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HELP!!! Friends, I'm asking for your help now.


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Hello everyone,

I have a drastic situation. I was running a test on my show. Everything seemed to run fine for about an hour. Then, all of a sudden it stopped. Then a random channel would come on then go off. I go inside to disable show and reboot thinking maybe something in the computer hick-upped.

When the system reboots, I try to enable show. The controller LEDs are only blinking. I dis-enable show and try to play a sequence. It plays but there are no lights and controller LEDs blink.

I've been running the show all Halloween season and this season too with no problems. Now there is nothing.

I'm using the USB converter. The HWU doesn't find any port even after refreash.

I am trying my Planet Christmas life-line here, "You Guys". In the mean time I'll break out the books.

Any ideas my friends???

Thanks,

Tom

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Sounds like possibly a bad cable/bad connection. I've seen the "randomly blinking channel" thing when a connection gets wet or what-not.

Try replacing the cable between the computer and your first LOR box.

-Tim

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This happens to me, usually a restart of every thing works, sometimes I have to use the laptop to get it started, but then the show comp works.

EDIT: I brought my laptop out side with a smaller cable and a diffrent usb adapter.

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I had the same problem and one of the connections on my Cat5 cable was not making good contact. I ran to Home Depot and replaced the connector and was back up an running.

You might try to change cables between the computer and the first controller. If that doesn't work, make sure the interface and serial/USB are good to go.

Just my two cents worth.

Mike

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Tom,

If the hardware utility will not find the USB adapter as a com port, then I would say that the USB adapter went belly up. Maybe unplugging the USB adapter and rebooting the computer and then plugging the adapter in will work. You can also check on ports in the device manager to see if you have a port there.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Chuck

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WOW,

Thank you all for your responses. I know everyone is busy this time of year and when someone gets an abrupt stoppage in a show, we can always rely on our friends here at Planet Christmas to come thru.

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. It took me a couple hours to troubleshoot and with the ride going, I couldn't get online to respond back because the phone cable was used for the credit card machine.

While I wasn't able to get back on line to check responses, you guys were pretty much right on target.

OK, I have 20 controllers to trouble shoot the error. And of course when you see a local TV news van pull up, the panic button was pushed (talk about wrong timing). I have 4 controllers hardwired inside. Those LEDs were blinking along with all the other showtime boxes outside. I started with my connections at the computer, the USB converter and to the first controller. Nothing :(. I thought, what if my firmware or hardware dropped the big one. Would I need to un-instal LOR and re-install :shock:? I didn't like that idea at all. I checked connections again. Then I unplugged the output CAT5 from the first controller to the second controller. THEN, the first controller LED stayed on :). I thought, wait a minute. Then I plugged it back in and unplugged the outgoing CAT5 from the 4th controller. NOW all 4 inside controller's LEDs stayed on :]. I checked outside and the lights for those controllers were working. To make a long story just a little shorter. I found out the CAT5 cable between controllers 16 and 17 was faulty. I even changed the connectors on both ends and still no good. I built another cable to run bewteen the two and everything worked as planned :waycool:.

I've never heard of a faulty cable way down the line effect the whole show like that before. I figured, from the faulty cable down the rest of the way, but not all 20 of them.

Anyway, you guys were on track and I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to share your suggestions.

I hope others learn from what I have and read and the suggestions from you guys.

Thank you so much and hope everyone here has a VERY Merry Christmas.

Tom

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I thought LOR did this daisy chained thing where each controller looks at its own commands.... If this was true why would all 20 quit working? What if the cable had a short in it, I guess it could garble everything up back to the computer.




Tom,

Glad You Got It Fixed!



--Daniel L

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Daniel wrote:

If this was true why would all 20 quit working? What if the cable had a short in it, I guess it could garble everything up back to the computer.

--Daniel L


Yes Daniel, I was asking myself the same thing. I never saw or heard anything like this effecting everything back to the computer before. But it sure did. I quickly looked for nicks in the cable and didn't see any (if was getting dark then). I'm assuming there was some sort of wierd short or something. I'm still baffled.

Thanks,

Tom
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well tom, and everyone else, if you are using a USB-485b adaptor, just b cautious and possibly purchase a new USB cable for it. I may have simply gotten a bad cable, but I used the supplied USB cable for about 3 weeks, then it went bad. to make a long story short, I ran inside and grabbed an extra belkin cable i had and it worked just fine. just a sidenote there...

also, the problem above with the downstream cable issue affecting other controllers before it, i have had that problem many times, you need to be careful about it. the only thing i can tell you is hope for the best. for a possible fix in the future...

dan, do you think it would be possible in the future to either use the ethernet protocol or to make an LOR switch? similar to a 3Com or Cisco switch, but would carry the LOR protocol? just a thought because it would definitely help when routing the LOR signal cables. thanks

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tfischer wrote:

I'm not an RS-485 expert, but I could see that a cable introducing noise on the line could bring down the whole network.

-Tim


Tim, you're right on this (because that's exactly what happened). That's the only thing I could think of because it was effecting the HWU as well. It's just wierd it happened in the middle of the day like that.

Aaron,

All my cables or built from scratch. Some lengths 10 feet, some 200 feet or longer. I think it's just nature of the beast when dealing with so much. I have a spare roll on hand now and if this happens again, at least I know how to approach it. One cable at a time starting with the first controller and not worry about the computer side of things.

All went well tonight by the way.

Thanks again for thoughts/feedback.

Tom
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Santas Helper wrote:

All my cables or built from scratch.


just to make sure we are on the same page, i understand that you make your own cat5 cables, but i am referring to the USB cable going bad, did you also make your own USB cable?
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Aaron Bott wrote:

Santas Helper wrote:
All my cables or built from scratch.


just to make sure we are on the same page, i understand that you make your own cat5 cables, but i am referring to the USB cable going bad, did you also make your own USB cable?


Hello Aaron,

No, that's one cable I didn't make. It's store bought. I don't think there is a way to make a cable with the USB end connector on it. Not that I know of anyway. The store bought cable is readily available and cheap so to have a spare one on hand is ideal.

Tom
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