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Thread: Helix Development and Issues

  1. #1
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    Default Helix Development and Issues

    Hi All,

    I've started to help out Greg with the helix board due to his other commitments he hasn't been able to put much time into over the last year.

    Firstly I would personally like to thank Greg for all his hard work on getting the board to where it is today. Greg will still be involved but not to the extent that he was previously. I know I have big shoe's to fill.

    Greg has given me a few issue's that happened with the boards, and a few development ideas as well, but though I would put it out there to find out what everyone is chasing with the board going forward.

  2. Likes jklingert, random_rodder liked this post
  3. #2
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    Default Re: Helix Development and Issues

    I've been talking to Greg about some of the issues with the Helix. We discussed the apparent heat issue with the Propeller with the v3 Helix. I've got both v1 and v3 (several) Helix boards I'm assembling. My plan is to test the v3 here in the Florida springtime, if the v3 fails, I'll test the same Propeller chip in the v1 board to see if the same problems develop. If I get the same results, I'll see how they both work with some sort of heat-sink attached.

    I would like to have all of my Helix equipment up and running for this year, so, finding any problems early will be helpful.

    As far as problems, I do know the firmware the v3 Helix uses for the needs an update to use the newer Sparkfun MP3 module with the v1 board. I do not know if Greg was planning on updating that anytime soon. I know the v1 is kinda outdated, but, I ran one in 08 & 09 and didn't have a single problem with it - and I do need this in order to do the tests I mentioned above.


    Brian
    Oh... I guess I'm not leaving the hobby. Just re-tooling.

    On order:
    Helix V3 - 32ch SSR daugher board & (2) standard daughter boards
    (4) DirkCheapSSR units

    In the process of building:
    (2) Ren24 SS boards

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Helix Development and Issues

    I haven't noticed propeller chip overheating but maybe that's because the temp here when I run it is usually on the cold side.

    The issue I had this year was only being able to run one E682 off of my Ethernode. It should be able to run four E682s.

    Greg spent a lot of time trying to help me with this issue but we never resolved it. I can forward screen shots and emails to help with troubleshooting.


    My thanks go out to Greg for all his hard work and cullen_ryan for your hard work to come.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Helix Development and Issues

    Brain,

    I have had mine v3 overheat once, but being in Australia, where I am the summer days can get above 40 degree's. I installed some cooling fans into the enclosure to keep the chip cool, but this only happened after about 5 days of the heat being that hot during the day.

    I don't have a v1 board to play around with. I would imagine that it won't be to hard to do, as long as it's a software change.

    Blantrip,

    Greg was saying that some people where having an issue running more than one E682. I currently only have one E862 which I only got late last year. I have been running 4 E8604 from the ethernode without a problem.

    It would be great if you could send through any screenshots and email for a place to start so I don't re-invent the wheel.

    From my understanding the main difference between the E862 and E8604 boards is that E862 is 16 channel output, but they are grouped into four outputs per channel number. Correct me if i'm wrong as I haven't finished building mine.

    Ryan

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Helix Development and Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by random_rodder View Post
    ...As far as problems, I do know the firmware the v3 Helix uses for the needs an update to use the newer Sparkfun MP3 module with the v1 board. I do not know if Greg was planning on updating that anytime soon. I know the v1 is kinda outdated, but, I ran one in 08 & 09 and didn't have a single problem with it - and I do need this in order to do the tests I mentioned above.


    Brian
    Brian,

    I may have not been as clear as a should have been when I was discussing the MP3 player with you. The Helix firmware has already been updated to work with the newer MP3 player. It was updated at each step (as SparkFun was changing them) so that the Helix Main Board would still work. When you run the setup wizard for the Helix Network Supervisor it asks you which MP3 player you are using. So if you have one of the original MP3 players (the one that the V1 board was designed around) you would select the VS1002, if you are running the newer (wider) MP3 player then you would select the VS1053. This allows the HNS to tell the Helix Firmware which configuration sequence to use to setup the MP3 player at run time. The firmware is backward compatible with all the different main boards. You can use the newer VS1053 MP3 player with a V1 board (you will need an adapter board as the newer board is 0.2" wider than the original VS1002) as long as you tell the HNS that you are using this chip set.

    I hope that clears things up.
    Greg

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Helix Development and Issues

    I have screen shots and some history of things I've tried listed in the thread Helix Ether-node Controller starting at post #48.

    If you PM me your email I can forward some email correspondence also.

    Interesting that you were able to use four E6804 boards.

    An E682 has 16 output connectors (not to be confused with channels) and each E682 can support up to 7 multicast universes.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Helix Development and Issues

    Out of interest, as I understand the 16 output connectors are grouped into 4 groups.

    With the E8604 it has 4 out connectors which are not grouped at all.

    Out of interest have you tried only putting a string on the first output of each group and seeing if the two boards will then work. Hope you understand what I mean by that.

    Ryan

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Helix Development and Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by gmbartlett View Post
    Brian,

    I may have not been as clear as a should have been when I was discussing the MP3 player with you. The Helix firmware has already been updated to work with the newer MP3 player. It was updated at each step (as SparkFun was changing them) so that the Helix Main Board would still work. When you run the setup wizard for the Helix Network Supervisor it asks you which MP3 player you are using. So if you have one of the original MP3 players (the one that the V1 board was designed around) you would select the VS1002, if you are running the newer (wider) MP3 player then you would select the VS1053. This allows the HNS to tell the Helix Firmware which configuration sequence to use to setup the MP3 player at run time. The firmware is backward compatible with all the different main boards. You can use the newer VS1053 MP3 player with a V1 board (you will need an adapter board as the newer board is 0.2" wider than the original VS1002) as long as you tell the HNS that you are using this chip set.

    I hope that clears things up.
    Hi Greg,

    Yes, it does clear a few things up. Maybe I didn't grasp what you were saying in the email - I tend to read my email while drinking my first cup of coffee, not always a good plan. ;)

    I can whip up a quick adapter board for using the new MP3 module on the v1 Helix. Thanks for clearing that one up!


    Brian
    Oh... I guess I'm not leaving the hobby. Just re-tooling.

    On order:
    Helix V3 - 32ch SSR daugher board & (2) standard daughter boards
    (4) DirkCheapSSR units

    In the process of building:
    (2) Ren24 SS boards

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Helix Development and Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by cullen_ryan View Post
    Out of interest, as I understand the 16 output connectors are grouped into 4 groups.

    With the E8604 it has 4 out connectors which are not grouped at all.

    Out of interest have you tried only putting a string on the first output of each group and seeing if the two boards will then work. Hope you understand what I mean by that.

    Ryan
    I haven't tried that but worth a shot as a baseline. I'll write up a test plan so I can keep track of what I've tried. Any other thoughts shoot them at me and I'll try it.

    Of course I'll need to set everything up but I'd like to get it figured out so that I can make alternate plans if necessary for this next Christmas.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Helix Development and Issues

    I'm talking with Jim at the moment, cause from what I can see it might be a difference in the software on the E862 compared to the E8604 that is causing the issue. Even though they only receive the data through E1.31 from the ether-node, that is the only difference I can see at the moment is the end controllers.

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