Author Topic: all members report any Aether II issues  (Read 16099 times)

Offline RJ

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all members report any Aether II issues
« on: November 16, 2011, »
If you are having an issue getting an Aether II working please post one post in this thread with a detailed description of your issues and what you have done to test it.

I have not been very avaliable lately and am working to catch up. I see some people that are having issues but the info is scattered so much this will help me see a pattern if one exist of issues. The Aether II is a simple device and should be very trouble free to build so I am thinking there is some simple issue like a bad firmware ect cause at least a few of the people that are having issues their problems. I am just not even sure how many are having issues out of all the ones shipped.

Please keep your post to one post unless I ask you for more. And lets not start a conversation as this is to help me and following a conversation is not what I had in mind.

Even if you have posted elsewhere please post here as I am so far behind on post this will let me catch up without the ones I missed.

RJ
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, by RJ »
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Offline kgustafson

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2011, »
RJ,

First, thanks for the taking the time in your over-busy schedule to do this.

AETHER II BUILD 1 -
Issue: Not accepting any commands from Vixen after build

Actions:
- Finished build
- Ran addressing program that you provided and began broadcasting new address command through a known working DMX dongle
- Switched to program mode (left switch to left)
- Powered up and it flashes red as expected
- Ran the addressing program that you provided and sent a new address to the unit
- Powered down
- Stopped addressing program
- Switched to operate (left switch to right)
- Powered up and it flashes briefly white then dark
- Started up Vixen to run test - no matter what I send to unit no response at all

What I have tested:
- Reflashed PIC chip (validated the checksum with what is advertised in the Wiki)
- Visually inspected all soldering to ensure good connections
- Used a cable tester to ensure the RJ-45 connectivity to orange and orange/white was working from the dongle to Aether connections
- I even tried inezos' way of programming (not powering down between program and operate steps) to no effect

AETHER II BUILD 2 -
Issue : All White no matter the mode (program or operate)

Actions:
- Finished build
- Set to program (left switch left)
- Power on and solid white (and quite bright)
- Powered off and set to operate (left switch right)
- Power on and solid white (and quite bright)
- Power down in confusion
When I first built this unit, I failed to insert the IC chips before I initially powered it up.  This may have something to do with the defect.  But I think you may be the better judge of that.

Tests:
- Check PIC and it was flashed correctly with the correct checksum
- Checked all solders - May have a cold solder on the large capacitor (will have to resolder later tonight if I have time)

I do own a simple multimeter (nothing with a scope) and can do simple tests with this if you need further testing with a meter.
I am holding off my third build for now, but may try it this weekend. 
Also, I am finding the pad soldering to be challenging just because it is so different.  On some of my solders I seemed to have to apply quite a bit of heat to the pads to get them to flow.  Is there a better way to get a good solder with pads than using an iron and solder wire?  I am concerned that this may be damaging to the LED.

Thanks,

Kurt
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Offline inzeos

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2011, »
RJ,

I've had some issues with my first build.  Some I have resolved myself others I have not resolved.  My primary issue right now is that I cannot get the RED in the LED to turn on bright enough to illuminate much of anything.  It seems to stay the intensity you would see during the RED flashing on an off used during programming.

Currently all my other channels appear to be working.

I have replaced the original LED PCB and the problem persists.  I have replaced the 5 legged component near the R on the PCB board and problem persists.  I'm not sure what to check now.

I do have a multimeter and I do not have a scope.  I'm wondering what I might check next?

I have a thread tracking my progress and issues here;

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Regards,

Leif

Offline kfxi

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2011, »
I have constructed five units and the only problem was with addressing.  The first couple of times I sent the address it would not take but I just sent the address again and it started working.  All five units are now working.  Yes they are bright !

Ken

Offline wbuehler

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2011, »
My Aether II is not working at all, but I found the issue.  I missed the Co-Op.  <yk..

Offline RDwizard

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2011, »
I have had the issues above on the same unit plus my own issues. I have more than one unit and they all ac this way.

1- Continuous White after Programming.
2- No Response after Programming.
3- Dim Red after Programming sequence, not bright flashing red. (I think I have a board issue on one unit)
3- Responds after programming but No Red at all, Green on ch#1, Blue ch#2, White ch#3 no matter what start channel I send.

I will try to reprogram chips tomorrow.

Offline Steve Gase

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2011, »
Aether2 #1 -- no problems

Aether2 #2 -- still not working, it is white all of the time when power is applied.   the program/operate switch has no affect nor does the dmx terminate switch.  the switches have no affect whether they are flipped during operation, or before power is applied.  being connected to an active dmx dongle, or not, has no impact.  attempts to program and get the red flash -- no affect.  it remains white. 

my problem sounds similar (identical?) to kgustafson's unit #2.

Troubleshooting steps...
  • swapped the PIC with the working unit, no impact and the PIC moved to the working unit continues to work
  • swapped the 485 chip with the working unit, no impact, ...
  • touched up solder points, inspected front and back, no impact
  • tested continuity to all test points.  all good...
  • tested resistance across all of the legs of the LM2941s, and each of the 4 behave like the other 3
  • i can read and write to the PIC without problem through the icsp interface
  • reprogrammed PIC to use the original image multiple times throughout my testing, no impact
  • reprogrammed PIC to use a copy of the working unit #1's PIC with it's channel set to 321, no impact
  • desoldered and resoldered the wires to the LED in order to access back of the PCB... twice... and no impact

can a bad part cause this behavior? (...it would be a part that is not the 485 or the PIC -- since i've swapped working parts for each of them)

At one point I thought I had a bad LED with a missing chip.  i was wrong.  the picture i took to upload to the forum looked like the chip was missing, but tissue was obscuring the chip.  while I have a new LED in my possession, I have NOT swapped it out.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, by Steve Gase »
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Offline kgustafson

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2011, »
I resoldered most of my #2 Aether just to make sure it had good contact everywhere.  I closely checked the solder around the 5 pin RGBW chips and I couldn't see any noticeable bridges.  I retried and I am still solid white.

I changed my solder iron to a fine tip type and will use this to solder Aether #3 later (either tonight or tomorrow night depending on my schedule).   I am hopeful that the third time is the charm!

Kurt
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Offline RJ

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2011, »
Ok this helps as it is not as many people as I was getting the impression from reading the forum. I will clean up the bench that I have not been at in what fells like months and do a sheet of what to look for with the issues listed this weekend. This should help and if not then I will setup a time to get on teamspeak to work on them to get them working. I think it is some simple issue since the units are as simple and low tech as it gets in their design.

RJ
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Offline RJ

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2011, »
Attached is a picture to show where to look for certain signals to troubleshoot with.

If you have a solid white unit with as soon as the power comes on then you are likely looking at one of two things.

1 - you have jumpered the two terminals marked "MAN" ont he pcb. This is the manual override to turn the lights on with a switch and no data. (use it as a standalone flood light.)

2 - your pic is not doing anything. Either it is not programmed (or successfully) or it is not running. so we need to make sure we have all of the voltages we need. Using the picture check for the 5v and 3.3v power.

Make sure your 4.7k resistor is in fact a 4.7k and not a 4.7 resistor as a user had mouser send them the wrong one. It can happen.

Make sure the pic is in the correct direction with the notch facing the same way as it is drawn on the pcb.

Lets load the test firmware I attached. This should flash the lights through the four colors with no dmx signal needed. all that is needed is power and a functioning system.

Then if this works you have a issue with the programming of the pic firmware/ a switch in the wrong postion. 

If you get all white again at this point test the control signals I have marked and see if you have volt on them. If it is very low or you have none. then you it makes sense the lights are on as the regulator is being told to be on. You can for just a short period of a half second or so jumper the 3.3 volt power to one of the control signal points shown. It one of the leds colors goes off to match then we know for a fact your pic is not working.

The first thing the pic does at boot is apply 3.3v to the control pins to turn the lights all off. It gets beat by the power coming on so you should see a very quick white flash at power up if you have the unit unpowered for say 45 seconds or more. If you power it off a short enough amount of time the big capacitor can keep the pic powered and you would not see it.

Give me feed back to where you are with this and I will move you on to either a teamspeak or give you an option to test next.

RJ
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Offline kgustafson

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2011, »
RJ,

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this.  I have benched my Aether build for the moment to make sure I get the house lights up.  I will be back on this in a week (or so) as I plan on starting my Christmas light show this weekend (A week later than expected, but due to some late shipping PVC pieces for my new mega tree).

I know that we are very close to getting these to work.

Kurt
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Offline Steve Gase

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2011, »
Ditto. ;)
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Offline inzeos

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2011, »
Ditto, unless it gets wicked cold out and I can't move my fingers outside! :)

Offline zwiller

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2011, »
Ditto
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 shaunkad

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2011, »
tonight i was building my second Aether un power up I got a flash like normal. Now I installed a manual switch on mine when I flipped it on I got grren not white and the small black part on the Led started smoking. 

I fixed it turns out I wired it wrong.