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I keep reading of this.. maybe i found a solution??


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I have a CTB-16PC Controller that I built myself. Soldering and all. I used it last year in a mix of 40 channels. 2 pc boards and 1 08D board. Worked great all year long. Now this year comes around and I start plugging extension cords in and testing the board and come across a problem.. and that is channel failure. Channels 11 and 14. Channel 11 Works, but it wants to turn on whatever is on channel 14 at the same time. Channel 14, now dont work at all, although it did before i moved around neutral and hots (making sure they were connected to board fully) and now this channel is totally dead, or atleast at the moment it is. I need some suggestions on what it could be or what i could do to try and get this controller working right again? I am going to try resetting the board, plugging it in to the computer by its self and see what happens, but ive read that it sounds like i may have a few bad Triacs on the board ?? Strange to me is that i notice it a year later, somewhat of a bummer deal.

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I may have found the culprit to the problem. I did a reset on the board (removed Jumper) got the flash flash pause flash flash pause.. out of the LED. Then put the jumper back on powered the board and nothing. Kept messing with connections of the Hot and Neutral inputs and then the Hot outputs on each channel, still nothing. Then from experience with the other 5 pc kits i have, I felt Q16 and Q 17 voltage regulators. Q16 wasn't just warm, it was very hot, almost burnt my finger hot. so i unplugged the board, removed the 8 Pin DIP for the recieving/transcieving in the hardware utility and it powered up with, with an LED. i guess this chip shorted again? I think I had this problem last year if i remember correctly, and the same chip went bad. I am thinking I need to dismantle the board and look for solder bridges or poor solder joints? since this has happened twice, surely something has to be causing it to go out, don't it? as much as i really dont want to have to take the board all apart, id rather be safe than sorry, but does anyone else have opinions on what it might be that caused this to occur twice besides soldering errors?

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They use high quality sockets, which are unlikely to have failures unless they have a lot of insertion/removal cycles.

As for other causes, that chip is subjected to any static discharge or voltage differences on the data cable between controllers. So stray voltages on open cable ends could do it, as could any range of wiring issues in the power to the controller.

It is easy to think of things that would instantly and repeatedly kill that chip, but gradually doing it is more of a challenge. I don't think it is likely to be a soldering issue... However that is close to the top edge, so you may be able to tell a fair bit with an inspection mirror and flashlight.

- Kevin

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I agree, if you have repeated failures of a comm chip then I would guess that something external such as electostatic discharge could be causing the problem. But I do know that if the the jumper is placed on the wrong row (not the second row) of the header it can damage / destroy the comm chip.

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before powering the board after resetting it I made sure that I put the jumper back on row two. I think I need to go over the soldering again and redo some of it. my dad.. who went to school for electronics said there was a few cold soldering joints that he could see on the board. Im not sure why moving the wires though would suddenly make such a huge impact on performance? Unless it was a Lug soldered that has a bad solder joint also? ill have to take a look at it and see what i can find.

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