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Why are my LED cyc lights occasionally blinking off and on?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by klane2, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. klane2

    klane2 Member

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    I use LED source fours with cyc adaptors to light our hard cyc. Because I work in an old facility that is not wired for DMX we set them up with wireless DMX, specifically a ColorSource Relay Transmitter and Receiver. Most of the time they work great, but occasionally, usually at the end of a long day or mid-show after a couple hours of rehearsal they will randomly blink off and on. Initially I was wondering if there may have been an overheating issue, but that seems unlikely. Someone else suggested that the wireless DMX may not be robust enough and it is what is overheating or getting tired. Thoughts?
     
  2. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    Bad wireless connection and interference. It happens to me all the time and my R/TX are only about 50 ft apart.

    Things to help curb interference is to get rid of devices that are the same as what you have.

    Routers, Phones, and other antennas.
     
  3. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    Of course, this is easier said than done when everyone has a 2.4 GHz wireless radio in their pocket either actively communicating or looking for a network.

    I'm not 100% on this one, but couldn't moving routers away actually have the opposite effect? Instead of having one (relatively) powerful radio nearby, you've now got every single phone ramping up to full transmit power in an effort to maintain connection. My untrained understanding would think that one transmitter of higher power would be better than lots of smaller transmitters going to high power.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
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  4. theatrewireless

    theatrewireless Jim @RC4Wireless #RC4DoesThat

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    If you would like to borrow a set of RC4 wireless transceivers for evaluation, I am happy to provide them for a few days at no charge. I'm certain you will find their performance to excellent.

    We have 900Mhz products that are completely unaffected by 2.4Ghz wireless devices everyone is carrying around. And our 2.4GHz product works well, too. If your problem is caused by wireless interference, I am certain we can eliminate that problem for you.

    Of course, it could turn out to not be a wireless problem. If you can't run a cable for a few days to test that way, swapping wireless is a good fallback. Let me know if you want to give it a go.

    Jim
    RC4
     
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  5. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    It plays a factor In only that anything outside the signal range won't work. The farther out the signal goes the more degraded it gets and results in a higher ping. The router still uses the same power 10ft vs 100ft.

    Also I didn't mean forever rid just test and see what's affecting by introducing what's been taken out back in til you find what is causing it.

    If he's lucky and it's the router just turn off the 2.4 signal and force 5 on everyone. If that isn't an option then go with Jims 900 RC4s.

    Obviously this is even if they are flickering from the boxes. You should test the fixtures first from the desk with a hardline. Maybe run rehearsals with it back there one day and see if it does anything.
     
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  6. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    I wonder how the S4LEDs are configured. If hold-last-look (HLL) is enabled on the fixture then a temporary loss of signal wouldn't manifest as flicker, only as a delay in response to a change. S4LEDs self-terminate the DMX so reflection is not likely the cause.
     
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  7. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    I've read the S4LED manual from front to back and find no indication these fixtures "self-terminate" the DMX. Maybe I missed it. Can you cite your source on this? In a wider sense, I am curious if there are actually any fixtures being made that "self-terminate". Seems like a myth as wouldn't they have to have some kind of switching XLR jack on the DMX out/thru to accomplish this without human intervention?
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Hey @microstar , I once was lost but now am found to be just as passionate in our mutual dislike of the phrase "self-terminate." But Mr. North (RIP) and others set me on the straight and narrow.
    Link to the Neutrik part# NC5FAV-SW : http://www.neutrik.com/en/xlr/a-series/nc5fav-sw .
     
  9. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    In fact that's generally not true. Most routers maintain an idea of how far away the farthest associated device is, based on RX signal levels, and adjust the overall TX power appropriately.

    So if you have a bunch of devices close in, you're fine. If one of them walks down the hall to the dressing room, the router power will ramp up to follow.

    The *other devices* may as well; I suspect their adaptive power algorithms are all different...
     
  10. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Troubleshooting 101. In multi part systems, localize where the problem is. Is the LED's, Data or potentially Power?

    Do the easy first. Is it at all possible to bypass the wireless and run a direct line to the LED's for a test? Next perhaps, is it possible to plug the fixtures into another power source for a rehearsal separate from the panel currently plugged into? (Probably not the case but possible and well known to be a at times source of the issue. Cross out the two easy and obvious and now you are into specifically the wireless.

    ColorSource Relay Transmitter and Receiver. I assume there is just one of each, contact your vendor to get temporary replacements of both for testing possibly which one is going bad. Still on the easy side of troubleshoothing - swap out one at a time.

    After that, the difficult, could be some cord, connection within a cord (not as likely), than you can move onto where the wireless is located I would think. If it normally works, very possible interference... but do the crossing out of all other possibilities first I would recommend.
     
  11. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    Depends on the quality of the router.

    That tech came out to help more for WAN environments and not static business environments.

    And even then they say it helps but in the real world now a days you get to that 90 to 100ft mark and you feel like you are in the 56k days.

    As a test I sometimes walk our driveway that the main router that feeds our whole network that sits by a window with 3 out of the 4 antennas pointing down it (driveway is 586ft) and after about half way my phone just says nope. Forcing me to dump wifi and goto LTE to finish my daily walk.

    Router location is red dot on the building other red dot is total loss if signal. Which is stil LOS and at 5ghz. Which in theory should go 200m open terrain. Now yes I have one window to go through but that shouldn't affect it if adaptive actually worked and I should be able to get to the end of my drive at a slow walk while the router apadts.

    IMG_2115.jpg

    TLDR: yes but I don't believe it works.
     
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  12. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    That the S4LED is actually self-terminating is fantastic and a great accomplishment, but you'd think ETC would at least mention it in the manual somewhere, otherwise how would anyone know.
     
  13. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    You missed it.

    S4LED.PNG
     
  14. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    ETC should totally make some ads with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    *Ahem*

    Regardless of routers adjusting power, of which the ones used at our school actually do rather agressively, mobile devices most certainly do in an effort to conserve power where possible.

    If the phone is having a hard time reaching the router, or likewise a cellular tower, it will ramp up the respective transmitter accordingly.

    Hence why (especially on older cell networks) phones have a shorter battery life when at poor reception.
     
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  15. JJBerman

    JJBerman Active Member

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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  16. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    Self-terminated is actually the wrong term -- it doesn't mean "automatic"; it means "always", which is always wrong.

    Self-terminat*ing* would be ok. "Automatically terminating" is better.

    WADR to ETC, I've never been all that fond of their documentation; it has the worst cast of nerdview I think I've ever seen... :-}
     
  17. bclighting

    bclighting Member

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    Not to further derail this topic but if you think about it they are always terminated UNTIL a output cable is connected. That connection then disables the termination.

    Am i just further nerding this out, lol?

    Although back to the original post, I do have a couple of questions.

    First, I assume this is a single wireless transmitter and receiver pair? What wireless system are you currently using?

    If it is a single receiver, all all of the fixtures blinking at the same time or is it just one at a time? Can you tell if the fixture is powering off when it happens or is it just a loss of data to the fixture?
     
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  18. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Amiers Nice graphic but please educate this geezer again. When you typed "while the router apadts", I'm not comprehending your acronym "apadts". (This blind guy thought he was reading 'updates' until he squinted a few more times.)
    TIA & Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  19. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    He meant "adapts"
     
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  20. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Jay Ashworth Thank you.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     

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