Weird QM2000 problem

Discussion in 'QM2000 series of products' started by BillWX, May 31, 2012.

  1. BillWX

    BillWX Member

    Hopefully someone on here can help with this weird QM2000 problem we're having. Our planetarium laser set up uses a Raven transcoder that runs the ILDA cable from the QM2000 into the transcoder, then out to our 8 channel digital recorders. So we can see "levels" of the X,Y,R,G,B,DMX and LR(audio).
    The first thing I noticed was "weird" laser levels showing up upon starting the 8 channel recorder. ALL Pangolin programs (Showtime, Designer, etc..) load up perfectly fine - no errors or hangups.
    However, there is NO laser output. X & Y does nothing and neither do the colors. DMX works fine! We have 2 DMX controlled effects (lumia and diffraction grating) and both open and close right when they should. Just no scanning or lasing going on.
    So, first I checked the cable and the transcoder. They're OK. Luckily we have another smaller full color projector on a different cable. So I plugged that one in and again, no output from the QM2000. (Note that the 2nd projector does NOT run from the transcoder. It can be fed directly from the QM2000 board with its own ILDA cable.)
    I've powered down and on several times, popped the card out of the PCI socket a few times and even tried it in another computer. Checked contacts, etc... Same problem every time.
    The board is an older one (first 2 digits are 58.. ) and it's a pro board.
    Luckily our current shows are recorded and play back fine from the digital recorder. However, we want to do some new shows - and while we CAN create shows (the QM200 "appears" to be working fine for production), we can't actually show anything on the laser!
    Being a county college planetarium, the budget is tight and we can't just plop down $$$ for a new board.
    So, is there anything else I should check before we go ahead and consider repair? (And if we have to send it back to Pangolin for repair, is it at all possible to get a "loaner" card so we can still produce/record some new song modules for summer?)
    Thanks for any insight/ideas anyone can offer.

    Laserist at RVCC Planetarium,
    Branchburg, NJ
  2. BillWX

    BillWX Member

    Greetings again,
    Just a quick update on our QM2000 board. I took it out and again cleaned all the PCI / ILDA/ DMX contacts and blew out (with compressed air) the holes for the ILDA/DMX cables. Put everything back in place and still the same problem. Took it out and blew out (compressed air again) the entire board. This cleared out all the dust that was probably lurking around the board. Having also remembered that sometimes chilling/freezing some electronics, micro-switches and other issues sometimes can be "repaired" or determine if there was a thermal issue. So I sprayed some electronics freeze onto the chips, front and back of board and let everything dry a few minutes.
    Plugged the board back in and guess what...WORKS FINE! :)
    I played 2 song modules and all was fine. Powered down the computer and back on and the QM2000 is still working fine.
    So...if anyone else experiences a similar "seems to be working, but no laser output signals", clean the contacts and if still no luck, try getting some PC board component freeze spray. It might just work.
    This is saving us the headache of sending the board for repair - and obviously down time for show production/recording.
    Although since the board is old and we want to do some network upgrading, we've contacted Pangolin about possibly trading in this old board and also getting a for the planetarium.

  3. Aaron@Pangolin

    Aaron@Pangolin Staff Member

    Hey Bill, I am glad you issue "resolved" itself. We were doing some server work today and o was unable to log on to respond to this thread. I saw it shortly after you posted and could not respond. My thought was to have you send it in; I may need to grab some of that freeze spray as a last resort when we can't find a problem. :cool:
  4. BillWX

    BillWX Member

    Hi Aaron,
    I figured I would give it a shot! We would have had to send it in anyway if it didn't work. A few months ago we had a similar issue, but the levels I saw coming from the transcoder remained "flat" - and as it turned out it was the computer's PCI slot that died. That's why I tried the computer swap - that's what fixed the problem last time. Since then, the college swapped out all of our old computers so our current one has only been in the planetarium about 3 weeks. (It's not brand new, but much newer than our previous one.)
    Anyway, we have shows coming up soon that needed new/updated song modules. I didn't want to have too much down time over the next few weeks. So I figured if it worked, great...if not, we'd have to send it out anyway.
    We got lucky! :D But it does show those QM2000 boards are built to last. I'm thinking there was a diode or one component that was acting weird since as far as the computer and the programs were concerned, the board was fine.
    As I said though, we're still thinking about swapping/upgrading anyway - but it's not as "urgent" now.

  5. LeoNelson

    LeoNelson New Member

    Great Post.
  6. ElminaKamley

    ElminaKamley New Member

    Yes dear, i agreed.