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paralegalnc

ANOTHER ISSUE - any ideas?

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I am at the point of giving up this year.  we have had nothing but issues, people cutting cords, deer knocking over stuff and it's stealing my joy.  had to get surveillance - FINALLY get everything working - works for a few days just perfectly... THEN

 

run hardware test.... finds all the controllers but one say "bootlegged ..."  I try to turn the lights on...NOTHING.  David went out to check it... it wasn't even powering up.  the light was flashing...nothing.  the odd thing is... it wasn't the last box in the chain and everything after that worked fine.  so nothing on that box worked for the show.  We go to turn it off and I unplug the 485 from the computer... one of our props comes on.  Now he is plugged into the box that wasn't even blinking...  

 

are we just possessed?  I don't want to throw my hands up and just say "f" it... but now I have to go to Plan C and take an element out that is using 12 channels so I can put back in 3 elements that are more important... and I hate that.  any ideas.

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Lets hope DevMike sees this thread as I've never heard of a "bootlegged" message before. Sounds like that controller has failed badly or something weird going on with the UART chip. Look inside carefully, fuses, bugs, make sure the comm(Uart) chip is securely plugged in, look at the wire fingers of the RJ45 connectors and so on. Sounds like for next year, have a spare controller on-hand...and yes, I need to listen to my own advice!

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It's not 'bootlegged' it's in 'bootLOADER' mode.

 

Update the firmware on that controller.  Instructions are in the help file.  That will fix it.

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Hmm.. Bootlegged controller, will have to be on the lookout for one of those.

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Shoot, if anyone should be possessed, it's me!   Our manufactured home park is built on an old Native American{Indian} burial ground originally :o , then a junkyard{automotive}, then the manufactured home park.   

 

So I'd think those ol' Native American Spirits would be really p.o.ed about now.  :lol:   

 

So far, they{their spirits} haven't possessed any of my controllers or display items.   Although sometimes it sure seems like it! :P:D

Edited by Orville

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DevMike, What causes the "bootloader" issue? I have had it happen to me twice on the same controller this year. 12 CCR tree on two 500 enhanced networks. Controller in question is the 12th ribbon. Everything had been running fine, then poof. Pixels on that controller were lit all white. Power off and on, still lit. Controller had already been updated to 1.19? Redid the firmware. Ran fine for a few days, then round two, poof. Thanks. Ken

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I am at the point of giving up this year.  we have had nothing but issues, people cutting cords, deer knocking over stuff and it's stealing my joy.  had to get surveillance - FINALLY get everything working - works for a few days just perfectly... THEN

 

run hardware test.... finds all the controllers but one say "bootlegged ..."  I try to turn the lights on...NOTHING.  David went out to check it... it wasn't even powering up.  the light was flashing...nothing.  the odd thing is... it wasn't the last box in the chain and everything after that worked fine.  so nothing on that box worked for the show.  We go to turn it off and I unplug the 485 from the computer... one of our props comes on.  Now he is plugged into the box that wasn't even blinking...  

 

are we just possessed?  I don't want to throw my hands up and just say "f" it... but now I have to go to Plan C and take an element out that is using 12 channels so I can put back in 3 elements that are more important... and I hate that.  any ideas.

I too have had to deal with Critters... Mine are primarily Bunnies... Cute, Furry Little *!#$ bunnies! They love the cords. I had to use chicken wire to keep them outta the display. Really Feel Like Bill Murray in Caddy Shack trying to get the mole.

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DevMike, What causes the "bootloader" issue? I have had it happen to me twice on the same controller this year. 12 CCR tree on two 500 enhanced networks. Controller in question is the 12th ribbon. Everything had been running fine, then poof. Pixels on that controller were lit all white. Power off and on, still lit. Controller had already been updated to 1.19? Redid the firmware. Ran fine for a few days, then round two, poof. Thanks. Ken

Most likely you lost one of the wire connections to the strip.

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DevMike, What causes the "bootloader" issue? 

 

90% of the time it is a dirty network.  When we want to update a controller we send a command that basically tells it - "You are getting a firmware file.  Erase your firmware and prepare to receive/write the new firmware".  

 

If you have a dirty network, all that noise can sometimes look like an update firmware command (The 'Infinite Monkey' theory).  When that happens the controller dumps the existing firmware and waits patiently for new firmware.  The thing that updates firmware is called the Bootloader.  The firmware never comes but the bootloader sits there waiting patiently for it.

 

Every once in a while you get a voltage spike/dropout from somewhere which effectively does the same thing - the controller boots up, does a self check, discovers (correctly or not) that the firmware is corrupt.  When that happens to protect itself it erases the firmware and patiently waits for you to re-load it.

 

It could also be a processor that is going bad.  However that is less than a .1% chance.  In all my years here, I know of just one 16 channel controller that refused to hold on to the firmware due to a bad PIC.

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I had an issue with voltage causing a problem on some ServoDog controllers.  Turns out that they did not like the power up characteristics of my Ray Wu 12V power supply (I tried several of them with the same result).  I never put an O-Scope on the power supply to see what it was doing, but if I removed AC power to the power supply and let the voltage completely bleed off, and then re-applied AC power to the power supply, any ServoDog I tried it with, would lose the firmware absolutely 100% of the time.  The three 16 channel DC controllers on the same power supply did not have a problem with it.  My solution was to add a relay that would energize about 1 second AFTER the power supply started delivering power.  The relay would prevent 12V DC power from flowing to the controllers until the power supply had stabilized.

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I had an issue with voltage causing a problem on some ServoDog controllers. Turns out that they did not like the power up characteristics of my Ray Wu 12V power supply (I tried several of them with the same result). I never put an O-Scope on the power supply to see what it was doing, but if I removed AC power to the power supply and let the voltage completely bleed off, and then re-applied AC power to the power supply, any ServoDog I tried it with, would lose the firmware absolutely 100% of the time. The three 16 channel DC controllers on the same power supply did not have a problem with it. My solution was to add a relay that would energize about 1 second AFTER the power supply started delivering power. The relay would prevent 12V DC power from flowing to the controllers until the power supply had stabilized.

how did you create your timer circuit. Did you use a 555 ic?

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Far simpler initially. The power supply feeds the coil of the big contactor. By the time the voltage comes up and the relay sucks in, the power supply is stable. One of these days I will redo that with an RC circuit feeding one side of a Op Amp voltage comparator that will drive a transistor that will key the relay. If I'm really inspired, after the relay sucks in, the transistor will lower the voltage to the relay coil a bit to reduce heating of the coil (a lot of large relays don't really like full current through them for long duration).

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I asked because I bought a servo dog controller board that I have not used yet. Another thought which is a little overkill would be to use an Arduino bored programmed as a timer circuit. Driving a dpdt relay with a smaller coil so you could get your load. I never thought to put a scope on the power supply the problem may be the slow ramp up and down of the power and not necessarily a spike problem

Edited by Ebuechner

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For time delay stuff, why not something like this:  http://amzn.to/1ZohBiP ?

 

Ok, granted that is only for an amp and a half, but I am sure there are others out there that have higher current ratings.  I have used something similar in an old snow machine.  If both the blower and the pump started at the same time, the air blowing across the needle would not allow the pump to prime.  With a relay like this I could adjust it so the pump came on and then a second or so later the blower would come on.

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