Jump to content

Finnicky network jack on CTB16PC or something else? What to do?


Galen
 Share

Recommended Posts

I thought my show was running okay, but over the last few days I've realized that it isn't. I have a controller that seems to be dropping out of the network (and hence all downstream controllers) and I can't figure out why. I have replaced the cables with the same results. I go in the house and when I look back out it isn't working right - I go back out and wiggle the cable in the jack and the LED lights steady - only to drop out again later. So, I'm seeking some insight from those more experienced. Here are some details:

Often it seems that the actual channels controlled by this controller do not function at all, but those downstream with other controllers will work sporatically (or better said, eratically - that is, sort of right, but lagging, skipping, sticking, etc.). Another interesting thing is that the LED is often completely off - that is, not blinking at all. I thought the LED was either blinking if it wasn't detecting a network or solid if it was detecting a network. It seems that if I wiggle the network cable a bit one way or the other the LED will go to solid on. However I suspect that closing the cover moves the cable enough to not make a good connection and bring my problem back.

So, I'm open to suggestions. Right now my show doesn't look near as good and I am constantly going out and trying to have the cable just right to keep a good connection. Have others experienced anything similar? Could reseting the controller do anything for this? What does it mean when the LED is simply not on at all? I'd love to figure this out and get my show looking complete again.

Thanks,

Galen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

George Simmons

Sure sounds to me like a comm issue. If it happens with more than one cable, it could be the comm connector itself. Is one of them loose? Have you tried using a phone cable to bypass the possible bad jack?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, George. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it is some sort of comm issue, but I'm not sure of the cause. I thought about trying the phone cable, but was worried that it may not handle the traffic well. However, I'm only running 160 channels, so hopefully that isn't a problem - I'll try that. As for the connector, it doesn't seem to be loose (as in, it doesn't seem to need to be re-soldered). However, I know that visual inspection doesn't always suffice in these situations.

Question for anyone: Has anybody had an issue with the network connection seemingly affected by the pressure of the enclosure door bending the cable when closed? I would think the connections should be robust enough to not be an issue.

Also, what does it mean if the LED is completely off? When I first noticed this I thought I had a power problem, but that is clearly not the case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Put the controller that you think is causing the issue at the end of the run. Swap your last controller with this one and change the Unit IDs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, what does it mean if the LED is completely off? When I first noticed this I thought I had a power problem, but that is clearly not the case.

LED completely off, as in not blinking?? The board has no power to it. Unpowered. A lack of electri-motive force. Zero volts going to it, the opposite of powered. Cold. No shock hazard. Does not work. Wont light.

Remedy. Check fuses. Check supply cords. Check for tripped breaker(s).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LED completely off, as in not blinking?? The board has no power to it. Unpowered. . . .

That was my first thought, too. However, there is definitely power. Eventually a little wiggle of the network cable and shazam! the LED is solid and the channels spring to life. I was puzzled by this as well. But, almost as soon as I turn my back (back in the house and comfortable) the same problem surfaces.

I think I'll try the following, stopping when I think the "house of cards" is standing :huh: :

1) Reset the controller (I'm skeptical on this, I truly think it is some other sort of "loose connection" problem, but it only takes a little time to do).

2) Use a telephone cable to connect this controller to the prior one

3) Re-route my cat5 cables so that this offending controller is the last in the chain (I believe - or at least hope - that the other network connector is okay)

Galen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Caleb Linburg

Maybe it could be the power connection plug into your controller. Is it possible that when you wiggle the plug you are actually bumping that onto the metal pin. Try pushing it onto the plug.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Make sure the boot is removed from your cat 5 cables. The boot can sometimes keep the plug on the cable from making a good connection with the jack.

Is it possible the solder connections for the rj45 jacks have come loose?

Jerry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, the boot is removed (I can hardly get them through into the box with them on).

My last resort before replacing or sending the whole thing in to be repaired) is to see if I can re-solder the jacks. They don't seem to be loose, but that is probably another thorough check I need to make. However, I think to get a good look I need to remove the board from the enclosure (to look in the back) which I don't look forward to doing. I don't look forward to disconnecting all the spade connectors. Is anyone experienced with "field" repair such as simply loosening cable clamps, unscrewing the board and just tipping it out enough to check the soldering on the rj45 jacks? I'm not sure that is even possible. Or, if it is, it may not be wise. However, it may be a quick way to just check.

However, if its a loose jack, I don't see how that translates to the status LED being completely off.

Galen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, the dark LED is troubling. But you said it comes on at times too, so It sounds like you may have an intermittent connection somewhere there.

Could it be a bad solder connection somewhere else. Maybe a bad COMM chip.

My suggestion is to put in a help ticket.

Jerry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Galen,

I'm having the exact problem you describe. Show was running for 1.5 hrs last night then started to go random. However the night before webnt for 2hrs with no problems. Opened the enclosure for the offending AC board and noticed the LED very dim and flickering - resulting as you said in random effects from that point on in the chain.

I have swapped the board with a spare but now to work out the issue.

Is it possible that an issue with the RJ45 jack would cause power loss? I believe it is a power issue somewhere rather than an issue with the data cable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jamie, my status LED is never dim or flickering, it is either completely dark, or it is blinking briefly until it is completely on. Unfortunately I don't have a spare, but I'm going to try the phone jack to see if that solves the immediate problem (if it is a loose connection, maybe that end is still solidly soldered). If so, I will at least get by until the weekend when I can take a closer look. If not, I may be forced to choose what props I'll give up. This controller runs my mega tree and I really need that prop working - so I may have to sacrifice my 2 arches to put that controller on the mega tree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Galen,

Funny that I should read your post tonight. This afternoon I had a friend over and was showing him what was inside of my controller box. I just happened to lightly touched one of the cat5 cables. And sure enough my LED flickered and went out and then back on a few seconds later. Prodding around I could make it come and go.

This is not a comm problem per say. And I did quite a bit of checking out of my power leads. It is more than likely one of the following. PIC chip needs to be reseated in the socket (seen a lot of problems with chips in sockets, esp outside installations). Or what is called a cold solder joint that needs to be touched up. Or something has caused a circuit trace to get a hair line crack. Tomorrow before it get dark I am going to pull out the PIC chip and reseat it. BTW in my case I have not seen any effect on the operation though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Max/Jamie, maybe we are all in this together. I removed the problem controller from the network and fortunately everything in the show runs great. However, when I look at the problem controller I see that in fact the status LED does sometimes have a very very faint glow (so maybe it wasn't completely off. I do now believe that it is NOT related to the network jacks. They are solid as a rock. Maybe some other component is bad. It seems that I can connect the cable, and the light blinks then goes steady, but after a minute or so it sometimes just goes out. It seems like to get it back I can unplug the cable and plug it back in, and start the cycle over. I also noticed that even without any network cables connected (and power on) the LED goes out (or so dim you can't tell its on).

I suspect this is beyond my rudimentary skills to diagnose and fix - I'll see what LOR can do. Thanks for your help and suggestions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One more update. I suspect this may be a failed com chip or something like that. Its funny how in the midst of these issues we (or I) sometimes don't think clearly. One thing that was happening even when the controller was "not" on the network (i.e., the status light was off) was that lights on downstream controllers were being "controlled". If the controller really weren't "on the network" I suspect that this should not have been happening. Also, some upstream controllers were also behaving badly then as well. That should have convinced me that it wasn't just a bad connector or connection. So, unless it is any easy chip swap, I think I'm in over my head.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I decided in my case to leave well enough alone till after the season is over. In your case Galen, if your PIC is socketed, then lift it out by prying on both ends with a small screwdriver. Once it is out, make sure all of the pins are inline with the individual sockets and gently push it back in. Actually to accomplish what I have done many times you just rock it about half way out and push it back in. Do not need to take it fully out. I think that the comm chip is also socketed and you could do the same with this one. Sockets, cant live with, cant live without.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has anyone tried to reapply the firmware to the acting controller? Not update the version but just reload it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
Jamie Taylor

Just reset the board , seems to have fixed the problem.. I know it has been a while, but didnt use the board last year and am cleaning up. Hopefully Galen found an answer to his issues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Don locked this topic
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...