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Disaster - USB ports blown - any thoughts


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First, talk to your home insurer - it's what it's for. I had my home flood 15 years ago.. As a geek I happened to have 5 laptops lying around on the floor at the time and I worried they would not believe they were all under water, but they were totally understanding. They will expect you to get an estimate of repair cost or a letter to the affect it is not repairable. Since each is likely to be a single circuit board, I'd look for a price for circuit board replacement. If none, then by definition that's not repairable.

That failure mode is common for switched mode psus. Basically the output ties to the input. Very few USB ports will survive 12v being applied to them. What bits have released the magic smoke will change component to component.

Stu

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I know most of the damage here was downstream of the hub but better designed hubs could prevent such voltages being back fed. That could have saved the Pegasus gear on this occasion.

I learned about this issue while fighting multiple hardware instabilities with my RasPi 4 and Astroberry.   On-line research found some people noted issues with powered hubs and RasPi's. The lack of isolation between inbound and outbound 5v lines could backfeed 5v into the Pi and the USB hardware implementation on the Pi could be sensitive to it.

Some recommendations were made for hubs with isolated in/out 5v lines. Mine wasn't one of those. There were also some people recommending opening up the hub and cutting the 5v pin to the USB input socket. That would be no problem but would prevent the hub working as an unpowered hub if desired. I didn't bother cutting the 5v pin on mine as there were other RasPi issues that didn't involve the hub.

Anyway, that particular horse has already bolted in the situation at hand :(

 

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Posted (edited)

Pavle from DSD has also got back to me and offered me a discounted price for a new electronics board and offered to make a video for me showing me how to replace it. So that has cost me 50 Euros + shipping, so compared to the cost of a new rotator I will take that any day.

So at the end of the day what seemed like £1250 of damage should cost me £700 if I get a replacement guide cam, and £450 if I use my Altair I already have..
Not a mistake I will make again and not something to be sniffed at but compared to the original cost I am a lot happier and I will be back 🙂 

Steve

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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24 minutes ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Pavle from DSD has also got back to me and offered me a discounted price for a new electronics board and offered to make a video for me showing me how to replace it. So that has cost me 50 Euros + shipping, so compared to the cost of a new rotator I will take that any day.

So at the end of the day what seemed like £1250 of damage should cost me £700 if I get a replacement guide cam, and £450 if I use my Altair I already have..
Not a mistake I will make again and not something to be sniffed at but compared to the original cost I am a lot happier and I will be back 🙂 

Steve

I have to say Steve you have, in the end, taken this all very well, and looked at it all very positively, not sure I would have seen the bright side so soon, and the rest of my kit would have been up for sale by now….so kudos for that…and maybe some of us have learned a thing or two… I personally have made my own, albeit much less costly blunders, and have been grumpy for weeks….👍🏼

I hope you get it all sorted for the bare minimal cost…And I wish I could help, as you have helped me in the past…👍🏼

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Stuart1971 said:

I have to say Steve you have, in the end, taken this all very well, and looked at it all very positively, not sure I would have seen the bright side so soon, and the rest of my kit would have been up for sale by now….so kudos for that…and maybe some of us have learned a thing or two… I personally have made my own, albeit much less costly blunders, and have been grumpy for weeks….👍🏼

I hope you get it all sorted for the bare minimal cost…And I wish I could help, as you have helped me in the past…👍🏼

Believe me yesterday evening after it happened up until going to bed I was not like that, I was not good to be around.

I was mad enough when it first happened I was mad enough (with myself) thinking I had just blown up a £35 hub and started looking in garage for another hub to test everything when it dawned on me I may have damaged other equipment. Hence why I was up until about 1:00 am testing what had gone and learned the full horror of my actions.
Going to bed last night I told the missus its all going now - I have had enough stress.

So not sure what changed apart from some kip but this morning just looked at what I had in life and watching the morning news about whats going on in the world (wont mention where as no politics) as well as other issues around the globe and thought what had happened is small compared to some peoples issues. Also I have just got over covid without any real issues and wife is also starting to recover again without major issues so I have a lot to be happy about and just thought why should I give up a hobby I love for another setback no matter how big it seemed.

Thanks again to all for your encouragement and also help from Pegasus and Deep Sky Day that also helps more than people know 🙂 

Steve

 

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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Posted (edited)

Quick update: What great suppliers we have in this hobby - I am overwhelmed with the responses.

Pegasus Astro PPB unit - Pegasus contacted me yesterday and agreed to send me a full new board to fit myself at a much lower cost than a new unit.

Deep Sky Dad Rotator - Pavle contacted me yesterday and he agreed to send me a replacement board at a very good discounted price to fit myself and offered to make a video showing how to fit the board.

PrimaluceLab Senso Sesto focusser - contacted me today to say almost certainly the USB board will have been damaged and offered a repair for 65 Euros (not yet sure if this is including VAT or not but either way still much less than a replacement. I have to send to 365 Astronomy in UK for repair which is better than returning to Italy and after emailing them today they also replied within the hour.

Startech USB Hub - In the bin as it didn't smell very nice but many thanks to @M40 who has so generously offered to send me a 4 port hub he no longer used 🙂 

So that leaves the ZWO guide cam, but I am not sure who can repair this without returning it to China. I do have a Asair one I could use but remember having some issues before with this freezing EKOS when downloading so I have ordered a direct replacement and if I get this one repaired will sell it on later.

So all in all I am quite heartened at the responses I have had from suppliers, none of them in UK, and over the weekend as well.
Not many suppliers in other walks of life will give you this sort of responses so quickly.

Although I am not up and running yet potentially I could be back to normal in a week or two which means if clear skies appear I might now be able to take the rig on Holiday down to a remote area near south coast in a couple of weeks, which I thought would never happen after this disaster.

Clear skies to all and once again many thanks to SGL for moral support 🙂 

Steve

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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Blimey this is a bit of a rollercoaster read. I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach just reading what happened! So sorry to hear but what an amazing response from the manufacturers and also your attitude to it all. I’ve been looking at using some of the Pegasus kit to replace stuff in the Obsy & on a new semi portable rig I’m building at the moment in hope that will last me into retirement too. This has certainly given me confidence in their support. I hope it’s not too long before you’re back up & running.

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9 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Ha Ha, yes it is.
I am still mad with myself for being so stupid but it is nice when people are so helpful 🙂 

Steve

If you have any 'broken' bits left over, its always worth sticking them on Ebay as spares or repair. I've done this is a couple of times with damaged photography kit and I've always been surprised at what people have been prepared to pay for something I would otherwise have consigned to the bin.

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2 minutes ago, Shimrod said:

If you have any 'broken' bits left over, its always worth sticking them on Ebay as spares or repair. I've done this is a couple of times with damaged photography kit and I've always been surprised at what people have been prepared to pay for something I would otherwise have consigned to the bin.

Never thought of that, cheers.
It should be just the ZWO camera which I think is repairable as I would think the imaging side will be fine just the USB side. Hopefully will get it repaired and sold on if the cost of repair is viable.
If not I may well try your suggestion 🙂 

Steve

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Great news that the manufacturers have all been so helpful, I worried it might be a lost cause these days trying to get parts to repair things like that.

I have one 24v PSU which I use with same output connector as 12v. So I mark them in white acrylic pens (amazon) very clearly.

It's also a good idea imho to get a label printer - and stick labels on the end of your cables saying what they are, and what they are for - I colour code mine for the type of connector, and then label says 'asi224' or 'eq6' or whatever. I know it's a bit anal, but though I've not had it as bad as you, I've let the magic smoke out of plenty electronics in my time, so anything I can do to make it more idiot proof I know is not time wasted.

I'm trying to think of the worse one now.. I've bricked cameras trying to firmware update them, blown up PSUs by not checking they were set to 220v first.. but you can't beat the connecting electolytic caps the wrong way around for basic errors - and since usually my face is within 6" of whatever board I'm working on.. the BANG followed by the smell of vingear and my face covered in bits of capacitor never gets old... 🙄

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11 minutes ago, powerlord said:

It's also a good idea imho to get a label printer - and stick labels on the end of your cables saying what they are, and what they are for - I colour code mine for the type of connector, and then label says 'asi224' or 'eq6' or whatever. I know it's a bit anal, but though I've not had it as bad as you, I've let the magic smoke out of plenty electronics in my time, so anything I can do to make it more idiot proof I know is not time wasted.

It's a great idea and something I have done for a while. I have even marked up all my 2.1 and 2.5 connectors so I know which they are as no way of really telling visually (I originally thought the colour of the tip was to indicate the sizes but most of mine are all black tips no matter what they are).
It was just this time I was adding something to my rig, latish on and just was too eager to try it all out before I flicked the on switch. Lesson Learned (again!).

15 minutes ago, powerlord said:

you can't beat the connecting electolytic caps the wrong way around for basic errors - and since usually my face is within 6" of whatever board I'm working on.. the BANG followed by the smell of vingear and my face covered in bits of capacitor never gets old... 🙄

Yup done that, accidently a few times but only with the smaller ones, still makes one hell of a crack though when they go and gets the pulse going a bit.
In my younger days did it on some of the big cans on purpose outside and standing well back 🙂 and they do make a bang.

Steve

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Steve, this is an amazing turn-around.  Fantastic news.  FLO are a main stockist for ZWO, maybe it's worth dropping them a mail to see if they can offer any advice on repair.

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1 hour ago, malc-c said:

Steve, this is an amazing turn-around.  Fantastic news.  FLO are a main stockist for ZWO, maybe it's worth dropping them a mail to see if they can offer any advice on repair.

Good call, I emailed them and asked I send it to them and they will let me know how much for repair 🙂 

Steve

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Glad you have had some positive responses from suppliers after an incident that is all too easy to replicate.

Just an observation on the supplier front, I discovered a broken roof tile on our new build house which is now 4 weeks outside of the builder's 2 year warranty. Even though the development is still under construction, and the roofers are still on site about 200 metres from our house, the builder's response was, "it's out of warranty, fix it yourself". 

Well yes, that's true, but they could learn a thing a two about building a good customer service reputation from your astro kit suppliers...

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19 minutes ago, tomato said:

 

Well yes, that's true, but they could learn a thing a two about building a good customer service reputation from your astro kit suppliers...

If FLO built houses……..😁

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1 hour ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Only in dark sky areas with automatic lights to red at dusk (no floodlights) 

and all with built in conservatory  Observatory :)

 

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