Mulitiple Road Hog problems...

john3957john3957 Registered User
Okay, so I've tried really really hard to solve this outside of the forums, but I'm really at a loss. I have a few different problems with our Road Hog that I really can't trace and either can our faithful and awesome local, certified HES support place:

The way I have our show file setup is so that volunteers can come in and simply go through the cues for the event without much lighting experience. To increase our flexibility "on the fly" I have the "master" cue list working our 8 color pro HXs, 2 studio beams, and a total of 5 Altman halogen cyc fixtures. I then have our stage lights (roughly 30 ellipsoidals) and house lights (roughly 50 fixtures) on two other cue lists. I then use Macro commands to use the "get list" functions. This way it makes it easier for someone to just simply hit "Go" for the service; I also think it cleans up the programming. ((I've attached our show file)).

Well I have two major problems:
1. Desktop and DP8K crashes at seemingly random times and events
2. Random issues with our external monitor (via the supported adapter)

Let's start with number #2, because this is the most consistent problem we have: What happens is that upon restart, many times the screen will mirror the right touch screen (above the programming section of the board) even though it was shut down with external monitors enabled. Another issue that this causes is that the internal touch screens will lose calibration - also not something I should have to deal with. We are on v.3.0.5 with xpe image 1.3.0 - and I've installed them in literally every different order to try and solve some problems (yes, including the methods in the manual. :-) So I did: XPE Full Restore -> 3.0.5 Update -> Plug in monitor while shut off, then restart -> Then restore show file from a backup file. The monitor is plugged in the programming-side USB port, which put the monitor on that side of the console (which is what we want), and the keyboard is on the left or playback side of the board. My screen resolution is 1280 x 1024, 75Hz, 16bit. I display the Master Cue list and the sometimes the programmer on this screen. Any ideas on problem #2?? UPDATE: I also just switched our resolution and now the screen is "left" of the board instead of right.

As far as the random crashes of the desktop and DP8K, I really don't know. We've had the board into the shop and those great guys really put it through tests, using all the universes (we only use the first on a regular basis - sometimes the second universe). They, of course, couldn't get it to crash. I'm wondering if the board ever could get mixed up because of some problem fixtures in the chain?? I don't know if the board receives any signal or feedback from the fixtures down the line, but we do have a DMX to MPX converter that I have suspicions about. Also, though our building is new (5 years), and I'm pretty sure the juice is stable here - it has been when I've metered it - I wonder if bad power could be causing these random crashes?? These are the only two options that I can think of, but other than that, I'm at a loss. This of course, REALLY messes up the event when we lose DMX or need to take the painstaking 3 minutes to re-boot. We just don't know what to do. BTW - I do an integrity check and strip unused palettes every week after backing up the weekly show file.

Right now, we would like to have a board that is stable enough so that someone with less than 1000 hours on the board could come and operate it enough to get the job done. I don't think this is too big of a request.

I've attached my show file; I'm open to hearing feedback or critiques on our setup, but there is a reason we set it up the way we do. I'm also open to re-building our show file if it is somehow corrupt. I just want stability and the plug and play functionality that should be a simple expectation.

Thanks in advance for your help everyone!



  • Joe BleasdaleJoe Bleasdale Registered User
    edited August 2009
    You are using the standard Road Hog, yes?

    You can check a showfiles integrity via the button in the show manager window.

    Does the desk have any USB devices connected?

    If a process crashes, you can restart it by pressing [Pig] [Open] [Backspace] then right clicking the process. Now as I am not HES/Barco staff... the showfile has nothing to do with me. The above things are just a few I would try.

    I do think your having a stroke of bad luck here... I have found Road Hogs (and Full Boars) to be very reliable and stable consoles.

    Best Regards,
  • edited August 2009
    You're really going to want to give HES support a call. They can help you talk through a lot of different things more quickly then on these forums. There are plenty of other venues that use Roadhogs with volunteer operators, so it can be done.

    One thing to try: If you remove the USB to VGA adapter and just use the internal monitors, does the behavior change?

    Also, keep an eye on your comment macros and make sure there's no way to end up with circular references (Like List 1 Go list 2, followed by List 2 go list 1). This can cause no end of problems.
  • van Leestvan Leest Registered User
    edited August 2009
    I had also some problems with the usb vga adapter.
    Also strange problems with the console but a while ago I have bought an usb hub and an external powersupply for the usb vga adapter and all the problems seems to be solved now.

    So maybe you can try this?
  • john3957john3957 Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Thanks for the insight everyone... Let me try and respond:

    - Yes, I we are using the standard Road Hog (Read: not full boar)
    - As stated, I check the show file's integrity nearly every week, along with a full backup and the "strip unused palette" function
    - Yes, also as stated, it has a keyboard, USB drive and the VGA adapter connected
    - We re-booted the DP8K process this weekend, which only resulted in about 10 seconds of noticeable down time, but the desktop process is not always as friendly. Often it just needs to be restarted mid show.
    - I figured they were more stable than this, I just don't know why we get the lemon. :-(

    - I'll give a call into HES support on Thursday (the next time I'll be able to sit with the desk). Could you PM me the best number to call for assistance on these problems?
    - I haven't gone about not using the VGA monitor because it makes it harder for the volunteers to see the Master cue list and therefore interact more with the console, but we can give it a go. Since HES "officially" supports that adapter, it should maybe just be the adapter itself though, right??
    - Good call on the Macros, but they are only one way at this point; I only use the macro functions in the Master Cue list... unless there is another place they could be that I'm missing? Could you take a peek at my show file and see if you see any glaring problems? Thanks for the quick reply Eric.

    Van Leest:
    - Interesting idea... I tried the power supply on the adapter itself a while back, but I don't remember it making any noticeable difference. I'll give the hub+power supply idea a go though.

    Keep the ideas coming if you guys think of any!!
  • Joe BleasdaleJoe Bleasdale Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Here is the link to the support page..

    Contacts and numbers are on there.

  • edited August 2009
    Support numbers are on the website. If you need to setup a specific time, just call earlier in the week. While you're on the phone, they can give you some other things to try. You'll probably end up working with Mitch (Who posts here ocationally), but they're all great people with years of experience

    Using "strip unused palettes" agressively can cause as many problems as it solves. It doesn't hurt to do it once in a while, but there's no need to do it weekly. It's also a good idea to log off and reload the show immediately after stripping unused. I'm not aware of any issues with it in 3.05, but historically it's been known to corrupt shows.

    Try running without the USB to VGA adapter for a while. It may not solve anything, but if it does, you'll have a much better idea of where to look.

    Also, have you tried starting over with a new showfile? It's possible for a showfile to develop internal corruption that can cause all kinds of havoc. It doesn't happen very often, but can be frustrating when it does. For a first step, you can start with a blank show file and merge in the stuff you need from the old file. If that doesn't help, try starting over from scratch for a few services.

    Have you noticed any pattern to when it happens? Certain cues? Certain lists? Certain time of day? Certain kinds of music?
  • john3957john3957 Registered User
    edited August 2009
    I wanted to give you all an update on what was tried today and yesterday.

    - We took our USB hub and installed it between the console and the VGA adapter. Though it didn't see it at first, I got it to recognize it and so far I've only had to re-calibrate screens the first time I restarted and not after (in about 5 restarts thus far). So that is good. **Extra question on that though, does anyone else's VGA adapter blink at all? Ours blinks intermittently with activity.

    - I also started a whole new show file today and merged show parameters so that I would just need to patch the DMX on our fixtures. So far the console seems much more stable, though I'll try and report back after I put it through some tests this weekend.

    - Anyone know the power adapter specs for the VGA adapter? They aren't on the chassis of the adapter itself.

    Thanks so much!
  • john3957john3957 Registered User
    edited August 2009
    So, we're at the end of the weekend and the screen has kept calibration with the powered USB hub idea. That's a great sign.

    We also haven't had any issues while the system has been up and running, but I did have a desktop crash on a boot. It only happened once, but for whatever reason, the startup macro that I was running (Recall View {RV}, and Go Master {GM} fuctions) seemed to start too early and the desktop just held the Road Hog graphic. The DP was running, because the cue that was supposed to fire did indeed fire, but the desktop was just not showing. Again, I re-started the process, which fixed it, and when I restarted it other times it worked fine.

    We're better, but not perfect - getting there though!
  • bradpepebradpepe Registered User, HES Alumni
    edited August 2009

    I am glad to hear you have things working better now. Please keep us informed...
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