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Thread: A network problem on the LOR forum

  1. #1
    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default A network problem on the LOR forum

    This time of year everyone is tremendously busy and may have not read an important thread on the LOR forum. In the thread, the issue this gentleman is experiencing is very common and could bite you one day. This thread is very informative.

    http://lightorama.mywowbb.com/view_t...jump_to=218900

  2. #2
    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: A network problem on the LOR forum

    I believe Don Williams experienced something like this with his display last year; it delayed his starting date by a day or so until he got it resolved.

    It'll be a while before I get above 11 LOR controllers on a single network cable. The DMX controllers I'm using have a terminator jumper in them; my likely problem there is the probability of accidentally leaving a controller in themiddle of the cable run terminated, causing severe signal loss to any controller past that point.

    The desire to bundle power and network cables (the cat5 or phone line cable) together to make a neat cable run must be ignored to keep the data and power lines as separated as possible, to keep the crosstalk interference down.

  3. #3
    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: A network problem on the LOR forum

    Good stuff Al .. In the course of reading the links I discovered a post from Dan that I was not aware of. So I will post it here:

    ********************************
    Did you reset the controller? To reset the controller:

    If the controller has Unit ID switches on it:

    Power off, Set the Unit ID switches to "00"

    Power on for 1-2 seconds (until you see the LED blink fast)

    Power off, Set the Unit ID back to the original value



    If the controller does not have Unit ID switches then:

    Power off, Remove the jumper from the 2nd row of the 18 pin header

    Power on for 1-2 seconds (until you see the LED blink fast)

    Power off, Replace the jumper on the SECOND ROW

    Dan
    ********************************

    So what is the purpose of this reset ? It was discussed along with the controller firmware updates, but I did not see the purpose. I updated my controller firmware levels a couple times last year, but only before Dec 1st. Once I fired up for the month, I left things alone.

    It would be nice if the technical side of the TASL group took on documentation of good habits for flashing, reset, and termination. Plus providing a good design for terminators. We will all benefit over time if we all use the same techniques.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

  4. #4
    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: A network problem on the LOR forum

    Quote Originally Posted by kidcole View Post
    ...So what is the purpose of this reset ? It was discussed along with the controller firmware updates, but I did not see the purpose. I updated my controller firmware levels a couple times last year, but only before Dec 1st. Once I fired up for the month, I left things alone.

    It would be nice if the technical side of the TASL group took on documentation of good habits for flashing, reset, and termination. Plus providing a good design for terminators. We will all benefit over time if we all use the same techniques.
    What readily comes to mind is the controller stores in some non-volatile memory the last known state sent over the network which POR soft resets have limited functionality. If the processor hoses, it will drive the network in an erratic manner or will be slow to respond to interrupts. That would confuse the other controllers on the network and the show stops or things hang.

    I have often thought a large, laminated sheet with tips and stuff would be nice. Kind of like a placemat in a truckstop but with technical stuff on it that I can't keep to memory--like what day of the week it is. One thing about the TASL group is when someone gets in trouble, they can get a personal visit or can call those that likely will be able to help them. We are a technically diverse group. We should have a library of technical information for the group. We need a librarian, and I nominate Scott. He looks like a librarian or maybe somebody that likes to hang out in libraries.

    All in favor of Scott being the librarian say aye.
    Al

  5. #5
    Havin fun ! kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: A network problem on the LOR forum

    Aye !
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Back to Work <unretired> so I went Static in 2017. Planning xLights when I retire <again>. Maybe 2019 ?

    Falcon - 3 F16V3 & 1 PiCap, Sandevices - 2 E681 & 4 E6804, 288 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX,
    10' Pixel MegaTree, CoroFlakes w/Pixel Modules, Pixel RBLs, 2 Pixel Matrix 16x25, 10" RGB Ornaments, 7x230 Pixel Icicle Matrix,
    Classic 20' AC Megatree, TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

  6. #6
    Newbie Extraordinaire... scottmcl's Avatar
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    Default Re: A network problem on the LOR forum

    like I need another job...

    However, that's basically what I do for a living anyway...

    Consider that a "maybe". Y'all write it and I'll consolidate it...
    - Scott M.
    ______________________________
    Newbie extraordinaire...
    LOR user with 108 channels.
    Carpenter Lights: Website; Twitter feed; Facebook page

  7. #7
    Trying to behave here-NOT John's Avatar
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    Default Re: A network problem on the LOR forum

    Since I decorate for several holidays, my standard 10 step procedure for any controller before it goes out into the yard. Regardless of the Holiday

    1. Connect to the controller using Hardware Utlility. Only one at a time.

    2. Refresh the controller ID list.

    3. Hook a strand of lights to each channel

    4. Click on Standalone button, then click on Remove Standalone Sequence. ( 1600, PC and DC boards and the CCRs)

    5. Use HW utility to test each channel.

    6. Check the firmware level and flash update the chip if not the most current.

    7. Change the controller ID for the application / location that controller is getting ready to be placed.

    8. Reset the controller - using appropriate method for 1600's, PC, DC and CCR boards.

    9. Run the hardware utility testing all the channels again.

    10. Take the controller out to the display

    I realize this sounds overly involved and maybe un-necessary, but I do not have my controllers marked with a permanent Channel ID. First off the stack (of 30 controllers) is the next one used. If a controller has a problem, I want to know before it goes out. I do not like surprises out in the yard.

    Regarding Step 4 - I quite often load a standalone sequence into a controller for running an animation sequence for Easter, Memorial Day and 4th July. Sometimes also for a particular Halloween prop. Last Christmas my Snowflake Forest was a standalone sequence (programed in a PC card - yes they will run standalone even though it's not documented) Also for testing purposes, I will set up a standalone sequence to stress test some lights or something and let it run 24/7 for a week or more. All kinds of crazy things will happen if a forgotten about standalone sequence is left in a controller.

    My standard disclaimer: This is just what I do and feel comfortable doing regarding controller management. Your comfort level may be different.

    Scott - I wrote it out as you requested, now you can consolidate it.
    John (The Mascot)
    www.tennholidays.com

    480 LOR Channels + 2 CCR + 8 Mighty Minis + 10 Rainbow Floods+ 1 vdrive and vflood, Lynx Express and over 40,000 LEDs

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    Newbie Extraordinaire... scottmcl's Avatar
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    Default Re: A network problem on the LOR forum

    Gracie!
    - Scott M.
    ______________________________
    Newbie extraordinaire...
    LOR user with 108 channels.
    Carpenter Lights: Website; Twitter feed; Facebook page

  9. #9
    God Bless America victory402's Avatar
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    Default Re: A network problem on the LOR forum

    John,
    In reference to step 4, How does data get loaded into the stand alone feature? Automatically? The reason I ask is i have never used this feature and would assume it's clean already on the card. Can I skip this step?
    Vic
    RED MOUNTAIN LIGHTS

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    Trying to behave here-NOT John's Avatar
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    Default Re: A network problem on the LOR forum

    Vic,

    Yes, you could probably skip step four.

    To load data into the standalone storage, it is done on purpose with the hardware utility.

    Throughout the year, I am always grabbing a controller off the stack, downloading a standalone sequence to it, to perhaps run a stress test of fades or whatever on something. Quite often I have forgotten to then remove the standalone sequence before returning the controller to the stack.

    In fact, at the Convention, I used Standalone in the 24 volt DC card for the Mighty Mini and also had a Standalone stored in the 12 volt DC card for the Rainbow Flood & Spot demo. (They are probably still there, as I don't remember removing them after returning home. So before I use these cards again, step 4 would find them and prevent problems with the next display use of those boards. A controller really "weirds" out when trying to run a sequence sent to it over the network and also a different internal stored sequence at the same time. A real fracus over control of the lights)

    As I stated, this was just MY standard 10 step procedure that I use on any controller before taking it outside to the display. I hate to trouble shoot controller problems outside, and this standard procedure has saved me lots of grief.

    Note: I added step 4 after many hours of trouble shooting out in the cold rain when setting up my first Christmas display, a Standalone sequence was still stored from a Halloween animation display from a few weeks earlier.

    I also test each and every Cat5 cable inside before taking it outside to use in the display, because I also hate to trouble shoot CAT5 issues out in the display. (Another "school of hard knocks" lesson I learned.

    Same with lights!

    (Just the way I do things)
    John (The Mascot)
    www.tennholidays.com

    480 LOR Channels + 2 CCR + 8 Mighty Minis + 10 Rainbow Floods+ 1 vdrive and vflood, Lynx Express and over 40,000 LEDs

  11. #11
    God Bless America victory402's Avatar
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    Default Re: A network problem on the LOR forum

    Thanks John,
    This is a very good starti up procedure. I printed it out at work today and put in my LOR notebook when I got home. Theres no other lists that I know of floating around. I would like to see you build upon it and teach us it at one of our conventions someday. I'm like everyone else here who gets real busy this time of year and I tend to miss little things upon setup due to the crunch.
    RED MOUNTAIN LIGHTS

  12. #12
    Trying to behave here-NOT John's Avatar
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    Default Re: A network problem on the LOR forum

    Thank You Vic, hope it is of benefit to you. Know what you mean by the little things, they've gotten me in the past, and probably will again in the future.

    What I do is just set up a folding table in the garage during set up time, in fact I used the whole garage as a staging area.
    Put the lap top, Cat5 cable tester, some hand tools and a power strip on it, plenty of room to test the controllers etc.

    I do the controller, Cat5 and light tests after dark, when I can't work outside, preping and testing the items planned for installation the next day (if I'm off) or afternoon after work.

    Just a procedure that works for me.
    John (The Mascot)
    www.tennholidays.com

    480 LOR Channels + 2 CCR + 8 Mighty Minis + 10 Rainbow Floods+ 1 vdrive and vflood, Lynx Express and over 40,000 LEDs

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