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Problems with E682 and PC config


Paul R
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The setup:

 

PC - laptop running Win7, builtin 10/100MB LAN controller and a WiFi controller

Lor S3 3.11.2

E.131 setup - 5 Universes Multicast (configured through Network Preferences - DMX tab)

The 5 Universes are showing as IP's 239.255.0.1-5, protocol Multicast , port 5568

E682 configured Multicast, all universes configured properly.

WS2811 12v 50 node pixel string

Direct Cat5 cable from PC to E682.

WiFi turned off on the PC

 

I know the channels and universes are configured properly on the PC and the E682, because everything works perfectly...sometimes. I know I have the string wired correctly as it works perfectly (sometimes). Tried different strings, same behavior.

 

Here's the problem...

 

About 1 time out of 5, everything works perfectly, I play my sequence and the pixels respond beautifully, perfectly synchronized to the music. The rest of the time (4 out of 5 times) the pixels respond sluggishly, hanging in the sequence for 2-10 seconds, then moving on. Sometimes they don't light at all for a while, then will light up for a few seconds, then hang again. I tried moving to my desktop that I use to develop my sequences which I have configured similarly (it has no WiFi). Same behavior.

 

It is acting like the network is connecting and dropping repeatedly, except for the very few times everything works perfectly.

 

I've tried different network cables, going through a dedicated router between the PC and the E682, different computers (show laptop and dev desktop)... always the same behavior.

 

 

I remember reading a post recently where someone said they had to turn off the speed autodetect on their network adapter and set it to 10Mb (I think). I am wondering if I may be having a similar problem where my adapter keeps changing speeds, causing the drops and hangs. I have tried setting the link speed on the laptop in the adapter settings from it's default "Lowest speed detected" to 10Mb and 100Mb fixed, no dice. On the desktop, I have an Intel 1Gbps adapter, set to auto-negotiation. Haven't tried messing with it.

 

I'm pulling my hair out over this. Any ideas?

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I have also now tried setting the IP address of my show computer to static and eliminating DHCP. Still the same problem.

 

My next step is going to be blowing away the show computer's disk and reinstalling Win7, LOR, and drivers fresh. Maybe I messed up something internally and didn't realize, and I also want to eliminate the possibility of virus or malware inetrference.

 

Anyone have ideas on other things I can try?

 

-Paul

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Is your network connection, also on your internet connnection? If so, I read something about the "multicast" would be attempting to broadcast to the internet at the same time as your controller. You might consider changing to unicast and to a specific adddress. Also, have you disabled the actual internet communications as well as Antivirus, windows updates and etc...only when you are running a show? If not, while you are running, the AV might be examining each file that's opened, before alllowing it to be accessed. Windows updates happen at least once a day. Many other things, will update from the internet all the time. Clear the internet cookies by going to the control panel, internet options and selecting "Delete". There's an option in there too to update cookies or temp internet files "Everytime you visit the page", "Automatically" or "Every time you start the IE". I suggest changing it from the default of automatically, to "Everytime you visit the page", apply and save. Exit the IE or whatever browser you are using and then go back in as desired. 

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Sounds like you have covered most of your bases. 

 

Some things to try possibly just to see what happens, maybe try unicast to see if you get any changes.

 

You say you went through a dedicated router to the 682, did you mean switch?

 

Possibly test with xlights to see if you get similar results.

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Doug,

 

I did have everything set to Unicast initially...when I first started seeing the problem I switched to Multicast to see if it made a difference.

 

As to the router, yes, I meant router not switch. I bought a very cheap router to put between the PC and the E682 before I figured out to use the same subnet bewteen devices. I don't use it anymore, but did try it again to see if it had any effect on my problem.

 

dgrant,

 

A lot of very good suggestions... I did disable my A/V and actually uninstalled it...no difference, I also turned off my wireless in order to disconnect from the internet. I didn't think of the Windows scheduler jobs...I will give them a try. I will also try to browser and cookie settings. I do beleive I am going to go ahead and reinstall my show computer (can't hurt, and I don't even remember all of the network, adapter, and driver settings I changed), then I will make sure I have all of those things turned off.

 

Thanks for the suggestions!

 

-Paul

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Sometimes, very seldom, but sometimes, I can't get my Sandevices boards to output straight from the PC. I put my 10/100 switch between PC and board and it works like a charm. I second the idea of using Unicast as Dougd and dgrant suggested. Try a switch instead of a router between the two and see if that clears up the problem.

 

It's always something simple. I find myself over-thinking problems and then giving the old smack on the forehead and saying, "DUH, Stupid" Try the simple stuff first.

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I use a GB switch too. Out of the computer to the switch, then connect to the board. In my case, I go a slightly different step, computer to the switch, then  I connect a Wireless N-bridge at the switch, then matching N-Router at the remote location and direct wire to the controller. So far, no problems for me. This will be my first year of pixels with the P12S.

Edited by dgrant
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Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but, why would you have 5 IP addresses configured to one e682?

I would expect 1 IP for 1 board. Or, did you mean IP is 239.255.0.1, with universes 1-5?

Have you verified there isn't an issue with the e682? Does the log show a massive amount of packet loss? What does that packet loss look like when compared to a data-intensive test pattern (like 13)?

Since you are using a router instead of a switch, you need to make sure there aren't some odd rules set up on it creating problems. Using a basic switch is the better way to go.

I would also stick with unicast. Less network congestion, clearer configuration, and allows more universe/pixel control on the e682.

I would also try xlights to rule out it being a S3 issue.

Edited by jlowe
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Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but, why would you have 5 IP addresses configured to one e682? I would expect 1 IP for 1 board. Or, did you mean IP is 239.255.0.1, with universes 1-5? Have you verified there isn't an issue with the e682? Does the log show a massive amount of packet loss? What does that packet loss look like when compared to a data-intensive test pattern (like 13)? Since you are using a router instead of a switch, you need to make sure there aren't some odd rules set up on it creating problems. Using a basic switch is the better way to go. I would also stick with unicast. Less network congestion, clearer configuration, and allows more universe/pixel control on the e682. I would also try xlights to rule out it being a S3 issue.

 

When using Multicast, S3 defaults a different IP address for each universe of DMX. If using Unicast, each board has it's own IP address.

Edited by Ron Boyd
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1.) LOR can only control 1 thing at a time, either the lights from the sequence editor .... or the lights from a scheduled show.   Do you have a scheduled show running?  
 a.) Disable any schedules

 b.) Close down the visusalizer

 

2.)  Have you tried a using "normal" IP address 192.168.1.xxx for the Computers and controllers? (you should be able to run all five universes on the same controller & therefore same IP Address. Please post screen shot  of your network screen.

 

3.) Also  run through "Test 11" through "Test 19"  using your controller. If they run smoothly, it's NOT your hardware/network, it's your software configuration/sequence.

 

One problem that I was having, was that I added "CCP"'s to my sequence editor as a crutch for programming my pixels. (it's way easier to work with visualizer/editer/etc   with CCP than raw pixels.... I would then copy/paste the sequences to the pixel lines.   HOWEVER having a BUNCH of CCR's on my editor was causing all kinds of trouble with the ENTIRE sequence. It was EATING UP ALL THE LOR network  bandwidth and slowing everything down.Once I eliminated the CCP lines from the editor... things moved along much nicer.

Edited by Crazydave
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Have you tried changing you network adapter settings. I ran into an issue with my e6804 with windows 7 that would intermittently access the setup page or no output. I had to create a seperate network connection and set the TCP/IPv4 off automatic to manual and use manuly entered ip address.

It I use that computer for testing I have to disable all network connections and then enable that separate one. It's mostly just a design computer.

My windows xp show machine didn't have any issues. Go figure

Edited by sticks4legs
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Thanks everyone for so many good suggestions. I've been working a lot of hours this week and haven't had time to work on this. I plan to spend some time this weekend. I am going to blow away my show computer and reinstall Win7, LOR, drivers, etc... as I may have some crazy configs setup in there from all of the things I tried, and I will follow your suggestions.

 

To answer some of the additional questions that have been asked:

- No, I was not running a show and the Seq editor at the same time. I have not setup my show yet...I am running everything from the editor.

- I do not run the visualizer at the same time I am trying to control the lights.

- I have my computer set to static IP 192.168.1.2. The E682 is 192.168.1.206.

- I am not using the router anymore. I did at first a few times because the only way to get the E682 config webpage up was to use the router. I believe I had the computer and E682 on different subnets at that time.

- I did change adapter settings quite a bit attempting to fix this issue. I can't remember everything I tried, but I did try turning off autosense and setting speed at fixed 10Mb and 100Mb. One reason I am going to blow everything away and start over is I have no idea what combinations of settings I may have now. Better to start at this problem clean.

- I "Think" I had the same problem with lag when I ran the test patterns, but I haven't tried that in a while and am not sure. I will be trying them again this weekend. Good point that if the test patterns lag, then my problem may be a bad board.

- About the "5" IP addresses...those are the defaults put in by LOR if you turn on Multicast. I really want to run Unicast (I did at first), and will this weekend...was just trying multicast to see if that fixed my problem.

 

I am betting this will turn out to be something simple that I screwed up working on something else. Starting with a clean slate and following all of this great advice should give me the best shot at resolving this. This is my first year with pixels (2nd year with LOR) and it has been an adventure. Ordered a kit for my pixels including the WS2811 strings, E682, and power supply. First set of pixels were wired incorrectly from the vendor and had me pulling my hair out for a few weeks trying to diagnose. Once I discovered the incorrect wiring, vendor replaced them free. Now this, although this is bound to be an error on my part.

 

The symptom that really has me scratching my head is that I use 2 different computers for LOR...a powerful desktop (Intel i7-3820, 16Gb Ram) for my development box and a Dell laptop with a dual core i5 as my show computer and get the same results on both. That would make me think cabling or pixel HW, but I've swapped all of that with no results. It is a head-scratcher.

 

Oh well, this is a hobby, and if everything worked first try and simply, it would be pretty boring. I am sure afterwards I will look back at this and laugh.

 

 

Thanks everyone for continuing to be such a great enthusiast community. I will update everyone this weekend with how it goes.

 

-Paul

Edited by Paul R
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- I am not using the router anymore. I did at first a few times because the only way to get the E682 config webpage up was to use the router. I believe I had the computer and E682 on different subnets at that time.

 

 

How about re-hooking up the router after your do a factory reset on the router, and set the computer and e682 to DHCP
In my case... I have the router configured to assign a specific IP address to a specific MAC address.

 

 

 

- About the "5" IP addresses...those are the defaults put in by LOR if you turn on Multicast. I really want to run Unicast (I did at first), and will this weekend...was just trying multicast to see if that fixed my problem.

 

You have the set the uiniverses to the IP addresses in which that controller will be controlling that universe.

 

 

 

 

Basically my advice... it reset EVERYTHING to default settings (factory reset)... and things should work.  then you can customize from there. One step at a time.

Edited by Crazydave
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That is why I asked switch or router. I am not sure they work the same way. I know i use a switch.

 

This is confusing to a lot of people so I'm going to explain it a bit here to avoid confusion (hopefully).  I'm also going to include a network hub as well.  I am limiting this discussion to consumer type devices (for the most part).

 

A home consumer network hub (not to be confused with a USB hub) has typically 4 to 8 network ports and is a pretty dumb device.  Whatever comes in on one port goes out on all ports.  A hub does not do any switching or routing.  It's about like a extension cord with more than one outlet is for power (except the extension cord normally only flows power in one direction and the hub can input on all ports).  Every port on a hub must operate at the same speed (10Base-T vs  100Base-T).  Hubs are seldom used any more.

 

A switch is a hub that has some smarts to it.  A switch learns what devices are connected to which ports and for at least some traffic, it will only pass that traffic to the port (or ports) that are needed.  Now I will point out that there is a lot of network traffic that by it's nature must go to all ports on the switch that have a connected device (multicast is a good example), but by having some smarts, a lot of the traffic can be pointed to only one other port on the switch.  For example if you have (among other stuff) 2 computers connected to a switch and are transferring a file from one of them to the other, a switch will limit the traffic to the ports for those 2 computers.  The other devices connected to the switch will not even see the traffic at all.  Each port can operate at a different speed (10Base-T vs 100Base-t vs 1000base-T).  This is a large benefit particularly if some of your ports are not very fast.  For example if you have a device that only operates at 10Base-T, it will not hold up traffic for everything else.  In my house I have a couple ports that run at 10Base-T either because the device will not support 100Base-T or the cabling won't support it.

 

Switches can be unmanaged (most consumer devices) or managed.  Managed switches have the ability to do a little bit of the routing functionality, and more commonly the ability to segment them into multiple virtual switches.  For example a 24 port switch could be setup so that ports 1 - 12 function as one logical switch, ports 13 - 20 are a second logical switch, and ports 21 - 24 as a third logical switch.  Each of these is called a Virtual Local Area Network (or VLAN), and traffic on one VLAN does not ever see traffic on another VLAN.  You can even set one (or more) ports so that the port will carry multiple VLANS without them seeing each other.  Very handy to carry multiple VLANS between two locations where you only have one path (a single cable, microwave path, TelCo leased line, etc).  Most consumers do not have a need for managed switches, although I'm weird and have 3 of them in use at my house.

 

A router is a fairly smart device that generally performs network address translation, firewalling, DHCP server, a web server (for management of the device), statistical and error logging, and a few other functions.  Except for large enterprise routers, most routers have only 2 ports. Before you say that ain't so, read the next paragraph.  The router decides what traffic passes between the two ports and how that gets handled.

 

Using the very typical home router as an example that has a WAN port (what generally connects to your internet connection), and 4 LAN ports (what connects to your computers, scanners, printers, etc), and a WiFi, let me explain what is really there.  That box actually has 3 completely separate functions - although they are generally on one PC board.  They are a router, a 6 port switch and a WiFi radio (maybe more than one).  The router has a WAN port and a single LAN port and is the brains of the whole box.  It does all or at least most of the router functions listed above.  The WiFi is just what you think it is - a radio or collection of radios that connect to other wireless devices.  The third function is a 6 port switch which has one port connected to the LAN port of the router (this connection is normally just a trace on the PC board), one port connected to the WiFi radio, and the last 4 ports are available to you on the back panel of the box.  In most cases the WiFi can be disabled, and the router functionality can be largely disabled leaving nothing but a switch.

 

BTW, these days finding a consumer grade router that does not have WiFi is getting pretty hard to find.  As mentioned earlier, I'm weird and have 5 routers at my house.  All but one actually have WiFi, but the WiFi is disabled on all of them.  I do have 4 access ports, but they are not part of any of the routers.  If anyone really want an explanation of all that weirdness, send me a PM.

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The symptom that really has me scratching my head is that I use 2 different computers for LOR...a powerful desktop (Intel i7-3820, 16Gb Ram) for my development box and a Dell laptop with a dual core i5 as my show computer and get the same results on both. That would make me think cabling or pixel HW, but I've swapped all of that with no results. It is a head-scratcher.

 

Are they both running at the same time?  In other words, could they both be sending conflicting commands.  I did that once and it drove me nuts.  I was trying to do some testing with my desktop and the show computer was still active and sending lights off commands to the same universe.  Resulted in unexpected results on the light and massive errors reported by the E682.

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If you are getting similar results under both computers, then re-installing software is unlikely to fix the problem.

You need to take it step by step. First, verify computer and e682 are talking correctly. Then make sure test patterns run as expected. That's gonna basically remove hardware and hardware configuration as the issue.

Then work on S3 talking to it.

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I have been working a few hours on this today and still no luck, but I am convinced I have a HW issue.

 

I blew away and reinstalled Win7 on my show computer, reinstalled S3, drivers, and sequences. Turned off Windows Firewall. Set my network settings on the computer to static IP of 192.168.1.5. Fired up SE and set the DMX setting to E1.31 and Unicast and set the Unicast addresses for my Universes to the E682 IP (192.168.1.206) in SE. Hooked up the RS485 adapter and a LOR controller and ran the HW utility to detect and connect to the LOR controller (so that the listener would work and SE would keep the "Control Lights" setting). Shutdown S3 and went to my browser

 

I had the computer direct cabled to the E682. Turned on the E682, typed 192.168.1.206 in my browser and I was able to instantly get into the E682 webpage. I set the protocol back to unicast and ran the test modes. All test modes worked perfectly. Fired up S3 on the computer and ran a small test sequence. Everything ran perfectly. So, loaded up one of my show sequences, hit play and... hang city. The lights would only work intermittently and after about 1 minute more, nothing was getting through. Went back to the browser and could not connect to the E682 webpage. Nothing was working again.

 

Shutdown everything and walked away for about an hour. Came back and tried again. Everything worked perfectly for the first minute or two of trying, then went back to hanging again. I am sensing a pattern here...

 

Shutdown everything for only 1 minute, and then restarted. Went to the browser and brought up the E682 webpage. I was in..turned on testmode 13, lights began flashing, all was good. Entered a zero in the test mode box to shutdown the test and the browser lost connection to the E682.  Shutdown the browser and restarted...no connection. Shutdown the computer for about a minute and restarted. This whole time testmode 13 is running on the E682 (didn't shut it down). Restarted computer, would not connect. So shutdown E682 and computer and walked away for 15 minutes. Came back and restarted everything, browser got in and I set testmode back to 0. Lights went out.

 

So...it appears that everything works for the first 1-2 minutes after the E682 is powered on, then communications start going wonky. If you turn off the E682 for a while (>10 minutes), when you try again everything will work fine for 1-2 minutes then go bad. If you only shutdown the E682 for ~30 seconds after things go bad, it doesn't cool down much and will only work for a few seconds before it loses communications. Also, remember one other key fact...I got the same behavior using my desktop computer instead of my show computer.

 

I think there is a HW problem that materializes when things warm up. Let everything cool down, and all is good (for a short time). When hot, confused or no communications. I have obtained the same behavior with two different computers and different cables. The only common HW was the E682 and the pixel power supply. I guess there is a small chance the power supply could start delivering inconsistent power once warmed up, but I doubt that would manifest in lost communications. My bet is that I have a bad resistor network or something on the E682 that starts to act up once it gets warm. I have a second power supply, but i haven't yet soldered on the power cord for it (it is new in the box). Tomorrow I will get it up and running and try it out. If I see the same behavior, i am going to say I have a bad E682.

 

What do you think? Is there something I am not thinking about or forgetting?  After hours of messing with this, I'm going crazy and don't totally trust my thought processes.

 

-Paul

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after reading your last post, would have to agree with your heat related trouble shooting. BTW is this a pre-assembled board or a kit? What voltage supply voltage and what port are you using? But in a perfect world, would have to think that there is a problem with the Net-Wiz card that the socket is installed on.

 

Good luck

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Yeah, I agree, sounds like hardware to me as well. I have noticed when I run a more intense pattern, the 682 at times won't load the web page, but, it's intermittent and usually will come up on a second try. But, for the "cool down" having to occur before things work as expected again sounds like a problem.

You may want to contact jim@sandevices.com to get some direct help. Good thing is, he gives great support!

Edited by jlowe
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It was an assembled Pixel System 1, bought through another vendor complete with 16 strings of WS2811 pixels. I am running it at 12V and have a 300W 12v supply that came with the package from the vendor. As to what port, on the PC side DMX was configured automatically in SE for all universes to use port 5568, while the DMX Listener port is set to 8837. On the E682 side, I do not see anywhere I can check this, at least it isn't displayed on the E682 webpage.

 

I will be doing some further testing today now that I have an idea what I am looking for.

 

Thanks again for the help,

Paul

Edited by Paul R
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Further testing this morning is confirming it is a heat problem with the E682. As Max-Paul states, most likely with the ethernet connection assembly.

 

Note that for this test, I never started up LOR S3. Test was executed purely with my IE browser.

 

Started up both PC and E682. PC is direct connected to the E682 with a Cat 5e cable. Connected to E682 with the browser to the E682 webpage. Set testmode 13. All pixels start flashing. Waited around 2 minutes, then tried to set testmode 0, browser lost connection to E682 and pixels kept flashing. Whenever I type E682 IP into browser it comes up "Internet explorer cannot display webpage". Pixels still flashing. Leaving computer on and IE up, I unplug the E682. wait 5 minutes, then plug back in. Type E682 IP into browser, webpage comes up and I set testmode to 0. Pixels stop flashing. Set testmode to 1, pixels come on solid. wait a minute or two and try to set testmode 0. Connection lost, pixels stay on. Leaving E682 on, I shutdown computer and wait 5 minutes. turn back on computer and open browser. Type in E682 IP, no connection. Leaving computer up, I unplug E682. Wait five minutes. Plug in E682 and type E682 IP in browser. I have connection again and set testmode 0 to shutdown pixels.

 

I will be contacting Jim. Since I bought this setup through a 3rd party vendor, not sure if Jim can replace the card or if I need to go through the 3rd party. I'm sure Jim will know.

 

BTW, I didn't state it before, but I'm pretty sure the vendor was reselling a Pixel 1 system and didn't assemble it themselves as the E682 came in a small enclosure, barely larger than the card itself, and the enclosure has a "Powered by Sandevices" sticker on the cover.

 

-Paul

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It sounds like you've properly and carefully identified the problem and considering its a complex communications system to troubleshoot! I'm guessing they'll be helping you real fast on this issue and yes, things are not always perfect even though we hope so.

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I suggest you purchase a "backup" E682. They aren't that expensive ($109 + shipping for the kit), and most of the connections are quick-disconnect plugs. Having a backup would let you get your display running again in 5 minutes in the event of a failure during a show.

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