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Display computer not responding to Production computer


Omar
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Hello,

 

I'm running into an issue with Watchout 5.3.1 where the display computer boots up and shows me the Watchout spash screen but does not accept playback commands from the production computer. Two solutions I have found to get control back have been:

 

Fix 1

Go Online/Offline several times and start running through cues. At some point during playback, the display computer responds and we are good for the rest of the night.

 

Fix 2

After going Online/Offline doesn't work. Going into remote management on the display computer and then closing that, then going Online.

 

This is happening with three different showfiles with two different production-display computer pairs. This happens more often on one showfile than the other two.

 

The Production/Display combo are both on their own network with no other traffic.

I turn on the Display computers remotely using the Watchout Production computer.

The splash screen does not display any error message.

I've tried booting manually, giving them more time between commands but that does not seem to have any effect on the outcome.

The two solutions above seem to be the only procedures that seem to help.

 

Does anyone have any advice on how I might fix this? Or provide me with some insight on what may be happening? Thanks in advance.

 


 

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Using the tweaks as listed in the forums, yes. All the computers in use have those tweaks applied. Firewall, UAC and Windows Defender are off on all machines.

 

And this is happening to two completely isolated networks consisting of:

1st (1 WO Prod computer, 1 WO display computer)

2nd (1 WO Prod computer, 2 WO display computers)

 

Computers are tied into a 1GB network switch (one switch per network). There's no internet access. No other computers are on these networks.

 

After applying one of the "fixes" above, there are no further issues until the next time the machines boot up. This problem occurs more frequently on the 1st network than on the 2nd network. But sometimes, they work just fine.

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Can we assume the display machines in each scenario are identical?

Do the displays show an ip address on screen once they have reached the Watchout splash screen? If they do is it the address you expect?

 I think Adela is hinting that you may have more than one active network adapter on the machines. Is this so? If so you should disable the other adapters, be they lan or wireless.

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Hi Omar,

 

I agree with Neil, I think Adela talked about two different Networkadapters in one machine.

So if there are more then one, Switch off those ones you don´t need, even if it´s WiFi-Network-Card.

 

And, very important, don´t use more than one! Ip-Adress in a networkadapter!

If you are using more then one Ip (one for the Watchout-Network and maybe a second for your Office-Network or for an Internetconnection, Watchout won´t work properly, if the Ip-Adress for Watchout isn´t the first one in the list of the Network-Adapter! This problem we have since WO 4.x.

 

Another thing you can try: sometimes the GUI of Watchout-Production doesn´t work properly, the locator can´t be stoped or started and so on. To fix it, you just have to minimize the complete Watchout-Production-Windows into the Taskbar and maximize again. Maybe this will help you too.

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Can we assume the display machines in each scenario are identical?

Do the displays show an ip address on screen once they have reached the Watchout splash screen? If they do is it the address you expect?

 I think Adela is hinting that you may have more than one active network adapter on the machines. Is this so? If so you should disable the other adapters, be they lan or wireless.

 

Yes, the display machines are identical.

No, the display machine shows the Display Name and the Watchout Logo.

Ahh, thank you for clarfying that. Yes, there is a wireless card in both machines, but they are disabled. There is, and has only ever been one active network device on the display computers.

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Hi Omar,

 

I agree with Neil, I think Adela talked about two different Networkadapters in one machine.

So if there are more then one, Switch off those ones you don´t need, even if it´s WiFi-Network-Card.

 

And, very important, don´t use more than one! Ip-Adress in a networkadapter!

If you are using more then one Ip (one for the Watchout-Network and maybe a second for your Office-Network or for an Internetconnection, Watchout won´t work properly, if the Ip-Adress for Watchout isn´t the first one in the list of the Network-Adapter! This problem we have since WO 4.x.

 

Another thing you can try: sometimes the GUI of Watchout-Production doesn´t work properly, the locator can´t be stoped or started and so on. To fix it, you just have to minimize the complete Watchout-Production-Windows into the Taskbar and maximize again. Maybe this will help you too.

 

I finally understood what Adela meant. Nope, only one network adapter was active. I deactivated them before putting the machines into the show.

 

Each display computer only has one ip address assigned to it, and it is unique to the network. I don't think this is the problem.

 

Thank you for this tip! I ran into that issue before where the playhead gets stuck. I've been closing WO and restarting it. This little tip will save me time next time it happens. I think this is unrelated to the issue I am having, but I will try it next time.

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As the Tweak-list mentions, under "Network & Sharing Center"

 

"ONLY use 1 (one) network adapter, if there are more, DE-ACTIVATE the other/s"

 

Save yourself a lot of trouble.

 

/jonas

 

Oh yes. This was done before the computers went into service.

 

The strange part is that I don't get the normal WO spashscreen displaying the ip address waiting for a production computer. I'm getting the WO spashscreen with the Display Name. (As assigned in the showfile by the production computer.)

 

I am not a novice user, but I understand sometimes it's the basic things that trip us up. Thank you all for your ideas and assistance.

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Hi Omar-the fact you are not seeing the ip address on the Watchout splash screen does suggest a network issue.Are you using unmanaged switches? What OS are you running? I would expect the displays to identify themselves by name as well as ip address once Watchpoint has loaded.Have you disabled all but TCP/IPv4 in the adapter properties?

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Hmm, that is odd. I assumed that since I saw the Display name instead of the ip address, it meant that the Display computer connected to the production computer, loaded the correct showfile and was waiting to go Online. Usually when I see the ip address on the splash screen it means the production computer is not powered on, or there is a network issue connecting to it. Wouldn't having a network issue prevent me from fixing the problem by activating remote management? Also, I power up these display computers using Watchout, wouldn't a network problem prevent me from doing that?

 

I think what I am looking at is a Display computer that is connected to the Production computer, but in offline mode. (Just a theory here.) But going online/offline on the production computer is not affecting the display computer as it should.

 

My switches are unmanaged. All systems are Win7 home premium. If I manually boot up the Display computer before the production computer, then I get the splash screen with the IP address. But regardless of booting up manually or remotely through Watchout, the issue comes up with about the same frequency. All but TCP/IPv4 are disabled.

 

So far, activating remote management seems to fix it. I will try minimizing and maximizing WO on the production computer next time it happens.

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Hi Omar!

 

A few more questions.

 

1) Does this happen every time your start up the system or just sometimes?

2) Have you, as Jonas suggested, tried with a straight network cable by-passing the switch.

3) Any chance you have an external VNC (remote desktop service) running on your PCs?

4) What is your display/projector and what is the native revolution and refresh rate? The same setting i  WATCHOUT?

5) Is the display/projector connected directly to the display computer or is it going though some external hardware?

 

Best regards,
Fredrik S 

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  • 5 weeks later...

1) No, not everytime. And I cannot reproduce the problem. It is very random and have changed one variable at a time in order to reproduce it. I have been unsuccessful.

 

2) I have not. I cannot for some showfiles because they have more than one display computer. And a test like this would be inconclusive as I need to power up/down multiple times to wait for an occurance of the issue. I will try swapping out the switch though.

 

3) Nope, no chance. Computers were wiped and loaded up with Watchout per the tweaklist. They have never been used for anything else.

 

4) The native resolutions and refresh rates match across the board, (displays, win7 settings, watchout). To reiterate, I DO get an image (W/O splashscreen), but I DO NOT get the content in the timeline.

 

5) Display computer is connected directly to display/projector.

 

The Fix #2 seems to consistently correct this issue, so it has just become SOP when this happens. I'm no longer worried about it, just curious at this point.(vendetta?) Thank you all for your help, and if anyone has further suggestions, I'd like to hear them.

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First off, I respect Omar has done his homework and appreciate his good communication.

 

Yes, the display machines are identical.

 

Could you expand on that?

  • Are they cloned or simply individually tuned to the same list?
  • If you did clone, did you virus check your master before cloning?

I doubt it is a virus ... 

  • Do you have the ability to revert to your original clone image?

At some point you stop chasing this stuff and revert to 'known good state'.

If 'known good state' still exhibits the issue, it is back to the test bench.

  • Starting watchpoint computer(s) from shortcut in startup?
  • Any command line switches used in the watchpoint shortcut? i.e. startup script, noLogo, etc.

 

No, the display machine shows the Display Name and the Watchout Logo.

...

 

 

Hi Omar-the fact you are not seeing the ip address on the Watchout splash screen does suggest a network issue.Are you using unmanaged switches? What OS are you running? I would expect the displays to identify themselves by name as well as ip address once Watchpoint has loaded.Have you disabled all but TCP/IPv4 in the adapter properties?

 

That is a tell, as NS correctly pointed out.

 

...

 

The strange part is that I don't get the normal WO spashscreen displaying the ip address waiting for a production computer. 

  • Even before any attempt to connect with watchmaker is made?

with no IP on a virgin watchpoint logo screen

 . with no connection attempts or autostart scripts,

got to stop right there, eliminate production from the equation,

and determine why that is happening.

 

 

I'm getting the WO spashscreen with the Display Name. (As assigned in the showfile by the production computer.)

 

That is strange, and you are correct, the appearance of the display name

as a new (third) text line on the watchpoint logo screen is derived from the show data and

is an indication that watchmaker connected to watchpoint and attempted to load a show file.

But I do not think the IP address should disappear in this case.

 

As this is indicative of a network issue, FireWall is always the first suspect.

 

I believe the initial show load to watchpoint is done via documented IP ports,

but the next steps involve dynamically assigned IP ports.

Never seen a problem with that unless some form of port blocking is occurring.

 

Firewall is the usual suspect, and in Win 7, the FireWall 

has a nasty habit of turning itself on when related settings are tweaked.

 

Still, I do not think FireWall is what Omar is seeing.

-----

For consideration by those who may be seeing a firewall issue ...

 

It is possible to run WATCHOUT with Firewall On by

always granting permission when asked. 

Issue is, with dynamically assigned ports,

you will be periodically asked again.

watchpoint prevents that message from taking the foreground.

You might try quitting watchpoint when this occurs

to see if any Windows error messages are lurking behind.

 

Then check for for the presence of watchpoint and/or watchdog log files

in the log folder at watchpoint.exe's location.

 


 

Hmm, that is odd. I assumed that since I saw the Display name instead of the ip address, it meant that the Display computer connected to the production computer, loaded the correct showfile and was waiting to go Online.

 

All but the waiting to go Online part, it is not getting that far,

it has not completed all the checks it runs through before going online.

 

When you see that, it would be interesting to go offline,

open WATCHOUT Remote, connect to watchpoint, and open the show.

Bet it will work as there is only communication on the documented port,

watchpoint does not need watchmaker to open / load a show

that has been previously successfully transferred from watchmaker.

 

 

Usually when I see the ip address on the splash screen it means the production computer is not powered on, or there is a network issue connecting to it.

 

It means no connection has been made. 

A network issue would not display the IP address,

it either suppresses it, or you may see the local host address.

 

 

Wouldn't having a network issue prevent me from fixing the problem by activating remote management? Also, I power up these display computers using Watchout, wouldn't a network problem prevent me from doing that?

 

In general, yes to all of the above,

but if port blocking comes in to play - not necessarily,

as that is a very specific network issue.

 

Connecting with VNC could  result in different dynamically assigned ports 

on the next online attempt.

 

Wake On LAN is very different than anything else in the system

 it is not even IP, as it is done with the NIC's MAC address

which can not route outside the physical network.

 

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Nice intials. More details below:

 

Could you expand on that?

 

I was asked if the computers in both scenarios were "identical". I am talking about two separate systems consisting of a total of 5 dell computers. All of the Dell computers have the same configuration in terms of software and hardware. The only difference is that the production computers have a mouse, keyboard and usb midi device and do not boot Watchout automatically. The two seperate W/O systems that are not connected to each other in any way.

 

 

 

  • Are they cloned or simply individually tuned to the same list?
  • If you did clone, did you virus check your master before cloning?

 

Before the load-in, these machines were wiped, and installed with Watchout following the recommendations found on the tweak list (many thanks for that tweaklist by the way!). Then this image was copied to all of the computers, and then small modifications were made to each of the display computers. (ip addresses, network names, etc). I did not virus check the master, because I saw few chances of infection.

 

I doubt it is a virus ... 

  • Do you have the ability to revert to your original clone image?

At some point you stop chasing this stuff and revert to 'known good state'.

If 'known good state' still exhibits the issue, it is back to the test bench. <ouch>

 

I do have the ability to revert to the "original clone image" but I feel like, aside from eraseing the "shows" folder in the Watchout folders, I'm already there. There is a very small chance for viruses. This machines never connect to the internet and don't have any other use than to run Watchout.

 

 

  • Starting watchpoint computer(s) from shortcut in startup?
  • Any command line switches used in the watchpoint shortcut? i.e. startup script, noLogo, etc.

 

The display computers boot Watchout with the link in the Startup folder in the Start menu.

No switches were used.

 

That is a tell, as NS correctly pointed out.

 

  • Even before any attempt to connect with watchmaker is made?

with no IP on a virgin watchpoint logo screen

 . with no connection attempts or autostart scripts,

got to stop right there, eliminate production from the equation,

and determine why that is happening.

 

No. If the production computer is not on. The display computer shows the splash screen with its ip address. Normal, in my experience.

When this issue occurs, the display computer shows me its name, (as assigned by the production computer, with no ip address).

 

That is strange, and you are correct, the appearance of the display name

as a new (third) text line on the watchpoint logo screen is derived from the show data and

is an indication that watchmaker connected to watchpoint and attempted to load a show file.

But I do not think the IP address should disappear in this case.

 

I feel like the correct showfile is loaded. (Just a hunch.) As these machines are powered down each night after every show. And the displays are named differently per unique showfile (of which there are two).

 

If you have a working Watchout system right now, you can see what I mean:

 

If you are on a production computer and remote access one of your display computers, you'll see your diplay computer desktop with a minimized W/O window. In that window, there is splash screen, with the name of your display, but no ip address. This is the screen I am seeing on startup when the computer refuses to display the timeline content. And to reiterate, it only happens sometimes and seemingly at random, up until now, baffeling my operators.

 

As this is indicative of a network issue, FireWall is always the first suspect.

 

I believe the initial show load to watchpoint is done via documented IP ports,

but the next steps involve dynamically assigned IP ports.

Never seen a problem with that unless some form of port blocking is occurring.

 

All firewalls are disabled. Is there a pool of IP ports that W/O pulls from dynamically? Anything port range I should be watching?

 

 

All but the waiting to go Online part, it is not getting that far,

it has not completed all the checks it runs through before going online.

 

When you see that, it would be interesting to go offline,

open WATCHOUT Remote, connect to watchpoint, and open the show.

Bet it will work as there is only communication on the documented port,

watchpoint does not need watchmaker to open / load a show

that has been previously successfully transferred from watchmaker.

 

It means no connection has been made. 

A network issue would not display the IP address,

it either suppresses it, or you may see the local host address.

 

In general, yes to all of the above,

but if port blocking comes in to play - not necessarily,

as that is a very specific network issue.

 

Connecting with VNC could  result in different dynamically assigned ports 

on the next online attempt.

 

 

Wake On LAN is very different than anything else in the system

 it is not even IP, as it is done with the NIC's MAC address

which can not route outside the physical network.

 

Well, the old way of fixing this problem (Fix #1) was to go "Online" and "Offline" a few times. And to run through the timeline. Eventually the content would show up. But at unexplained intervals. So I know the showfile is there. Watchout Remote would be an interesting test, and I think you are right about that.

 

Hmm, not sure what part of the system would be port blocking. I'll look into that. Triple-check the firewall settings.

 

With no changes to the systems, sometimes they run well with no problems and other times this issue occurs.

When it does, establishing a Remote Management connection fixes it. In a typical run, we never use Remote Management for anything else.

 

This issue used to occur more frequently with my 1st Watchout scenario than the my 2nd.

Now it rarely occurs to the 1st and is happening more often on my 2nd.

I blame the Mayans.

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  • 1 year later...

I am having a very silimar issue. On startup one of my three display computers shows a black screen. If I remote in thought Watchout manager!ment and hit reload I can get it to go online. It was working fine until I added an third display to this 4 output machine. Going to check firewall setting after my show, any other suggestions?

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Hi,

 

do I get it right that the display computer is not in full screen mode when you have the problem that you can't access WATCHPOINT?

 

 

If you are on a production computer and remote access one of your display computers, you'll see your diplay computer desktop with a minimized W/O window. In that window, there is splash screen, with the name of your display, but no ip address. This is the screen I am seeing on startup when the computer refuses to display the timeline content. And to reiterate, it only happens sometimes and seemingly at random, up until now, baffeling my operators.

 

It looks to me as if there is another process (program, win service) loading at that point and stealing the focus from WATCHPOINT. The normal situation would be that WATCHPOINT loads up in full-screen mode with it's software version and the IP address displayed.

 

I am having a very silimar issue. On startup one of my three display computers shows a black screen. If I remote in thought Watchout manager!ment and hit reload I can get it to go online. It was working fine until I added an third display to this 4 output machine. Going to check firewall setting after my show, any other suggestions? 

 

Maybe a different issue here....

 

Are you sure that all displays are connected through good active DP adaptors and all EDID and frequency settings are the same on all display computers?

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