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The day my pixels broke

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by BundyRoy, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Dedicated Elf

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    Had an issue with my ink1003 2d tree on the weekend and lost 3m of pixels. Trying to narrow down the reasons why this happened so I can try and prevent it from happening again. Unfortunately there were several mistakes made by yours truly that could of led to the failures.

    This was the first time I had anything other than my tree hooked up to the controller (pixlite 16) and I was planning on doing a preview of the 5 songs I have sequenced so far.

    1) I did not have everything in my show hooked up to the controller. Does sending data to outputs that are not connected to lights hurt anything?

    I only had my tree, one of my 2 sets of arches and a couple of the big w strings on a 2811DC30. Anyway fired it all up. And the tree was working fine but the arches were getting some signal that seemed to be that same patterns as tree.

    Checked my network setting and I hadn't configured any of the universe I was using other than the ones in the tree. So I am pretty sure that some of the data that was being sent to the tree was also configured to go to the output for the arch at the same time.

    2) Does sending the same data to two outputs cause any damage to lights/controller?

    I then configured correctly all the outputs on the controller and the LOR network configuration for the used universes and tried it again.

    This was when the issues in the tree showed up, but they may of been caused earlier. The arch and big w strings worked ok now. The tree worked for a while and then some of the strings in the tree seemed to lock up. They did not go off until I turned the power off to the controller.

    Can't remember what the signs were but there must of been some issues that made me think I had to much load on the PSU as I was only using one and need to for my full show. I checked and I had 317W hooked up to the 350W PSU so getting up there.

    I then went to bed for a night of disturbed sleep thinking about all my problems.

    Next day I rechecked configuration, all good. Got the extra 400W PSU set up and hooked up to the tree. Tree is 10 x 3m strips of ink1003, 90 pixels/strip. Did a test pattern test and all good with the exception of the failed sections of strip.

    In the process of hooking up the new PSU discovered one of the earth wires was loose on one of the three power lines to the tree. Didn't check if this was the one to the strips that failed.

    All strips that failed were on the same power sources and the same data signal source. Tree is configured with 4 data wires. Two lots of 180 pixels (2 strips) and 2 lots of 270 pixels (3 strips). The power is sent to the tree in 3 lines. 2 lines power three strips (2 forward and 1 backwards) and one power line does 4 strips (2 forwards and 2 backwards).

    It was the first two strips in a group of three that failed.

    3) If you have a dodgy power connection what damage will this cause?

    Sorry this is so long. I'm just trying to give as much info as I can before I forget it. Keen for it not to happen again. I did learn one thing. Don't rush, don't get caught up the excitement and double check everything is set up right before turning anything on.

    Might have to write up an operation checklist for me to follow to make sure I don't do this again. It nearly broke my heart and put me off for ever when I realised every mistake I make is going to cost me a metre of pixels. I know it's only $8 + postage/m but it will add up fast if I keep burning them up at this rate.

    If you've read this far, thanks for your help.
     
    bcdaus likes this.
  2. battle79

    battle79 Full Time Elf

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    You can stop worrying about your concerns with sending out bad data, or doubling up data, or not sending out data. None of these will have caused any damage, at worst they just mean lights don't light up as they should.

    All your issues will be power related, or an actual bad pixel that stopped working.

    With the ink strip each metre is powered via a 12V to 5V regulator. First thing to check is that the 5v rail is getting 5V in each section.

    If this is fine then I'd suggest connecting your data line directly to the first pixel that doesn't work, if that doesn't work connect data to the pixel after the first one that doesn't light and see if that works.

    To do the above you will need to remove strip from silicon sleeve, before pulling it out of sleeve, connect a draw wire so you can pull it back through. If you have 5mtr lengths this may be very painful to put back into sleeve.

    Some things to try,
    Rowan
     
  3. OP
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    BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Dedicated Elf

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    Thanks Rowan. So if the 5V is not getting through is there any options I have to repair this or it means that whole section is stuffed. I gather the 12v to 5v regulator in each section only has enough guts to do 1 section.

    I checked the strip this morning and both the 12V line and the 5V lines are hooked up all the way through the strip (well they are both soldered at the joins anyway). It is a 3m strip. Having all the 5V lines soldered together means that all the regulators are linked doesn't it.

    Thanks again for your reply. I will do some investigation.
     
  4. OP
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    BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Dedicated Elf

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    Just had another thought. If it ends up being a bad pixel. In terms of repairing it I guess I have to replace the broken pixel where it is (as opposed to rejoining and adding putting new pixels on the end). Other wise there will be too many pixels on the regulator at the end. Is this right.
     
  5. battle79

    battle79 Full Time Elf

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    One or two extra pixels in a section probably won't hurt it, would have to check how close they made tolerances. But if your cutting off the front pixel, just add it on at that spot too.

    Cheers,
    Rowan
     
  6. OP
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    BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Dedicated Elf

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    In terms of power supplied. On the night when things went downhill the power supply was putting out 12.5V. I did check that.

    Then the next day when I did my investigation, albeit with a different PSU there was high 11's V at the start of each strip when on white and 10.8V at the end of the last strip when on white.
     
  7. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    Losing the power -ve connection may be able to cause damage to the strips. It would depend on the exact wiring and where the loose wire was.
     
  8. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Make sure you turn off the controller when connecting and disconnecting pixels when fault finding as this can also cause issues
     
  9. OP
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    BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Dedicated Elf

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    Thanks David. The loose wire was where the power cable going to the strips connects to the PSU. So the very first connection the power went through was the dodgy one. The power then went goes down the power cable (which is 2.5mm power point cable - 10m long) through a pigtail straight into the strip. The power goes into the upstream end of 6m (180 pixels) of strip and the downstream end of 3m of strip.

    Thanks Eddy. I have been guilty of doing what you said in the past. But on this occasion and from now on I always turned the power off at the wall before doing anything. (Even though it was driving me to the wall whilst doing my investigations the next day, I still did it every time).
     
  10. OP
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    BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Dedicated Elf

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    To do this can I just hook up the strip to a 12V pixel tester and put the data wire on the appropriate spot above each pixel on the strip.
     
  11. dale82

    dale82 Senior Elf

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    That is interesting to know that with INK strips you loose 1 meter at a time,
     
  12. OP
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    BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Dedicated Elf

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    Yeah, it was news to me too Dale. It may not be a metre yet though as I haven't had a chance to check it out, it could still be just a couple of pixels. I'll let you know when I get a chance to check it out.
     
  13. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    You will loose a metre if using 12vdc as the strip uses a little buck converter to bring the 12vdc down to 5vdc which powers up a metre. If using 5vdc then you would expect that you could cut down to each individual pixel section.
     
  14. OP
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    BundyRoy

    BundyRoy Dedicated Elf

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    When using power injection is it preferable to inject the power at the upstream end of the strip or is it fine to inject power at the downstream end. I have ink1003 strip if that makes any difference. My logic tells me it shouldn't make any difference but I just wanted to check before working out the required changes to my set up.
     
  15. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Without actually having any of this strip then its hard to say, But then there may be a 12vdc track that goes all the way through and if you were back feeding then you must connect to this 12vdc common track on the strip. Because the strip still needs to supply 12vdc to the other 1 metre sections of the strip
     

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