Relay box - ports flickering

Basic / Standard Reef Angel hardware

Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:13 am
Location: Oakley, CA
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:14 pm
dlplunkett44 wrote: one of the old boxier ones and one newer flatter one. I recently added the newer one but the issues were happening before I added it.


So outlets on both boxes are flickering for you?


dlplunkett44 wrote:I'm not sure if it's the same issue or not but I'm also having an issue with random sockets staying on or not turning on when they should, luckly this hasn't happened with the ATO yet, although it scares me thinking about it.


Yeah, I get that too. I’m concerned about dosing pumps getting stuck on also.

Keep trying to narrow down the module or tank hardware that might be causing the problem.

Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:16 am
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:04 am
I'm not sure if it is the new one as well or not. I still have not figured out which ports/box.

Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:16 am
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:35 am
So I'm not sure if the flickering is happening to both expansion relay boxes or just one. It doesn't seem to be happening to the main relay (although I'm not 100% sure).

The issue with some relays staying on or not coming on has been happening with the old style relay box - I haven't seen it happen yet with the new style box. When I'm having the issue where a relay should be on but isn’t and I go into the Android app, it shows the relay as off. I can then turn it on using the app, but it shows the icon next to the relay port designating it as under manual control. If I unplug the head unit for a second and plug it back in, everything goes on or off to where it should be.

Thinking that it could be interference from AC lines, I added additional ferrite beads to all USB and serial cables (all have 2 – 3 now, including the built in ones). I added these yesterday evening. This morning I go down and look at my tank and the dimming is messed up on one of the lights – it looks like it dimmed down partially, but then stayed at that level all night instead of dimming to 0. Again, I unplugged the head unit for a second and plugged it back in and this fixed it.

I’m wondering if it is something to do with the expansion hub? Like I said, I don’t think it’s happening to the main relay box, but I am having issues with all of my expansions (2 relay boxes and a 16 channel PWM dimming expansion).

What else can I do to stop this? I have re-uploaded my code several times, I have added ferrite beads to the power, USB-IN and all USB-OUT cables for the expansion hub.

Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:13 am
Location: Oakley, CA
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:45 am
I'm leaning towards A/C power line interference. If I adjust my cables the problem goes away for a while. I haven't gone as far as re-routing my cables yet because it requires me to drill holes in my stand and I'm too lazy to do that at the moment.

Try re-routing your VGA cable and see if that helps at all. Also make sure you don't have have any USB cables running parallel with power cables. If they have to cross at all they should be perpendicular.

Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:16 am
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:19 am
I don't have any data cables running parallel with AC lines but they are near them and they do cross over perpendicular. I will work on re-routing cabling to isolate them as much as possible and report back in the coming days. Is there anything I can do to shield the AC cables? metal conduit?

Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:16 am
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:11 am
So I have re-routed many of the A/C cables to behind the board that all of the Reef Angel stuff is mounted to. I am still having this issue, so my next course of action to buy some 1/2" or 3/4" metal electrical conduit to place all of the data cables into. I will have the conduit end as close to where the USB cables connect as possible (hopefully an inch max exposed). I will probably do this this weekend and report back here if it solves it or not. If it is EMI, this really should fix it completely.

Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:13 am
Location: Oakley, CA
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:28 pm
dlplunkett44 wrote:I will probably do this this weekend and report back here if it solves it or not. If it is EMI, this really should fix it completely.


Let me know what you come up with. I never thought about running conduit. It will be interesting to know if this actually solves the problem.

~Charlie

Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:41 am
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:30 am
Any luck with the Conduit?

My biggest power consumer is the mag 12 return pump. I have seen a buss lock when it was plugged back in from a sock filter change.
riggeek

Image

Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:16 am
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 6:13 am
I haven't been able to try the conduit yet. It sounded like a perfect solution to eliminate any EMI that may be getting to the USB and DC power cables. The difficulty is that the cables need to snake a lot to connect everything and rigid EMI pipes do not easily do this.

My alternative plan (before giving up on RA and moving to another platform - probably GHL):

Currently I have the RA hardware attached to a PVC sheet that is attached to the inside of my stand. There is a decently sized area behind the PVC sheet that allows me to hide excess wires. This however means that there are live AC wires just on the other side of where the RA hardware is mounted.
My plan is four fold:
1. Attch a steel plate on top of the PVC sheet and mount the RA hardware to this. This will stop any EMI from passing through the back side of the RA hardware.
2. Reduce the size of all AC cables if possible and coil up the ones that I can't into as small an area as possible.
3. I found some copper tape that has a conductive adhesive. It is often used for EMI protection. I'm going to wrap all DC and USB cables with this.
4. I will finally take an aquarium grounding probe and cut off the titanium probe. I will then tie this to each copper taped cable and to the steel plate to provide an easy path to ground for everything.

If there is anything else that anyone can think of that would be relatively inexpensive and relatively easy to implement, please add here. I'll be doing this this coming weekend.

Thanks!

Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:16 am
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 4:26 am
So I have made some progress with figuring out what is going on.

So far I have worked on replacing all AC and USB cables with shorter cables. I have also tried to separate them as much as possible. This has reduced the amount of flickering although I am still experiencing it some.

Another issue that I have been having is that sometimes the relays on my newest box do not respond when they should. They will either stay on when they should have shut off or stay off when they should have turned on. I think this is an issue with the relay box itself. It is one of the new style boxes. I've always noticed that the USB cable going into it has been very loose. I tried replacing the cable but it was also loose. Upon closer inspection I saw that the plastic housing was preventing the USB cable from fully seating. I opened the box so that I could make the hole in the housing larger. This allowed it to fully seat however it was still very loose and a slight bump would remove the cable. So finally I made a sight bend in the USB port and this allowed the cable to be firmly seated. I did this last night and thought this would fix the problems with this relay box, but I woke up this morning and none of the relays on the box were on (1-4 should have been). Has this been seen before? Can I get a replacement box?

Thanks.
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