Author Topic: Problematic Aether I  (Read 1595 times)

Offline Gary

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Problematic Aether I
« on: November 21, 2015, »
I set up my light display, and long story short, I discovered a bad Aether 1 board in storage that I must have swapped out with a spare last season that I forgot to troubleshoot in the off-season.

I powered it up, and it displayed green without even a DMX signal.

After some troubleshooting by reprogramming the PIC chip, I thought I have eradicated the issue about the green being on for no reason, but it's still acting funny:

When I turn on channel 1, I get purple.
When I turn on channel 2, I get red.
When I turn on channel 3, I get nothing.
When I turn on channel 4, I get blue.

I used the Lynx Express Configuration Utility, downloaded the new light list, set Curves 1, 2, 3 and 4 to Aether1, Aether2, Aether3, and Aether 4 respectively, but it didn't make a difference.

Doing some more experimenting, I did notice that the green sometimes flickered again. With some reading of old PMs, the "green" channel circuitry is on the left side of the board (red middle, blue right), and I noticed that if I tap my fingernail on the LED Driver (the thing with 8 conductors) I get flickering green. If I turn on channel 2 (red) and tap the LED Driver, I get yellow (i.e. red and green make yellow). Channel 1 is supposed to be white, so if green from the RGB array is missing, I get only red and blue, which make purple)

Is it safe to say that the LED Driver chip is at fault and should be fixed?

Looking at old PM messages, I found a part number in a BOM that RJ sent me: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

Investigating the reason for the PM from RJ, I found this message thread I started in 2011 in regards to a problematic green LED driver:
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As I was reading the thread again refreshing my memory, I looked and discovered that the problematic Aether I in question was the same one as I have now (i.e. residue of white epoxy near the chip that I replaced 5 years ago).

Any ideas on why this board killed the driver chip for the Green channel again a few years later? Is there something else I should replace other than just the LED driver?
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Offline packetbob

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Re: Problematic Aether I
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2015, »
It's funny....
One of my Aether 1 units just started having an issue....
Channel 1 gives me all white (so I know all the drivers are working)
I get no RGB for the other 3 channels.....

Time to pull it apart......

Offline tbone321

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Re: Problematic Aether I
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2015, »
Make sure that channel one is set to ZERO or the other 3 will not function. 
If at first you don't succeed,
your not cut out for sky diving

Offline packetbob

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Re: Problematic Aether I
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2015, »
tbone321
that was my problem..
thanks for the help....


Offline Gary

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Re: Problematic Aether I
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2016, »
Any ideas on my original post?
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Offline tbone321

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Re: Problematic Aether I
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2016, »
I would reflow your solder joints.
If at first you don't succeed,
your not cut out for sky diving

Offline packetbob

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Re: Problematic Aether I
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2016, »
Gary,

If it helps, I just ordered a cheap hot air rework station....
May be easier than trying to touch up any joints with a soldering iron...

Offline Gary

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Re: Problematic Aether I
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2016, »
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If it helps, I just ordered a cheap hot air rework station....
May be easier than trying to touch up any joints with a soldering iron...

I did a Google image search to see what one looks like. How do you know if it's doing its job? A magnifying glass, a light, and good eyes to see if the solder gets melted? I thought that exposing a circuit board to uneven heat is bad?
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Offline tbone321

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Re: Problematic Aether I
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2016, »
These things put out a focused stream of high heat and will melt the solder in short order.  The board can handle this short concentrated flow of heat.  I would also look into getting a flux pen and give the terminals a swipe prior to reflowing the solder. 
If at first you don't succeed,
your not cut out for sky diving