axeel_b Posted January 2, 2021 Share Posted January 2, 2021 Hi to everyone, I would like to bring some more information on what seems to be a real issue on this unit (HELIX Floor): USB connection issues. After searching for info on the forum I understood I'm not the only one facing the same problem. Moreover, it seems like a firmware update could not fix this behavior as from my search I see that this issue is present right from the beginning of the product life. Description of the issue After connecting the unit to a PC (Windows or Mac) with the USB cable the Helix Edit software is not able to detect the device (No device connected) even after several operations like rebooting the PC or the Helix and replacing the USB cable which is the "official solution" provided in almost all cases open here on the forum. Possible fixes 1) drivers loading issues: as reported by some users on the forum, after completely uninstalling the product and the drivers or after a deep cleanup of the PC, usually this issue can be fixed. This is a Windows classic. Here y ou can more or less easily understand if you are falling in this kind of situation if the Helix is not recognized under Device Manager (Windows). See the attached picture Helix device manager.jpg In my experience with USB devices and drivers Windows may be the root cause of this issue. I don't have any experience with Mac to provide any help, but usually a healthy system is still less prone to this kind of issues. On some USB devices I also noted that Windows Update may be an issue if the driver software is also provided through system updates: if you need to stick with an explicit release of the drivers, you will eventually need setup your system so that further updates will not replace the current drivers version. 2) Cable quality: this is where the Helix is very sensitive. This can be seen usually when working with Helix Edit, but not only in that situation. When you fall under this issue Windows Device Manager may show correctly your device in the devs tree, but unfortunately Helix Edit will refuse anyway to connect the device. This problems occurs if, for some reason you cannot use the original USB cable provided with the unit (for example if you purchased it second hand just like me and the original cable was missing from the box). Anyway, the official solution provided on this forum is "replace your USB cable" which is something I always found very poor as an answer to such a great and common problem. But despite to my considerations and testing it's sadly true: you need to find the perfect USB cable. Now, before you waste your time searching in all your boxes for all those USB cables you collected in a lifetime, let me add one more apparently silly thing: size matters. But in this case it's exactly the opposite of what you think: use a short and shielded USB cable. I've successfully connected my unit also using a 2 meters USB cable equipped with ferrite filters on both ends but again, even if this cable works as expected 98% of the times, sometime it fails. I found an USB cable coming from an HP USB external drive. This cable has no ferrite filters but is quite rigid and maybe a little bit thicker than any other cable I have. But most important, it's short: 1 meter including connectors. The printing on the cable itself says that it's shielded, but all USB cables are shielded. I may only think that this cable has a better shielding (indeed its rigidity and thickness may be the proof) and since it has no ferrite filters, it's length makes the difference. Finally, this is the only cable that is always able to connect the Helix 100% of the times on any computer I commonly use (a desktop and a laptop). About USB hubs, I never tested if this cable works also when connected to the Helix through an external hub because I understood this may not be the way it's designed to work. I can only say that when using a short shielded USB cable, it doesn't matter on which PC port you connect it. More about USB connections Ok, it's clear that a short USB cable (better if shielded and with ferrite filters) it's a key point to happily live with your Helix. But why? Based on my experience and verifications when you connect the Helix to your PC you end up having what is technically called a "composite device", which indicates that your Helix implements more than one device for the OS system (Windows or Mac). In fact Helix implements an audio interface, a MIDI interface and some other interfaces that are probably bound to Helix Edit and the firmware update tools. (Since I do these things regularly in my day job..) I used a Windows debugging tool called USBView to see how Windows is detecting the Helix in different situations: long cables, short cables, front usb port or rear ports. Really not that special, but this tool is quite simple and gives a very first basic view of all devices connected to the PC and how Windows is able to see them. This first image shows a perfectly and healthy Helix floor connected to the port 6 of my Laptop (port 6 of an internal hub) using the short shielded cable mentioned above. While the next image shows the same unit connected to the same port using a different cable. Now, you cannot see the entire log available on the right site of the window, but all information reported by the tool are the same in both situations. No error are reported at this stage an all interfaces can be clearly described by the system. Unfortunately in the second situation Helix Edit is not able to connect the hardware. I noted that sometime the connection works for few seconds before being dropped, but despite to this, the USBView application is not detecting any the device disconnection, which means that the device is still able to work and share information with the OS (i.e. all drivers are still loaded and working). Final conclusions I experienced several issues with USB connections while using the Helix. Most of the time they are related to the connection with the editing software, but as stated at the beginning of this post, they can represent a problem on different stages. As an example, sometime also the audio interface fails to work when using the wrong cable, even if this is quite a rare situation. On the counter side, I can quite always have it working perfectly as an audio interface (included using ASIO drivers), while I cannot use the editing software. I would eventually do more testing and investigations if someone would send me a feedback on this. Alex B. 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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