to renard dimmer(modified) and set to COM1, baud rate 57600, data bits 8, parity none, Stop bits one.

From there I go through a checked cat5 cable to either my tester or to the tester and from the back of the tester to the ssr's which are attahced to a 240v-24v toroidal transformer. The transformer is a 400va with 2 secondaries and I have wired them in parallel for double the amps.
I have connected 2 terminal buses to the secondaries and one of those is for the lighting neutrals and then other bus goes through 10amp fuses to the load of the ssr and the actives of the lights go to the ssr inputs.

I think that covers all you need to know about how everything is hooked up. I can supply a few photos if you think it would help.

Cheers
Steve

scorpia
06-03-2009, 06:47 AM
i just noticed that your in NZ, im really thinking that the new pic firmware could really help you. everyone who had flickering here in aus and has updated has shown a major improvment to any flickering that they had.

if you cant get someone closer to flash a chip for you send me a pm with your contact email etc and we can work something out.

im in melbourne but im sure it wouldnt take to long to mail you a new chip.

what i meant about useing the ren-c is that as soon as you hook the lights to the grinch and the ren-c then the ren-c is in control and is basicly doing dimming all the time. Just because you only have it at 0 or 100% doesnt stop the ren-c from using dimming to do it.

its just the amount of on or off time that changes.

Peter

Daemon
06-03-2009, 01:03 PM
Okay thanks.
I got the chip off WJohn not too long ago. I am just waiting for him to find the time to let me know ehat the firmware was.

scorpia
06-03-2009, 05:09 PM
i would be 99% sure that the firmware that john uses would be the standard firmware not the new beta one.

pm me your email and snail mail address and i can organise a chip for you.

Peter

Daemon
06-08-2009, 09:02 PM
Hi Scorpia
:D

Thanks for the offer. I sent a PM, can you confirm you received it please?
I just searched through my spam folder in case a reply got mis directed there somehow but no go so I need to confirm I sent it to you successfully.

Thanks
Steve

scorpia
06-09-2009, 03:48 AM
sorry yes i got the PM, i burnt up a chip for you but i wanted to test it first.

i thought i would have time over the long weekend but it turned into a busy weekend so i didnt get a chance.

i might just stick it in the mail tomorrow for ya and you can see what happens. it should work fine.

Peter

Daemon
06-09-2009, 08:35 AM
Thanks

Send me an email and I will be able to pay through paypal for it.

Cheers
Steve

scorpia
06-10-2009, 02:01 AM
sent, ill send you an email later tonight

Daemon
06-28-2009, 12:54 AM
Hi again everyone

I am still having a slight issue with flickering here. I have installed the new chip, thanks Scorpia but still get flicker now and then.

It could possibly be that the issue is controlling lights with controllers. When I get to certain levels of brightness then other channels come on.
That may just be a coincidence though.
Could anyone suggest someone continuity or other tests and checks I could perform on my ren-c to confirm it is working correctly.

Apart from the led diagnostic lights on board which are working as they should I can't really find a lot of info besides a firmware change.

Thanks
Steve

sjwilson122
06-28-2009, 03:46 AM
Don't know if this will help or not. I had similar problems with my Grinch/Renc. One thing I did that I have seen mentioned in other threads was disconnect the 120 ohm terminating resistor on the Renc. That helped some. I then did what is shown in the following link and all my problems were gone. I kind of look at it as "turning the volume down" on the grinch.

http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5448

Daemon
06-28-2009, 05:15 AM
I then did what is shown in the following link and all my problems were gone. I kind of look at it as "turning the volume down" on the grinch.

http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5448

That concerns me a little. Thanks though, I will keep it in mind for the final solution.

jpb
06-29-2009, 03:26 AM
Steve,

I finally fixed my flickering with the hardware change documented in the asm file.

;; "This change requires a h/w change to the board - disconnect the ZC
;; signal from pin 2 of the HC02, and connect pin 2 of the HC02 to pins
;; 11,12 of the PIC.

The way I did it was easy to do and easy to reverse. See my last post in this thread
http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7044&page=10

I hope this helps.

Jon