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BluMan

Pixcon 16 MkII V1.0 Wierdness

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I've got an interesting problem that I don't know how to solve.  I have a Pixcon 16 MkII V1.0 board that will only work if it's constantly hooked up through the metal configuration Ethernet port.  Let me try and explain this weirdness.

I noticed that when the board was on, both the red and green lights were on solid but there was nothing hooked up to the board.  The manual states that this can sometimes happen if the board is unresponsive and it needs to be reset.

So, I've reset the board, 7 times now.  After each reset, I reconfigure the board to match my network topology and then the red light blinks normally.  As soon as I plug in an Ethernet cable into JP3 or JP4 to send commands to it through the computer, the red light stays on solid and the board won't work.  What I mean by not working is, it will not receive any commands and send them to the pixels.  Now, here's the weird part, if I plug in ANOTHER Ethernet cable into the configuration port and into the computer's Ethernet port like I was going to configure it, the board starts working perfectly.  If, after getting the board working, I unplug the Ethernet cord from the configuration port, it will finish the sequence but the sequence won't stop.  It' hangs at the very end and you have to force close the Sequence Editor.  Now, if I keep the Ethernet cable plugged in all the time, the card has no issues.

Anyone seen this issue?  I don't know how to fix it and having to run another cable to that board just for it to be there is unlike the other two Pixcon 16 boards I have.  This MkII board has firmware V2.0.11 on it  Is there a newer firmware that will fix this issue?  The other two Pixcon boards I have are not the MkII versions and they run 100% as expected.

I'm stumped but I think this board has an issue.

Fire away with the questions.  Thanks for reading/listening.

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42 minutes ago, BluMan said:

As soon as I plug in an Ethernet cable into JP3 or JP4 to send commands to it through the computer, the red light stays on solid and the board won't work.  What I mean by not working is, it will not receive any commands and send them to the pixels.

The J3 and J4 ports are LOR RS485 ports, stay off those ports if you are connected to the ethernet port on your computer. If you are using the Pixcon on E1.31 then only use the single silver port. Mixing those ports can burn up your card.

If you are using the Pixcon in LOR mode then make sure you are connected from your RED USB485 adapter to either J3 or J4 and ensure the jumpers above those connectors are moved to the LOR side. Then in the Pixcon configuration page make sure the J3/J4 box is checked as a Pixcon MUST be used on an enhanced network.

Edited by Mr. P

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1 hour ago, Mr. P said:

The J3 and J4 ports are LOR RS485 ports, stay off those ports if you are connected to the ethernet port on your computer. If you are using the Pixcon on E1.31 then only use the single silver port. Mixing those ports can burn up your card.

If you are using the Pixcon in LOR mode then make sure you are connected from your RED USB485 adapter to either J3 or J4 and ensure the jumpers above those connectors are moved to the LOR side. Then in the Pixcon configuration page make sure the J3/J4 box is checked as a Pixcon MUST be used on an enhanced network.

The ports are configured to use LOR RS485.  If I stay off those ports, I can't use the card in LOR mode (And I should be able to with no problem).  I know well enough to not plug the J3 or J4 port into my Ethernet port on my computer (Been in IT for over 25 years, doesn't really matter how long but wanted to make sure we understand that I've handled some hardware in my life).  What I'm saying is for some reason, the only way the card works without becoming unresponsive if there are two cables used, one for the RS485 and one connected to my Ethernet port while it's being used. 

So, very helpful information for sure and I thank you Mr. P for it.  I just haven't found a way around my issue yet.  I am using the Red USB485 in enhanced mode.

 

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20 minutes ago, BluMan said:

The ports are configured to use LOR RS485.  If I stay off those ports, I can't use the card in LOR mode (And I should be able to with no problem).  I know well enough to not plug the J3 or J4 port into my Ethernet port on my computer (Been in IT for over 25 years, doesn't really matter how long but wanted to make sure we understand that I've handled some hardware in my life).  What I'm saying is for some reason, the only way the card works without becoming unresponsive if there are two cables used, one for the RS485 and one connected to my Ethernet port while it's being used. 

So, very helpful information for sure and I thank you Mr. P for it.  I just haven't found a way around my issue yet.  I am using the Red USB485 in enhanced mode.

 

Just to verify, the J3/J4 box is checked? This is what most forget as this tell the board to work in LOR mode.

Pixcon.JPG.f88b1dd770cc2705d9cb0765b531ac20.JPG

A check in this box makes the network enhanced.

Enhanced.JPG.09cd8bcd1bbb0165940dda308c71d879.JPG

Edited by Mr. P

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Yup!  That's what I've gotten set up.  My only thing is my Matrix is on Aux B as my Pixel tree is Aux A and my regular lights are on my Regular network.

 

I've made a video that will clearly show what I'm seeing and I would love to send it to you.  Can I have your email address so you can see how really weird it is?

Thanks again Mr P

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I've went ahead and posted the video here so anyone can see it.  What it shows is that the board is non-responsive until after the network configuration cable is plugged into the computer.  This is not how it should work.

 

 

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Well, I guess since no knows what to do, I'll open a help desk ticket on a somewhat defective Pixcon card.  Thanks everyone for the input.

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Here is the first two screens of the configuration

 

Image-1.jpg

Image-2.jpg

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I cant see the pixcon16 port where you connected the bottom to the top very well. ( the black port) However directly in front of that port that feeds out are there two pins that would require a jumper to send data to the next controller. On my pixies that pin needs to be jumped to accomplish this. Without the jumper the comm port is inactive.

That would be on the bottom pixcon16. If the pin is required to send data then jump the pins.

Perhaps that can resolve the issue.  I am no guru on the pixcon16 but just a thought of what is required on my pixies.

JR

Edited by dibblejr

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1 hour ago, dibblejr said:

I cant see the pixcon16 port where you connected the bottom to the top very well. ( the black port) However directly in front of that port that feeds out are there two pins that would require a jumper to send data to the next controller. On my pixies that pin needs to be jumped to accomplish this. Without the jumper the comm port is inactive.

That would be on the bottom pixcon16. If the pin is required to send data then jump the pins.

Perhaps that can resolve the issue.  I am no guru on the pixcon16 but just a thought of what is required on my pixies.

JR

Interesting...I'll look in the manual to see if they mention anything about that.  I'll also look in the manual for the pixie's to see if that's different.  Thanks!

 

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12 minutes ago, BluMan said:

Interesting...I'll look in the manual to see if they mention anything about that.  I'll also look in the manual for the pixie's to see if that's different.  Thanks!

 

If you don't have the jumper on the leading pixcon16 comm port to the following pixcon16 that should do the trick.

Study pages 12-14 in the Pixcon16 manual. There is a jumper if you experience data transmission problems that you need to switch around. (page 14) from off to on.

On the pixie series its either there or not. If no jumper on the pixies it means no data transmitted down the chain.

JR

 

Edited by dibblejr

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24 minutes ago, dibblejr said:

If you don't have the jumper on the leading pixcon16 comm port to the following pixcon16 that should do the trick.

Study pages 12-14 in the Pixcon16 manual. There is a jumper if you experience data transmission problems that you need to switch around.

On the pixie series its either there or not. If no jumper on the pixies it means no data transmitted down the chain.

JR

 

I just tried that and it doesn't make a difference if it's terminated or not.  The ONLY way the card becomes responsive is if I plug the configuration Ethernet cable into the card and my computer.  Once I do that, I can unplug the configuration cable from my computer and the card will continue to work as normal UNTIL it is powered down.  Once it's powered up the initial time, the card is unresponsive until I do what I need to do.  So, I've narrowed it down a bit.

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BluMan I am having the same problem as you and have been struggling with this for days.  I have tried a hundred different thinks but have not found a solution.  I contacted the HD and they sent me a firmware update "Pixcon16 MKII Firmware Showtime (S4)-V2.0.13.nhx"  My firmware version was 2.0.8.  But every time I try to update the firmware I get an error "Firmware update failed.  Check status of board".  The update puts the board in bootloader mode and crashes.

In short, I feel your pain.  If you do find a solution, please post it.  I will do the same for you.

 

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14 minutes ago, SeeDaLights said:

BluMan I am having the same problem as you and have been struggling with this for days.  I have tried a hundred different thinks but have not found a solution.  I contacted the HD and they sent me a firmware update "Pixcon16 MKII Firmware Showtime (S4)-V2.0.13.nhx"  My firmware version was 2.0.8.  But every time I try to update the firmware I get an error "Firmware update failed.  Check status of board".  The update puts the board in bootloader mode and crashes.

In short, I feel your pain.  If you do find a solution, please post it.  I will do the same for you.

 

They sent me a firmware update as well although mine is different than yours. Mine is named "Pixcon 16 MKII Firmware Pix 16 Assistant-V2.0.13.hex"  I'll let you know how it works.

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The firmware update fixed the issue for me.  The red lights blinks now when it's supposed to.  What a relief!  The guy at the Help Desk that sent me the firmware said he had a thought stuck in the back of his mind that this exact problem had been seen before.

Huge Kudos to that guy!!  His intuition and gut lead him to the correct answer for me.

SeeDaLights, if your having the EXACT same issue as I was, then contact the HD and have them send you the same file they sent me.  I would send it but then would feel absolutely awful if what I sent you bricked your Pixcon.  Hopefully you understand.  Let me know how your firmware upgrade goes!

Edited by BluMan

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2 hours ago, BluMan said:

The firmware update fixed the issue for me.  The red lights blinks now when it's supposed to.  What a relief!  The guy at the Help Desk that sent me the firmware said he had a thought stuck in the back of his mind that this exact problem had been seen before.

Huge Kudos to that guy!!  His intuition and gut lead him to the correct answer for me.

SeeDaLights, if your having the EXACT same issue as I was, then contact the HD and have them send you the same file they sent me.  I would send it but then would feel absolutely awful if what I sent you bricked your Pixcon.  Hopefully you understand.  Let me know how your firmware upgrade goes!

This is the same issue I experienced last year at this time.  I was told my board contained a bad firmware - 2.0.8 - and was provided new firmware.  I was sent two versions and the HD response contained the following warning
If you see 'MKII' or 'ECO' on your board, please use "PixCon16 MKII Firmware Showtime (S4)"

If your board does not have MKII or ECO on it, use "PixCon16 Firmware Showtime (S4)"

If you apply the wrong firmware to a board, the board will be bricked and you will need to recover it.
 

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BluMan , It's great to hear your problem is resolved.

Tom B, Thanks for jumping in.  HD sent me the same email as you described.  I have the MkII board.  But the firmware will not load.  HD guided me through by-passing my router and updating the firmware directly, but it is not working either.  Receiving a "Run-time error '9'  Subscript Out of Range".  Did you have this problem?

 

 

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I had no trouble applying the firmware. 

It was a year ago and do not recall exactly what I did.  I am thinking I had assigned a fixed IP address to the board and then directly connected my computer to the device and used the network utility to find it and update as per the User Guide.

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21 minutes ago, basis21b said:

I am thinking I had assigned a fixed IP address to the board and then directly connected my computer to the device and used the network utility to find it and update as per the User Guide.

That is exactly what you need to do.  You need a fixed IP address on the board and one on your computer that can talk to it (example: Board=192.168.0.50 Computer=192.168.0.51, both of them need a 255.255.255.0 Subnet Mask)  Take a Ethernet cable and plug one end into the metal Jack on the board and the other end to the Ethernet Jack on the computer.  Start up the Network Utility and click on "Find Pixcon16", if the IP addresses are correct, the computer will see the card.  Click on the card to configure it and on the Third tab, there is an Update Firmware button.  Choose the CORRECT firmware and update.  Should work without issue.

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Thanks BluMan

That is very good step-by-step guidance.  The only difference is that the HD had me put the board in bootloader mode before starting the network configuration utility.

I did exactly what your instructions said including using the same IP addresses as your examples.

There is no problem finding the board.  I receive the run-time error when I select the board.  We will see what the HD says in the morning.

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I'm also going to reply to your ticket, but I wanted to let others know here.  The RunTime error 9 in the Network Preferences was a bug that was fixed in newer versions of S4/S5.  

I don't remember which exact version it was fixed in, but 4.4.4 should definitely have it.  I suggest you upgrade to that version.

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HD send me a standalone program to update the firmware and it worked.

System is up and running.

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I'm glad that got it working, but I am still worried about Network Preferences in 5.3.6.  Is anyone else seeing anything weird with it like runtime errors?

The only runtime errors I remember seeing in there where from newer firmware not playing nice with the IP troubleshooter long long ago.  

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8 hours ago, SeeDaLights said:

HD send me a standalone program to update the firmware and it worked.

System is up and running.

Awesome!  I'm glad you got it fixed. 

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