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About gwallman1

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  1. TheDucks, Thanka for the quick response. For clarification, which controller incident are you estimating applies to which of your scenarios? Im guessing you are saying the insulator failure is on the one with the resistor failure, and the bad outlet would be for the first co troller with the neutral wire fusion? As noted, these were separate controllers plugged into different outlets, so just want to be sure I’m understanding what you are suggesting. Thanks!
  2. I have five CTB16DV6 controllers I assembled as a DIY kit several years ago. Have used the same ones, mounted in the same locations, with the same light equipment. So nothing new this year. I had everything hung and ready to go, but when I plugged in the last controller, it popped and sparks shot out of it! That tripped the GFI outlet as well as the circuit breaker for that outlet....although amazingly, didn't blow the fuse on the controller itself. So, I disconnected everything for that board and because I was redesigning the show this year and moving props around, I wasn't going to run as many items therefore had an unused controller. So I disconnected everything from controller #1 and put a replacement up, reconnected the outputs, and when I plugged the controller in (using a different outlet on a different circuit), I hear a buzz and look up to see a small flame coming out of the corner where the resistor for channel 9 is soldered. I quickly unplug the controller, but not before the flame climbed up the board and charred 2 other resistors (channels 10 and 11). At this point, I'm pondering what the common denominator is here, because something had to cause both of these. I mean, the odds of two occurrences like this being completely unrelated have to be astronomical, right? Here's what I have thought through: Controller #1 - the incident happened the moment I plugged in the power input. After examining the controller, I found: the neutral input wire burned and the heat melted the copper wire. You can see in a picture below the "ball" of copper stuck in the terminal, and the charred wire insulation. Interestingly, one of the prongs to the plug is charred and melted/disfigured slightly as well. That obviously had to occur inside the outlet itself. Despite the obvious heat involved, the back side of the controller shows no bad signs among the soldering, nor is anything on the front of the board apparently damaged (except the terminal block where the input wire and jumper wires were). Fuses on the controller have not blown! See first picture. Controller #2 - the incident also happened the moment I plugged in the power input. However, what occurred on the controller itself was different and I had plugged this in to a DIFFERENT electrical outlet that is on a DIFFERENT house circuit. So my thoughts on this controller include: the fact it was plugged into a different wall outlet and different house circuit confirms the problem is not with the power outlet itself (unless I just happened to have 2 bad outlets, although I've used each of them for different purposes throughout the year without any other problems). This incident was a resistor catching fire. It was not a power surge of any kind, which is further supported by the fact in this case, the breaker did not trip, the GFI outlet did not trip, and no fuse blew on this controller either. In this case, examining the back side of the circuit board does show one of the solder points blackened. Different outlet, different circuit, different details of the incident - all seem to be completely independent of controller #1 and a complete freak of the odds! See last picture. I am at a loss as to what could be the causes here, and because of that uncertainty, afraid to install a third controller (or run the show with the functioning equipment). In comparing the two incidents, my thoughts have been: Could it be a problem with the outputs...something "downstream" that causes an issue at the controller? The output (lights) are the only common item to both incidents. But I rule this out because if there were a problem "downstream," it shouldn't show up the moment the controller is plugged in because at that point the channels are off. There is no current flowing to the lights, because the show is not running. So I've ruled this out in my mind. Could it be a problem with the PC? I am running the show with a different PC this year as compared to prior years. The USB485 adapters, CAT5 cabling, and everything else connecting the PC to the controllers is the same. Only the PC is different. So back to the question - could it be a problem with the PC? Other than the lights noted above, the PC is the only other common component to both incidents. So I suppose there is some possibility, but I can't mentally reach the point of this truly even being possible because there are too many other items about this theory that just don't make sense....including the fact the other controllers in the same series of connections don't have an issue at all. Are they truly unrelated incidents? I truly think so! I mean, nothing else makes sense in my mind. But the only reason I can't quite say that definitively is the odds of either incident occurring is already so low, that to have it happen two different times with two different controllers....that would be astronomical. If they truly are unrelated, I've certainly used up my luck and will save money from buying any lotto tickets! But if they aren't really unrelated, meaning there is something causing this and would cause it again with yet a third controller, then I'm dumbfounded as to what it might be. Any ideas I haven't pondered yet, or maybe where my thinking above may not be correct? Thanks, everyone!
  3. As I pulled everything out to begin prep work and testing for this year, it occurred to me I never updated this thread. Sorry about that!!! Last year, I ran the show with the old PC that has always been used. So the show ran without issues in the end. But I continued to try to diagnose the issues with the used laptop I purchased and had used LOR Help Desk as well. I'm a bit embarrassed to say how easy the fix was. Turns out, when they sold me the laptop, they failed to input the Windows license key and therefore, the PC (and perhaps the LOR software?) thought it was a non-genuine or pirated copy of Windows. Got that resolved with the proper license key, and voila...everything is working now in this year's tests so far! Thanks again to everyone along the way. If nothing else, I learned lots of things about the various settings and network preference options within LOR during the process. That may come in handy at some point in the future.
  4. Good thought...didn't think of that as the drivers auto-installed as soon as I plugged each USB in. But I did do that now, but the results didn't change unfortunately. Correct in that the Windows Device Manager finds no errors. I'm running Windows 7, 64-bit, Service Pack 1 on both machines. The timing on the license is a possibility. It sure seems like I did the laptop install prior to that timing, but I can't swear to it, so I will attempt that route with a service ticket. If nothing else, it gets a ticket in for the overall issues and perhaps additional assistance, right? No, I am not running the show and HU (or any other LOR application) simultaneously. I always close out prior to enabling the shows, and vice versa when I disable them. Overall folks, I just want to say a huge thank you for all of the thoughts. This is a tremendous community and you all taking time out of your schedules, Thanksgiving holiday, and probably last-minute changes/setups/additions/etc to your displays....what a great group of people. I can't say thanks enough for all of the tips to try.
  5. Well, I thought with time I could figure it out, but I'm still having no luck. If I connect to the old PC, all is perfectly fine. As soon as I connect to the laptop, that is when I have issues. So first process of elimination - it is obviously the controlling PC, not the controllers themselves or any of the connections. So then into the laptop I go. I went to Network Preferences and verified the COM ports with the proper network names, speeds, etc. I verified the LOR product is licensed on this laptop (it has my license key, name for registered user, etc). I've tried switching what COM ports things are connected to, but the results don't change (even with adjusting the Network Preferences to match). It doesn't matter if I try to control the lights through the Sequence Editor or if I run the full show on its schedule - nothing happens. Each controller status light is blinking, indicating a communication failure with the laptop. What I can't seem to get over mentally is when I open the Hardware Utility, those status lights go solid and I'm able to successfully test every channel on every controller on every network. So obviously the PC is communicating fine with the controllers...but something changes when moving from the Hardware Utility to the actual show. At least I've got it narrowed down that far, but that is where I hit the roadblock. To answer the other questions - I'm running 3.11.2 (yes, I know an old version, but its what I know and have always used and always worked....and still works on the old PC). I have 5 16-channel controllers I put together as kits nearly 10 years ago. I have a 6th 16-channel controller I purchased 2 years ago already assembled. Then I also have 3 RGB pixel controllers. I do not see a "COM Listener" anywhere in the menus, which I'm attributing to the fact I'm on an older software version. I do have the Verifier, though, and have run that. It did give me an error about "compatibility mode for old MC-P channel controllers." So I turned that off, but it didn't fix anything (and worth noting, the old PC also has that option selected and again, the old PC controls things fine). Verifier also gives me a long list of errors all the same saying the channel is off, and each channel is lists corresponds to all of the RGB Pixels. All "traditional" channels seem to pass the test fine. But as noted before, when using the Hardware Utility, I can control things perfectly fine...including the RGBs. So I'm confident it is the laptop, since the old PC works fine. And I'm confident it is somewhere in the show controlling, since the Hardware Utility works just fine. But I'm back to scratching my head after that point.
  6. Thanks, all. I've hooked everything back up to the old PC and the show runs just fine. So it is definitely somewhere within the laptop settings, or maybe the registration of the PC, etc. I'll keep trying. Thanks again for the suggestions.
  7. Yes, I do have the Control Panel running in the system tray.
  8. I've been running LOR shows for approximately 10 years now without any major issues. At the conclusion of last season, I bought a laptop to be dedicated to only running the lights. Now that I have everything installed, set up, etc, I'm running into an issue I've never had before and haven't found other threads with the same issue. I verified my Network Preferences on the laptop match what they were on the previous PC (I have 2 networks - a regular at 500K and auxiliary at 57.6K due to age of the 16-channel controllers). I've run the Hardware Utility and all devices are found and I can test each channel, and the lights work fine. So all appears to be good to go. But then when I initiate the show, only the audio comes through - all lights stay dark. I've gone into the Sequence Editor and double checked the channel settings there as well to ensure they are showing the correct networks, unit ids, etc. I'm dumbfounded at this point. Any thoughts? Thank you!
  9. Had a PM also advising of multiple networks. They are older controllers (been using them 7 or 8 years now). PC has 2.8 GHz processor with 6 GB of RAM. I appreciate the feedback. I'll give running 2 networks a shot next year. We do plan on adding either another controller or another set of CCPs, just haven't decided which yet. Run 5 controllers and 3 sets of CCPs currently. Thanks again!
  10. I really didn't know where to post this because it is a combined CCP, 16-channel controller, Sequence Editor, and/or PC question. I'm using CCPs for this first time this year. Love the effects that are possible. But I've noticed when they are doing more complex effects, the traditional lights on 16-channel controllers get very jumpy. Admittedly, the timing within the sequences are very short - 0.05 seconds or shorter at times. But the react fine at those intervals until the CCPs start doing faster fades and such. Has anyone else had this problem? Could it be my PC simply doesn't have a fast enough processor? As an example, see this video. Specifically, at around 1:30, you see the arches dancing fine. But then around 1:45, the CCPs kick on for multiple color fades very quickly and the arches begin getting very jumpy, skipping some of the segments bouncing back and forth. At around 1:00, the trees also don't react quite right. But that isn't as noticeBle as the arches. As always, thanks in advance for any thoughts.
  11. Yes, I'm getting started with CCPs (2 units with 2 strings of 50 bulbs each), so going through Hardware Utility to set unit ids, etc and then SuperStar and Sequence Editor to play around and learn how to program them.
  12. My PC sits in one room. I've run monitor cables through the walls and into a dual-TV setup in the basement (have used this setup for 4 or 5 years now). Therefore, I can't sit next to the PC. So I use a wireless keyboard and mouse. Everything functions fine, until I have either the LOR Hardware Utility or Sequence Editor open. If one of them are open, the mouse gets very jumpy and only responds intermittently. Many times, I have to click 5 or more times before the Hardware/Sequence recognizes it. Moving the mouse around sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, but when it does, the pointer is very jumpy. I've tried plugging various things into different USB ports, disconnecting peripherals I'm not actively using, putting new batteries in the mouse, etc. I'm also only a couple of feet from the receiver/antenna that picks up the keyboard and mouse. Since everything runs fine except only with LOR is running, it would appear these items are conflicting with eachother...almost as if they are fighting for the same PC resources. Anyone else run into this type of issue and if so, have any suggestions? The jumpiness and intermittent nature of the mouse makes it highly frustrating, if not nearly impossible, to actually perform any tasks within the LOR suite. Thanks.
  13. The license key was provided (and still the same as previous). I was just looking for how to initiate the download first. Thanks for pointing me to the right location on the LOR site, Admin. That was the one piece of info not included in the emails - the actual location of the downloads. I've now completed and opened and all seems to be running fine. Thanks as always for the assistance.
  14. Over the weekend, I paid to renew my license so I'd be updated (upgraded) from 2.9.4 to 3.17. I also purchased the SuperStar add on for rgb pixels. I purchased the download only option (no CD). Afterwards, I received emails confirming the purchase and in the message instructions stated AFTER installing the new version of software, open sequence editor, etc. But nothing was ever provided to actually download the software or any instructions to do so. Since it specifies to enter the new license key AFTER downloading the new version, I'm afraid to do anything now or out of order. I emailed LOR's software address as it suggests, but have never heard back (3 business days now). LOR has always provided great service and prompt responses, so with this delay in responding, I thought I'd ask here if anyone can steer me in the right direction. Thanks.
  15. The gauge of wire I'd just match up to whatever they come as. As for the gaps, there would be a few different breaks. One string would need a 12 1/2 foot break, another string just under 4 feet, another one about 10 feet, and the last string wouldn't need a break in the middle of the lights but would need a big jump between the controller and the first bulb of about 12 feet.
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