Author Topic: all members report any Aether II issues  (Read 15416 times)

Offline zwiller

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #75 on: December 20, 2013, »
Forgot to post that yesterday: all white even without pic.
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 caretaker

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #76 on: December 20, 2013, »
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Forgot to post that yesterday: all white even without pic.
Sam, that would be expected as the 3.3 volts is used to TURN OFF the LED regulators. It sounds like you are not getting the 3.3 volts from the PIC to the regulators. On the LM2941 pin 2 is the on/off here is a quote from the spec sheet: "The ON/OFF pin requires a low level to enable the output, and a high level to disable the output. To ensure reliable operation, the ON/OFF pin voltage must rise above the maximum ON/OFF(OFF) voltage threshold (2.00V) to disable the output, and must fall below the minimum ON/OFF(ON) voltage threshold (0.80V) to enable the output." So you need to test from ground to pin 2 to see if 3.3 volts is present, if not trace back to the PIC and see if the out put pin of the PIC is sending 3.3 volts. If not then make sure the PIC is getting 3.3 volts if it is replace the pic, if not further tracing of the 3.3 volt source is needed. 
Jeff Squires
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Offline zwiller

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #77 on: December 21, 2013, »
I am getting 3.3v on pin2 of all LM2941 EXCEPT white.  Pic is getting 3.3v.  I took readings from cap nearest pic and from the pic at top right pin.  From my tracing I believe pin on bottom left of pic is 3.3v out and it is not outputting 3.3v.  Reflowed just in case...  No dice.  So it looks clearly like a bad pic but I am using a known working pic.  Is it possible a pic is not working correctly but still gives a correct checksum? 
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 tbone321

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #78 on: December 21, 2013, »
The checksum is just what the PIC has loaded into its memory and indicates that the firmware and some of the PIC's registers and internal memory are functioning but does not indicate the condition of all of the PIC's ports.  You could still have a damaged PIC.  You could apply 3.3V directly to pin 2 of the white regulator and see if the LED goes out.  Better yet, reload the test firmware and see what happen now.  If the test firmware is operating properly and all of the pins are switching on and off, then you may still have a defective PIC but I would take a closer look at the board and make sure that threre are no bridges that may be fooling the pic into thinking that the service switch is on.  I believe that switch is ignored in the test firmware.  Follow the traces from the switch hookup lands to the PIC and make sure nothing is bridged, especially at the PIC socket itself.
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Offline zwiller

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #79 on: December 21, 2013, »
Here's a new one.  If I power it up with switch to program it starts ok (flash 3.3v to reg, etc) but programming is weird.  I even get the red flashing but it just unravels and doesn't take.  I should get the flash in either mode right?  Test mode has always ran fine which is weird to me.  Suffice to say it is wonky and at this point seems like pic all the way.  Finishing building 2 more SSCv4 so I can harvest pics for further testing. 
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 zwiller

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #80 on: December 21, 2013, »
Used another pic and all is well!!! 

MANY THANKS!   <res.

I must have as many dead pics as SSCs...

zwiller AKA picboy
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 tbone321

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #81 on: December 21, 2013, »
Could the pogram switch possibly be wired backwards?  Try programming it in run mode and test it in pogram mode and see what it does.  The test firmware ignores the program switch as well.
If at first you don't succeed,
your not cut out for sky diving

Offline zwiller

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #82 on: December 21, 2013, »
Nope I checked the switches.  I tried programming in operate mode and it wouldn't take the programming. 

It works as it should now.  I spent and hour or so trying to jinx it and it is solid.  For the record, this particular aether has been a bad apple since day one.  I spent hours bench testing it until I found out it I had a bad cat 5.  I wouldn't doubt that the dozen times I fooled with it something happened like some strands of pigtail wire getting stuck somewhere or something.  By now I've reflowed it a few times, replaced some components, and cleaned it up. 

Just tried reusing the pic for a test SSC and got the "no device detected" I normally see with a bad pic. 
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 caretaker

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #83 on: December 21, 2013, »
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Used another pic and all is well!!! 

MANY THANKS!   <res.

I must have as many dead pics as SSCs...

zwiller AKA picboy
Glad you got it going,  I know when I had problems with one of mine it gave me fits till RJ told me how the operate and then I could track down the gremlin.
Jeff Squires
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Offline drlucas

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #84 on: December 26, 2013, »
Had an issue with my two Aether IIs the last week and just fixed up one of them tonight. The other will get fixed in the off season now that I know my plan of attack. I like I'm sure a lot of people daisy chain the Aether from a LE. Right from day one that RJ45 pigtail has been an issue for me. The first problem was not enough cable to fit through to the outside of the casing. The second problem was an ice storm this last week. The RJ45 was pretreated before I connected it with some dielectric grease but with the ice/freezing rain/snow/ice mix the cat5 cable grew 2x the size and the connection just gave up and I was getting a lot of strange flashing with the AETHER. I turned it off, left it a few days..dug it out today and brought it in to dry. I then cut the pig tail off and replaced it with a 3pin waterproof pigtail and took it back outside and fired it up and it's working great again!! YEAH!! Now I have at least one AETHER firing again for the last week of the show. I'm very happy to have it working again. I strongly recommend in future versions we do away with the rj45 connector for those devices and move over to a 3 or 4 pin pigtail. Perhaps with a 4 pin pigtail we can rig up a in/out cable...haven't figured that out in my head yet, but anyways wanted to share my experience.

Cheers!
Ryan
-Ryan Lucas-
- Pickering, Ontario, Canada, Eh?! -

Offline arw01

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #85 on: December 26, 2013, »
I make sure my pigtails are UNDER the aether, and that way a large amount out of the weather.  I also sprayed my pigtails with corriosion x, the red bottle off of amazon.

No issues for me and I have 3 of them up now, probably add 3 or 4 more next co-op.

Alan

Offline twooly

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #86 on: December 26, 2013, »
I must have some luck, I've never had an issue yet with cat5 connectors and I've dealt with snow and ice for two years now (Halloween and Christmas). I do take the time to make sure they are always pointed down. 
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Offline drlucas

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #87 on: December 27, 2013, »
Pointed down could be the trick...my aethers by the way they stick out the back kinda point down, but because I left a bit of play on the one and just left a fair bit of slack on the cat5 cable, it ended up pointing up. The SSCs I had on the roof that went bad (before I introduced grease to the connectors) were lying flat. My SSC on the ground about 10' away from the aethers are protected with a 45 degree elbow that keeps it pointing down.

......I'm sorry to hear about the ice at Halloween. Sometimes we get our first snow fall around by birthday on Nov 2nd, but knock on wood, I really can't remember ice/snow on Halloween. This Halloween was pouring rain and I was struggling with a strand of pixels on the roof so remember that very well!!

I'll try to make sure to work WITH gravity in the future on setup so that items are protected more, but will take the other precaution and move to the 3pin pigtails for DMX connections.

Appreciate the comments all!!
Cheers.
Ryan
-Ryan Lucas-
- Pickering, Ontario, Canada, Eh?! -

Offline Technoweenie

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #88 on: January 04, 2015, »
UPDATED: Success!!! See update at bottom of post.
--------------------------------------------------------------

Now that Christmas is over and mostly packed away, I got around to building my Aether II from the latest co-op. Having a problem trying to get it working. When I power it up, I get a bright flash, and then the white driver stays on in operate mode. No DMX control at all.

Here is what I have done / tested / observed;

- With switches all towards LED, the board powers up, flashes all colours and then the white stays on. I measure 0.2 volts on white driver control pin and 3 volts on all other colours.

- When I switch outer switch to program, the board powers up with a flash and then sits dark as expected.

- Loaded the test hex file and board cycles all 4 colours with a brief dark time between each as expected. Runs test sequence if switch is in operate or program.

- Loaded normal hex and set address to 5 at program location 2800. Write to board and same behaviour as above. No control and white stays on.

- Placed Aether first in a DMX chain with a known working pixel string to confirm DMX. With Aether powered off and terminator switch out (towards LED), pixel string responds as expected. When I power Aether on, I loose control of the pixel string.

- Based on above, I swapped out 485 driver ship. Same results.

- Swapped out PIC and reprogrammed. Same results.

- Re-sweated all solder joints on PIC and 485 IC sockets and all around this area.

I don't have a Lynx dmx dongle, but I tried my Entec Pro USB dongle with the Lynx programming utility using instructions in wiki. No response from board. (no flashing red).

I am programming the board with a Pickit 3 and the newer beta version of the utility. I could not get the ver 1 of the utility to work. Kept crashing with a windows exception error, but I did get beta 1 version working. Could this be the problem? I have the proper settings, PIC 24 family, PIC24FJ32GA002 selected, powering PIC from Pickit dongle. It writes, reads and verifies correctly.

I am stumped, especially since the test hex file works fine. Also strange that the dmx chain downstream is interrupted when I power the Aether on. Could a regulator be oscillating? I don't have a scope at home to look at this, but could take it to work.

One question, does the Aether program hold the last known dmx value in memory somewhere? Could that be why white comes on in operate mode only? But why would it not come on with test hex file?? Hmmm.

Edit:

- measured the voltage at pin 2 and 3 of the 485 chip. Expected low (active low for RE and low to disable DE), but I am seeing 2.0 volts there. See the same at pin 15 of the PIC as well. If I pull the SN75176 I then get 0.7v as expected. No shorts or solder bridges I can see anywhere along the trace.

Also downloaded the latest v3 beta of the pic utility and same thing. Loads, reads and verifies no problem. I can switch back and forth between the test hex file and regular aether file. Test file works as I would expect. Hmmm... strange gremlins indeed. Think I will bring the board to work and put a scope on it to poke around.

Edit #2:

I had a look at the PIC data sheet and noticed a couple of things. Pin 8 is not connected to Vss ground and pin 13 is not connected to Vdd 3.3v supply. The data sheet advises they should be along with a 0.1 cap across them.  I also notice the internal regulator is enabled by pin 19 pulled to ground. This should then require a 10uF cap from pin 20 to ground, however it is a 0.1uF cap instead. I might be off on a wild goose chase, but I am stumped on this without a scope. Let me know your thoughts.

Edit #3 Success!!! <does happy dance in shop / knocks box of parts over...>

I came back to the aether board after a bit of a break. Replaced the 0.1 uF cap with a 10uF 20v tantalum that runs off pin 20 of the PIC (cap closest to switches right over middle of pic. I then soldered a jumper from pin 8 to pin 27 to connect second ground rail and pin 13 to pin 28 for second supply rail. Took 0.1uF cap I removed and placed it across pin 8 and 13. I tested the board and it now was not acting erratic, but the DE line was still sitting at 2.0 volts. I soldered a 1K pull down resistor to pin 2 and ground of the 485 chip. Problem solved!!!

I think what is happening is that a small percentage of users are having the PIC chip blow the pin 15 output internal to the chip due to pin 8 not being connected to ground. It may be trying to sink too much current thru the internal ground bus. The data transmit enable line isn't really needed in this application, so I just pulled pin 2, 3 of the 485 chip to ground to release the dmx bus.

As a quick check if anyone else experiences this issue, measure pin 15 of the PIC. It should be 0.7v or lower with the aether powered up with normal hex file. If it is like mine and sitting at 1.9 to 2.0 volts, solder a 1k ohm resistor from pin 2 or 3 of the 485 ship, to pin 5 ground. This will permanently put it in receive data mode.

Also, the beta release of the Pickit programming utility did work for me in the end. Also the Entec DMX pro was able to program the start address after I fixed the board up. Now we are shining!!

Maybe I could decorate for Valentines day???!!!



Bryan.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2015, by Technoweenie »

Offline cpt_hammer

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Re: all members report any Aether II issues
« Reply #89 on: March 02, 2015, »
RJ. Followed your instructions and it worked like a charm. Re-lashed the firmware and set the channels and now I have two operational floods.  Thanks again


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