Author Topic: Zeus limitations  (Read 1916 times)

Offline njKeever

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Zeus limitations
« on: November 16, 2015, »
I have used a pixelnet usb dongle, hub, and SSCs in the past, and decided to go big this year. I bought 2 Zeus 16 v1, 2 850 watt single rail PSUs, and 32 128 node strands from Ray. I plan to make two trees with 16 strands of 128 nodes. In testing with one strand, things were great. But when I hooked up all 16 channels, things got wonky. Some strands turning the wrong color, or not working at all. In digging further, I've seen discussion that Zeus can only handle 16 strands of up to 85 node due to a channel limitation of 4,096. If that's true, I assume my only option is to buy more Zeuses and PSUs. Or, could I program the Zeuses to use groups of 2 instead of 1 to cut the channel count in half from 6,144 to 3,072?

Either way, I also need to figure out why the strands have stopped responding all together. They originally flashed when programmed and responded in some way from xLights, but now do nothing. Any troubleshooting tips?

Offline jnealand

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2015, »
Grouping cuts the channel count but not the node count.  I suspect you are also pushing the power limits with that many nodes on one Zeus.  What you are describing is a common symptom of low power
Jim Nealand
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Offline njKeever

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2015, »
Is there an inherent power limitation of the Zeus? I should only need 750 watts and I have an 850 watt PSU, single rail, plugged into all four power connectors on the Zeus.

Offline rmp2917

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2015, »
The main power limitation is 4 amps per output. 128 nodes would be approximately 3.8 amps depending on the nodes you purchased. This would be about 62 amps for all 16 channels. With this much current you need to make sure all the power connects are connected. Also make sure that each connection has a separate wire going back to the power supply. Do not use connections that are jumped together on the same wire. You need as many wires as possible going to the power supply to divide the current and prevent melting the wires.

If the outputs are no longer working, start by checking all of the 5 amps fuses to see if any are blown. This would indicate that you exceeded the 4 amp output and your nodes are most likely drawing more than 3.8 amps.

Does the power LED still turn on? This would indicate you are still getting power to the board but not to the outputs. If the LED is not lit, you are probably not getting power to the board. So, there is most likely something wrong with the power supply or the connections. You can also check the traces and components around the power connections to make sure nothing is burnt from pulling to much current.

Version 1 of the Zeus only has one jumper to select the universe. Therefore, all 16 channels will be set to the same universe and you will be limited to 4096 channels. Version 2 of the Zeus has a separate universe jumper for each output. So, you would not have a channel limitation with the version 2 board.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2015, »
Agree with most points.  For some reason I have never pushed the envelope with using all channels available on a controller and same goes for the power supply.  I aim for about 50% capacity.  It has served me well.  Especially on the hubs, when blowing a fuse due to weather, I just move the jack over to another port.  I would post WTB and see if somebody has an extra Zeus and get another PS ordered.  Always some last minute shenanigans before blinky.   ;D
Sam, who is happy he flashed his etherdongle with newest firmware!

"Now, I had heard that word at least ten times a day from my old man. He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master."

Offline taybrynn

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2015, »
I agree that having more capacity than you need is always a good idea.  I've always had a channel flake out and having a few spares is always handy to have in a bind.  Its one reason I didn't find the Zeus8 very appealing because I might be able to use 8 ... but there was never any reserve in that hardware, so I'd rather have a Zeus 17 and use only 8 and have extra capacity.

Similar to what your wanting to do, but a little less ambitious ... I have a 48x32 matrix I have been trying to get going (for a year now) ... and I'm driving 12 strings of 128 nodes each ... and boy its just acting crazy on me.   I could have bad lights, but when I try to drive just a small portion of it, its still not working right.  I feel like I'm chasing my shadow with it.

I also have a big 1/2 rgb megatree running 24 strings of 128 nodes each ... across 48 vertical conduits ... and that works usings three different Zues (v1) boards ... 9 strings on Z#1, 9 strings on Z#2 and 6 strings on Z#3.   I also about died trying to debug it the first year ... but eventually found that the ORDER I connected them seemed to matter for some reason.  Nobody would agree this should matter, but it seemed to.  So I now connect them in this certain order #1, #2 and then #3 ... and also found termination to be an issue ... I believe I ended up not terminating on #3 because it was causing crazy behavior on some of the earlier strings.  If I connected another board after the #3 zeus, terminated or not, it would cause my megatree issues.  So I run a dedicated etherdongle to another matrix, then the 3 zeus boards on this megatree and its behaving nicely.  If I say tried to connect Z#2, then #1 and then #3 ... would have a few issues. 

Scott - Castle Rock, Colorado   [ 2 homes, 100% RGB in 2016; since 2008; over 32k channels of E1.31 ]
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Offline njKeever

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2015, »
Thanks guys. I guess I was used to the LEs being so overbuilt and being able to handle high capacity, I didn't do enough research on the Zeus. I actually did buy one extra Zeus as a backup, so I just need to find one more, and buy a couple more PSUs. I guess two of my half-loaded Zeuses will just have plenty of power with the 850 watt PSUs!

Offline taybrynn

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2015, »
yes, thats plenty of power.  I've got a 750 on mine its it more than enough for 12 strings.  Most of my active hubs and zeus controllers run a 550 or smaller ... some with 600-650 are the big ones.  I go 80% max on the power amps ... most are way under that.
Scott - Castle Rock, Colorado   [ 2 homes, 100% RGB in 2016; since 2008; over 32k channels of E1.31 ]
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Offline njKeever

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2015, »
I have been testing with two Zeuses. Zeus A is the one no longer working, Zeus B works perfect. Zeus A's power light comes on, but the only light that is every emitted from the strands is a white flash when flipping the PSU off. I took the RS-485 and first PIC off Zeus B, and put it on Zeus A, and still get nothing. All the traces look fine on the board. Any new ideas?

Offline zwiller

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2015, »
I assume from the white flash the fuses are good, but double check.  I'd try swapping 1 or 2 string/port pics from B/good on A first. 
Sam, who is happy he flashed his etherdongle with newest firmware!

"Now, I had heard that word at least ten times a day from my old man. He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master."

Offline arw01

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2015, »
Reflash the pics, pia, but that is a sympton of them either being corrupted orf just lostg there eeprom program.


Offline njKeever

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2015, »
Thanks to everyone for their help. It did turn out that reflashing the PICs fixed the problem, but I don't know why or how they lost their programming. This has happened to every PIC on two separate boards, as well as to one PIC on one board. Everything is up and running now, but I have no idea why some PICs randomly lose their programming.

Offline tbone321

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Re: Zeus limitations
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2015, »
The PIC is writing to its internal memory and registers when it is running the show.  if the power is too low, it could cause the program area of the PIC's internal memory to be overwritten or otherwise corrupted.  Reflashing the PIC corrects this corruption. 
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