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Interesting Problem


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I am having an interesting problem.

The Setup: I have 9 boards. They are hooked up in the following order: 1, 2, 3, 7, 4, 8, 9, 5, 6. Boards 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9 are CTB08D boards. Boards 3, 7, 8 are CTB16D boards. Boards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 are running last year's firmware, each running their appropriate version. Boards 7, 8, 9 are new and running this year's firmware, each with its appropriate version. There is no more than 40' of CAT-5e cable between the first unit and the computer. The computer is WinXP home edition. I have a USB RS-485 without booster.

The Problem: This just started tonight. When I noticed that the lights were not on at 5:30, I checked the computer. The computer was just fine. Unit 1 did not have a connection to the computer, determined by the blinking LED. I replaced the CAT-5e cables and checked it again. No luck. Then I removed the CAT-5e cable going to the other controllers. The status LED went solid and the unit began responding to the commands. I then plugged the CAT-5e (that goes to the other controllers) back in. The status LED started to flash and the unit stopped responding. Then I swapped the order of the connections, i.e. the computer was now connected to the "thru" port and the other controllers the the "in" port. No luck. I went to the other units and removed the power. Unit 1 & 2 remained plugged in. The lights on units 1 & 2 started to respond the the commands from the computer. Then, I added units 3 & 7, they are on the roof and on a 5-way power tap together. All the lights went dark. The status LED on unit 1 started to flash. I removed units 2, 3 & 7. Unit 1 returned to the show, with a solid status LED. Suspecting unit 1, I set its ID to 00 and reset it. This had no effect. I tried having power only to units 1 & 4. The status LED on unit 1 returns to flashing. It seems as though if any of the units after unit 2 are connected, the system stops recognizing the computer.

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It looks like a controller or cable along the way has a problem. Go along the line unplugging the data cable to the next controller in sequence. I.e. try 1, 2; 1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3, 7; ... At some point it will stop working, so it's likely that the current controller or the cable to he previous controller is bad.

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Thanks John, that is exactly what it was. Some how a pin on one of the CAT-5e connectors came loose and was lost. Unfortunatly, it was in one of the LORs on the roof. I crimped a new end on, and all was fixed.

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