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Controller randomly stops reponding


toddm1919
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I have 6 LOR1602W contollers that have been controlling 3 shows (5-6 sequences) each night. They are run from a computer using the USB485 USB Adapter with two network connections. One goes to controllers 1,2,3,4 (in that order). the other goes to the other side of my house to controller 6 and 5. Starting last week, I noticed contoller 6 has been randomly not responding during the shows. It does not seem to matter what show or sequence is running.

I have run shows and sequences individually and have not been able to reproduce the problem, but it has happened every night since Saturday.

The unusual thing is that the controller will be working fine, then stop responding, and then begin responding again with out me doing anything.

Disabling and re-enabling shows will make it respond again. Unplugging and plugging the unit it will also get it to respond again.

I have an extra box and I was going to switch it out, but I wanted to see anyone has seen this before. Is there a check list of things to check?

Any help would be great.

Todd

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Sorry, forgot to mention that I replaced the cable between contollers 5 and 6 with no change.

What do you mean by reset? Sorry if this a stupid question. I have been using these for 3 years, but have never really had a problem like this. Do you mean setting the unit ID to zero, turning it on for 10 seconds.....

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Guest wbottomley

toddm1919 wrote:

Sorry, forgot to mention that I replaced the cable between contollers 5 and 6 with no change.

What do you mean by reset? Sorry if this a stupid question. I have been using these for 3 years, but have never really had a problem like this. Do you mean setting the unit ID to zero, turning it on for 10 seconds.....
Yep.

Yep.

What version of software are you using?

And... when you're in the hardware, click refresh to find the controllers, what version of firmware comes up? It will give that beside the controller unit ID.
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Does the problem happen on all sequences in the show? Just one particular sequence? What is the condition of the status lights when things hand on the offending controllers? This could show signs of communications problems.

Make sure that you have no partially define channels ie. where you have the controller defines as lightorama controller, but did not define a unit ID and/or channel. This is programming.

Are you using any compact floresent lights in your elements? What type of lights are you using? Noise from some CFL and this year even some LEDs can cause channels to misfire.

Chuck

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OK, here is an update of what I have tried and other information that was asked for:

I switched out the box Thursday. Thursday night's shows worked flawlessly. Tonight, Friday, the first two shows worked fine, the third failed on the 3rd sequence in show. By failed, I mean that all channels on the controller stop responding. There were several people watching the show so I ran outside, unplugged and replugged in the boxed to bring the box online quickly. The show finished without incident.

I checked all of my sequences for partially defined channels and found none. I do have a channel that I use for the tapper wizard, but is not defined. It did not cause a problem last year with LOR I, would it cause this problem with LOR II?

I am using LOR v2.0.16 and the hardware utility shows "CTB16D ver 4.01" next to each controller unit ID.

Since I wanted to get the show working quickly, I did not have a chance to look at the status light.

I have not yet switched out the network cable to contoller 6. It is a long run, and I will change it if necessary. I was wondering since the cable goes from the computer to controller 6 and then to controller 5, and controller 5 is still receiving communications and showing no signs of problems, can it still be the cable to 6?

Finally, the failure seems to happen randomly. There have been times that the controller will stop responding during one sequence in the show and then start up again in the next sequence. There have been other times when it will stop responding until I disable and re-enable shows or unplug and replug the controller.

Thanks a lot for your help guys.

Todd

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One more thing, I am using all standard filament minis and c9s in my display. No LEDs.

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What adapter are you using at the computer?

Although if the length of the first cable is the problem I would think you would have more problems than with just one controller.

Even though you may not want to use some of the new stuff in the current version. They have made some bug fixes that MAY help your problem. 2.1.6 is the most recent version.

Chuck

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I am using the USB485B adapter and am using a 100 foot cable from the adapter to the controller.



Todd

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With the USB485B adapter, you really do not have a limitation on the length to the first controller. The adapter is this case is powered from the USB port on the computer.

What type of cables are you using throughout your system? Are they laying with/close to your AC lines? Cat5 wire because of the way it is constructed with the twisted wire is best for immunity from noise from sources like AC lines.

Chuck

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I am using Cat5. I ran the shows this morning, and got the controller to fail. I checked the status light and it was blinking. I let the show continue. The controller remained out until it reached a sequence about 45 min in length which I have the lights in a steady on state. The status light was solid again and the lights connect to it came on.

Using a new cable, I rerouted the network cable to eliminate the one side coming from the adapter. So it now runs from the adapter to 1=>2=>3=>4=>6=>5 all from one port on the adapter. I figured if it was a communication problem on that side of the adapter, I would eliminate it and connect it to the other side. I am running the shows again now. We will see what happens.

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LightORamaDan

If this continues to happen then try setting your port to a different speed. In the Sequence Editor Click: Edit->Preferences->Network Preferences and set the speed to a speed other than the one it is on. Try the High Speed (short range) first if that is not the speed you are currently on.

It sounds to me that for some reason a controller is getting out of sync and is not getting back into sync for a long time. That is pretty uncommon but it can happen if some componet somewhere has a clock that is slightly off.

Dan

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Todd,

I to have the USB485B and I have one port that appears to be flakey. I am aware of this and just push a little more to get it to work. Once I get it to connect. I leave it alone. I plan on talking to Dan after the season.

Chuck

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Well, it seemed to work last night. I wasn't around for one of the shows, so I don't know if the controller went out and came back on like it sometimes has in the past.

However, I usually turn my lights on (static) for about an hour and a half each morning and this morning I noticed that the controller was out about 10 minutes after it was scheduled to go on. I am not sure if it went out, or never came on.

I disabled the shows, changed the network speed from Average Recommended Speed to Short Range Fast, as Dan suggested and re-enabled the shows. I will run through another set of shows this morning to see what happens.

I did notice a check box on the Network preferences that was for Compatibility. There was a checkbox for "Old MC-P 16 channel controllers". All of the contollers I am using are LOR1602W, so I assume I can uncheck this box. I left it checked for now, but didn't know if that could be involved with the synching problem.

Todd

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Dan, you nailed it. Thanks alot! I set the network preferences to High Speed Short Range and it has been running for three nights without a hitch.



Thanks again,
Todd

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