Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
storminstang06

Broken CAT5 ports

Recommended Posts

I have 2 diy boards I got during the summer sale in 2009 that each have a cat5 port that is not working....and it's my fault. The boards arrived installed in their enclosures; all I had to do with them was connect the channels cords and power supplies when I bought them. They have worked flawlessly until tear down day after Christmas 2011.

The only weekend I was able to take down the display was one of two times that it snowed that winter (and it layed also ...so it was very cold). By the time I got to these two controllers, my hands were so cold (I couldn't disconnect the boards from each other with my gloves on). Some of the cat5 cables I have have those rubber protectors on them, which with cold hands and a setting sun, made it long and seemingly impossible to disconnect those cables!

So after giving both a firm and regretful yank, I have one port on each of these two boards that no longer works. I thought it would be a simple solder fix and so I asked my friend (who has successfully desoldered my mistakes before) to do the job. Both ports were semi attached and still were loose when my friend was finished (he recommended regluing them, which I have not yet done). Well, I got around to testing the ports tonight, and neither one responds. The other cat5 port on both work just fine and there are no other issues with either board.

I am wondering if the ports themselves are broken, or since I know the wires barely go through the board I am wondering if they are making good connections. I haven't looked at it yet, because I don't want to uninstall the heavy duty heatsinks if I don't have to! Any ideas? Can this be fixed? Should I use the third port (not sure what size it is, but it is different than the other two) to connect these two boards to the rest of the LOR network?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "third port" is for using phone cable to link the controllers together. I'm not sure about using cat5 for one , and phone cable for the next one . I would contact LOR if you don't get an answer here.

Jerry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jerry, thanks for your response. I actually had wondered that too, but considering two cables have to be used to daisy chain and there is only one phone jack, it would seem like a cat5 would have to be used as well. I prefer to have my boards fixed, but if I can't figure it out in time, this would be the next best option. I'll give LOR a call or start a ticket if I need to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there are 2 plastic tabs that go through the board to hold the Cat5 port in place while soldering. My guess would be that one or both tabs came out on your "regretful yank" and possibly broke a solder joint if not the tab or jack itself.

Before making a ticket, take the board out of the enclosure and take a look at the solder joints with a magnifying glass. I'm pretty sure you can see it without taking the heat sinks off, but it might be safe to take it off and get a better look. If the solder joint is broken, it should be as simple as having it re-soldered. If the actual jack is broken or cracked, you'll most likely have to get a replacement and re-solder them in place. LOR will most likely send you one out pronto.

Good luck,

Ron

Edited by Ron Boyd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These jacks are very fragile, and are not repairable, you need to replace the jack. Contact LOR for the parts, otherwise it's a very standard part you can find anywhere electronic components are sold.

It's a pretty easy fix - the hardest part is removing the board and the heat-sink covering the bottom of the jack. Then just de-solder it and replace it. What I like to do is use hot glue under these to give them a bit more of a fighting chance, rather than just have them held in by the solder pins and those plastic tabs. Can't hurt anyway...

Just fixed two of these yesterday in fact - one that I broke last season, and another that I bought used that was broken.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before making a ticket, take the board out of the enclosure and take a look at the solder joints with a magnifying glass. I'm pretty sure you can see it without taking the heat sinks off, but it might be safe to take it off and get a better look. If the solder joint is broken, it should be as simple as having it re-soldered. If the actual jack is broken or cracked, you'll most likely have to get a replacement and re-solder them in place. LOR will most likely send you one out pronto.

The vast majority of the time what happens is the plastic part pulls up off the board, but the pins stay soldered in, which deforms them and makes them not make proper contact with the Cat5 plug. Even if you push the jack back on the board to properly seat them, the damage is done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron, both the jacks have already been resoldered and it didn't fix them.

Tim, I was hoping I wouldn't have to replace it, but was almost sure I would have to. I myself am not overly skilled at desoldering, just sort of learning as we go. I do know someone who can do it with me though. I'll contact LOR for parts so I can these two back up and running soon.

Thank you everyone for your help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The vast majority of the time what happens is the plastic part pulls up off the board, but the pins stay soldered in, which deforms them and makes them not make proper contact with the Cat5 plug. Even if you push the jack back on the board to properly seat them, the damage is done.

PS This is exactly what happened to mine. Attached at the bottom where the solder joints are and detached at the top where the plastic part snaps into the board.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003E48ERA/?tag=hyprod-20&hvadid=15470184459&hvpos=1o3&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11820154571813043820&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&ref=asc_df_B003E48ERA

Try one of these for de-soldering. Unfortunately, it looks like it will need to be replaced.

Sorry for your bad luck but, Like Tim said, it's a pretty easy fix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.amazon.co...c_df_B003E48ERA

Try one of these for de-soldering. Unfortunately, it looks like it will need to be replaced.

Sorry for your bad luck but, Like Tim said, it's a pretty easy fix.

I'm actually partial to a "solder sucker" like these:

http://www.amazon.com/Parts-Express-Solder-Sucker-desoldering/dp/B0002KRAAG/ref=pd_sbs_indust_3

I've never had any luck with the desoldering braid, but it's probably my technique.

I also have a Rat Shack desoldering iron which I use somewhat frequently, but didn't use it for this past project of replacing the two jacks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say that each has its own purpose. Although I do about 98% of my desoldering with the hand vac pump type that can be reset and triggered with the use of just one hand. But on those real hard ones that just will not desolder using the hand vac. I will then pull out the wick and take another shot at it. I dont think I have ever not gotten it desoldered. Worse case is I have had to destroy what ever it was (bad anyway) and remove the last stubborn pin or lead by its self.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worse case is I have had to destroy what ever it was (bad anyway) and remove the last stubborn pin or lead by its self.

If I'm removing a bad component with multiple pins (like these connectors) the first thing I do is pull or cut it off so I'm desoldering separate wires instead of one big thing. Much easier...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We will start with the tools we have and go from there. What we have done with other similar parts is heated up all joints (or joints that are near each other) together (without melting the wires) while carefully pulling out the part, then quickly install the new piece while trying to keep the solder melted (without burning the board) then resolder where needed. This is done VERY carefully, but it was the only way we could get multiple small pins out since the vac wasn't working.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you check inside the cat 5 port I noticed on 2 of my controllers that the wires inside bent down and were no longer making a good connection, I Had to use a Dentist tool and pull the wire up and back in place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anthony, Thanks for your response. You may be onto something here. I hadn't thought to look in the jacks since the cables still fit just fine. Man, my troubleshooting skills are off! I should've thought of that! It is hard to see clearly but it looks like every other pin is bent down in both jacks. I don't have any dentistry tools...do you think a toothpick or maybe even a Christmas tree ornament hook might be small enough? I did already put in a ticket with LOR, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess whatever it takes just ease it back into place. I think this is why I keep seeing the cat 5 dongles on ebay , this way you don't have to take the wires out. Just seem high priced. Need to find better deal for them online somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this may help, during the season when i dont have time to fix cat 5 jacks in the controllers, i use these... you can plug it into the good jack then plug both cat 5 cables into the other side...

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=105&cp_id=10513&cs_id=1051304&p_id=7294&seq=1&format=2

you also need a short cat 5 patch, that will connect into the single female, and then plug into the GOOD port on your LOR controller.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10208&cs_id=1020802&p_id=2126&seq=1&format=2 (although, i do not like the monoprice cables for LOR due to the boot that is around the pins, i normally cut them off PRIOR to using with LOR, so that i can get them back out of the lor controllers after Christmas!)

i have done this the past two years, and it has worked for both me and a friend of mine that is just down the road.

-troy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just be careful with the duplex adapters. I think I saw earlier that there were several batches out there that just use bent wire to make the duplex. I think several of these have shown to have a high failure rate. I looked and did not see it on the new forums, it may have been the old forums...

Just careful of the quality if going with duplex adapters...

This looks like the better one from Holiday Coro...

http://www.holidaycoro.com/product-p/adapter-3wayff.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anthony, Thanks for your response. You may be onto something here. I hadn't thought to look in the jacks since the cables still fit just fine. Man, my troubleshooting skills are off! I should've thought of that! It is hard to see clearly but it looks like every other pin is bent down in both jacks. I don't have any dentistry tools...do you think a toothpick or maybe even a Christmas tree ornament hook might be small enough? I did already put in a ticket with LOR, though.

Yep, if your pins are bent down it can't make contact. I had that same problem with a controller i bought used, every other pin bent inward. It takes something pretty stout to pull them back up to where they will stay up. I took a very small nail and bent just the tip to a 90 degree angle to make my tool. Also used a lighted magnifier to see with. Good luck !

Jerry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In case the outcome matters to anyone, I was able to work on one of the boards and fixed it using a pair of tweezers. I had to bend the unbent wires in order to pull the bent ones up. Then I pushed all the wire tips to the back and got most in their tracks. I connected a cat5 cable to push the rest in. Daisy chained it successfully! :) I should be able to fix the other board the same way, but I got parts from LOR (before I knew to try this) and will use them if needed.

Thank you to all who helped me figure this out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well good deal. I'm glad it worked out. I'm with you, I would not have thought of checking the pins either. I need to keep that in the trouble shooting pile in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad you got it working. You might want to flag these controllers so if there are any future network issues that they are the first suspect. Personally once the pins get bent, I don't trust them anymore :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sharpie important info inside each controller's enclosure: Unit ID (This doesn't change, and all my boards are some sort of DIY), month and year of purchase, and month, year, and part worked on including what was done to the part. I can remember things that are done to the boards, but as more years pass and more boards are added, I forget what was done to which board and when.

So I agree keeping track of that stuff is an excellent idea! And I will certainly keep a close watch on these boards and give the pins a thorough reliability check before 'Lights On.'

(How creative: I just used sharpie as a verb!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had 1 controller that was acting goofy and could not pass commands down the line to the other controllers, I checked the pins and sure enough a few of them were bent down. carefully pulled them back into place and presto, back up and running perfect.

Edited by Sabre03

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had 1 controller that was acting goofy and could not pass commands down the line to the other controllers, I checked the pins and sure enough a few of them were bent down. carefully pulled them back into place and presto, back up and running perfect.

Ditto; I had the same problem, used a dental pick to release the pins. It appears that what happened in my case is while I was trying to release the connector from the jack I put too much side pressure on the jack, trying to depress the release tab under the connector boot, and it deformed the jack enough to cause the pins to become hung-up in their guides and not spring back,.but with a little help from a dental pick they sprung back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...