Author Topic: USB Dongle Flashed with Pixelnet Need help Trouble shooting - *SOLVED*  (Read 5051 times)

Offline Dholley

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I connected the USB Dongle Flashed with Pixelnet directly to my LE. I setup Vixen with the Pixelnet plugin, and set-up 4096 channels,  with the test feature of vixen I called for ALL lights on. Channels one and two of the express came on and stayed on, even when I closed Vixen. I reflashed the Dongle with the Pixelnet Firmware, ran the same test and got the same results, channels one and two of the express come on and stay on.

Any ideas? is it an issue with the dongle, the express, firmware, the stars not aligning properly, we have to have some humor, right?


Offline tbone321

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LOL, no, that is what it should do.  This proves functionality for the USB dongle and the DMX converter on the hub.  The only thing left to check is signal distribution on the hub.  The hub as far as PixelNet goes simply distributes the signal from the selected universe across all of the controller ports.  There is no processing of the signal on those ports.  It will distribute whatever it gets in regardless of PixelNet or DMX.  Because of this, we can use the LE to check for signal distribution.  Reflash the dongle with DMX firmware and connect it back to the LE to make sure that it is working properly.  If so, then connect the dongle to the hubs input.  You can now connect the LE to one of the hubs controller outputs.  Remember that these jacks also are putting out 12V so make sure that the cable that you are using for the LE is NOT a crossover cable.  The LE only uses the first 2 pins and they are the data pins on the hubs controller connections as well so as long as you are using a straight through cable, there should be no issue with the 12V power on the other pins.  Make sure that the hub is still set to the 1st universe and the LE should respond to the test sequence that you were using to test it when directly connected to the dongle.  If it does, then try a few more ports on the hub to make sure that they are all working and if so, then we have confirmed that the hub is fully functional and we have narrowed the problem down to either the SSC, the nodes, or the SSC configuration software.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, by tbone321 »
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Offline Dholley

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tbone I reflashed the USB Dongle with DMX, connected it directly to my LE, and had it control my lights with Vixen.

I then connected the dongle to the pixel input of my active Hub (still with DMX firmware), then connected my LE to  the Hub, using 4 different output HUBs to test. ALL the outputs worked in operating the Express.

I may need to increase my lavender :)

Offline tbone321

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Glad to hear it.  This confirms that the hub is fully operational and is distributing the signal as it was designed to.  This cuts down on the number of unknowns causing the issues.  Do you have an Etherdongle as well as the USB dongle?
If at first you don't succeed,
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Offline Dholley

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tbone I do not have an ethernet dongle

Offline Dholley

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tbone I think I have narrowed it down to the nodes. I was able to get a string of Flex lights to flash like there're suppose to.

At least part of the problem is the nodes are new and none of them will work. I have 4 strings. It's hard for me to believe that they are all bad. Will you confirm the proper connection for me? Maybe I have them connected wrong.

I'm connecting the controller pigtail to the big chip side and end of the string.  I'm  connecting power wire + (it's a yellow green wire), looking down on the node I'm connecting to the wire on the right, 12v.  I'm connecting the brown wire (data) of the pigtail to middle wire (data) of the  string, I'm connecting the  negative (blue wire) of the pigtail to the wire on the left of the node. The nodes have a somewhat opaque clear housing, but as far as I can tell looking at the big chip side and reading from right to left it's 12v, Data, Ground.  The string has all black wire.

Offline Dholley

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I want to also mention and reiterate what I saw in another post, if you are using male and female 3 pin connectors you MUST CHECK for a solid connection, when I first connected the flex strips I did not get the lights to flash but upon closer inspection I found I was only getting about 4 volts to the lights. I adjusted the male female connection and the voltage increased to approximately 12 volts and I was able to successfully program the lights.

Now I need to figure out what is wrong with my node strings. :)

Offline tbone321

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Where did you get these node strings from?  Do you know what chip they have in them? 
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Offline Dholley

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From Ray Wu, 2811 chip

Offline twooly

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The 2811 I have the chip side is actually the output side.  Can you post a closeup pic of a node?
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Offline tbone321

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The problem may be the strings themselves.  The SSC was designed to work with the TM1804.  They will work with the WS2811 provided the string is configured to clock at the correct speed.  IOW, it can be a bit of a crap shoot whether they will work with the SSC or not.  It appears that you have them connected correctly.  The only possible issue is that with these nodes, the input side may be different.  The instructions listed were for the TM1804 strings and where it would make sense for all of the strings to be configured the same way......  I would connect the data line to the other end of the string and see if it responds.  It really doesn't matter which end the power connections are made on since all of the nodes are in parallel on the power leads anyway.  The signal line OTOH, is connected in series from node to node and if you connect on the output of the last node, none of them will get a signal.  If you connect on the other side and it still doesn't work, then there is a pretty good chance that these nodes are just not compatible with this controller.
If at first you don't succeed,
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Offline Dholley

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tbone, it appears MOST ALL of my  heartache was connecting the nodes incorrectly. I connected to other end for data as you suggested and the lights flashed like they're suppose to.

I'm attaching a screen shot of the specs for the nodes I purchased, Does IC and  "big chip" side mean  the same thing? If yes I connected the strings per the specs.

Would you tell me what I can do in the future to avoid this problem.

Offline tbone321

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Yes, IC and big chip do mean the same thing.  The problem is that the description and instructions for the Chinese items are not always accurate.  It seems that sometimes they just use the instructions from a similar item and hope for the best.  The good thing is that for the most part, all of the nodes of the same type are usually wired the same (probably why they just reuse instructions).  As long as you get the power connected to the correct lines with the correct polarity, connecting to the wrong side with the data line causes no real issues,  just connect the data line to the other side and see if it works.  I guess the trick is to make sure it works before soldering on the connector.  If you use the links in the WIKI to get your nodes, then the posted instructions will work but if you choose others, then you may need to experiment a little.  Glad that you got it working, have fun.
If at first you don't succeed,
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Offline jnealand

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I recently picked up some ws2811 nodes that originally came from Ray.  With the TM1804 the biggest chip is the input side, but with the 2811s the biggest chip is the output side.  Took me awhile to get that straightened out in my mind.  Then there is the issue that I now have both node types in my display and I have to remember which element has which node type since the 1804s are RGB and the 2811s are BGR
Jim Nealand
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Offline tbone321

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Yea, the color order changes between the node types can be a real PITA.  As long as you keep then configured controller with the nodes that they are configured for, that issue is minimized but it pretty much makes it impossible to mix the nodes on one controller.  I am working on a singing pumpkin patch and the pumpkins are all different sizes.  I am going to use smart string nodes in them and would like to use different types for the different sized pumpkins but each type has a different color order which would make that impossible. 
If at first you don't succeed,
your not cut out for sky diving