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Author Topic: Blizzard wiCICLE  (Read 10367 times)

TJ (Tom) McDonald

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Blizzard wiCICLE
« on: November 03, 2013, 10:33:37 am »

Does anyone here have great working knowledge of the Blizzard wireless interface?  I'm running out of JANDS Vista split to two "universe" outputs.  One hardwired and the other through the Blizzard wireless.  I'm having so many issues with loss of control, flashing lights, and spontaneous blinking.  The transmitter and receiver are in sight-line and well within the listed 1000ft distance.  The weird part is how the problems are solved.  They're either fixed by completely rebooting the system, unplugging and replugging the transmitter, or by a strange third way.  There are 2 particular Stellar Lab LED fixtures I have on stage, and often the problems are fixed by simply unplugging and replugging the DMX inputs to those 2 fixtures.  I'm at a loss.  Anyone have any ideas?  I'd much appreciate it.
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Mac Kerr

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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2013, 11:43:43 am »

I'm at a loss.  Anyone have any ideas?  I'd much appreciate it.

Please go to your profile and change the "Name" field to your real first and last name as required by the posting rules displayed in the header at the top of the section, and in the Site Rules and Suggestions in the Forum Announcements section, and on the registration page when you registered.

Mac
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2013, 08:59:27 am »

Does anyone here have great working knowledge of the Blizzard wireless interface?  I'm running out of JANDS Vista split to two "universe" outputs.  One hardwired and the other through the Blizzard wireless.  I'm having so many issues with loss of control, flashing lights, and spontaneous blinking.  The transmitter and receiver are in sight-line and well within the listed 1000ft distance.  The weird part is how the problems are solved.  They're either fixed by completely rebooting the system, unplugging and replugging the transmitter, or by a strange third way.  There are 2 particular Stellar Lab LED fixtures I have on stage, and often the problems are fixed by simply unplugging and replugging the DMX inputs to those 2 fixtures.  I'm at a loss.  Anyone have any ideas?  I'd much appreciate it.
Welcome from one TJ to another.  I have no specific experience with the Blizzard wireless, but in light of interference with a couple fixtures, have you tried an isolated DMX splitter?
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TJ (Tom) McDonald

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2013, 09:22:17 am »

I have not!  Wouldn't DMX jitter and reflections bad enough to cause those problems be eliminated by a terminator?
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 09:25:21 am by TJ (Tom) McDonald »
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2013, 09:49:52 am »

I have not!  Wouldn't DMX jitter and reflections bad enough to cause those problems be eliminated by a terminator?
Not necessarily.  Interestingly, sometimes terminators can make it worse - if one of your cables has an open pin, sometimes the DMX input chip can run on a single ended input and still work, but if that line is terminated, it doesn't

YMMV, but splitters are recommended when you get 16 or so fixtures in a line.  I also find them very convenient for cabling - figuring out how to daisy-chain everything sometimes is a challenge. 

I have this one: http://www.chauvetlighting.com/data-stream-4.html, and there are a number of others for less than $200.

Not sure if you're using real DMX cabling or regular audio cabling, but that could be a contributing factor as well.


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duane massey

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2013, 07:15:13 pm »

Simple test: remove the two Stellar lab fixtures and see if the problem goes away. I have had several instances where a particular fixture (NOT brand specific, everything from ADJ to Chauvet to Lightwave to Stage Ape) was intermittently sending bad data across the line. In one case it took a while, as the problems would show up and then vanish before I could get onsite to look for them.
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Duane Massey
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Jerome Malsack

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2013, 09:45:23 am »

Another thing to consider is WiFi interference,  These are running in 2.4 

Run the Inssidder program and see what is going on in the airwaves in the 2.4 band.

Are you competing with 3, 5, 10 wifi connections??
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Don Gspann

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2013, 09:02:31 am »

Does anyone here have great working knowledge of the Blizzard wireless interface?  I'm running out of JANDS Vista split to two "universe" outputs.  One hardwired and the other through the Blizzard wireless.  I'm having so many issues with loss of control, flashing lights, and spontaneous blinking.  The transmitter and receiver are in sight-line and well within the listed 1000ft distance.  The weird part is how the problems are solved.  They're either fixed by completely rebooting the system, unplugging and replugging the transmitter, or by a strange third way.  There are 2 particular Stellar Lab LED fixtures I have on stage, and often the problems are fixed by simply unplugging and replugging the DMX inputs to those 2 fixtures.  I'm at a loss.  Anyone have any ideas?  I'd much appreciate it.

If you find a solution to your problem, please post the solution. I have an audio customer who uses the Wicicles and constantly has the same issue you describe.  He has tried everything Blizzard has suggested, even had Blizzard re flash his units. Another DJ he knows also has the same problem, but according to Blizzard, "your the only one with the problem". I wish I had a dime for every time a manufacturer told me that, only to find out its a known issue! I chalked it up to a cheap wireless DMX system, and suggested he save up for a real one. 
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TJ (Tom) McDonald

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2013, 10:27:40 am »

Will do.  I'm thinking it's probably the same thing; just a cheap lighting system...  I'll try hooking up some DMX splitters when I get the budget room and let you know.
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Bob Charest

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2013, 12:42:59 pm »

Will do.  I'm thinking it's probably the same thing; just a cheap lighting system...  I'll try hooking up some DMX splitters when I get the budget room and let you know.
TJ,
Did you ever get a handheld DMX analyzer? We chatted about it on a previous thread here. it would really come in handy to locate the source of any bad DMX data.

Best regards,
Bob
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2013, 05:04:25 pm »

TJ,
Did you ever get a handheld DMX analyzer? We chatted about it on a previous thread here. it would really come in handy to locate the source of any bad DMX data.

Best regards,
Bob
Nope - never did.  I figured out that my problems were with one particular fixture, and since I've gotten that one fixed, I've had no issues.  The problem I was having was a bad DMX output jack.  In that case, I'm not sure a tester would have been any better than the standard troubleshooting I did to find the issue.
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Don Gspann

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2013, 09:51:29 pm »

Nope - never did.  I figured out that my problems were with one particular fixture, and since I've gotten that one fixed, I've had no issues.  The problem I was having was a bad DMX output jack.  In that case, I'm not sure a tester would have been any better than the standard troubleshooting I did to find the issue.

TJ, my friend just heard back from Blizzard. They were able to duplicate his problem and will be sending him a new version of the transmitter. I'll post back with the results after he gets it and tries it out on a few gigs.
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TJ (Tom) McDonald

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2013, 12:21:35 pm »

TJ, my friend just heard back from Blizzard. They were able to duplicate his problem and will be sending him a new version of the transmitter. I'll post back with the results after he gets it and tries it out on a few gigs.

Really?!  Oh that's great!  I still haven't heard back from them!  If you get good results, I'll be sure to pester them more.
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Kevin Esprella

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2013, 01:57:32 pm »

Is there a way you can tell use wiCICLE you where using?
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TJ (Tom) McDonald

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2014, 03:11:14 pm »

TJ, my friend just heard back from Blizzard. They were able to duplicate his problem and will be sending him a new version of the transmitter. I'll post back with the results after he gets it and tries it out on a few gigs.

Don, have you heard anything?  Better results?  I haven't had too many issues recently.  I wonder if it was some strange wireless interference that I wasn't catching that went away.
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frank kayser

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2014, 01:57:52 pm »

If you find a solution to your problem, please post the solution. I have an audio customer who uses the Wicicles and constantly has the same issue you describe.  He has tried everything Blizzard has suggested, even had Blizzard re flash his units. Another DJ he knows also has the same problem, but according to Blizzard, "your the only one with the problem". I wish I had a dime for every time a manufacturer told me that, only to find out its a known issue! I chalked it up to a cheap wireless DMX system, and suggested he save up for a real one.

Count me among the "you're the only one with the problem"

First time out with a Blizzard Kontrol Skywire and three lights and three wiCicles (new, non-antenna, blinking LED versions).

Start the show, and the farthest light (25' max, clear line of sight) was merrily flashing green, then started throwing some reds in there.  That light never lost contact long enough to blink, flicker, or change color. 

About half way through the second set, the second light over my left shoulder, started to get some random light dropouts like someone was bumping the power cord.  There were folks close to the cord looking a bit sheepish, but I finally saw the red light signalling that it was no longer talking to the controller.  Light one was now solid connectivity (flashing green).

Starting the third set, the remaining light over my right shoulder started doing what the second light had been doin..  Cord was better protected and with no one close than the second, so...  BTW, light two was behaving well at this point...

Interesting thing was I was WAY out in the sticks far, far away from WiFi (or even cordless phone)  There was a packed house and I'd guess nearly all with cells, and some of those with WiFi set on.

The only other variables I can think of was use of microwave oven(s) about 40' away, and dimmer for house lights.

Didn't have the chance to change channels or anything else to experiment or mitigate the problem.


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Bob Charest

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2014, 05:39:13 pm »

Count me among the "you're the only one with the problem"

First time out with a Blizzard Kontrol Skywire and three lights and three wiCicles (new, non-antenna, blinking LED versions).

Start the show, and the farthest light (25' max, clear line of sight) was merrily flashing green, then started throwing some reds in there.  That light never lost contact long enough to blink, flicker, or change color. 

About half way through the second set, the second light over my left shoulder, started to get some random light dropouts like someone was bumping the power cord.  There were folks close to the cord looking a bit sheepish, but I finally saw the red light signalling that it was no longer talking to the controller.  Light one was now solid connectivity (flashing green).

Starting the third set, the remaining light over my right shoulder started doing what the second light had been doin..  Cord was better protected and with no one close than the second, so...  BTW, light two was behaving well at this point...

Interesting thing was I was WAY out in the sticks far, far away from WiFi (or even cordless phone)  There was a packed house and I'd guess nearly all with cells, and some of those with WiFi set on.

The only other variables I can think of was use of microwave oven(s) about 40' away, and dimmer for house lights.

Didn't have the chance to change channels or anything else to experiment or mitigate the problem.
Hi Frank,

I recently replaced my Wicicle transmitter as I began having intermittent issues with the tree on stage left (the TX is on stage right) losing connection and my Puck3NX lights going into standby mode. At first I thought I had a power cord problem, but inspecting it showed it to be fine. I called Blizzard, and their tech support listened to how I'd trouble-shot the problem and issued and RMA right away. Any of the Wicicle receivers can act as a transmitter if you have a gender-bender XLR barrel (Male both ends) and I was able to tell that the transmitter was the culprit by using one of my other receivers as a transmitter temporarily. Blizzard tech support suspected that it was going bad and covered it under warranty.

I also got 3 new receivers (Skywire ones like you mentioned.) All is solid so far.

Best regards,
Bob Charest

PS: Could be 2.4GHz interference - I've had some from photographers' RF controlled flash units.
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frank kayser

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2014, 09:40:40 pm »

Well Blizzard gave me an answer - plausible, even possible.

I misunderstood (thanks to such a thorough manual for the wicicle) red/green flashing.
I assumed green was receiving, and that red meant communication was interrupted.

Not so!

Red flashing is indicating the wicicle is in TRANSMIT mode.  They suggested I check the lights for master/slave settings. 

So I delved into the lighting documentation for switching modes (Chauvet SlimPar Quad 6 IRC).

The documentation on this feature was worse than for the wicicle!
Something about the master should be the first on the chain (OK)
The master should be set to some built in sound active, automatic, or static color mode. (OK)
Set all the other fixtures to slave.  Huh?  Did I miss something?

I'm waiting on Chauvet to verify a number of findings from my experimentation.  But it seems the master/slave is not a settable parameter, but the light does it automatically.

So Blizzard was right on the master/slave thing.  Each light was randomly going into master mode (indicated by wicicle flashing red).

My experimentation uncovered some other anomalies ...

I got the two Chauvet Quad 6 talking in master/slave mode over a cable.
OK, Swap out the cable for two wicicles, and I should be good to go, right?

Well, the master was flashing red (transmitting - good) and the slave was flashing green (good, receiving) so the master/slave thing should be working.

NOT.  Slave remained dark.

Obviously Chauvet is tinkering to make the lights idiot-proof. (enter idiot v2.0)
Blizzard probably is also doing some near-DMX-spec engineering in the wicicle.

And here I am - caught in the middle again.

Who knew a couple lights, a controller, and a little wireless could be such a time-consuming learning experience. (this is NOT the crying part of the "buy once, cry once" truism.  A separate set of tears completely)  D'Oh!

frank
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 09:44:07 pm by frank kayser »
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Mike Pyle

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2014, 11:29:06 pm »

I'm waiting on Chauvet to verify a number of findings from my experimentation.  But it seems the master/slave is not a settable parameter, but the light does it automatically.

Looking at the Chauvet manual it appears that simply setting the light to operate in either 4 or 8 channel dmx mode makes it a "slave", so you would want to have ALL the lights set to a dmx mode.

I have had issues with a few wicicle transmitters with mid-2013 production dates having dropout problems. My older transmitters worked perfectly, and the very latest ones I have received also seem to function fine, so I conclude there was some production problem for a period of time.
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frank kayser

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Re: Blizzard wiCICLE
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2014, 03:19:43 pm »

Thanks, Mike.  I was confused by it being "in DMX" mode...  I'm used to (somewhat) dipswitches which are pretty definite.  These "menu systems" threw me for a loop.

I assumed if I chose a DMX mode (pressed enter) and set the DMX address (press enter) it was in DMX mode regardless where the menu was showing (as I did not press enter).  Further confusion, if it is in something other than DMX mode, the fixture responds to its DMX address anyway.  So one wonders at that point how it is  NOT in DMX mode. 

Oh well, live and learn.

I did get the reply to my inquiries back from Chauvet.  I'll share here as it may help someone else.  My additional comments are in italics

======================
1.   There is no way to force a given fixture into a Master or Slave mode.
-     In a way, you can. For the slave fixture(s), you have to put the unit in 4 or 8 channel mode and address it to DMX address d001. The first unit (Master unit), can be set to any of the auto programs or static colors, and all other units SLIMPARQUAD6IRC units that are after the Master, that is set to d001, should follow the Master.
Setting the DMX address on the slave to d001 did not seem to be necessary in my experiment.  The slave could be at any DMX address, as could the Master
 
2.   Master/Slave mode is chosen more or less "automatically"
- The Master/Slave is not chosen automatically. (Please see my response to question 1)
Semantics.  One cannot flip a switch. See Q&A #3 

3.   Master mode is always active when on any menu setting other than DMX address.
- This is correct. All units are automatically on Master(Stand-Alone Mode) until you set the fixture on DMX or Slave mode.
(DMX automatically triggers slave mode)

4.   Being on the DMX addressing screen will trigger either Slave mode or "Normal" DMX mode.
- Correct
There really is no SLAVE vs "Normal" DMX mode.  They are one in the same.

5.   When the fixture is in Slave mode, there is a flashing "dot" or "period" between the "d" and the numerical address.
- The flashing dot just indicates that the fixture is receiving DMX signal.
 
6.   The flashing "dot" is not present when in "normal" DMX mode.
-     The flashing dot has nothing to do with the modes. It indicates the fixture receiving DMX signal from a Master fixture, or a DMX controller.
There is no "Normal DMX mode"
 
7.   In my 2-light experiment, the actual DMX addresses of either master or slave is irrelevant.
-     The only DMX addressing that you need to set, is for the Slave fixture. The master can be sent to an auto program that you desire and the slave fixture should follow the master.
 
8.   Again, in my 2 light experiment, the actual positions of the DMX cable (in-out or out-in) did not affect the master/slave mode.
-     There should be a DMX cable coming from the output from the Master fixture, to the input of the Slave fixture.
With 3+ fixtures, that may indeed be true.  In my 2-light experiment, cabling was irrelevant.

Hope this clarifies something for someone.
frank
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