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curtismc

Blasted blinking LED/controller won't connect

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This second picture shows what I encountered when I opened mine up. Even though the adapter only uses 3 connectors, all three of those were crossed and shorting out.




Attached files 294326=16244-adapter_problem.jpg

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And finally,

This picture shows what I've done as a stop-gap to reduce the possibility of a repeat, a little bit of electrical tape interlaced between the wiring.

Considered using silicone gel or wrapping the plug, but the spacing is pretty tight in there.

Anyway, I should be getting a new adapter in tomorrow. I may check it for the same problem and if it's of the same ilk, will consider a more permanent fix like soldering on a different RJ-45 plug which I picked up from a local electronics store this past weekend.

Curtis


Attached files 294327=16245-adapter_quick_fix.jpg

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Well, FINALLY got enough free time AND some clear space on my workbench to check out the kit board.

Plugged everything up and hit the hardware utility.

Everything is recognized!

Plugged in single light bulb adapters and loaded up a small show to check it out.

I've got winkin',blinkin' lights.

Heck, even the wife was impressed.

Now since I missed the Christmas season, I think I'll work on a 4th of July show. Planning on an indoor display where I work (Amarillo Military Entrance Processing Station). Seems only appropriate.

I appreciate everyone's input, suggestions, and support while I was pulling hair out in great chunks!

Curtis

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curtismc wrote:

Okay, sorry about the delay in getting the pictures posted. Office Christmas party...

Anyway, I'm posting 3 pictures showing the issue.

The first picture shows what the adapter looks like "naked", ie without the shell. Notice how the wires are sitting loose?

Looks like the forum will allow only 1 attachment at a time, so will have to break this into 3 posts.

Curtis



Glad I bought the USB485B board! The dual RJ45 connectors are soldered directly to the board inside the USB485B and not wired like what you show in your photo. Which I'd have thought the jack would have been soldered directly to the PCB, not the way it is. Too me, soldering a jack like that is just asking for problems later on down the road. I'm really surprised it was soldered to the PCB using that method.

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Yeah, kinda surprised me too!

Reliability would be greatly enhanced by soldering directly to the PCB.

Might have to make some mods on the housing, but for the sake of reliability and LOR's reputation, I think it would be worth the cost.

Of course, that's my opinion...

Curtis

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curtismc wrote:

Yeah, kinda surprised me too!

Reliability would be greatly enhanced by soldering directly to the PCB.

Might have to make some mods on the housing, but for the sake of reliability and LOR's reputation, I think it would be worth the cost.

Of course, that's my opinion...

Curtis


Not sure of the inner dimensions of the basic USB485, but if I were to modify it, this is how I'd try to go about it.

Find a hobbyist PC board that I could solder the RJ45 jack to, then I'd solder the wires coming from the LOR board to the PC Pads I soldered the RJ45 jack too.

May require cutting the RJ45 jack PC board to custom fit.

But if it'd work, that's what I'd do. Won't get rid of the internal wires completely, but would shorten them as well as make the RJ45 jack a bit more stable.

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Remember, the overall housing shape/size is that of a DB-9 to RJ-45 pin it yourself adapter, that I used to use a bunch of. So I would not be surprised if the RJ-45 lead wires and what not come from one of those parts manufacturers.

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From our records the chances of a USB485 connector having the problem listed in this thread is about one in 5000. As far a reliability I do not think this is an issue. It is unfortunate that it happened.

My guess is that it happened during assembly and somehow it was not tested (as is required by procedures) or (more likely) it somehow aligned correctly for a moment during testing.

During the testing the USB485 is stuck into a connector that has no tab to lock it in place and when it is slid in, as soon as it proves two way communications is considered working.

That was before this happened. Now a RJ connector with a tab is used to ensure the tab locks correctly. We now have the QC dept visually inspect each one after functionality testing to make sure the pins are slotted correctly.

Dan

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LightORamaDan wrote:

From our records the chances of a USB485 connector having the problem listed in this thread is about one in 5000. As far a reliability I do not think this is an issue. It is unfortunate that it happened.

My guess is that it happened during assembly and somehow it was not tested (as is required by procedures) or (more likely) it somehow aligned correctly for a moment during testing.

During the testing the USB485 is stuck into a connector that has no tab to lock it in place and when it is slid in, as soon as it proves two way communications is considered working.

That was before this happened. Now a RJ connector with a tab is used to ensure the tab locks correctly. We now have the QC dept visually inspect each one after functionality testing to make sure the pins are slotted correctly.

Dan



I'm just curious Dan and no disrespect intended to you or LOR in the way you build this particular unit, but couldn't the PCB be extended on future runs to allow the RJ45 jack to be soldered onto it instead of the hard wiring method? Or is it the enclosure just isn't large(long or tall) enough to accomodate a longer PCB with the RJ45 jack installed?

I'm just trying to figure out the logic as to why the RJ45 jack would be hard wired like that in the standard USB485 as opposed to being PCB mounted like the USB485B is done, which I'd think would give it more reliability in the long run of it.

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Hi Orville,

Good question about the USB485. The USB485 enclosure starts it life out as a DB9 -> RJ45 adapter. Similure to this (although this RJ11 rather than RJ45)... The adapter has a RJ45 connection built into one end of it. The RJ45 connector "snaps" apart so that the wires and spring connections can be removed to connect the wires. When snapped back together the connector is locked in place. The spring leads are seperated by comb that is build into the case. Such connectors were pretty much standard for 20-30 years for 232-RJ adapters.

When we first started we only had the SC485 serial adapter for PCs. It would convert the PC's RS232 output to RS485. We would cut the wires that went between the two ends and put in a little circuit board that did the conversion. We used the adapter above because it has the DB9 and RJ45 connectors in it and was a standard item. The electroincs were so small they could simply fit in to the case even though it was designed only to hold the wires that went from one end to the other.

As RS232 serial ports were phased out and replaced by Universial Serial Buss (USB) ports we adapted that same enclosure so it could be used for USB. In doing so we replaced the DB9 end with a special plate with a hole in it for the usb cable and on the other end we continued to use the RJ45 connector.

We had never had any issues with the SC485's reliability and ones that were sold 9 years ago are still working well.

As far as relibility I do not know that there is any difference in the reliablity of a PCB mounted connector and one that is panel mounted and wired to it. As I said the track record of the connector used in the USB485 is excellent. The failure rate is about 0.02% which is about the same as we see with the USB485B which has PCB mounted connectors. So if it is not broken we are not going to fix it.

Dan

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Thanks for the answer and clarification Dan.

I've done a lot of hard-wiring in my time to connectors and RJ45 jacks in the past, so I do understand all of what you're saying.

Bu let me give you a litte more insight to why I asked:

Eventually what the company had found that I worked for at the time was that it was actually cost probibitive to solder individual wires {twice} at each end when a connector directly soldered to the board was much quicker and simpler, so by doing it this way, was less cost in hours and was cost effective. That is, it took much less time {man/woman hours} to assemble the unit once the hard wiring was taken out of the equation, and we had zero failures at that point once in customer hands.

Prior to that yes, we had similar failures, and like you they didn't happen during testing or QC inspection, they happened at the final assembly stage, where they got tested and were passed and shipped out as okay, but when they got to the customer, sometimes a failure occured due to the wiring being scrunched up inside the box, even though we tried to keep the wiring as short as possible, but still long enough if a rework order came in to fix it in the field or in-house is sent back, at least twice, before requiring new wires to be installed. So when the company went to PCB mounted connections, this also resolved a quicker repair time not only in the field, but in-house as well.

I was the rework expert on many projects, so I've seen a lot of variations on how things get assembled.

Now I'm not saying you or anyone at LOR has to fix anything, just giving you some food for thought on my own work related experiences in similar situations.

So what the compnay said wasn't broke, but they, after careful evaluation of the process of an item being hard wired vs PCB mount took the PCB mounting route, os changes were made and they still fixed it, even though it wasn't really broke. LOL

And due to the company evaluation process and changes we were able to get two to three times as many built in the same amount of time.

Like said, just some food for thought, nothing more and nothing less.

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I had the same problem, It ended up being that I had cleaned up my HD and accidently deleted the LOR drivers. After reinstalling the drivers all worked fine. ...

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