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axeel_b

Instable USB connection

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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 

Helix device manager

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.

170598569_HelixconnectedtoLaptop(Working)withinternalhub.thumb.JPG.97bca62dd761dc9d220d6383f130985d.JPG

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.

389739100_HelixconnectedtoLaptop(Notworking).thumb.JPG.65fd076b8028cdf7050b762fe8b64178.JPG 

 

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.

 

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Make sure that you are running the same version of HXEdit as the hardware. Currently the latest FW is v3.01 and HXEdit v3.0.

Composite Device is a MAC thing. Windows can only handle one ASIO Driver at a time unless you get lucky using ASIO4ALL.

Someone will no doubt jump in and recommend that, I don't.

 

EDIT: If you're connecting thru a hub don't. If using a desktop, use the rear MB connectors. Don't use a 3.0 port. I have a 10 foot cable on my Floor, no problem, but I had trouble with the regular cable and a 10 foot extension. If I think of more....

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18 hours ago, axeel_b said:

But despite to my considerations and testing it's sadly true: you need to find the perfect USB cable.


I have contacted Line 6 about my issue with the original USB cable (audio was crackling and Hx Edit disconecting after 2min.). They responded with some gauge considerations. What I understood the perfect USB cable is that working with Helix and an attached USB host.
They would replace it with whatever they have in stock anyway, so I gave up.

"This depends on the used setup (USB port, chipsets etc)
sometimes different diameters work better on some systems, but there's no general rule :
USB cable diameters are (hidden in the code printed on your cable)
AWG 24: 0.511 mm
AWG 28: 0.321 mm

if it works better with another cable, we recommend using that one

Best regards,
Technical Support
Line 6 Support Europe"

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@rd2rk

Well, first of all thanks for your reply. Having all things updated is a basic step I forgot to mention in my previous post. 

 

12 hours ago, rd2rk said:

Composite Device is a MAC thing. Windows can only handle one ASIO Driver at a time unless you get lucky using ASIO4ALL.

Someone will no doubt jump in and recommend that, I don't.

Actually there is a misunderstanding here, I'm referring to USB Composite Devices not ASIO multi device drivers usage to group channels from different audio interfaces.

Anyway the audio interface endpoint of the composite device implemented by Helix seems NOT to be affected by connectivity issue. In fact, when using a "bad" cable, I can successfully use a DAW application to record and stream audio from the Helix, but I cannot access any preset using Helix Edit.

 

16 hours ago, rd2rk said:

If you're connecting thru a hub don't.

...as I said, I won't.

 

16 hours ago, rd2rk said:

If using a desktop, use the rear MB connectors.

This is a direct consequence of how frontal USB ports are wired to the MB, which anyway may be considered as an additional unshielded connection. Using the rear connectors provides a direct connection to the USB bus on the MB which are (by design) shielded.

The key point, in my opinion, is that a shielded cable should have also shielded connectors and the reason is clearly explained here: USB Cables shielding matters as well...

 

16 hours ago, rd2rk said:

 I have a 10 foot cable on my Floor, no problem, but I had trouble with the regular cable and a 10 foot extension. If I think of more....

Good for you. I would like to know the specifications of your USB cable. Can you provide a link here or just a picture of the connectors.

Extensions are indeed never a good thing as they are anyway an additional connection that may be not properly shielded or effective. I would anyway recommend using cables with ferrite filters on both ends for lengths above 1 meter.

(By the way, I have only seen a picture of the original cable provided in the package, and it seems to have ferrite filters.)

 

I will anyway add one more personal consideration.

I've read hundreds of posts here of people wondering why the hell this unit is so fragile with USB connection (edit only). After all, if we take ASIO and audio streaming out of the picture (ASIO and audio streaming are NOT an issue...), what remains should rely on low transfer rates: memory dump and preset editing should be an "easy" task for USB 2.0 also at low speed. Doesn't this sound strange to you? 

 

We all blame cables but It shouldn't be like that, not for the presets and patch dump at last. I'm not saying this is a bad product, really, I bought it two months ago and I would definitely buy it again if for any reason I should.

But in these two months I experienced too many issues with USB connections and from what I can read on this forum I'm not the only one (absolutely only related to Helix Edit connectivity, NOT ASIO...again, NOT ASIO or audio streaming). 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, axeel_b said:

After all, if we take ASIO and audio streaming out of the picture (ASIO and audio streaming are NOT an issue...), what remains should rely on low transfer rates: memory dump and preset editing should be an "easy" task for USB 2.0 also at low speed. Doesn't this sound strange to you? 


Not at all, because my case was different. You have some trace of evidence based on your case but the data is at Line 6 Customer Support. They recommend you to get a cable which works properly with your host and they probably know you will instead of sending them several replacement cables back.

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18 hours ago, axeel_b said:

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.

 

 

Most of your lengthy post simply serves (for me) to confuse the issue.

 

My Helix (both Floor and Stomp) connect directly to my laptop(s) (running Win10) USB ports and I have NO problem with using HXEdit and a DAW  (or standalone amp sim) at the same time, AND with a Powercab also connected AND running Powercab Edit at the same time as HXEdit and a DAW, AND with an external AI (Scarlett) thrown into the mix.

 

I'm on v3.01 FW and v3.0 HXEdit. Nor did I have a problem with any previous FW or HXEdit versions, or with any (and I have used many) USB cables except when I used too long a cable (6ft plus 15ft extension). I have never had to jump through the hoops you've been dealing with.

 

One of the problems that some users have encountered has to do with the Boot drive NOT being Drive 0. This has only been a problem on a certain type of high-end gaming MB.

 

Maybe if you describe the HW you're using that might help.

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@zolko60

Yes, I agree, it's not that easy to find the best match.

 

About gauges, curiously all cables I have in my house are 28AWG/1p (data conductors) 24AWG/2c (power supply conductors).

For this reason I take that as a minimum for a standard USB cable.

 

At the end I still believe the difference is all in shielding.

 

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48 minutes ago, rd2rk said:

Most of your lengthy post simply serves (for me) to confuse the issue.

Apologize for that...my intention was to give as more info as possible in a single post, in order to have a detailed picture of the environment. 

53 minutes ago, rd2rk said:

My Helix (both Floor and Stomp) connect directly to my laptop(s) (running Win10) USB ports and I have NO problem with using HXEdit and a DAW  (or standalone amp sim) at the same time

Neither do I, when using the "proper" USB cable. In my previous post when I say <<when using a "bad" cable, I can successfully use a DAW application to record and stream audio from the Helix, but I cannot access any preset using Helix Edit.>>  I wanted to point out the fact that while ASIO and audio streaming was working like a charm, HX Edit was still reporting "Device not connected". I was not referring to overall resource usage (CPU or memory usage are absolutely low).

 

1 hour ago, rd2rk said:

Maybe if you describe the HW you're using that might help.

I use the Helix Floor on a Desktop (i7, 16 GB Ram, Z77 Express Chipset MB) for recording and HX Edit. Alternatively an HP ProBook i5 laptop for editing only. 

I have selected 2 quality cables here: 

  • a 2 meters cable with ferrite filters on both ends
  • a 1 meter shielded cable (coming from an HP external drive)

While both cables works almost fine on the desktop (front or rear), only the short cable works on the laptop.

 

Anyway, I'm fine with the fixes or workaround I have, i.e. use a good shielded cable (short cables works best). Everything is working. I'm able to use the Helix for all things mentioned above.

My first post was only to gather and/or provide more details on what seems to be a weakness on some units: USB connectivity instability against "common" cables. 

(For "common cables" I mean any USB 2.0 24AWG/2c 28AWG/1p cable you grab in your house and you knew it was working fine on all devices you connected with it.)

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So, it required special USB cables to get it to work on your system, but everything is now working?

If so, GREAT!

I have 8 USB devices (plus the wireless mouse) plugged into my studio laptop with assorted cables from my BIG BOX OF CABLES.

I was just looking at them and realized that one of the cables goes back more than 10 years to my first M-Audio AI!

I guess I'm just lucky to have such an accommodatingly  non-finicky system, and you, not so much. :-)

This digital world of ours is sometimes wonderful, and sometimes a royal PITA!

 

Rock on!

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First, I don't think focusing on the cables as the culprit in these situations resolves anything.  I have never had any problems with the USB connection on either of the Helix Floor units and I've never paid one moment of attention to what kind of cable I used.  In the case of my studio PC connected to my Helix I use a 15 foot USB cable that I dug out of my cable drawer and which has probably been in there 10 years.  What I have paid attention to is to make sure the USB port I'm using is connected to the motherboard and not to any form of internal hub circuit.  I've always used a traditional port and not a high speed port.

The mere fact that something works, or doesn't work, or intermittently works tells you nothing unless it's backed up by some form of event in the event log.  Everything else is just a guess.  I'd research this topic if I ever had a failure of my USB connection, but I never have, so I wouldn't have an error or warning log entry.  If you have the desire to track something like this down I'd suggest hooking up a cable that fails intermittently, and when it does, take note of the system time, then open the event log and look for suspicious entries in the system log around that time.  Maybe then we might discover something useful.

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Hi @DunedinDragon thanks for your reply.

23 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

I don't think focusing on the cables as the culprit in these situations resolves anything.

I agree with you but these are my evidences, and after all, it's the very first thing people on this forum tells you to do when you face connection issues.

I used 2 different pc (desk and laptop, both with Win 10 correctly updated and healthy). Installed all software properly and verified that each component is running fine, including the latest firmware update on the floor unit. All drivers are correctly installed. Just like you say, I never in my life paid attention to what kind of cable I'm using to connect most of the devices I use (external drives, audio interfaces, industrial equipment, measurements instruments...name one....). The fact is that my unit is quite "delicate" about what cable I use. This is it. I'm not telling everybody on the earth is facing the same, but surely you can find many people here arguing the same.

 

37 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

The mere fact that something works, or doesn't work, or intermittently works tells you nothing unless it's backed up by some form of event in the event log.  Everything else is just a guess.  I'd research this topic if I ever had a failure of my USB connection

You are right, I should mention it in my first post, sorry for that. Windows Event Log is not reporting any information related these events. I'm quite familiar with these tools that's why I can guarantee that there is nothing in it. There may be anyway at last two reasons for this: first, the application (HX Edit) is NOT crashing, which is by default the only situation where Windows Events could report something about it. Second, if it's not crashing, the only way you will find a report in the Windows Event logs is because the application is designed to send log information to that service. And it seems that HX Edit is not designed that way. 

 

If you, or someone else, know how to enable debug logs on HX Edit, that would be a nice thing to trace the issue.

Thanks.

 

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Hi all and hope transition from 2020 to 2021 went well

 

I will give you my comment on this and I think you are on to one part of the problem around USB problem. I think cable length matters and the quality of the cable. Probably also the behavior of the USB-port. Most likely hub or no hub. But it is a lot of other dependencies…

I have had some USB-related problems from beginning of 2020. Have reported this to Line6 and also in the helix bug report in this forum, here -

Don’t know if this is related to the same findings you have axeel_b, but during the investigation and testing I found some interesting behavior close to what you describe, and I got it on tape… I made some optimization of my rigg during the Christmas holidays, I added a Powercab Plus 112 and had to rearrange my studio corner including my earlier 3 meter/10 feet USB cables had to be exchanged for 5 meter/17 feet ones. All vent well and worked perfectly. I got a suggestion from Line 6 Support (they are so good). I went through the suggestions and thought they nailed the problem. Sorry to say but the day after I hade the same problem as described on the link above. Have upgraded the ticket with my findings and changes I made on my way to narrow down the problem.

 

During some more troubleshooting I find what’s on the tape, link below. The recording shows four things:

  • First part a test run that went normal. I start up my system, starts HX Edit and run a backup. This is done with the 3 meter cable. All running normal.
  • Second part I do the same thing but this time with the 5 meter cable. I run the backup and all goes well until it reach backup of the presets, then it fails. And this was what I found a few days ago, the length/cable quality do matters. I can repeat this over and over. The recording is done on the first take (even if the camera stop and I had to restart it…) and by some reason it lose the connection at the same point, always when it comes to back up presets.
  • Third and fourth part shows when running a set list backup. Again it fails when backing up presets. I tested this before and it did not matter what preset list I picked (in case on preset are causing it...). This time I only did it on one set list. What also happened this time, in the end of the recording, it got my PC to freeze… that has never happened before. Nothing else was running, hade to reboot the PC. One sequence I also show that my 5 meter cable work perfect when using the HX Edit to changing presets, changing amps etc. During backup it fails coming to presets.

The recording is to be found here (probably the most boring 6 minutes on Internet) - https://www.dropbox.com/s/x0l8t8yj2sve9cl/HX%2C USB BU failed.mp4?dl=0

 

So my conclusion is that the cable is important (quality and length). I have never used a 1 meter cable as my PC has not been close enough, but 2 and 3 meter frequently. I have had problems with some of those cables and shifted them out. I have had problems with USB-ports but always found one that worked. My brand new 5 meter USB cable does work except during backup of presets. My 3 meter cable works perfectly. When I got the PC+ I also ordered the 5 meter USB cables, one for HX and one for the PC+ (if price matters, they were not the cheapest... I check whats written in the cable and make an update). I have not seen any problems on the PC+ related to USB-communication.

 

I will be most interested to see where this is going. At his point I think the USB/cable-problem is just one part in this story (me saying that referring to my first link and what I see in different forums). The PC itself is a challenge itself due to all hw/sw combinations and configurations and depending how it is maintained (or not) by the user. Not an easy task to solve…

 

//Per

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Out of curiosity, I was searching online for USB cables to see what, if any, specs mfrs offered that might guide a decision on WHAT's THE BEST.

Best Buy's Magnolia Hi-fi snobs department offers a 10ft USB cable for $599.99. No real specs.

I think I need 10! 

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Hi rd2rk

 

30 minutes ago i find out that the delivery of my 5 mtr cable was a 6 mtr cable and for about third of the price. So a $18 cable was a $7 no spec cable. If I order the wrong one or if they delivered another I will try to find out. Anyway, the cable is a peace of crap and do exactly what i recorded on the video. And it failed again this afternoon when I was playing. The sentence is, a cable of bad quality cable will give trouble, cheap or expensive. My 3 meter that works is not a $600 cable from Magnolia Hi-fi snobs department. It came from a lokal store and if I remember correct I paid about $12 for it. I had to exchange the cable that came with my Helix three years ago, I constantly lost connection. Tomorrow I will go to the same store and by a 5 meter one of the same brand as my 3 meter. If it's to long for this application will show later. If it works I will change the one to my PC+ too.        

 

If you have trouble find a dealer, I can see if I can find one selling $600 cables for you. If you want 10 they can probably make a special order for you for just a little extra. But, I don't think you need that expensive cables, just the right quality. Something like what axeel_b described.

//Per        

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32 minutes ago, PerS said:

If you have trouble find a dealer, I can see if I can find one selling $600 cables for you. If you want 10 they can probably make a special order for you for just a little extra. But, I don't think you need that expensive cables, just the right quality. Something like what axeel_b described.

 

Which one of us missed the sarcasm emoji? Oh, that's right! This forum STILL hasn't fixed the emojis!

 

My point was that NOBODY gives any meaningful specs for USB cables. It's ALWAYS a crap shoot.

Data transmission speed and "better/multiple layers of shielding" is as good as it gets.

Some of us use whatever cable is handy and have never had a problem, though getting over 15ft can cause issues.

It would seem that some computers are more finicky than others.

My laptops (ancient Gateway i5 and HP i7-7500) are thankfully indiscriminate when it comes to USB cables.

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37 minutes ago, rd2rk said:

NOBODY gives any meaningful specs for USB cables. It's ALWAYS a crap shoot.

 

Recent 1st-hand anecdote, featuring a HX Stomp cameo:

 

I was setting up a buddy's brand new MacBook Air the other day. He wanted to attach an external Toshiba backup disk he just bought, but he couldn't because the MacBook comes with just two USB-C ports. So we went to my local electronics discounter around the corner to buy a female-USB-A-to-male-USB-C adapter. They had just one "no name" model to choose from, 20 cm, claiming to be USB 3.0 compatible with data throughput "5 Gbps". The disk comes with the standard "USB Micro-B Super Speed" port and a corresponding cable with the regular USB-A 3.0 plug. So in theory, all should work all right, right?

Wrong.

We've tried a dozen of USB cables that I have in my archives, a dozen of similar USB 3 hard drives I have, nada. I've plugged a few USB sticks directly into the adapter, nada.

Looking for more USB devices around our living room to test, I spotted my HX Stomp on the floor. Since it's supposed to work out of the box, class compliant, it's a good test object. So I plugged it into the adapter – and voilà! – it immediately popped up in the MacBook's Audio MIDI Setup app! So the USB adapter wasn't totally DOA after all. Eventually I recalled that the Micro-B-SS port on the Toshiba drive is compatible with the older Micro-B 2.0 plug, so I dug out one from my big USB cable archive box, and there was the drive after all. So this adapter apparently understands only USB 2, in spite of its misleading specs.

For what it's worth, last week I went back to the shop to have the adapter replaced. A few days ago my buddy came back with his new MacBook (I don't have any Mac with USB-C), but the replacement adapter turned out to be the same turd as the first one. To be continued tomorrow when the shop opens…

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Hi @lou-kash

can you please do one more test?

Connect your HX Stomp with that adapter and turn on HX Edit to do some preset readings ( @PerS says, as an example, backups can be an heavy task for it)

 

I'm asking this because, as I said in some previous post, most of the sub-devices available when connecting Helix (or in your case HX Stomp) with USB are correctly visible and working at first (MIDI, audio streaming, ASIO). You will see your Line 6 HX Stomp healthy and happy in your Device Manager - or whatever may be similar to it in Mac world - for as long as you want. Only HX Edit says "Device not connected".

 

Cheers!

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Just now, axeel_b said:

can you please do one more test?

Connect your HX Stomp with that adapter and turn on HX Edit to do some preset readings

 

I can't because as noted, I don't have any USB-C device, except the new Apple USB-C charger that came with our new iPad. And I didn't want to clutter my buddy's brand new MacBook with software he'll never use. (For the record, he plays sax. I have even installed GarageBand for him if he'd like to do some recordings, but he just said "meh"…)

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32 minutes ago, lou-kash said:

And I didn't want to clutter my buddy's brand new MacBook with software he'll never use.

...go for it! Install-test-uninstall....he'll never know!! ...this will be a secret between you, me and 40.000 users of this forum!!...;)

 

...just kididin' of course, thanks anyway!

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4 minutes ago, axeel_b said:

he'll never know!!

 

That's very likely, haha!

No, he's in a town 40 km away, so we don't see each other that often, let alone in these times. In fact, I have now installed TeamViewer on his MacBook in case he'd need remote Mac support. While that means I could remotely install HX Edit, sadly I don't have a 40 km USB cable handy to plug it in. :P

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Another fun USB anecdote.

 

My "studio" Laptop has 10 USB devices connected to it:

 

Helix

Powercab

Scarlett 18i20

Synth

FCB1010

Korg nanoKontrol

Akai APC mini

Printer

External HD

Wireless mouse

 

I was having a problem with USB ground noise (surprise!).

 

The synth and the FCB1010 require 2 way communication, so they're connected by a pair of $5 eBay DIN to USB cables.

the others are connected using whatever USB cables were in my BIG BOX of CABLES.

 

I had the Helix and the Scarlett plugged into two of the three USB A ports on the laptop.

I had a 7 port Amazon Basics Hub plugged into the third.

The laptop also has a USB C port, into which I had a USB C Hub with a 3.0A and a 2.0A port. The external HD was on the 3.0 and I had the Akai, and at some point in the troubleshooting process, all the other devices other than the Helix and Scarlett, on the 2.0.

 

I tried everything, swapping every device to every port, including a USB isolator which I applied to every device in turn (which made it worse!).

 

I hadn't tried the Amazon Hub into the USB C Hub because A) I suspected the Power supply was noisy and causing the problem, and B) I was sure it would confuse the Windows USB driver. Last resort, I tried it.

 

BINGO! No more noise. Fired up Reaper, everything worked as it should.

 

Final kicker.

The Helix is connected with a right angle adapter into a 10ft Amazon Basics USB extension.

The Powercab is connected with a 6ft USB cable that came with my first M-Audio AI nearly 15 years ago, into another 10ft Amazon Basics USB extension.

I've flashed the FW on both, no problem.

 

Moral of the story - USB is wonderful, weird and unpredictable. 

 

 

 

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Hi all,

I have some good/bad news (...different point of view may lead to different "feelings"): after @rd2rk and other people here making fun of me with all those ever working spaghetti-connections (..can you feel my envy??..) I decided to test my Helix floor on a third computer. My company laptop Lenovo T460s. 

 

Well, guys, I can connect my helix to that pc from the kitchen to my studio using any sort of USB cable and extension I'm able to grab in my house...and HX Edit still works successfully.

 

So my conclusions are that something bad is on my home desktop as well as on my home laptop side.

 

Yesterday I've seen a post about another user (on a different Line 6 product) with similar issues: he fixed the issue by adding an external powered HUB to connect the device. That solution made me think about the current provided by USB voltage pins. This is something I already talked in some previous post but I never had the chance to test. Anyway, I honestly refuse to think that my desktop has a weak +5V on all USB ports, but it may be due to some unwanted Windows or BIOS optimization that I'm not aware of.

 

MB chipset may be course another point to check for. I will continue this verification to see if I can understand something more about it.

 

Cheers.

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Hi axeel_b

 

I think this is great news. Troubleshooting at this level means both finding clues and eliminating things that have nothing to do with it. So, instead see this that we may have another clue to solve the problem. You never know even rd2rk may appreciate the findings on day when the backup doesn't work :-).

 

Like I said before, do not think this is one problem causing this. But it can also actually be the case that the same problem cause different symptoms on different machines (endless with combinations of how a PC can be configured in hw/sw).

 

My PC was built about 5 months ago. MB is an Asus Z490-A, processor Intel Core i5 10600K 4.1 GHz and the power supply is a Seasonic FOCUS PX 550W. Hope this has enough power to drive my USB-ports.

 

I ordered a new USB-cable today (would have bought it in town but reread your post and saw what you said about ferrite cores on the cable). I bought a 5-meter USB cable (I know, not 1-meter...), AWG 22/26 (ie a little thicker signal path, the one I have which is 3-meters and works has AWG 22/28) and ferrite cores at both ends (and the price was $ 18 incl shipping ;-). If my MB might have enough power capacity, then maybe it can work. Actually, do not know what to do otherwise...

 

Regardless, I, and think I speak for more users than me, appreciate your knowledge and all the work you put into this to find a solution to a very annoying problem. Many thanks for doing that...

 

I report back in my findings with my new cable, will get it tomorrow evening.

 

//Per

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Found this in another thread. Wonder if this can be another part of the lose connection puzzle?

 

 

 

 

 

The later comment in the last post above added some comment that Line6 uses the latest version of “libusb” (in the original post that was an assumption that they didn’t). It worked when johnny-longtorso manually installed the library but not as Line6 driver package. One thought he have is that multiple drivers could be installed on the PC (could also explain why I haven’t seen this as I uninstall and clean remains from the old installation, have only hade the cable issue and what I filed a ticket on – BSOD when turning of my PC and haven’t closed HX Edit), but no clue why it didn’t work on the MAC.

 

Could be a long shot, but what isn’t until there is a answer…

//Per  

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Hi @PerS

thanks for your kind words and contribution to this topic.

The issue with multiple drivers or software installed is very interesting: it seems at first that the drivers package Line 6 Driver2 Helix v1.95 Installer.exe contains different versions from the drivers deployed with HX Edit 3.00. This one has at last newer WinUSB drivers (1.0.0.6 vs 1.0.0.7). This may only be a label difference by the way..

 

Once again I cleaned all my pc and re-installed only HX Edit 3.00 which contains what it seems to be the newer version of all files. 

 

I found some interesting notes on this site: BIOS: Fixing Problems With USB Devices

Additionally on the laptop (HP ProBook 6470b) I updated the BIOS and all system drivers (MB chipset). I setup Windows 10 to use the High Performance power profile (which turns off all power optimizations).

 

I tweaked some interesting settings in the BIOS: I turned OFF USB Legacy Mode. I have no idea of what that could mean at low level, but on HP site they say this may fix many performance and connections issues you can have on USB devices. 

 

All these changes did not fix the issue. The laptop still results weak when connecting with certain USB cables. (Actually there are some little differences between the desktop and the laptop, where the first one is still better).

 

I will move on to some similar updates also on the desktop.

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Hi

A short feedback on my tests with my new 5-meter cable.

 

I have now for three days tried out my new USB-cable. Cable is marked USB revision 2.0, 26AWG/1P and 22AWG/2C, so obvious USB 2.0 specifications and the individual cords are a bit “chunkier”/thicker (sorry, English is not my native…) then my 3-meter cable. It also has ferrite cores on each end. My motive to pick this cable was based on part what axeel_b described and parts I found looking at the standard and some design rules.

 

I have assumed that Line6 has built the USB communication according to the USB 2.0 standard and with that in mind set my focus on cable quality/how its built, drivers and PC configuration.

 

So, I have pushed my PC to handle many USB-streams (tried to use all used USB-ports, mainly Helix and soundcard, but also mouse and keyboard) and many applications (running video incl sound, loaded other applications like Office 365,  Chrome etc.) at the same time. Including tests I made in the video published earlier in this post, eg backup. At no time did I have any interruption, BSOD or any trouble to do what I “needed”. Helix/HX Edit did not interrupt once. Backup that had 100% fail on the 6 meter cable hade 100% success on every attempt to run backup or operate my Helix on the new 5 meter cable.

 

I have a few more things to look over to “secure” a stable operation, will be back with my findings in more detail.

//Per

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Hi @PerS,

sorry for the delay, I had a busy (family) weekend.

 

 

On 1/9/2021 at 2:11 PM, PerS said:

Helix/HX Edit did not interrupt once. Backup that had 100% fail on the 6 meter cable hade 100% success on every attempt to run backup or operate my Helix on the new 5 meter cable.

This is great! I'm happy you have my same results!

 

By the way I believe 22AWG/2C makes a big difference here together with the ferrite. As long as I can see, if all these issues are in someway related to the power supply side of the USB cable (in particular the output current and the noise on the +5V), those things are quite deal breakers.

 

Thanks for sharing this.

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To be fair, this situation where the Helix or Helix edit, loses connection to a PC, is a bit of a joke. Obviously there is some kind of intermittent issue.

 

I'm happy for those who have never had issues with it, but a lot of people do have this issue. Ever since I had my Helix I had this problem on and off.

You see it a lot with updates, it's mostly the same fault, loss of USB connection. I've had different cables, used different ports, PC's, it doesn't cure it.

 

My Helix edit has been running fine with USB cable all week, then out of nowhere, it's not working again. Then it is briefly, and now not.

It's so unreliable that I've resigned myself to never being able to fully use the edit software.

 

I have long suspected that it may be the actual USB port in the Helix. It doesn't seem that firm a connection to me. It may be that some Helix models

got a perfect working port and others didn't but clearly the amount of swapping cables, re-downloading software etc, isn't really solving it. If it's a dodgy

port on the Helix and works intermittently, you're going to assume you've solved it by changing something when in reality, the port just started working again.

 

I don't know for sure, but I do know the USB connection has never worked 100% properly since the day I had the unit, despite all the variables I've tried

along the way.

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