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Random noise on network


Steven
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This has happened 2 days in a row. At about noon is that I received a call from the neighbor that all my lights are on. OK, not all my lights, but most of them. Some are on, some are shimmering, some are twinkling. Interestingly, this was only on my side of the street.

My display currently consists of a PC with a USB-RS485B, 8 controllers, and an ELL on my side of the street. On the other side of the street there are 2 houses. The first has an ELL with 2 controllers; the second has an ELL with 1 controller.

I have been leaving the hardware utility running. I just shut that down to keep the problem from happening again, but I have to enable the show this Friday.

I'm thinking that perhaps the contractors next door (5 feet away from the ELL) are doing something that is causing the ELL to send random signals on the network. Does this sound possible?

When I get around to it, I'm going to set up a 2nd network with just the ELL to see if that solves the problem. In the meantime, can you think of anything else I could try?

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  • 2 weeks later...

This problem kept happening, and it's not the contractors because they haven't been there for a few days. I still think the problem is the ELL, so here's what I did to isolate it:

I added a 2nd LOR network.

I had a spare USB-485B, and a spare USB port on the show computer. So I plugged it in and configured it as a second network (Aux A). I removed the ELL from the network on my side of the street and wired it directly to the 2nd USB-485B.

I then imported the new channel configuration to all 29 sequences, loaded them, and left for the evening hoping the show would start normally before we got home late. This seems to have solved the problem, and was probably the right thing to do anyway, as I just added a CCR and plan to add another house next year.

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I have been told that a 900mhz corless phone can interfere with the ELL causing strange things to happen.

I initially wanted to use the ELL's to connect my computer to the LOR network to avoid a wired connection from the outside to my computer. I figured the 20ft center pole on my mega tree would act like a lightning rod. I still worry about this, but decided to go with the wired connection anyway. It seemed to me the lesser of two evils.

Jerry

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LORisAwesome wrote:

I figured the 20ft center pole on my mega tree would act like a lightning rod.

Have you thought about grounding the center pole to a copper ground rod?
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No, but, it is in a two-foot deep hole, sitting on gravel. The hole has probably filled up with water with all the rain we have had lately. Also there are four guy wires which are hooked to permanent ground anchors which are screwed into the ground. The ground anchors I use are similar to the photo.

There are four controllers mounted to the pole. I kinda figured that anything associated with that pole will get zapped if lightning strikes it. Luckily, not much lightning this time of year.

I'm no expert -- would a ground rod protect the equipment?

Jerry


Attached files 289542=16020-Ground Anchors.JPG

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LORisAwesome wrote:

I'm no expert -- would a ground rod protect the equipment?

I'm no expert either, and I don't have to be either, because we don't get lightning in our area.

However, I understand that a lighting rod system is designed to protect a building and includes a ground rod typically buried 8 feet deep.

I've not seen anything about a lighting rod system protecting equipment, so my previous suggesting was probably way off base. I would think that due to the massive amounts of current in a lighting strike, that all bets are off.

Do you use the USB485-ISO? It might be able to protect the computer.
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No. I use the one that has two Cat5 connections. One goes to a rj45 jack in the front of the house and the other to a rj45 jack in the back.

I use both for the Christmas show. There are 5 controllers in the back yard that run all the roof lights and 8 controllers in front for the mega tree, star, window frames, strobes etc...

I guess I could switch and get one of those RS485 splitters from LOR.

Jerry

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LORisAwesome wrote:

No. I use the one that has two Cat5 connections.

The USB485-ISO looks and works exactly the same as the one you have (probably the USB485B). The only difference is that the USB485-ISO electrically isolates the computer (USB) from the network (RS485). (It also costs more than twice as much.)
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