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marionvillemolights

Some channels come on and stay on

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I started last year with 48 channels and upgraded to 192 this year. Last years controllers are 4-CTB16PC. They are my first 4 in this years sequence. New controllers are 8-LOR160xW. I have at least 3 controllers so far that have channels that come on when they are first told to and then stay lit. They do not do this on every sequence. Hardware utility works fine. I have chase animations that work fine with all channels. I have removed those commands from the sequence and put them back and still the same issue. Unplugged controls and re-plugged and still same issue. I am at a loss, please help!!!!

Thanks, Bob

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Bob,

I see no one has responded. I am having a lot of the same issues this year for some reason. I am still in troubleshooting stages myself. First thing to check for is moisture in the controllers. If there is, dry them out. Also, you may need to reset your controllers. Since you mention they are PC boards, check this thread out, part way down it will tell you how to reset these units.

http://lightorama.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=19721&forum_id=76&highlight=channel+issues

You may want to make sure your power cords are separated as far from your Cat5e as possible. Are you hardwired to your first controller, or are you using ELLs.

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This year I had some channels come on (and stay on) at random times. (But it was always the same channel - channel 4 on at least 2 different controllers.) I finally figured out it was caused by noise on the network, although I didn't figure out the source of the noise.

The solution was to install a terminator (a 120Ω resistor) on the controller at one end of the network. Just to make sure, I installed another terminator on the controller at the other end. (The show computer is in the middle.)

Problem solved.

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Steven,

Can you elaborate on your termination method? I have been working on this, and have one more thing to try, but, it may be preventative medicine if I did that as well. Any how to info would be appreciated.

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Can you elaborate on your termination method?

I bought a pack of 1/8W, 120Ω resistors.
I took a short (6-inch) piece of CAT5 cable and removed the blue/white pair.
I removed a piece of the blue/white insulation and slipped it over the resistor leads.
I folded one of the resistor leads around the body of the resistor, trimmed the leads to be even, and stuck the body of the resistor into the CAT5 cable, which is easy enough to do since at this point the cable only had 3 pairs.
I then lined up the resistor leads with the blue/white insulation along with the other wires from the CAT5 cable, and crimped it into a RJ-45-style jack.

The short CAT5 cable sticking out of the jack makes it easier to handle the terminator and to keep it from getting lost. I can also use the spare pairs for something if I want to later.

This I plug into the unused socket on the last controller in the network.

Note: The resistor must be 1/8 Watt, because anything bigger will not fit into the RJ-45 plug.

I can take pictures later if you want.

We old timers can remember Ethernet in the 1980's, where termination of the network was vital, both for 10base5 and 10base2 networks.

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Steve, thanks! If you have a picture, without too much hassle, that would help a lot.

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Here is how to make a terminator (click on each picture for a closer view):

Start with a short piece of CAT5 cable, a 1/8 watt 120Ω resistor, and a RJ-45 connector:
IMG_1966.JPG

Remove the blue/white pair from the CAT5 cable:
IMG_1967.JPG

Remove a piece of the blue/white insulation. Slip it over the resistor leads and fold one lead so they point in the same direction. Trim them to the same length:
IMG_1968.JPG

Insert the resistor into the CAT5 cable. It will slip in easily as the cable is missing the two conductors you removed earlier. Extend all the wires so they are even. This picture looks like a regular CAT5 cable, but the blue/white wires are really the resistor leads:
IMG_1969.JPG

Crimp the RJ-45 connector. As long as you didn't cut the resistor leads too short, don't worry about crushing the resistor because it is outside of the part of the plug that crimps the cable:
IMG_1970.JPG

When you are done, it's a good idea to plug this into a socket and test it with an ohmmeter to make sure it's about 120Ω.

The CAT5 cable serves several purposes:

  • It protects the resistor.
  • It makes sure the wires line up with the correct pins.
  • It gives you something to pull when you remove the terminator.
  • If you are using the extra wires for audio or alarm, you have access to them.

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Steven,

Thank you very much. A picture is worth a thousand words......... While most of my network gremlins seem to be at bay right now, I will be making 4 of these for 4 controller clusters as added insurance. I appreciate the effort to put the how to together.

One last question. What crimper/cutter is that? I have had 2 EZ-RJ45's and both did not cut the wires worth a hoot. I always end up bending 3-5 of the wires back and forth to break them off, while in the crimper to remove the extra wire.

It's been a tough road to Light Up this year, but the early season visitors are making all the efforts worthwhilw again! Merry Christmas.

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zman wrote:

One last question. What crimper/cutter is that? I have had 2 EZ-RJ45's and both did not cut the wires worth a hoot.

I never tried the EZ-RJ45. The crimper in the picture is a generic Taiwanese RJ45 crimp tool. I used the regular RJ45 connectors that don't pass the wires through like the EZ-RJ45. From what you said, I'm less likely to try the EZ-RJ45 system, as the traditional connectors have worked just fine for me.

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Steven the Radio Shack by me does nothave 120ohm in 1/8th watt.

They have 100 and 150 would either of these work?

Thanks,
Scott.

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stachows wrote:

They have 100 and 150 would either of these work?

Yes, 150Ω would work just fine.

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Wow the quality or make of the wire, makes a big difference. The Cat5e I got online in bulk would not go back over the lead easily at all. I had to cut up a 3ft, bought cable. That wire insulation worked much better. We will see tonight if this helps. Thanks again Steve.

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Mark:

If you get this to call let me know (email me) so I can call you. What you and Steve interchanged is still greek to me so I'm having similar issues and need you to talk me through it. I too have a few channels that are coming on and staying on and another one that fire intermittently all by itself. It fires when it's suppose to and then it fires often when it's not suppose to.

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dhuffty wrote:

Mark:

If you get this to call let me know (email me) so I can call you. What you and Steve interchanged is still greek to me so I'm having similar issues and need you to talk me through it. I too have a few channels that are coming on and staying on and another one that fire intermittently all by itself. It fires when it's suppose to and then it fires often when it's not suppose to.


Question, is your firmware up to date in your controllers? I had to update the firmware in one of mine via the LOR Hardware software and that fixed a problem I was having with an older controller that was doing this very thing to me too. I haven't had any problems out of it since the update.

Just something else you might need to look at to fix that problem.

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If I understand this correctly you only need two things

1). A 120 ohm resistor between the blue/white and blue wire?
2). You should only need one on the last controller in the chain on the unused RJ45 connector.

Is this correct?

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jeffl wrote:

If I understand this correctly you only need two things

1). A 120 ohm resistor between the blue/white and blue wire?

Correct.

2). You should only need one on the last controller in the chain on the unused RJ45 connector.

The standard specifies that the terminator is placed at both ends of the RS-485 network. In my display, the computer is in the middle of the network, with 6 controllers on one side, and 4 controllers on the on the other. I installed terminator resistors in the controllers on both ends.

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Do you have two networks or one?

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jeffl wrote:

Do you have two networks or one?

I have one. It has a USB-485-ISO in the middle, controllers on either side, and an ELL that links to two more controllers across the street (which also have terminators).

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I have a bunch of 5' cat5 cables and resisters. I'm going to build one now by cutting off the end of the cable. I'm praying the stickies be cleaned up.

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Just an FYI for those out there that try this. I tried soldering to a cat5 patch cable and it didn't work. From my experience I think solid wire cat5 cable is required.

I had some phone cable crimp connectors that did the job so I'm ready for another test tomorrow.

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I am having the same issue. Is there somewhere you can buy the resistors already made up?

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So I feel really dumb.

1. The resistor is just inserted into the cable but the bare ends of the resistor never are crimped to the jack?

2. So one end of the cable has a jack on it. What's on the other end? Nothing just a bare cut end?

3. Are the phone crimps mentioned above used to terminate the non cat5 jack end?

Jeff

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In the end it didn't matter for me. My problem was the USB port on the motherboards I was using. What dumb luck. Built a new computer for nothing.

Now for the question. I just took a cat5 patch cable and cut one male end off and spliced a resistor between two of the wires. Which ones I can't remember. All I remember is I could not solder to the cat5 cable so I had to use the adapters noted above to make it work.

Hopefully this year brings less headaches. :)

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jbzeus wrote:

1. The resistor is just inserted into the cable but the bare ends of the resistor never are crimped to the jack?

They are crimped to the jack. In the 7th post I made, click on the 3rd picture to see it up close. Note that the blue/white wires are really the resistor leads!

If you click on the 4th picture, it looks like those are the 8 wires from the cable, but the blue/white wires are still the resistor leads! When the plug is crimped, it is crimped through the blue/white insulation into the resistor leads. Since the resistor leads are about the same size as the #24 copper wire that was removed, the connector makes a good connection.

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