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Unit not working - initial checks for the Philips amBX system




If any part of your system isn’t working, don’t rush into anything, do some checks. Because something isn’t working properly, it doesn’t always mean that a part is faulty or the software / drivers need to be reinstalled. You wouldn’t normally need to take any part of the equipment apart to get it working again and, indeed, that should only be done as a last resort because of the risk of damaging something. Even then, any work on the equipment should only be done if you feel confident and know what you’re doing.

Read through the relevant pages on the site first.


Don’t uninstall / reinstall the drivers until you’ve done a few simple checks, such as checking cables etc. The software may be working correctly but the fault is somewhere else. When you uninstall and re-install the software, there’s always a chance that there may be a problem with the software installation and then you won’t know where the problem is.

Go through the basic checks below. If you have another wallwasher, then try swapping them over to see if that solves the problem. If the wallwasher still doesn’t work after the checks, then re-install the software and see if that cures the problem.


Software installation

Important - read the information on the Wiki page, especially if you are using Windows 7 / 8:

http://www.amBX.com/wiki/Installation


First, some basic information (fuller details are on the relevant pages). The wallwasher has three states:

OFF - it is disconnected from the mains or the PSU is unplugged

ON - it is connected to the mains

Standby

By default, as long as the USB is connected, when the wallwasher is first switched on at the mains, the wallwasher will be in the ON state

When ON, all the equipment is connected

When in Standby, all the equipment, including the subwoofer, is disconnected. The wallwasher can be put in and out of Standby by pressing the switch on the side of the wallwasher or speakerlight. If there is no USB present, the wallwasher will go to Standby mode.


Do the following basic checks:

Check all cables by physically pushing their plugs in, to ensure they are making a proper connection

Make sure the PSU is connected to the wallwasher

Make sure that the PSU is connected to a working mains socket and the socket is switched on (the PSU should have a green light)

Make sure the USB cable is connected to the wallwasher

Make sure the other end of the USB cable is connected to the PC

Make sure the PC is switched on

If you have the subwoofer / speakers, then also:

Make sure the subwoofer is turned on at the mains (if you have the speakers)

Make sure the 7-pin mini-din audio plug from the subwoofer is connected to the wallwasher

Make sure the jack lead is connected between the PC Line Out / Audio Out socket and the subwoofer Audio In jack socket


It is important that you have a good USB connection. A poor or intermittent connection can cause problems. This is especially so if you have an extra long cable or a cable connected to a system of hubs etc. - see the USB page



Some scenarios:

The amBX has been working normally and then stops

The amBX system works intermittently

Nothing working

Speakers, if you have them, are working, but the lights, fans and rumbler are not working

Speaker problems - no sound, lights working OK

Speaker problems - no sound, no lights

Lights flash then nothing

Light problems - general

Light problems - an individual light has a wrong colour, no specific colour, or it is flickering



The amBX has been working normally, and then stops

When a problem first occurs and there is nothing displayed in the DirectControl panel, shut down the PC completely. Reboot the PC and see if the amBX is now working. Sometimes there can be an intermittent fault on the PC side that can cause problems. A known problem with Windows XP is that if the wallwasher is turned off, or the USB cable unplugged, this may cause problems such as freezing etc. A reboot normally sorts out any problems.

Reset the wallwasher (see below)


The Madcatz Cyborg lights can have different installation problems or there may be an occasion where one light suddenly stops working - see the Madcatz / Madcatz help page for further information.



The amBX system works intermittently

This may be due to software, a poor connection, USB problems, or a fault.

If you have the speakers and the subwoofer is not affected, it may be a software problem


If the speakers are intermittently lost as well (you might here the relay in the subwoofer clicking) it may be that the wallwasher is going in and out of Shutdown. This could be due to a loose connection or a faulty cable. Check the USB and PSU connections. Try a replacement USB cable.

It may also be due to a USB problem, this is especially likely if you have recently extended the USB cable or the USB cable is connected to a hub chain - see the USB page



Speakers, if you have them, are working, but the lights, fans and rumbler are not working

For these to work, the amBX software / drivers have to be installed and the devices showing in the DirectControl panel.

It is a “catch 22” situation - the wallwasher will not work if the software is not installed correctly, and the lights etc. will not be shown in the DirectControl panel if there is a problem with the wallwasher or possibly a problem with the software installation.


If you have a speaker and that is working, then it proves that the wallwasher is ON and not in Standby.



Nothing working

If the system is completely dead, it may be that it’s just in Standby mode. Unfortunately, there’s no physical indication as to what state the wallwasher is in - OFF, ON or Standby.

Press the On / Standby switch on the side of the wallwasher. If that doesn’t make any difference, switch the wallwasher off at the mains and on again. This should put the wallwasher in the ON state.


Do the following checks:

Is the PSU connected to the wallwasher?

Is the PSU switched on at the mains?

Is the USB cable connected to the wallwasher?

Is the USB cable connected to the PC?   (Connect the wallwasher to the PC directly, using a standard size cable)

Is the PC switched on?

All the above are necessary for the wallwasher to be ON. No USB connection will mean that the wallwasher will be in Standby. Pressing the ON / Standby switch won’t make any difference.


Confirm that the power supply is working

When you first connect the power supply to the wallwasher, there is a brief flash of light from the wallwasher and sidelights. This proves the power supply is connected, although is not necessarily a guarantee that the PSU is working correctly or is sustaining an 18v output under load.

If the USB cable is not connected to the wallwasher and PC, then the flash will be very brief (½ - 1 second). If the USB cable is connected correctly, then the flash will last a little bit longer (about five seconds, then fades).


No light on the PSU

Ensure that the mains socket is working. Plug the PSU into another socket if necessary.

Check the PSU is plugged into the mains socket and switched on.

Check the fuse (if fitted) in the mains plug.

Check the mains cable is fully plugged into the PSU.

Measure the voltage at the PSU plug that goes into the wallwasher. This is measured between the inner pin (+ve) and the outer metal part of the plug (-ve) This should be approximately 18v DC. If the voltage is different to this, it may be that the PSU is faulty - see the PSU Faults page (via the Power Supply tab).


There is a light on the PSU

Check the PSU cable is fully plugged into the wallwasher.

Try pressing the switch on the wallwasher. If nothing happens, reset the wallwasher.


Ensure the wallwasher is connected to a USB socket on a working PC and check to see if there is a red light and a (less obvious) flashing green light visible through the gap at the bottom of the front of the wallwasher - they’re not always easy to see, looking at the unit in a darkened room will help. These won’t be lit if the wallwasher isn’t connected to the PC as detailed above).

If you can see a light, this proves that the PSU is switched on and connected.


If there is no red light visible on the wallwasher and there is a light on the PSU

Try flexing the PSU cable up and down between the PSU and the plug in the wallwasher.

Try flexing the cable where is joins the plug and where it joins the PSU.

If the wallwasher and sidelights temporarily flash as you flex the cable, there may be a broken wire in the cable - see the Power supply page for repair details.


If the lights still do not flash, measure the voltage at the PSU plug that goes into the wallwasher. This is measured between the inner pin (+ve) and the outer metal part of the plug (-ve) This should be approximately 18v DC. If the voltage is different to this, it may be that the PSU is faulty - see the Power supply page


Wallwasher switch

The wallwasher switch does not latch in the on or off position. When pressed, it just temporarily makes a connection to send a signal to the wallwasher circuits to put the wallwasher in standby (if already off) or switch it on from standby. If the PSU is switched off or disconnected from the wallwasher, the standby or ON status is lost. When the PSU is next switched on or is connected to the wallwasher, the wallwasher is reset and automatically goes into ON mode. When reset, whether the wallwasher was previously switched on or off by the wallwasher switch doesn’t make any difference.


To reset the wallwasher

Either remove the PSU plug, or switch off the PSU at the mains. Wait one minute, or until the green light goes out on the PSU. Reconnect / switch on the power supply.



If the PSU appears to be OK, or after testing the wallwasher with another PSU and nothing is still not working, one possibility could be that the wallwasher switch is stuck in and sending a signal to the wallwasher to go into standby. This is unlikely, but to prove whether it is this or not, one way would be to disconnect the switch plug from the wallwasher PCB.  The switch is not essential and the wallwasher works as normal without it. The only thing you won’t be able to do is put the wallwasher to standby. Personally, I always prefer to turn the PSU off at the mains anyway.


Is an accessory faulty?

If the wallwasher is detected in the DirectControl panel and the wallwasher lights work when there is nothing else connected to the wallwasher, but doesn’t work with the accessories connected, it’s possible that a faulty accessory may be causing problems.


As a process of elimination, disconnect (if fitted) the fans, the rumbler and both sidelights. This should just leave the wallwasher connected to the PC via the USB cable, and connected to the PSU via the PSU cable. Reset the wallwasher. If the wallwasher is now recognised in the DirectControl panel, set the lights to maximum white. If the wallwasher lights now work, try connecting the accessories one at a time, beginning with one sidelight. If the unit goes dead after you’ve reconnected an accessory, it’s possible that that accessory might be faulty. Unplug it, reset the wallwasher and try again. If the result is still the same, try another accessory (reset the wallwasher first, if necessary). If everything else works correctly, then you will need to replace or repair the faulty accessory.

For more information on an accessory, see the relevant page



Speaker problems - no sound, lights working OK

If the lights, fan or rumbler are working, then this proves that the wallwasher is ON and not in Standby:

- see the Subwoofer and speakers page



Speaker problems - no sound, no lights

- see the Nothing working” section above



Lights flash then nothing

When you first connect the power supply to the wallwasher, there is a brief flash of light from the wallwasher and sidelights. This proves the power supply is connected, although is not necessarily a guarantee that the PSU is working correctly or is sustaining an 18v output under load.

If the USB cable is not connected to the wallwasher and PC, then the flash will be very brief (½ - 1 second). If the USB cable is connected correctly, then the flash will last a little bit longer (about five seconds, then fades).


If you have speakers and they’re working, or you can see that the red and green LEDs are on inside the wallwasher, then the unit is on. It’s possible that this might be a software problem. Confirm that the drivers are installed correctly, the amBX is recognised in Windows and the devices are showing in the DirectControl Panel.



Light problems - general

Colours that are displayed incorrectly may be software-related or due to a fault. It’s important to be able to tell the difference between a faulty individual light and a potential software issue.


The easiest way to tell is to set all the lights to show a white light. If all the lights show a white light correctly, then they are OK. Note that there may be different degrees of whiteness, such as a slightly pink hue, and is usually noticeable when comparing the sidelights. This doesn’t mean that the light is defective. It is usually because there is a slight difference in calibration between the lights. A fault on the light would have a more noticeable effect (see the next section).


If all the lights are OK, then the problem is probably software related. The symptoms may vary. The lights may work normally with some programmes or games, but not with others. There can be various reasons for this, such as a conflict with other software on the PC, the operating system, the programme / game, etc. or the software / drivers not installed properly. You could try reinstalling the amBX software.

It’s too varied to cover here, but the Technical Support and feedback topic on the amBX forum is a good place to find out more - read through the existing posts or post your own query.


 

Light problems - an individual light has a wrong colour, no specific colour, or it is flickering

Where the symptoms just affect one sidelight / speakerlight or individual wallwasher light, this is normally due to a fault with that light, rather than a software issue.

- see the Sidelight pages or the Wallwasher light pages