Temperatures effect on Mackie D8B

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by kmetal, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Hey all. The d8b/Mac g5 at the studio glitched out on me the other night during a session by freezing up and making a continuous stuttering sound. I know they are old, but the board seems to freak out a few times a year, by not starting up correctly (fader 16 moves slightly and quickly from the bottom making the chattering sound) causing me to have to restart it multiple times.

    there is a small thermometer/humidity gauge on the desk holding the board and it read 80 degrees and 35% humidity. The ac read 70degrees for the room overall.

    as soon as I powered down, I blasted the ac which is about 16' from the front of the desk and waited, after about five unsuccessful tries to restart the board over the course of about ten minutes (eternity in front of the client), the board started up. The thermometer read around 75. For the past 2 nights in a row I've left the ac on overnight, and it's started first shot, but most of the time it does w/out doing that, as it's usually in the 60's (if I had to guess) when everything is shut down.

    my current theory besides just sometimes this stuff happens, is that it got too hot. I asked around, and was told that 82 degrees is when digital gear becomes unhappy. The thermometer is just a cheap five dollar stick on, but it does move w temp, so I take it as a general idea type thing.

    i was just wondering if anyone else has heard of this temperature threshold, or experienced anything similar. I have to say I like the board a lot when it works, and maybe it's just wearing out, but it seems a tad bit unreliable for something meant for daily use, and especially from a company that I have experienced nothing but reliability. I compare them to shure as far as making an affordable reliable product.

    The board doesn't have any sort of fans except for the CPU/power supply, which is a separate unit, and there's about a foot of clearance from the front wall. I took the cover of the power supply and and vacuumed out as much dust a could, but there was a whole lot. This puzzles me.

    which is making me question if it could be the computer, which is connected to the board via a midi time code connection. Any thoughts?

    thanks for any replies
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    time to can the mackie ....
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Hmmmm.... I don't think that it's the computer. One way to check this would be to disconnect the MTC from the board and see if you still encounter the same issue(s).
    MTC does nothing more than connect your computer to your board to handle things like automation, sync, etc. I'm not saying for sure that the Mac isn't the problem, I'm saying that I don't think it is, based on what you described.

    From what you wrote, It sounds to me as if the issue lies within the mackie. It could be any number of issues; temperature is certainly a possibility, but there could be other problems as well, any number of which could cause the board to do what it's doing.

    Have you tried re-initializing the board? I don't have any experience with your Mackie but on many consoles and controllers, you can reinitialize to "factory defaults".

    The downside here - and warning - is that doing so may wipe out any mixes you have stored, so you won't want to do this in the middle of a client's project, unless you can get those settings back quickly from memory
    (I'm talking about your memory here... not the computer kind LOL).

    Re-initializing may be as simple as starting with a brand new mix template on the menu, or, it may involve powering the unit up while holding down a succession of function switches. You'll have to either check your manual for this, or call Mackie and ask them.

    Finally, and this may be a long shot....I'm assuming that the console, because it's digital, has some kind of motherboard installed, and if so, it would likely have a battery (lithium probably)...if it does, have you checked the condition of the battery on the mackie's MB?
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    There's no magic temperature at which digital equipment becomes unreliable. In some of the contract designs I have done I've had the choice of analog or digital implementation and gone for digital because, with careful design, it can operate at elevated temperatures without drift and other heat-related problems associated with analog circuits.

    That said, there are many things that can cause equipment unreliability whether it's analog or digital, and one of those is deterioration of connector contacts with age. To that end, I would open the unit and unplug and re-plug the inter-board cables.

    The symptoms you report of the way your mixer misbehaves would lead me to check several other things before condemning it: power rail voltages, board edge connectors and (for older digital gear) EEPROM socket contacts.
  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Thanks fellas.

    Sounding to me like the board needs a tune up, which is beyond my capability, so I'm gonna run it by the owner. We have had the caps replaced in the power supply about 2 years ago, and it lower the noise floor a bit, so maybe it's time for the board to get some love.

    fwiw- I called makie and they had 2 things to try. Recalibrate the faders, which is a function the board does on its own, apparently they need to be done a couple times a months, so that's on the list. And they said to update to the latest software, which is slightly difficult because it's via floppy disk, so I'd need to find a USB floppy drive.

    im happy to report no issues last night, although, the day before it was mildly weird. I don't like not having confidence in my tools, so I'm meeting w the owner tonight and will address it.

    thanks again fellas, as usual, great replies!
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member


    Sabrent 1.44MB External USB 2X Floppy Disk Drive (Black) at TigerDirect.com
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Thanks d I might just have to get one. I'm disappointed to report that the CPU froze up again in the middle of a training session. Time to install the quad core soon as this current project is done, its been sitting around since the summer. Probably gonna have to make due w the board but hopefully we can get a tune up for it soon.

Share This Page