Author Topic: USB Dongle Flashed with Pixelnet Need help Trouble shooting - *SOLVED*  (Read 4433 times)

Offline Dholley

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I have been troubleshooting my pixelnet devices and smart strings for over a week and I now call uncle, I will be happy to share my troubling shooting history and the pictures of my devices, but in effort that might save time for everyone, I with like to start with this information:

The USB Dongle worked fine operating my DMX devices and the green light was on all the time. I flashed the dongle with pixelnet and no longer get a green light.

I connected the pixelnet dongle  to  my 16 port active HUB, connect my smart string controller V4 and placed in program mode, I measured approximately 12 volts to the ssc controller,  I'm using the latest SSC Utility. The utility states it's transmitting a signal but no lights are flashing. I do get a DMX signal out from the HUB for what it's worth.

I have flashed and re-flashed the dongle and ssc, I've tried different pixel strings, I've tired different ssc's, I've tried a diffent computer . I'm about to lose my mind.

Any words of wisdom are appreciated and based on my current level of frustration I've decided to put away all sharp objects.

All the Best!

Danny

« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, by Dholley »

Offline Dholley

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Additional information, I bought the smart string controller's from another DLA member with the cat 5 female pigtails type A attached. The cat 5 cable that I used to connect   the controller to the HUB was type B.

I assume this is a problem. Would some Please advise of the corrective measure and what damage I may have done to the Smart String Controllers. Additionally, does it matter if I use type A or B Cat 5 To connect the dongle to the Active Hub?

What a humbling experience. :(

Offline tbone321

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Type A and Type B only refers to the colors attached to the pins.  The pin to pin connections on the two sides of the cable are identical and even though they use different wire pairs to connect the pins, the pins paired are also the same.  IIRC, AT&T came up with type A and was not all that willing to share the configuration so others came out with type B and made it a public configuration.  If you are getting a DMX signal out of the hub, that indicates that the hub is configured properly and that the DMX dongle is also functioning.  The issue is either in the string controllers, the nodes themselves, or there could still be an issue with the hub.  I would post a picture of the component side of the hub as well as a picture of a controller and the connection from the controller to the node.  How are you connecting the nodes to the controller? 
If at first you don't succeed,
your not cut out for sky diving

Offline Dholley

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I have attached the pictures as suggested. I'm attaching the nodes with a 3 pin male connector to female connector attached to the board. I have matched the wire connections on the board to that of the node, connecting on the big chip side of the node.

Offline tbone321

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Ok, if you are saying that the pigtails are of type A, then you are correct and that is the problem.   Unfortunately, the manual for the SSC does not distinguish between type A and B pigtails and they are different.  The orange and orange/white wires do not connect to the same pins on a type A as they do on a type B.  While this is not an issue when using a complete cable, it is one when cutting an end off of one and basing your connections on wire color.  In this case, if the pigtail is really a type A, then the orange and green pairs need to be swapped on the controller connections (orange for green and orange/white for green/white).  I'm not sure if this damaged the controller, but I would not connect any more of them to the hub until this issue is corrected.
If at first you don't succeed,
your not cut out for sky diving

Offline Dholley

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I triple checked the cat 5 pigtails connected to the SSCs, it is Type B. My apologies, I had previously stated Type A incorrectly. I'm now back to square one.

Some additionally information, when I plug the SS controller into the HUB the nodes flash, for just a split second.

Additionally, I built a Zeus 16 Version 1 last year. I have never used it before, but as a part of the trouble shooting process I connect the pixelnet dongle, connected a string of lights, flashed all the Chips, verified  check sum 0020,  connected the 24 pin power (no  4 pin connectors) and used the Zeus utility to program ALL lights,  the utility said it was transmitting but the lights were not flashing.

I attaching  pictures  of the USB dongle front and back

Offline tbone321

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The dongle is probably not the issue.  if it were, then there would be no signal on the DMX output of the hub.  I really wish that RJ would create PixelNet firmware for the LE or even the SSR4.  This would make life soooooooo much easier when it comes to setting up smart string and PixelNet systems.  The utility always says that it is transmitting but that doesn't really mean all that much.  Is the green LED on the dongle lighting up?
If at first you don't succeed,
your not cut out for sky diving

Offline Dholley

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The green LED does not light up on the dongle

Offline t.jo13

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With the green light not coming on sounds like an issue. Did you check your com ports. I ran into a problem close to yours. I would recommend flashing the dongle back to dmx which will verify it was back where you started . Then download a fresh hex file and try to flash the dongle again. Check and see if it is out puting with a free  proram called sacn view ( i think thats the name ) It wil show you that the computer is outputting data to the dongle and as far as i know the green light should be working. Hope some of this helps

Offline Dholley

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as a part of the trouble shooting process, I did re-flash the dongle with DMX, I confirmed it would operate my Express. Green light always on with DMX.  I think I did that yesterday morning, my days are running together, Then I re-flashed with pixelnet, no green light, but I do get a DMX signal from the DMX out of the active HUB.

Is there a way to jump the pixelnet lights, just to confirm that they will come on. I have a bench power supply.

Offline tbone321

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Unfortunately no, there is no "jumper that can be set and there is also no test firmware for the controller either.  Smart strings need a signal to tell each node what to do.  How are you determining that you are getting a DMX signal from the hub?  When you are using the smart string utility, make sure that NOTHING else is running or open on the PC, especially any sequencing software.  Could you post a screen shot of the utility screen when attempting to configure the SSC so that we can see what parameters you are using? 
If at first you don't succeed,
your not cut out for sky diving

Offline Dholley

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I use Vixen 2.1 with the pixel plug-in 2.1 to verify the dmx out signal from the HUB.

No other sequencing software is open when trying to program the SSCs.
FTDI drivers are loaded, dongle connected to computer via com port 5, dongle connected to the HUB pixlnet input, SSC connected to HUB to smart string output, SSC in program mode, HUB jumpers are set to pixelnet 1, universe 1. I open the SSC utility, verify com port 5, verify settings, hit transmit, utility says it's transmitting but the lights are not flashing.

FYI, the lights flash for a split second when I plug the ssc into the HUB.

I am attaching a screen shot of the SSC Utility and the FTDI drivers

Offline tbone321

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I guess what I was asking is how are you confirming DMX output from the hub?  Did you connect the LE to the hubs DMX output and control it that way?  If so, then we know that the USB dongle is outputting data.  As a final test, I would connect the USB dongle directly to the LE with the PixelNet firmware still loaded and make sure that you cannot control the LE.  If the LE still responds to the dongle with PixelNet firmware loaded, then there is an issue with the firmware that you are using.  The brief flash when plugging in the SSC is probably just the nodes powering up. 
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, by tbone321 »
If at first you don't succeed,
your not cut out for sky diving

Offline t.jo13

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Taking your equipment back to a known working setup was one of the 3 main suggestions. The second one was to try and get ahold of a working controller  so that possible problem was out of the problem leaving only the dongle or the computer as the culprit. The third suggestion was to step away from it for a few days  so it would hopefully clear my head and open up  new ideas which could end up being a simple setting that is wrong.

That being said I stepped away from it for awhile now and have read many things  which now i am ready when i get the time to start fresh. I spent 2 weeks over christmas trying to get my rgb equipment running for new years eve. No such luck. Everything was fighting me. Since then I now have a known working controller in the works, I have read enough to find out that ssc's can be finicky to flash and program , but reading has given me some helpful tips to try to hopefully save some headaches again. I would suggest that you give the project a break for a few days and  See if you can locate a known working controller . Hope some of this helps

Joe

Offline Dholley

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tbone,  yes I plugged the LE into the DMX out of the Hub and it works. I will try to connect the dongle with pixelnet firmware directly to LE this evening and post the results.

I greatly appreciate your help and t.jo13!