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So much for 100' limit.

The 100' limit is pretty much only an issue if you're using the serial RS485 adapter, not the USB one. The USB one takes power from the computer (via the USB port), whereas the serial one takes power from the first controller (the serial spec does not provide or power for a device). If the line is too long, voltage drop can cause not enough power to get to the serial adapter.

So were you getting interference in that pipe, or was it a channel property grid problem all along?

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Stupid "stuck-channels-itis" came back again tonight. It went away after moving my Cat5 cable several times. I can't understand what's so sensitive about the LOR system. Does anyone know if wireless devices have any effect on LOR? I do have several wireless routers in my house as well as a cordless phone system. I'm really running out of ideas as to the cause of this.

So far I've:

-Cleaned up my Channel Ppty Grid

-Moved fluorescent lights off the same circuit as the controllers

-Routed my main Cat5 away from power feeds

-Played with COM port settings

-Used a different computer

What else could it be? This is getting kind of ridiculous. IMHO LOR should do something to address it. There's got to be a way to eliminate this.

I guess if it shows up tomorrow night I could swap controller 1 with controller 3 and see what happens.\

Does anyone think/know if I use sheilded Cat5 it'll go away? Shielded Cat5 cables aren't cheap, so I want to know for sure before I buy any.

Edited by cnrtechhead

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What else could it be? This is getting kind of ridiculous. IMHO LOR should do something to address it. There's got to be a way to eliminate this.

Some of this is due to the inherent design of the LOR protocol. The LOR protocol was designed to be very efficient and it does a good job of that but at the expense of reliability. So, if a controller misses a command, the command prior will continue on (or play out) until the next command affect that channel/controller/bank comes down the line. This results in the "stickies" that some report when using the LOR protocol.

If you have a circumstance in which you commands are not consistently received by your controllers, such as a huge volume of traffic or physical network problem, this will only exacerbate the problem. The best way to address your issue is to understand how the LOR protocol works, then that helps explain some of these "odd" behaviors - here is a start: http://www.holidaycoro.com/2010LSHWorkshop/DMX%20and%20LOR%20Protocols.pdf

Since your network is under the level in which high traffic causes problems (600-800+ channels in a single network), it would seem to be a physical network issue.

Have you tried a different 485 adapter?

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I may have finally discovered a permanent solution to my problem.

After reading a little more about the LOR protocol, I got to thinking about why my problem was primarily with one channel. I realized this evening that whatever interference I was getting was somehow sending what my controller was interpreting as the instruction to turn on Unit 04 channel 1 - so I figured I'd see what happened if I gave the interference nothing to turn on. After changing my unit ID, the problem went away immediately and didn't show up again all night.

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Have you tried a different 485 adapter?

I never got back to you on that... yes, I have swapped out my USB485 adapter several times.

As for my "fixing the problem..."

I didn't. "Itis" came back tonight. I didn't even waste my time trying to do anything about it. I'm just going to let my show run like its supposed to. I'm ordering some shielded CAT5s off Amazon here in a bit in hopes they eliminate the problem for good.

Grrr.

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My mother just woke me up (at 4:30AM!) to tell me that "the lights were on." I go look out a window and sure enough, half a mega tree and a couple mini trees are out there shimmering away. I can't remember exactly, but I think the channels that were shimmering were the first 8 in two controllers. I didn't even try anything to figure out why, since it's the middle of the night I just threw all 6 breakers to my front yard display.

Could this be more interference, or is my show laptop being really screwy? I've never had anything like this happen during a show or during the day for that matter.

Grrr again.

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Holly crap, you are having a rough time. This type of issue doesn't happen often. But if it makes you feel any better, you're not the first person to wake up in the middle of the night and find some of your lights on.

What you just experienced shouldn't have been caused by a channel conflict within or between sequences. If I had to guess, I'm still thinking interference, controller firmware issue, etc.

You didn't go back to running the CAT5 through the pipe alongside 70 amps did you?

Did the issue last night only happen on one controller? If so I would update the firmware on that controller.

Again shut down anything fluorescent that is anywhere near your PC, communication lines, controllers, or extension cords. That includes the curly shaped CFL bulbs. If the light is high efficiency, assume it is fluorescent.

Any chance all the strings that came on were LED strings. LED strings can act pretty screwy due to the fact that they draw so little current. Sometimes people have to add loads to those circuits to get the LEDs to act normal. (Search the forum for "snubber".)

You said you swapped out the USB485 adapter several times. Really? Those things aren't cheap. If you would happen to have a factory serial port on the PC and a SC485 adapter, you might want to try that. But that device definitely has a 50 - 100' limit to the first controller.

Moving connections, trading out controllers, trading out cables, etc. are all good things to do in hopes that something will point to the problem. I hope you get the issue resolved soon. I know it can be frustrating.

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Holly crap, you are having a rough time. This type of issue doesn't happen often. But if it makes you feel any better, you're not the first person to wake up in the middle of the night and find some of your lights on.

What you just experienced shouldn't have been caused by a channel conflict within or between sequences. If I had to guess, I'm still thinking interference, controller firmware issue, etc.

You didn't go back to running the CAT5 through the pipe alongside 70 amps did you?

Did the issue last night only happen on one controller? If so I would update the firmware on that controller.

Again shut down anything fluorescent that is anywhere near your PC, communication lines, controllers, or extension cords. That includes the curly shaped CFL bulbs. If the light is high efficiency, assume it is fluorescent.

Any chance all the strings that came on were LED strings. LED strings can act pretty screwy due to the fact that they draw so little current. Sometimes people have to add loads to those circuits to get the LEDs to act normal. (Search the forum for "snubber".)

You said you swapped out the USB485 adapter several times. Really? Those things aren't cheap. If you would happen to have a factory serial port on the PC and a SC485 adapter, you might want to try that. But that device definitely has a 50 - 100' limit to the first controller.

Moving connections, trading out controllers, trading out cables, etc. are all good things to do in hopes that something will point to the problem. I hope you get the issue resolved soon. I know it can be frustrating.

The Cat5 is still running where I moved it to, out a garage door and up into the yard.

Last night's issue happened on two controllers, both LOR Preassembled boards with the 4.40 firmware. (LOR's site shows 4.30 as the latest FW for the CTB16PC, which is what the ones I assembled are running.)

It may have also happened on other controllers, I just may only have noticed what was visible through the window.

There's nothing fluorescent near the controllers, their Cat5s, or the computer. The only fluorescent bulbs in my house are in bedroom closets and above the kitchen sink.

I have no LEDs in my display, quite frankly I don't like the look of them or their price. :D

I have two of the USB485 adapter. I meant swapping between two... not a bunch!

I've traded out cables several times already, and as I said above I've ordered a shielded Cat6 cable for the connection between the PC and the 1st controller, since that's where I figure the interference is getting introduced into the network.

It's plenty frustrating. I guess the last thing I have to do is wait on the Cat6 and hope.

Edited by cnrtechhead

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I have gremlins like this where channels turn off at the beginning of some of my sequences. I'm interested to see what you find.

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The Cat5 is still running where I moved it to, out a garage door and up into the yard.

Last night's issue happened on two controllers, both LOR Preassembled boards with the 4.40 firmware. (LOR's site shows 4.30 as the latest FW for the CTB16PC, which is what the ones I assembled are running.)

It may have also happened on other controllers, I just may only have noticed what was visible through the window.

There's nothing fluorescent near the controllers, their Cat5s, or the computer. The only fluorescent bulbs in my house are in bedroom closets and above the kitchen sink.

I have no LEDs in my display, quite frankly I don't like the look of them or their price. :D

I have two of the USB485 adapter. I meant swapping between two... not a bunch!

I've traded out cables several times already, and as I said above I've ordered a shielded Cat6 cable for the connection between the PC and the 1st controller, since that's where I figure the interference is getting introduced into the network.

It's plenty frustrating. I guess the last thing I have to do is wait on the Cat6 and hope.

Honestly.. at this point I would unplug the cat5 from the RJ45 jacks in the controllers.. power up the controllers let them set to see if anything happens...

If no, connect the first controller to the PC, let it sit idle for awhile, then try running sequences for a bit. then let it sit idle for a bit again..... if all works fine add the next controller.... repeat the same until you it starts seeing symptoms... then you have found where the issue lies...

If nothing happened when they were unplugged... I would suspect a bad cable, cable end, or the RJ45 jack had been tweeked at one time, in which the only solution is to replace the jack. Its pretty easy to do if you have built your controllers. ( I accidently snagged one of my cables and tweeked a RJ45 jack the other day myself. If those jacks ever get pulled on hard they are ruined, as the pins drop down and no longer make good connection)

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Honestly.. at this point I would unplug the cat5 from the RJ45 jacks in the controllers.. power up the controllers let them set to see if anything happens...

If no, connect the first controller to the PC, let it sit idle for awhile, then try running sequences for a bit. then let it sit idle for a bit again..... if all works fine add the next controller.... repeat the same until you it starts seeing symptoms... then you have found where the issue lies...

If nothing happened when they were unplugged... I would suspect a bad cable, cable end, or the RJ45 jack had been tweeked at one time, in which the only solution is to replace the jack. Its pretty easy to do if you have built your controllers. ( I accidently snagged one of my cables and tweeked a RJ45 jack the other day myself. If those jacks ever get pulled on hard they are ruined, as the pins drop down and no longer make good connection)

Since last night's shimmering was the first time I saw weirdness when there wasn't a sequence playing, I think I'll try the second idea first.

Just in case, I'll inspect my Cat5 ends and RJ45 jacks as well.

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I thought I would share my agony in case somebody can learn from my loss of sleep. I have been having issues where my sign and donation box would go blank when they should stay on. I also noticed periodic sticking channels and my guess is other light issues were happening and just couldn't see them.

After every test known to man I finally found a bent cat5 pin on the USB485B adapter. The far right pin ( I think brown wire) on connector one was out of it's slot and bent. Luckily for me I had an extra and was able to swap it out. I ran a test today and it appears to be solid. We will see how tonight goes.

I guess it never hurts to pull each cat5 connection and look for bent pins. This was the last spot I would have thought, and did look.

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Things have gone from bad to worse.

My DSL internet goes out while the show is running.

Yep, that's right. It goes out when the show comes on, and won't come back on until I restart my modem after the lights are off.

WHY?!?!?! This makes no sense at all. My show laptop isn't even connected to my network!

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The two things that come to mind are power issues (incorrect wiring) or interface.

Are you running an FM transmitter? If so which transmitter, antenna, etc.

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Things have gone from bad to worse.

My DSL internet goes out while the show is running.

Yep, that's right. It goes out when the show comes on, and won't come back on until I restart my modem after the lights are off.

WHY?!?!?! This makes no sense at all. My show laptop isn't even connected to my network!

I remember that exact thing happening to someone last year, I have been looking for the post but haven't found it yet, so I'm not sure what the solution was.

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I do have a transmitter, it's cheap off-brand transmitter (Performance Teknique 136, I think. I bought it from another member about a month ago).

It runs 24/7 though, not just when the lights are running. As does all my audio equipment, including a small live sound mixer and a 20 Watt Radioshack PA amp that runs my speakers in the yard.

When you say power issues, are you referring to power for the display? I'm running most of my display off 6 circuits I installed this year, and I know they're wired correctly. I tested each of them with one of those "3-neon-bulb-code" testers the day I installed them. I'm pretty sure the other circuit I'm using is wired correctly as well, as all sorts of stuff has been plugged into it in the 20-some years since my garage was built.

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I remember that exact thing happening to someone last year, I have been looking for the post but haven't found it yet, so I'm not sure what the solution was.

I've been searching for that post too.

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I remember that Tim. Search the LOR forum for DSL. chuckd has several posts about the issue and others chimed in also.

It sounds like the issue was related to the power lines related to LOR running close to the buried DSL lines. I believe his final fix was firmware.

http://lightorama.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=20557&forum_id=76

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I remember that Tim. Search the LOR forum for DSL. chuckd has several posts about the issue and others chimed in also.

It sounds like the issue was related to the power lines related to LOR running close to the buried DSL lines. I believe his final fix was firmware.

http://lightorama.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=20557&forum_id=76

I'm running the latest firmware on all my CTB16PCs and my two ACx8 D-Light units.

It may be a line location thing... my telephone box outside my house is right next to the meter, and I'll have to look again but I think the line feeds into the house right next to (or maybe right into!) the main panel. I might just spend tomorrow afternoon running some telephone wire.

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