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Thread: Problem with no output data from Grinch

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default Problem with no output data from Grinch

    Hi all,

    For about 8 days I had blinky flashy working on my Grinch and all was good.

    On about the 8th/9th December I noticed that some of my lights were on during the day, figuring the PC needed a reboot I shut it down with the aim of restarting it later that afternoon in time for that nights schedule to begin. When I restarted the PC, no lights came on at all.

    Tonight was the first oppourtunity I have had to run through troubleshooting on this.

    I have 1 grinch and about 8 SSRoz's, the grinch is connected to my PC's parallel port and the length of the cable is only about 30cm or 40cm.

    I ran through the Beginners Setup Guide the Grinch (http://doityourselfchristmas.com/wik...ide_The_Grinch), and the following is what I have done/encountered.

    I have set the parallel port in the BIOS to ECP, EPP and ECP+EPP and undertaken all tests mentioned in the Beginners Guide and troubleshooting guide. My sequence is the standard test sequence and again I tested both the Olson and Simple output plugins with each of the BIOS settings.

    When the BIOS was set to ECP+EPP:
    Olson 595 plugin
    • IC U1 Pin 2 alternates between 2.5v and 0.9v
    • IC U1 Pin 3 always remains at 0.06v
    • IC U1 Pin 4 always remains at 0.054v


    Simple 595 plugin
    • IC U1 Pin 2 alternates between 2.1v and 1.6v
    • IC U1 Pin 3 always remains at 0.06v
    • IC U1 Pin 4 always remains at 0.054v


    With the BIOS set to ECP
    Olson 595 plugin
    • IC U1 Pin 2 alternates between 2.5v and 1.3v
    • IC U1 Pin 3 always remains at 0.06v
    • IC U1 Pin 4 always remains at 0.054v


    Simple 595 plugin
    • IC U1 Pin 2 alternates between 2.8v and 0.8v
    • IC U1 Pin 3 always remains at 0.06v
    • IC U1 Pin 4 always remains at 0.05v


    With the BIOS set to EPP
    Olson 595 plugin
    • IC U1 Pin 2 alternates between 2.6v and 1.3v
    • IC U1 Pin 3 always remains at 0.06v
    • IC U1 Pin 4 always remains at 0.05v


    Simple 595 plugin
    • IC U1 Pin 2 alternates between 2.5v and 1.4v
    • IC U1 Pin 3 always remains at 0.06v
    • IC U1 Pin 4 always remains at 0.054v


    With no IC's or cables connected the voltage at pin 24 of UC 1 is 5.11V. I have also verified there is resistance between the DB25 pins and IC1 as per the beginers guide.

    I have swapped the Allegro chips many times and have also had a look to make sure there was no shorting with any solder/solder flux.

    I will try any get some photos tomorro afternoon.

    Is anyone able to offer some advice of where I should be focusing my attention or provide any insight on what the problem could be?

    I appreciate any assistance anyone is able to provide me.


    Thanks,


    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Default Re: Problem with no output data from Grinch

    When I used the Grinch I had to drop the voltage on it slightly below 5V to make it work - actually 4.6V worked best for me.

    Edit:
    ....and make sure you have proper grounding => connect the PC ground to the Power Supply ground if you use an external PS.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Problem with no output data from Grinch

    Thanks for the quick response.

    I put a 1N4004 (they didn't have the 1N4001 available), and the input voltage has dropped to about 4.4V, but apart from that nothing else has changed. Aim sure it is some kind of data issue just because the control pin voltage stays at 0.6V.

    Is there anything else I hold be looking at?

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Problem with no output data from Grinch

    The lights creeping back on is normal. You need to run a sequence to keep them off during the day.

    I would double check all the software stuff, since it was working until the reboot. It seems like something is not working on the computer end to me.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Problem with no output data from Grinch

    Thanks, I'll see if I can get my hands on another computer with a parallel port and see if that fares any better.

    It is an old PC so it is feasable something has finally given up the ghost.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Problem with no output data from Grinch

    Ok, dug up an old PC spent the day installing OS and getting Vixen to run, ran thought the different parallel port modes (ECP 1.7, ECP 1.9, EPP, ECP+EPP 1.9) all without any success.

    I'll need to get some RJ45 plugs and will try shortening the lead a little.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Problem with no output data from Grinch

    I admit defeat, I give up, this is so frustrating.

    I have shortened the data cable from the PC to the grinch, it is now just a little over 8" long.

    I am still getting the exact same voltage readings on all of the first 5 pins, nothing I have done has changed the output at all and it is frustrating me. I would expect something to change even by a little.

    I am not giving up the hobby, just admitting that I won't have lights running this christmas.

    The search has begun for a new system that doesn't use ancient technology to transmit data, plus ill add dimming while I'm at it.

    Have a merry christmas all and may your lights shine bright.

    Thanks to Wakefan and Lionking for your assistance with my problem.


    Matt

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