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mijosq

Finally after much frustration, able to get com port working

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I created and was about to post an issue I had connecting to the com port. Still issues, but one part down.

PixCon16

1st Issue: Physical Connections (Photo Link)

Silver network jack is for configuration only, and you can use Light-O-Rama Network Configuration to set the static ip if required. (It was easier than DHCP. for my layout)

Stacked black ethernet jack J3/J4 is for running show. And is connected with the USB485 adapter. (I had the red color one)

I included the photo of the connection since, it wasn't completely clear from the instructions which ports to plug into. And was only able to figure it out after lots of forum reading. Hopefully this helps.

 

2nd Issue: Port communications (I disconnected it)

The com port wasn't working through the Light-O-Rama Hardware program, which caused much frustration.

I was able to startup the Light-O-Rama Control Panel, which also opened LORCommListener.exe. Only after I noticed the errors in connection did I figure the USB485 was attempting to connect to the wrong port. 

Example: Comm Port on Windows Device Manager was USB Serial Port (COM5), but the program constantly tried to connect with COM4/COM2.

Solution: Change the port restart under Properties>Port Settings>Advanced, and then finally used Hardware Utility to select the correct port to use. Took me a few reboots and scans to finally get it connected.

 

I can finally use S5 Sequencer to connect using the Control Lights menu.

 

Questions/Ongoing issue:

Do I still need Hardware Utility? Still doesn't connect for me.

 

 

IMG_3455_small.jpg

Comm port Issue.PNG

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First of all, I have never owned or configured a PixCon16 controller, so my knowledge is based only on the manual.  As such, I am not much help in configuration.  However I want to point out two things.

19 minutes ago, mijosq said:

Silver network jack is for configuration only, and you can use Light-O-Rama Network Configuration to set the static ip if required. (It was easier than DHCP. for my layout)

Stacked black ethernet jack J3/J4 is for running show. And is connected with the USB485 adapter. (I had the red color one) 

First of all, the "Silver network jack" is not only used for configuration.  It is also used if you are operating the PixCon16 in E1.31 mode.  It is a standard Ethernet LAN connection (which uses a RJ-45 connector - note on that below).

Second, J3 & J4 are NOT Ethernet.  They are RJ-45 jacks that are carrying RS-485 signals that are using either LOR or DMX protocol.  Under the right (or wrong) circumstances, mixing RS-485 and Ethernet can result in letting out the magic smoke that makes all electronics work.  Yes, both Ethernet and and LOR or DMX are using RJ-45 jacks (along with several other signal types), but there are not compatible.  The point of all this is please get out of the habit of referring to an RJ-45 connector as an "Ethernet" jack.

Now, before a purist calls me out out for it, technically the connector that we all refer to as an RJ-45 is not actually an RJ-45 jack.  It's an 8P8C connector.  However the miss-use of the term RJ-45 is so universal, that it is accepted.

 

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If I were you and you have not resolved your issue I would send Mr. P a PM asking if he will offer his assistance.

He was a great resource for me while I was helping another member with his pixcon16. If my phone was working properly I would have had the pix on working in less than 1/2 hour.

it took an hour or so because we were communicating through PMs and email.

JR

 

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Bare Minimum PixCon16 Setup Checklist

Be sure to follow each of these steps IN ORDER. Do not proceed to the following step until you are sure the current step is complete. Please note that you may be further along in your testing than where this check lists starts. Please do not skip any of the previous steps even if you think you have performed them correctly already. Start at #1.


If you have already tried to configure the board, you should first FACTORY RESET the PixCon16. Instructions are provided in the manual. This checklist assumes that you have a 'stock' PixCon16 to start with.


Critical checkpoints points are in bold, but you may experience a problem at any step. If you are having problems at a checkpoint, check ALL steps up to this one to ensure they are completed properly.


The PixCon16 is a professional level board, and does require some in-depth knowledge about how E1.31 works, DMX and networking concepts. You may need to consult other sources if you run into issues or do not understand a concept. 


If you do have an issue and if you think everything is good to that point, and you would like to contact us for help STOP. Do not go further and do NOT change any configuration. If you would like to experiment and try to resolve the issue, please do! We encourage you to find the solution on your own. However if in the end you must contact us, reset the board and start again at step 1 and then stop at the failing step and contact us. We rely on the board being in a known state at every step of this checklist to help you.


Please ensure that you have AT LEAST S4 V4.3.14 Or Higher to configure the board. Some older versions may not be able to properly detect the Pixcon16.
 

  1. Pixels have a front and a back (IN and OUT). Ensure you know which side data goes IN to. Pixels from LOR are plainly marked, or are correctly pre-wired. if your pixels have an arrow, that arrow points AWAY from the board.
  2. Pixels have a voltage. Ensure you have the proper power supply. LOR Pixels are typically 5v or 12v. If your pixel package from LOR included a power supply, you do not need to worry about this step.
  3. Pixels have current draw (amperage). Ensure you are not exceeding the amps per channel/power supply/etc. Pixels from LOR will draw 3A per 50 pixels at 5V (15 Watts), 3A per 100 pixels at 12V (36 Watts). If you pixel package from LOR included a power supply, you do not need to worry about this step.
  4. Wire power supply to PixCon16, if not already wired.
  5. Remember – never connect or disconnect anything from PixCon16 with power applied.
  6. Power up board. Follow instructions in "An Introduction to DMX and E1.31 for Pixel Control" document if needed (linked below). Open Network Preferences/Find Configure PixCon16/Click on PixCon16 in list, and open the PixCon16 configuration window. 

    Only work with a SINGLE PixCon16 connected to your network at one time until properly configured -- IP address conflicts can occur if you attempt to configure 2 or more. 

    Do not continue until you are able to reliably talk to the board and configure it.
    If you are having difficulty reliably talking to the board, read:
    http://www1.lightorama.com/PDF/IntroductionToDMXandE131.pdf
    Pay particular attention to page 8.
     
  7. Firmware will NEVER fix connection problems you are having at step 6! Connection problems are ALWAYS CONFIGURATION ISSUES between your computer and the PixCon16! 

    Never attempt to update firmware on a board that you can NOT reliably talk to and configure.  Attempting to update firmware on a PixCon16/Computer combination that is NOT configured properly WILL BRICK THE BOARD.


    There are TWO different versions of the PixCon16, and each requires different firmware.  Please carefully look at your board.  If next to the name you see "MkII" or a small round white sticker that says "ECO", you have a MARK II board.  If you do not see MkII or ECO, then you have an ORIGINAL board.  Both boards work identically, but require different firmware versions.  On Tab 3 (Misc) you will find the current firmware version of your board.

    For ORIGINAL boards:
    Ensure board firmware is AT LEAST 1.4.8 (or higher)

    For MARK II boards:
    Ensure board firmware is AT LEAST 2.0.13 (or higher)

    WARNING! Do NOT downgrade if you have a higher firmware version! 
    WARNING! When applying new firmware ensure you have the CORRECT firmware.  DO NOT USE MKII firmware on an original board (or vice versa).

    Incorrectly updating firmware will brick the board requiring special software to recover! 


    Do not continue until firmware is at least this version or higher.  If you need to update the firmware, please reply to this ticket with the version of your PixCon (Original or MKII) and we will send you the correct firmware.  You will need to confirm that you are ALWAYS successful at step 6!
  8. Properly set up Pixel Type and Pixel Speed in configuration. Ignore all other parameters. LOR Pixels are WS2811. Most are high-speed.
  9. Properly wire 1 pixel string to a 4 wire connector. Follow pin-outs in the manual. Note -- Some pixels do not have/require the clock signal.
  10. Connect pixels to a single port, and power up. Pixels may briefly flash. Pixels that stay ON indicate incorrect pixel type or speed selected in #8. For LOR Pixels, ensure that you selected 'High Speed'. If High Speed does not work (it should in almost all cases), select slow speed.
  11. Run hardware test on the pixels as documented in manual by using the buttons on the PixCon16. If pixels do not work, problem is most likely #8. Go back there. 
    Do not continue until the Hardware Test works properly.
  12. Wire the rest of your pixels to the 4 wire connectors. Connect them to the PixCon16. Run the hardware test (step 11) again. Ensure all pixels are working correctly. Pixels that are not working indicate a problem with the pixel itself, or an under-rated power supply.
    Do not continue until the Hardware Test works properly for ALL pixels.
  13. Again bring the PixCon16 configuration up. On the first tab of PixCon16 configuration, ensure you have the correct option specified for J3/J4. If you will use the board in ELOR mode, turn this option ON. For E1.31 ensure this option is OFF. If you have not done so yet, install the drivers for the USB adapter and ensure the USB adapter is working properly.
  14. On the Second tab set up each port of the PixCon16 properly. You can use simple mode or advanced mode. All options are documented in the help file for the software or in the manual for the PixCon16. Remember, for E1.31 universes must also be set up in Network Preferences (the software will offer to do it for you), for ELOR, 500K speed and Enhanced Light-O-Rama network (done in step 16). It is best to write down the settings.
  15. Ensure you have the LOR Control Panel loaded (which will load the LOR COMM Listener). The COMM Listener is ALWAYS required to control pixels.
  16. Properly configure your network preferences:

    E1.31: Ensure Universe matches universe on the board & Set IP address correctly (multicast or unicast/specify). It is easiest to use multicast.

    ELOR: Ensure the COM port is set to at least 500K and ELOR mode is turned ON.
  17. Properly connect networking:

    E1.31: Do not make any changes.   Both LEDs should be SOLID ON. 
    Do not continue until they are. NOTE: Your computer may need to be rebooted. If you reboot go back to step 15.

    ELOR: Disconnect Network cable, ensure jumpers on PixCon16 for J3/J4 are set to LOR. Connect HS USB adapter to computer, CAT5 from USB adapter to J4 of PixCon16. NOTE: You must have previously installed the drivers for the high speed USB adapter. Use another non-PixCon16 unit to test if you are unsure the USB adapter is working properly. Both LEDs should be SOLID ON. 

    Do not continue until they are. NOTE: Your computer may need to be rebooted. If you reboot go back to step 15.
  18. Start Hardware Utility. If asked if the HWU should take control of a port say NO. Open the pixel console. Set Pixel Console params correctly and test pixels with sliders.
    Do not continue until you can successfully control pixels.
  19. Your board is now ready to use.

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This troubleshooting guide, which comes complete with pictures and step-by-step instructions, will change the configuration of your computer and make things work. It is also a catch 22. You will be able to configure the PixCon16, HOWEVER the changes made will most likely NOT be compatible with your existing network. The computer will loose any other LAN connectivity (like to the internet). If you change the configuration back to how it was originally (the document tells you to record your settings before changing them), you will restore your regular network access but you will no longer be able to configure or control the PixCon16.

Knowing how to integrate a PixCon16 into an existing network is difficult and is why we say: "The PixCon16 is a professional level board, and does require some in-depth knowledge about how E1.31 works, DMX and networking concepts." Everyone's network is different, and getting a PixCon to work within your existing network is beyond the scope of what we can help with.

We recommend that you work through the PixCon16 19 step checklist several times if you are not familiar with TCP/IP. This checklist (along with the E1.31 and DMX for Pixel Control), will 100% of the time get a PixCon16 to work, if followed exactly on a standard Windows computer. Only after you have tried several times to use the checklist should you revert to using this Troubleshooting guide. If the troubleshooting guide works, then the issue is 100% configuration, and there is nothing wrong with your PixCon16.

http://www1.lightorama.com/PDF/PixCon16Troubleshooting.pdf

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