Broken cables and Ethernet Shield trouble

It’s time for some work outside.. Last summer the play set  in our garden with slide and swings was hardly used, so I guess the kids won’t miss it. The swimming pool has to be filled with water again, the pump has to be put back in its place, the terrace needs some adjustments and of course, the gazebo RGB LED project needs attention cause the crate with the 6 RGB LEDs, DMX decoder & Arduino has been standing in the office since the end of last summer, so it’s time to finally complete this and get those 6 RGB LEDs where they belong – in the garden. I started with the last job 😉

The first thing I did was completing the indoor part of it all, e.g. putting the adapter, DMX decoder, Arduino with 2 shields (DMX & Ethernet) in a enclosure. This whole setup has already been tested with something I developed last summer. It had a Colorwheel control with which it was very easy to pick a color and control the RBG LEDs. But this is not enough; I still needed to integrate those RGB LEDs into my Domotica system. By doing that, my system is now in full control over the RGB LEDs and they can be controlled based on events, from the GUI (touchscreen) in the living room etcetera. This integration involved creating a Device Class for the RGB LEDs and a suitable interface to ‘talk’ to the hardware.

But not all things went as smooth as I had hoped. First, a power adapter cable was broken, which made the whole setup stop working every few minutes or so. It cost me half the afternoon to find out it was just a piece of cable that was bugging me…

I also applied the ‘Ethernet-shield-powered-from-the-adapter-plug’ fix I wrote about before, but it didn’t help enough. Sure, 4 out of 5 times it worked, but not always. And that’s not good enough, so I searched for another solution and I found one here, and this one worked always – well, successfully powering up 30 times in a row convinced me that this works well enough. So now there’s a wire going from the RESET pin to pin 4 (the Ethernet shield is underneath the DMX shield).

Ethernet Shield fix

The code that comes with it is simple but very effective:

void init_ethernet()
 pinMode(DO_RESET_ETH_SHIELD, OUTPUT);      // sets the digital pin as output
 digitalWrite(DO_RESET_ETH_SHIELD, LOW);
 delay(1000);  //for ethernet chip to reset
 delay(1000);  //for ethernet chip to reset
 pinMode(DO_RESET_ETH_SHIELD, INPUT);      // sets the digital pin input
 delay(1000);  //for ethernet chip to reset
 delay(1000);  //for ethernet chip to reset
 delay(1000);  //for ethernet chip to reset

Calling the init_ethernet() function from the setup() is all that’s needed to get a fully functional Ethernet Shield. Finally this RGB LED project is finished; well, I still have to dig 6 holes and get the RGB cable under the terrace – after that, summer can begin!


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