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LabRat
12-08-2009, 02:36 PM
:rolleyes: Can we submit numerous times for each of the Gremlins we encounter?

Running the wrong chip for Zero Crossing - H11A1 vs H11AA1
(also.. was installed backwards in one board. Fixing the orientation allows me to dim 1/2 of my string, as I await the REAL part from mouser)

GodSpeed
12-08-2009, 02:38 PM
Cabling problem -

Evidently cable had broken between testing and final layout. Swapped data cable and everything worked great.

dirknerkle
12-08-2009, 02:40 PM
:rolleyes: Can we submit numerous times for each of the Gremlins we encounter?


Yes, submit each time, even if it's the same problem. This will give us a sampling of both the types and frequencies of such problems, both of which are important things to know.

For example, if we get a high percentage of component failures, it will likely cause us to rethink some of the chosen components or tolerances.

If we get a lot of board problems, it would indicate a problem with a board manufacturer.

Great question, thanks!

-dave

LabRat
12-08-2009, 02:47 PM
Yes, submit each time, even if it's the same problem. This will give us a sampling of both the types and frequencies of such problems, both of which are important things to know.

For example, if we get a high percentage of component failures, it will likely cause us to rethink some of the chosen components or tolerances.

If we get a lot of board problems, it would indicate a problem with a board manufacturer.

Great question, thanks!

-dave

OK.. but the poll appears to be limited to a single vote, so it won't reflect the postings.

- Andrew

dirknerkle
12-08-2009, 02:58 PM
Problem: light string bad. Broken wire somewhere
Solution: replaced string.

dirknerkle
12-08-2009, 03:05 PM
OK.. but the poll appears to be limited to a single vote, so it won't reflect the postings.

- Andrew

I just noticed. DANG! Well, I'll perhaps collate the results manually instead. Gotta do that anyway... just keep posting!

ppohlman
12-08-2009, 03:22 PM
Problem: Lights not coming on. Data cable not fully seated.
Solution: Be a man and push the RJ45 completely in until you hear the click.

cmitcham
12-08-2009, 03:37 PM
soldered the ren24 fuse clip backwards... they have a left and right side so they contour-fit around the fuse :(

rstehle
12-08-2009, 04:32 PM
problem: Lights not coming on. Data cable not fully seated.
Solution: be a man and push the rj45 completely in until you hear the click.

r o f l m a o..........!!!!!!!!!

rstehle
12-08-2009, 04:33 PM
Remember to Plug the Controller back in to the AC after tinkering with it out in the yard.................:rolleyes:

rovingmind
12-08-2009, 05:08 PM
other = time. watch a 3yr old daughter all day and work at night.

LabRat
12-08-2009, 05:17 PM
CABLING - cheap 3 outlet extensions cords. Wouldn't make proper contact when plugged into the single side of the 3 outlet header.

LabRat
12-08-2009, 05:18 PM
Cabling - "Extension cables" that delivered TYPE A male connector with TYPE B female connectors. Throws all the channel numbering off.

LabRat
12-08-2009, 05:19 PM
Cabling - as mentioned by others. Keep reseating that RJ45 header until you hear the proper "click". No click? Pull it out and do it again! (too many times the cables have "worked their way loose").

dirknerkle
12-08-2009, 05:31 PM
This poll replaces an earlier attempt to run the poll. Hopefully I'll get it right this time...

I've read hundreds of posts this year about this problem or that problem, but in general, they all seem to fall into a few general topics. I thought it would be interesting to take a poll of what your problem was and hopefully, as you mark your selection, provide a brief description of the problem and an equally brief solution. Think about describing these in ten words or less such as "bad solder joint on triac" instead of a whole sentence or paragraph that outlines all your woes and trouble you went through to fix it.

If you have had more than one problem, please choose the appropriate "problem categories" for each and adding your brief explanation for each as well. REMINDER: The forum does not allow re-voting, but it does allow multiple selections when you vote. Also remember that while you cannot re-vote, you can edit your posting at a later date to add more information.

The overall goal is to eventually collate like-problems and like-solutions into a single troubleshooting guide and eventually post it in the Wiki.

dirknerkle
12-08-2009, 06:04 PM
cabling problem: broken light string
solution: replaced string

computer: wrong parallel port setting for a 595
solution: set CMOS to use EPP mode.

other: confusion on making a ZC signal
solution: helped by DIYC member

Devinci
12-08-2009, 06:12 PM
Problem: Drier fire. Can't go back to the house for 2 weeks.
Solution: Just glad we had a good fire extinguisher.

RickeyS
12-08-2009, 07:16 PM
Had part of the display not working, worked on it for an hour checking everything except of course the GFIC.

Rick

rokkett
12-08-2009, 08:24 PM
Soldering/Construction problem - learned to crank the temperature up on my pencil to 330 C. Had to go over the first board I assembled to reflow several connections. One part I just had to remove and re-clean and flux the area before it would solder in correctly. Second board I was much more careful - slow and deliberate - but it turned out to be the faster way in the long run... :)

tstraub
12-08-2009, 09:02 PM
I had 2 problems:
1 cabling - Cheap set of crimpers caused ends to become distorted and not make good contact.

2 hardware - still don't know the problem lost 4 channels on Grinch. I was only using 32 channels. So, I moved that ssr to another port and remapped those channels. I will investigate further when I take the display down but for now the show must go on

ppohlman
12-08-2009, 11:24 PM
Problem: Dimming curves were not attached to correct channel outputs (vixen 2.5.0.8).
Solution: Create new profile and adjusted dimming curves & channel orders until correct dimming sets & channels were aligned.

jrock64
12-09-2009, 12:36 AM
Led strand not working
Find loose bulb and clip back into socket

Led strand not working
Find bad connection with shake and twist method.
Disassemble socket, find crimp around insulation but under wire.
Wire was resting on top of connection causing intermittent connection.
Solution a drop of flux and solder.

Joel

dslynx
12-09-2009, 12:58 AM
Problem: No lights at all using "Basic Parallel" or "12 channel parallel" output plugins.
Solutions: Use 8-line 595 setting 1 controller per channel

(Thanks to the guys at The Blinky Bar)

kiowamike
12-17-2009, 11:16 PM
SSRez heatsink- be careful when installing the heatsink (1/2" aluminum angle) on the triacs and do not torque them. I cracked several resistors by pinching them.

djulien
12-18-2009, 12:49 AM
Running the wrong chip for Zero Crossing - H11A1 vs H11AA1
(also.. was installed backwards in one board. Fixing the orientation allows me to dim 1/2 of my string, as I await the REAL part from mouser)

As a work-around, you can use an H11A1 in place of an H11AA1 with diodes connected as a bridge in front of the H11A1, or by re-orienting the other half of the LED string.

don

djulien
12-18-2009, 05:15 PM
I needed another category: "all of the above". :(

Soldering/construction:
Problem: One channel not working at all
Solution: forgot to solder a lead on the controller board, d'oh.

Cabling:
Problem: One SSR channel wouldn't light, even though a local SSR test passed.
Solution: bad cable. I just cut the end off and put on a new end.

Problem: could not get any home-built cables to work
Solution: used a different type of RJ45 connector; the ones that came with the cable and crimp tool were labelled "for solid wire" (which matched the cable) but would not work reliably. (they had a rectangular opening on the cable end). I tried some "for stranded wire" connectors (slightly rounded edge on the opening), and instantly was able to make reliable cables.

Circuit board:
Problem: a small copper bridge across traces near one edge (not the DIYC boards), causing 2 channels to come on instead of 1
Solution: scrape away the extra copper

Component:
Problem: One channel flickered off (intermittently cut out)
Solution: use a slightly lower resistor (temporary) or replace the opto (permanent)

Configuration:
Problem: no response from controller after changing COM port
Solution: 1. forgot to set the baud rate, 2. forgot to enable the output plug-in

Software:
Problem: No response from sequences after initial COM error from Vixen
Solution: had to kill lingering vixen.exe process using Windows Task Manager, to close the COM port so I could use it again

Electrical:
Problem: Replaced a dead string with a new one that was known to work and it still wouldn't light up.
Solution: plug in the other end of the extension cord into the SSR, d'oh.

Problem: GFCI constantly tripped by wireframe props on the ground in misty/damp conditions
Solution: add a ring of pipe insulation along the bottom (a tip from one of the threads)

Outside influence:
Problem: high winds blow props around
Solution: reduce surface area and anchor props to ground

Other:
Problem: visitors come and go at random times, not at the "start" of the program and don't necessarily stay for the whole show
Solution: just run the program in a loop, rather than using a specific "start" and "end" to the show

don

oldcqr
12-18-2009, 05:44 PM
Problem:
Channels coming on all by themselves when show not running/sticking on.

Solution:
Replace apparent bad batch of triacs (16 total).

51fordf2
12-18-2009, 10:31 PM
I feel cheated! My show has pretty much run just as planned!

Did think I had a problem, when my wife called, but, it was "between sequences", and SUPPOSED to be dark!

Oh well, maybe I'll have worst luck NEXT week!!

http://crbest.com/lmao.gif

R

dirknerkle
12-19-2009, 01:31 PM
Problem: equipment failure (string dead)
Solution: replaced string

Problem: broken cat5 internal wires (2 channels out, wires 6 & 8 no connect)
Solution: rewired RJ45 jacks on both ends to use alternate internal wires

tstraub
12-19-2009, 03:12 PM
Problem: shorted triac caused one channel to stick on
Solution: replaced SSR with one from another DIYC members spare. Thanks agin Roger.

Problem: FM transmitter very distorted sound output.
Solution: Found out the kids turned the computer volume all the way up adjusted volume all is well now.

Tyler

djulien
12-19-2009, 04:20 PM
I feel cheated! My show has pretty much run just as planned!

Do you like to travel? You could go on "tour" - drop by the locations that are having problems and help get them working. :)

don

dirknerkle
12-31-2009, 02:06 PM
Now that the 2009 Holiday Season is essentially over, if you haven't already posted the problems you encountered this year and their solutions, please do so and we'll compile a complete set of troubleshooting information on a variety of topics. This could be very helpful to newbies in particular, and if it's worthy enough, may even become part of the Christmas Wiki.

Thanks to all who've posted already -- even though you may not be able to "vote" again, please post any additional issues you've encountered and I'll tally and categorize them manually.

-dave