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Baffled by sequence peculiarities


Denny
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I have two controllers that are not operating properly on one sequence, but I don't think it is a problem with the controllers or data cables as they seem to work fine on other sequences. Just for information, though, these are both new controllers this year. One is a 16PC (factory assembled) and the other is a DC controller. I have checked and rechecked and the channels are properly assigned in the sequence editor. There is one channel assigned to each letter in "Christmas" on the PC controller. When channel 11 is activated in one part of the sequence, channel 16 also comes on, sometimes dim, other times at full intensity. Tonight, a new problem arose, when channel 14 is activated, channels 8 through 13 shut off. Also, tonight, the DC controller which was operating without incident, shuts everything off when channel 14 on the 16 PC is activated. I might mention that the DC controller is the last one in the chain and is connected to the 16PC which had the initial problems. I am totally baffled. Any thoughts or suggestions of what else to check? The problem only seems to happen during this one sequence, but then, they are not used much more throughout the show.

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Richard Hamilton

Denny wrote:

I have two controllers that are not operating properly on one sequence, but I don't think it is a problem with the controllers or data cables as they seem to work fine on other sequences. Just for information, though, these are both new controllers this year. One is a 16PC (factory assembled) and the other is a DC controller. I have checked and rechecked and the channels are properly assigned in the sequence editor. There is one channel assigned to each letter in "Christmas" on the PC controller. When channel 11 is activated in one part of the sequence, channel 16 also comes on, sometimes dim, other times at full intensity. Tonight, a new problem arose, when channel 14 is activated, channels 8 through 13 shut off. Also, tonight, the DC controller which was operating without incident, shuts everything off when channel 14 on the 16 PC is activated. I might mention that the DC controller is the last one in the chain and is connected to the 16PC which had the initial problems. I am totally baffled. Any thoughts or suggestions of what else to check? The problem only seems to happen during this one sequence, but then, they are not used much more throughout the show.

Denny, did you try reseting the controllers?
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Dan,

Channels 1-4 have mini lights, channel 5 has led rope light (about 15 feet) and two 100 count mini lights,Channel 6 is 150 mini lights, Channels 7-16 are 30 inch letters outlined in incandescent rope light


Richard,

No, I didn't try to reset the controllers, as they seem to work fine on other sequences. However, I will watch them closely during the other sequences and see if there are any glitches. I figured it was something in that one sequence that I overlooked, but darned if I can find it. It won't hurt to try a reset though.

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LightORamaDan

Denny,

If it was somthing in the sequence it would do it the same way every time. Unfortunatly if it was some type of "feedback" caused by the hardware or lights it also may cause the same thing to happen at the same time.

It sounds like the situation is changing from day to day and assuming that you are not changing the sequence it seems as if the sequence may not be directly an issue.

With it working in some sequences and not others then it may be a combination of channels on at the same time that is causing an issue with the hardware. If it happens at the same place in a sequence is is possible to determine what "special" thing is happening on those channels at that time?

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I didn't do anything with the sequence or controllers today as I wanted to see what would happen tonight and see if I noticed anything "special." It's worse today and the wrong channels come on in the "right places" from the very beginning of that sequence. I also noticed that one of the channels on the DC board which is connected to the CTB16PC is not coming on at all now. Tomorrow, I will reset the two controllers and see if that does anything. The sequence was so bad tonight that I took it out of the show. These two controllers are the only ones used during the suspect sequence as they are used for the nativity and I don't have any other lights on during this sequence.

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LightORamaDan

Denny wrote:

[snip] I also noticed that one of the channels on the DC board which is connected to the CTB16PC is not coming on at all now. [snip]

Hi Denny,

What is the setup here witht he CTB16PC and the DC board?

Thanks
Dan
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LightORamaDan wrote:

Denny wrote:
[snip] I also noticed that one of the channels on the DC board which is connected to the CTB16PC is not coming on at all now. [snip]

Hi Denny,

What is the setup here witht he CTB16PC and the DC board?

Thanks
Dan


The DC board data cable is connected to the CTB16PC. The DC board is the last in the chain and the CTB16PC is second to the last.

I might mention that I have a chain coming off of each of the two ports on USB485B adapter, however, all the other sequences seem to work fine.

Here is the Set-Up

USB-RS485B

Chain 1 Controller IDs in set-up Order

11 - CTB16K, 12 - CTB16K, OB - 16PC, 06 - CTB16K, 05 - CTB16K

Chain 2 Controller IDs in set-up Order

idmx1000 (22 channels), ELL (transmits to an ELL connected to a DC board designated OF which controls my train); IDs 2, 3, & 4 are assigned to a Firefly next in the chain; OD - DC board, 10 - 16PC, 09 - 16PC, 07 - 16PC, 14 - 16PC, 13 - CTB16K, 08 - 16PC, OA - 16PC, OE - DC board, OA - 16PC, 01 - CTB16K, 15 - 16PC, OC - DC board. These last two are the problem children. I use a combination of phone lines and cat5e to connect the boards.

I should mention too, that the OC board seems to work fine on the other sequences. Also, board 15 seems to work fine on the other sequences. By process of elimination, it seems it has to be something wrong with the sequence even though it doesn't react the same way each time. All other sequences work great on the two boards, although they do get limited use in those other sequences. I think I will try to do the sequence over again and see if that corrects the problem. Thankfully, it's not a complicated one, but it is the one that features my nativity. I won't cut and paste from the old sequence since I may end up importing the problem (if there is one). I will use it as a guide and try to replicate it as accurately as I can.
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I run a 1 minute animated sequence all night with just LEDs lit. I just noticed this morning that channel 16 on the AC controller number 15 (the problem child) is also on now, even though it isn't programmed on.

Doesn't look like it's the sequence giving the problems, but the AC controller since it is now happening on two sequences.

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Richard Hamilton

Denny wrote:

Doesn't look like it's the sequence giving the problems, but the AC controller since it is now happening on two sequences.

Denny, just from a toubleshooting perspective, I would not rule out a problem with sequences just because the problem happens on more that one sequence. With the file format change to xml in version II combined with other software changes, I imagine that problems other than the controller could also be the issue. At this point, you should keep open the idea that the problem could be anywhwere.
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I did the sequence over again from scratch, but still have similar problems. I am beginning to think that it may not be the controller, as I watch other sequences, things seem to be behaving irregularly on them also. I am running the show on an old computer, so will switch out computers tomorrow and see if it runs as sequenced. When I run the sequences with the sequence editor controlling the lights, things operate properly, including this problem one. When run as a show, there are errors. In another sequence using DMX (the only one with DMX), the two moving yolks stop responding after about 20 seconds, but the other fixtures (a scanner and laser) seem to operate as sequenced.

The show computer has a 500mhz Celeron processor and only 256 megs of memory. I'll try it with the laptop tomorrow and see what happens.

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How did you define your channels. Were they an import? If in the file you exported from you have channels that are partially define, then all sequences created from that import can have problems.

By Partially defined I am talking about you have define the controller type as lightorama controller, but no ID.

Chuck

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Chuck,

On the new sequence, I did not import anything but started from scratch. The channels are defined. I can't remember the minimum computer requirements off the top of my head, but I think the show computer may be the culprit. A lot of channels and the computer only has 256 megs of memory. I did notice that in any sequence where I have a very long on time for a channel, it will shut off after a short period of time and not come back on. This includes the dmx also. I may need to go back in and do the 99% thing, put in a 99% intensity periodically so that LOR resends the commands. Don't know if I can do that in the DMX segment though, but since there is a range for each DMX command, perhaps I can just send another intensity signal that controls the same DMX command. First thing I will try tonight is switching out the show computer though.

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Denny,

What version of software are you running?

If you suspect your show computer as the reason. Is it possible to temporarily run your show from another computer, such as the one you sequence with. That would rule out the computer aspect.

Chuck

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I was able to run the show about three times tonight before I shut down due to the extremely high winds. I used my laptop tonight and everything seemed to be working just fine (other than a Ground Fault Circuit that tripped sometime during the day and won't reset). Everything seemed to work as sequenced, so I hope that it was the computer that was either too slow or not enough RAM which was causing the problems. Wasn't able to check the dmx portion as I took down all the fixtures because of the high wind. Supposed to have rain starting tonight and for the next week (yes, it does rain in the desert -- Dec & Jan being the wettest months of the year), so don't know when I will be able to completely check out the show again. Am hoping that the problem is solved now.

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This can be changed to "resolved." Switching out the computer was the solution. I think the 256 RAM in the old computer was the problem.

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Richard Hamilton

Denny wrote:

This can be changed to "resolved." Switching out the computer was the solution. I think the 256 RAM in the old computer was the problem.

Gee, I would NEVER have guessed that to be the problem!
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I don't know that much about computers, but when I did a completely new sequence with a new channel configration using the same song, no cut and paste, it would play perfectly in the sequence editor. As soon as I put it in the show, it would act up. Then, I remembered that the song where I used DMX would also act up with the two moving yolks just shutting down. The only thing that these two sequences had in common were that some commands remained on for most of the sequence. The yolks have an automatic built in program that I used, but the same command was sent for the entire song. The DMX scanner had constantly changing commands being sent to it and it worked flawlessly. Since this was my first year using DMX, I assumed that I was doing something wrong in the sequencing for the DMX, so I didn't associate the two problems as being the same. Also, this year, I am using something around 368 channels, if you include the 22 DMX channels, a big jump from what I used last year. Then, the show computer was new this year too. It is an old computer that someone gave me. First year with ELLs and DC boards. Too many "firsts" this year, so I wasn't quite sure where the problem was. I also noticed that the first time a show would run, there would be a significant lag between the start of each sequence, like the computer would be struggling to load the sequences. After the first show would run, the lag disappeared on subsequent shows. Since I couldn't remember the minimum computer requirements for LOR, I figured it would be easier to just switch the old show computer with the laptop where I do my sequencing. The laptop is by no means new (about two years old), but it does have a gig of RAM and a faster processor. The problems disappeared. As I said, I don't know that much about computers, but maybe someone following this thread might be able to see where the problem lies.

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I have a similar problem. I have one sequence (that I know of ) that does not alway run consistently. I know of the one because it is eaiest to see the action. I have 4 leaping arches, nine channels per arch.

During the show not all channels will light. It might skip 1 channel, or it could skip 6. Sometimes it skips the same channels sometimes it does not, it's random. Some times it works perfect.

I am using new controllers I purchased this summer, fully assembled. Running mini lights, 200 lights per channel.

I have reset (unplugged) the controller several times.

Any ideas?

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George Simmons

Within just the past few days I've realized I have the exact same problem. I've got glitches that appear and disappear at random, always affecting the same channels (spread out over two controllers) and only three sequences. They'll play okay sometimes and not the next. Next time up in the rotation it's playing okay again.

At first, I really didn't think much of it, but from reading these (and other) posts, it sounds just like what some of you guys are experiencing. For me, as long as it stays as sporadic and occasional as its been, I'll put up with it for another eight days. I believe in letting sleeping dogs lie, especially when everything is buried under a foot of snow (likely to be here until April) and we've had wind chills colder than a witch's ...

I know its not the sequences - they've been checked and double-checked; they play fine every time in the sequence editor and almost all the time in the yard. Maybe we're all inadvertantly making the same mistake with how we've run our cords/cables or something...

But in my case, why would it only affect those particular channels, and only on three songs (the other 32 are ok) and only every now and then? I'll be happy when someone smarter figures it out.

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I hope we find someone smart soon ;)

It's difficult for me to live with it since it effects the leaping arches. During the arch sequence everything else is off so there is 100% attention to the arches. It is very noticeable then.

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Dennis Cherry

Question for everyone with random problems in this thread.

Are you running off a computer or MP3?

If a computer how much RAM and CPU speed?

Operating system?

USB device?

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Dennis Cherry wrote:

Question for everyone with random problems in this thread.

Are you running off a computer or MP3?

If a computer how much RAM and CPU speed?

Operating system?

USB device?



I was using an old computer with only 128 mb of RAM; the operating system was/is XP and using the USB485B adapter. Once I changed over to the laptop, the problems went away. I had a lot of channels as well as the DMX, so I am only speculating that the computer just couldn't keep up with the information being sent to it. Perhaps LOR might revisit their minimum computer requirements and expand on them. It may be that the currently published minimum requirements are OK up to so many channels, but then when we add in the other goodies like DMX, etc., the minimum requirements increase. I too am curious if anyone is having the problem with the MP3 director or only computer based running.
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