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shadow_rusty

Arduino - Lost Connection With The Track

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Guys,

Still trying to get this bloody connection working.

Worked for about 2 months, and has been intermittent or simply not working ever since.

I'm planning a race in a month and still have no effective timing system. Thinking I might need to get rid of all this fandangle and find a parallel port connection instead.

 

I really like the idea of the audino, but cannot get the support I need to get it working (with all due thanks to Phil)

 

I've moved the CPU under the track, changed the USB cable, shielded all the components.

I can get about 120 laps on yellow and green, but as soon as I try blue (sensor #1), it all falls over. Can't get more than about 120 laps before the others fail as well.

It is always a dialog saying it cannot find a connection to the PC.

Any ideas or help gratefully appreciated.

Tony

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PHIL, I've no idea what sensors I'm using. The are an infrared that Micheal specified. phil c updated the RC last time, but ended up using his old laptop.

Even that failed a couple of times.

 

I've got an old PIII running Win95 which I can fit a parallel connection to, but id rather get the Audino working.

Unfortunately, I'm somewhat out of the intricacies nowadays. Be much better if I could get someone able to work it out to come over and fix it, but that seems impossible.

Not happy about the whole thing at this stage.

 

As far as I can tell, either the setup is faulty, the audino is faulty or at least not stable enough to use in its current form. I simply don't know enough about his stuff to install something reliable, and have found onsite support non existent unfortunately.

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Michael ( Rusty ) and Kevin ( Slingshotz) are the two most experienced guys with this problem.

Latest idea is to test a Bluetooth connection.But still under test.

I have only ever had one problem like this, and tst was fixed very easily.

Do all your sensors have the grounds going back to close to the Ardunio?

Is the USB plug a good tight fit in te PC?

One thing we have been thinking about is if switchmode power supplies have any effect.

 

I am happy to send one of my spare boards for you to try.

The old Win 95 machine will not run RC.XP is the oldest to run.

All our tracks run XP because I have plenty of genuine copies.

 

 


Phil

 

Hobart Miniature Car Club

 

Tassie Resins

 

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Re the grounds - I really don't know.

Micheal has unfortunately seems to not have the capacity to assist. Phil C arranged for the both of them to come over and upgrade to the standard Micheal has talked about, but that was not possible. I don't know why.

Unfortunately, I don't have XP either.

Does Vista support a parallel port if I pop one in? I'm sure a parallel-USB is not likely to work either.

 

Otherwise, what do you mean by grounds? How do I ground each lane and sensor connection?

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Each sensor should have two wires going back to the Ardunio, or very close to it.

Some people only run one wire back to the board and join the Ground wires near the sensors and only run one back to the board.

It is RC that needs the later Operating System. Check the Rc web site for the PC specs and system.

Stay away for any USB adapters.


Phil

 

Hobart Miniature Car Club

 

Tassie Resins

 

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Not sure I can help much (happy to come over and fix it if you cover my costs from UK?), since you can reproduce the issue fairly easily on blue lane it should be fairly easy to fix, try each of the following in turn and see if any of it helps.

 

1 - Disconnect and re-connect all non soldered wiring.

2 - Check all soldered connections especially any that have frayed ends.

3 - Try a different USB cable.

4 - Try a powered USB cable.

5 - Check if it's a certain bit of track (the only problem like this I ever had was fixed when I cleaned a really dirty bit of track)

6 - Try a different USB port

7 - Try a different PC

8 - Try moving the Arduino to another position

9 - Try putting the Arduino in a metal tin (isolated from the tin so it doesn't short).

 

if all this fails then take a look at Rusty's ideas for adding caps etc. to reduce noise.

 

If you want to use a different interface then I'd suggest trackmate if you can afford it, it should work out of the box. I've had way too many problems with parallel connections to advise switching to them. Parallel connections are still susceptible to noise and you are more likely to having missed lap issues due to slow refresh on parallel.

 

Switching to Bluetooth is not an option since that involves a lot of config work, although I'd like to know how people are getting on with it, at present it seems to be working pretty well for me, but then i've never really had any issues with USB either.

 

Anyway hope that's help a little.

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What is a screw shield?

 

Not sure how it's done. Micheal came and spent a day here setting it up. I've no idea what he did...

Edited by difinity

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The connections would be O/K then,just have seen some guys stripping back wires and sort of trying to push them into the headers on the board.

 

The screw shield is two small boards that plug into the Ardunio and provide screw terminals to terminate the cables.


Phil

 

Hobart Miniature Car Club

 

Tassie Resins

 

Email

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One other thing, have you changed the configuration in rc itself and specified a pin for some input that isn't wired up?

 

I know it sounds like a daft question but what changed to stop it working? If it worked fine for a month, we had 1 instance where someone had changed the lighting which caused noise.

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Hi. What happened was that one of the three hard drives failed badly (I think brick dust in the garage might have killed it). I had it set up with the WinOS on one 7200rpm SATA drive, data etc on a 10,000 rpm SATA drive and a 1gb swap file on the other 10,000 rpm SATA.

Couldn't easily identify which one died, so removed both the fast drives, leaving only the core (C://) drive.

RC is mounted and fully contained on this, so the box should simply work.

Took a bit of adjustment to correctly identify the relevant USB port but other than that seemed to work fine. Turns out it cannot retain the PC - Audino connection.

That is what I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to work out.

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Just to provide a little background that may or may not be useful, USB is typically not very good in noisy environments, and is more of an issue with the USB design. There are plenty of documented problems with USB with and without Arduino's that make interesting reading i.e. https://www.linkedin.com/grp/post/1268377-197879120 or https://decibel.ni.com/content/thread/19196

 

You'll find plenty more like this which may or may not help, this is one of the reasons I tried Bluetooth, since ethernet which should be better for reliable comms is too expensive for a lap counter IMO.

 

Now I'm wondering if the better isolation would help, so something like :-

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/221721409261?adgroupid=13585920426&hlpht=true&hlpv=2&rlsatarget=kwd-123671518146&adtype=pla&ff3=1&lpid=122&poi=&ul_noapp=true&limghlpsr=true&device=c&chn=ps&campaignid=207297426&crdt=0&ff12=67&ff11=ICEP3.0.0-L&ff14=122&viphx=1&ops=true&ff13=80

 

Quite expensive but may be worth a go if someone wants to try.

 

Please make sure you haven't got pins configured in RC that have nothing connected, these unconnected pins may just of float around acting as an aerial for RFI.

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Micheal (Shadow-Rusty) came around this week and replaced the USB cable. Put about 1200 laps on it this week

Many thanks Micheal, really appreciate it.

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If you are referring to the IR LED transmitters, they can be checked using your phone camera, to check they are on.

In all the years I have been using IR transmitters and sensors I have only ever had one failure,they are very reliable.


Phil

 

Hobart Miniature Car Club

 

Tassie Resins

 

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Phil, I am. Cannot see any activity on my phone camera - looks like the connection to the arduino board is not working - loose or broken wire or connector or something.

I've checked the physical connector - is at least attached.

mike suggests I check the voltage but I have no idea about how to go about that. The way the LEDs are fitted, there is no bare wire either...

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Transmitter LEDs connected to a plug on the arduino. Receivers connected to a forest of wiring hidden up under the track. I have no idea where to start with that lot.

Seems that the LEDs are not lighting though...

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The sensor are the ones connected to the Ardunio, usually in the track.

The transmitters are only a source of IR light.

Depending on the actual sensors used they can usually be tested by using a light source such as a torch shining on the sensor and then cover the sensor should count a lap.

 


Phil

 

Hobart Miniature Car Club

 

Tassie Resins

 

Email

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Guys

 

Just thought I would add my findings to this topic. I have recently decided to sell my track, but before I put it on the market, I thought it would be best to tidy it up. So I rewired the track with a dedicated switch mode power supply and PC. I was previously using my laptop and 25A dicksmith transformer, the Arduino had its own power supply from an old PSP and lap counting using IR sensors, I never had any issues with this set up. With the rewiring I decided to make my own arduino shield and power the whole thing from the new SM power supply. This is when my communication errors started, the Arduino was mounted in a plastic box directly under the track, there was enough slack in the wires to move it approximately 70mm, that made no difference. I have now rewired the arduino so that it runs completely from the USB cable the only things connected are 5 LEDS, 4 IR sensors and track power relay (5V). After 4 Hrs of testing I had no issues, so in my opinion it is critical to have good clean independant 5V power going to the Arduino, or just use the USB power.

 

Cheers

Edited by WKM

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