Fried Ethernet Ports

Does anyone know if the Halo TG110-S055N2 is the part that is failing in Driver Station? If so, does anyone know a suitable replacement, this part seems hard/impossible to find. We were told that the driver station is not warrantied against static.

Side Note: If you ground the enable/disable switch to the DE-9 housing, make sure you use some 4-40 screws with star washers to ground the housing to the case as the DE-9 is not grounded either.

Adam,
There is no way to tell what your exact issue might be. Many teams are reporting that the ethernet connector, which is surface mounted, is breaking off the board. Whether that is your case or not is impossilbe to tell without removing the cover, which voids the warranty.

In three events so far this year I’ve seen several instances of the ethernet connectors coming loose from the PCB, and too many cases to count of intermittent or complete loss of connectivity from one or both ports.

Our team had physical separation of the connector as well.
At regionals over the past two weeks, I saw quite a few other failures of this nature while helping teams diagnose control system related issues.

Usually, when the physical separation takes place, the ports will continue to work (intermittent) as long as they can remain seated. If you put your finger or small pry tool in the port, and apply very gentle upward pressure, a separated ethernet port will pop right off the board or slide up and down in the socket. You can sometimes continue to use a physically separated port in a pinch by carefully wedging something appropriately sized (and non-conducting!) between the top of the port and the case surround.

As for the ESD failures… prior to ship, at our local pre-ship scrimmage, a team who had suffered failures on both DS ports decided to open theirs. We examined the ports and found them to be physically intact. Another mentor examined the HALOs and found them to be partially blown.

It is my hope that FIRST will reconsider the “no pigtail” rule and allow teams to use a short pigtail (cable + RJ45 inline coupler, visible to field personnel and easily removed if field issues are encountered) to prevent the physical separation issue.

2077 had a physical port failure in competition this weekend, followed by complete control system failure which we presume, but haven’t proved, was related.

In setting up for our next-to-last match one of the ports broke (we use both, one for field and one for a dashboard/video feed to a laptop). They finished the match OK, minus the laptop connection. We didn’t have time to swap in a backup for the next match, so we ran it the same way. This time nothing, as in “robot didn’t move at all”.

The odd thing is that when we brought it back to the pits and tethered, everything seemed fine.

It was a real downer to end the competition on this note, but more troublesome is having an undiagnosed major major system failure with another competition coming up soon. The plan now is just to get another DS and hope that fixes it (the broken unit is in the crate and on its way), but it would be great if someone could help us make sense of the situation. Any advice?

The HALO TG110-S055N2RL part is available from Future Electronics for $4.70 each, http://www.futureelectronics.com, order online and have it a week later. Prior to voiding the warrantee by opening the case I suggest contacting FIRST to see if they will replace under warrantee. Based on what I saw on one of our damaged units (both ports) the HALO isolation transformers are getting damaged as the signal activity on either side of the 1:1 transformer is different. It is unclear whether the damage propagates beyond the HALO part to the Davidcom chip, but things looked promising at the Davidcom to HALO interfaces.

In the case of no waranntee replacement, I would spend the $5 or $10 to try the repair and then have a non-competition DS (better than a paperweight:D ). The part is 16 lead Surface Mount and can be replaced by someone with a little skill who is careful not to lift the copper pads.

We implemented a practice of always connecting a wire with series 1 MOhm resistor between the cRio case and the DS case prior to connecting the Ethernet line. The wire connection is maintained at all times during tethered operation and removed only after the Ethernet cable is unplugged. Prior to this we blew 3 DS Ethernet ports, since none.

This is not an unfamiliar story… We saw this many times in the past two weekends.

When you are faced with “it doesn’t work at all”, the best thing you can do is to isolate the potential problem. In this case, I would suspect your second DS port is on the way out (probably loose in the board). When you get your hands on the DS again, connect it up to a PC with an appropriate IP address and see if the Eth light blinks rapidly. Check if the PC can “ping” the DS.
See if the light drops in and out if you GENTLY move the ethernet port.

Regardless of that type of diagnostic, and given that your team is using two ports anyway for your dashboard, at your next competition I would get over to Spare Parts and try to get a loaner DS.

We broke both of the ports off of our first DS. Between tethering the robot and connecting to the field, the connectors had just had it. From what I can see, the plastic housing over the ports doesn’t seem to be connected anywhere but board itself, and could probably use a bit of strain relief.

Our short term solution is a couple of short cat5 cables with F/F adapters on the end. Does anyone have insight on whether that would be competition legal? Or should I go to the Q&A with this?

Tom,

We’ve got a thread over here:

And Bob is saying no, it’s not legal.

You are right on based on what we’ve seen here. There is nothing but enough solder to make the connectors electrically connect to the board, based on two different failed DS’s we had the opportunity to look at after two other teams decided to open theirs near the end of build season.
Also appears to be some amount of epoxy, but that won’t cut it as we are seeing.

Our short term solution is a couple of short cat5 cables with F/F adapters on the end. Does anyone have insight on whether that would be competition legal? Or should I go to the Q&A with this?

Not legal unfortunately. I hope FIRST reconsiders given the near epidemic failures.

If you do not use both connectors on the field one potential solution is to leave a secured cable connected to one of the ports and use that to interface to a small switch. When not on field, connect this to a 5-port switch/hub (use the kit one with wireless disabled if you want) and plug your robot and programming or debugging laptop in to that switch.
This will cut out any non-match wear on the ports, and has the side benefit of some limited ESD protection for the ethernet port.