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Show controller becoming corrupted

Jeff Sand

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Okay, I haven't done a whole lot of standalone shows the last few years, so I'm gonna throw this one out there with a few questions and then a few clues. I got my parents' house up and running over the weekend with five controllers, all showtime, running a pretty basic animation sequence until such time as I get some music sequenced and LOR installed on an old Win2k box and dig the radio out of the basement. Everything was going okay for a few days, but tonight when my dad plugged the show controller in the show runs for exactly 17 seconds (I know exactly which frame it's dying on), then resets. Rinse and repeat.

Hardware in order on the network:

LOR1602W (show controller), blue board (not sure if V5 or V6 off the top of my head)
LOR1602W, blue (again may be V5 or V6)
LOR1602W, modular
LOR1602W, modular

The modular ones are the original showtime controllers with separate director and triac boards. If you weren't an LOR customer in 2003-2004 you've probably never seen these.

All cable is Cat5/Cat5e. Some other notes:

1) When the show resets, all 16 channels on the show controller go off. Channels on the other controller that were on at that point (or shimmering) remain on until their first command in the show

2) The LED in the show controller blinks off briefly when it the show resets

3) The LOR800 is physically mounted to and probably in direct contact with an antenna on the roof. The antenna is grounded but poorly.

4) The show controller is going into through an extension cord and into an outlet with a rather finicky GFCI that likes to trip about a third of the time as soon as you plug anything into it regardless of any leakage, real or imagined. In other words, my dad plugs it in, the GFCI frequently pops immediately, and he has to reset it.

5) It's been in the low 30's here for the last week. In the last 48 hours, we've gotten about 4" of snow, and the temperature dropped down to zero-ish overnight and is currently sitting around 10F. I don't see any visible condensation buildup on the board.

6) I've tried unplugging the rest of the network from the show controller, and the behavior doesn't seem to change at all. I didn't have my laptop with me tonight so I couldn't try reloading the show.

Thoughts? Is the sequence stored in flash, or EEPROM, or what? Should glitchy power at startup be able to corrupt it? I've had other controllers hold programs for years without any problems.

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This morning Dad is reporting that the lights are working again. I can't confirm if everything is right until after work tonight. Temperature's in the upper teens and sunny today. Ideas?

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So far the best I can come up with is that the inlet path to the controller driving the show may have too much voltage drop, and that the internal power supply might be dropping out, and resetting the controller. This could be temperature related, as in theory, cold incandescent lights will draw more power, and wet light strings do draw more power.

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