Author Topic: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy  (Read 27746 times)

Offline Gary

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Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« on: August 07, 2015, 01:05:11 AM »
I set up my Falcon F-16 v1 with a Power Supply, 16 50-count pixel strings, used the Falcon Controller Software to configure each port with the same 150 channels (starting at 1, ending at 150). This way, I can do my pixel burn-in tests with a minimum number of channels.

I am using xLights v4 with a DLA USB dongle flashed with PixelNet to run it all. When I use the Test tab to use the Shimmer pattern, between flashes of all white (when the pixels are supposed to be all black), a handful are red. Between each flash of white, the pixels that remain red changes each time.

I figure it wouldn't be the dongle or xLights causing the problem as they are merely sending channels 1-150, so would it be the Falcon-16 controller doing something wonky with the signal it's receiving? Or bad pixel strings? Cognizant of the heat generated by bundled pixels, would there be an issue with them being still factory bundled (i.e. Crosstalk between wires in close proximity)? I have them that way because I can't imagine trying to manage 16 pixel strings in the space I have without creating a horrible tangle of wires.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 01:13:38 AM by Gary »

Offline JonB256

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2015, 06:25:20 AM »
Are you using the "Standard" shimmer or the "RGB" shimmer?

Because if you're using the Standard and seeing Red, then there is something goofy for sure.

If you're using the RGB shimmer, then the Red could just be from your slider positioning. For a white shimmer, all 3 Background sliders should be at Zero and all 3 Highlight sliders should be at 255 (or at least the same number if you don't want full brightness, i.e.,  150, 150, 150 )

Offline Gary

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2015, 09:35:16 AM »
I tried both of them with similar results. I did notice that when sliding the brightness slider down to 1%, some of the pixels did have a red hue to them when they were supposed to be "dark grey" but it consistently stayed on the same pixels, so I will slate that to normal manufacturing variation (i.e. the colour temperature between pixels and manufacturing batches tends to vary a wee bit, sort of like how resistors vary by 5% or 10%).

I did notice some other "wackiness" with other test patterns, but it's most noticeable with the Shimmer.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2015, 10:02:07 AM »
What you describe reminds me of low voltage.  Get yer meter out and test the output voltage of the PS.  Also, and how many watts/amps is PS?  16 * 50 = 800 @ .356w = 284.8w/24A.  PS might not be enough.  If you are using only 1 PS for 16 ports, unhook the other side and re-try.   
Sam
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Offline Gary

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2015, 01:34:30 PM »
This is the power supply I'm using:
http://www.holidaycoro.com/350w-Dual-Output-Power-Supply-p/49.htm

It's rated at 350 Watts and 29 amps. I'll probably be doubling up the power supplies for each controller eventually, but thought I'd do a burn in test near the rated capacity for a day or so, as the pre-sale stuff has only a 60-day warranty.

The 120 V wire going to the power supply is 14 AWG, and from the power supply to controller are two 16 AWG doubled up for each of the +12V and -12V.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2015, 01:50:24 PM »
PS is sufficient and wired OK.  I run same PS but from amazon and wire it exactly the same way.  Measure output voltage and adjust the screw bottom left until 12V.  Mine were always low.  Maybe try test mode on the controller and see if it's still acting weird.  Then be sure not to have 2 programs sending data to the dongle at same time > don't have Falcon programming window and xlights open at same time.   

Offline Gary

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2015, 08:16:10 PM »
The output voltage was initially something like 12.1 V, so I turned it down to and happened to hit 11.99, so I left it at that.

The test mode doesn't have any issues because the lights never turn black.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2015, 06:47:51 AM »
Then I suspect a programming issue.  Go into the Falcon utility and confirm all is setup right.  Maybe some kinda of grouping thing is on?  Close and open XL and "walk" through pixels to verify color order and channel assignment one at a time.  I setup XL to rgb chase and 100% fast and watch.  If something is off you can usually reverse engineer what you see and identify the programming error and then you have the AHA moment...  I might be tempted to reflash pic and start fresh for good measure especially after reading other thread. 

Offline Gary

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2015, 11:10:21 PM »
After fixing the board in my other thread (http://falconchristmas.com/forum/index.php/topic,2702.0.html), I experimented to see if I had the mysterious red light issue on it as well, and it did.

But remember when I said that if I turn the brightness down to 1% and some of the pixels were "dark red" instead of "dark grey"? Well, I should clarify that they flicker dark red. Looking at it closer tonight, when in Shimmer mode I have the lights set to alternate between 1% and 0% brightness, the ones that were flickering dark red instead of dark grey... well it's those flickering pixels that occasionally turn bright red when they are supposed to be off!

I went into the RGB shimmer mode, and the problem only happens when R, G, and B are at the same level. Since the lowest I could go with the slider is 5%, if I set R to 5%, G to 5% and B to 5%, it flickers... but if I set one of them to 9%, the flicker goes away.

I'm not impressed. My lights are from the DIYLEDExpress presale at the beginning of the year... does anybody else have this issue?

Offline JonB256

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2015, 04:40:47 AM »

My lights are from the DIYLEDExpress presale at the beginning of the year... does anybody else have this issue?

The F16-V1 supports the TM1804, TM1809 and WS2811 chipsets. 12vdc, 3-wire design.  Until I got some Pixabulbs this year, I didn't have any types other than the TM18xx, and haven't seen that.

I'll connect some Pixabulbs (WS2811) soon and see what I get.

Offline Gary

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2015, 11:25:49 PM »
I was specifically asking about WS2811 bulbs bought through the DIY LED Express pre-sale at the beginning of the year. Mine happen to be the ones with the green wire.

Offline Gary

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2015, 08:44:29 PM »
If anybody's interested... I was working with Todd from DIY LED Express to troubleshoot this issue, and it while it wasn't apparent since I was testing my light strings bundled up, when I unwrapped one and laid it out end to end, only the last 2 or 3 pixels had the issue. I checked for a voltage drop, but the voltage at the end of the string was still 11.95-ish volts, so stay tuned...

Offline Gary

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2015, 12:57:07 AM »
An update.

Doing more troubleshooting, when I hooked up a string of 50 pixels to a DLA SmartString Controller and 4-port hub that I'm borrowing, the string worked perfectly.

So what could be causing the problem when hooked up to a Falcon-16 V1 controller? I tried increasing the number of channels for the strings from 150 to 159 in xLights in case the controller wasn't sending the correct data for the last few pixels, and it didn't make a difference. I daisy-chained another 50 pixels for a total of 100 on a string, and the problem moved to the end of the string. I also tried "overflowing" the number of channels from 300 to 330 to see what happens with no difference.

What would be causing this? Voltage at the end of a string of 50 with full white (255,255,255) is 10.95V, and with the lights on (1,1,1) it's at 11.95V. Is there some sort of data signal reflection going on? I'm grasping at straws here.

Offline JonB256

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2015, 04:07:51 AM »
The F16V1  boards you have - did you just get them recently? Have you flashed their PIC with the newest firmware? Their behavior is not normal.

Offline Gary

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Re: Inconsistent Blinky Flashy
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2015, 01:17:01 PM »
They are from the March/April pre-sale. I got three--the first I was able to receive and process PixelNet just fine, but the second and third I needed to re-flash the Pic before they functioned. I've done a lot of moving stuff around, but IIRC, they all have the same problem with the red pixels.

 

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