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Hardware Thread, Whiteboard interference HELP!!! in Technical; I have a whitebaord that is affected by interference form some external radio/microwave source. It works fine on one side ...
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    Question Whiteboard interference HELP!!!

    I have a whitebaord that is affected by interference form some external radio/microwave source. It works fine on one side of the school but move it to the other and the board cannot recognise the pen!

    I've lined the wall with foil & earthed the foil to try to disperse the interference and this has helped a bit but you still can't draw a line with the pen.

    Any ideas please????
    L

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Have you identified the source of the interference. In the past I've traced it back to electrical cabling.

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    Not sure - there is a wireless broadband link to the junior school nextdoor and the reciever is on that side of the building. Could that be it & if so what is the solution?

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Is the whiteboard wireless?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lindabutler View Post
    I have a whitebaord that is affected by interference form some external radio/microwave source.
    What sort of board is it - are you sure the pen communicates with the board via microwave radio? ebeam and Mimio pens communicate with the board via ultrasound, although the board itself might then communicate with the PC via wireless (yes, they would seem to use the same chunk of bandwidth as 802.11xx devices).

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    The board is an RM SmartBoard and it is all wired. USB from laptop to board controller and serial from laptop to projector.
    Any ideas?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lindabutler View Post
    The board is an RM SmartBoard and it is all wired. USB from laptop to board controller and serial from laptop to projector.
    I don't quite get what the radio/microwave interference would be interfering with - surely Smartboards are large touch-sensitive pads that you can draw on with just the end of your finger? Is it more likely that the board has been bashed in transit and short circuiting part of the board surface somewhere?

    If you are wanting to block electromagnetic waves from the classroom, then a Faraday cage is what you want. We've had a couple of discussions about whether it would be feasible to construct one with "magnetic" metal-filing paint. This just might be a realistic answer - you can buy said paint readily enough at Focus or whatever. Probably cost you several hundred pounds to do a whole room, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lindabutler View Post
    I have a whitebaord that is affected by interference form some external radio/microwave source. It works fine on one side of the school but move it to the other and the board cannot recognise the pen!

    I've lined the wall with foil & earthed the foil to try to disperse the interference and this has helped a bit but you still can't draw a line with the pen.

    Any ideas please????
    L
    Erm, it sounds like a configuration problem on the computer. Are you using the same pc? What do RM say? Is the computer seeing the board, or is it as you say that the pen just isn't working on the board?

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    Unhappy

    Definately not the pen - that works fine on other boards. Definately not configeration issue as laptop works with this and other boards on the other side of the school. Whole set up works fine on the other side of the school!!
    It has to be some sort of interference.
    I'm going to see if I can turn off the wireless broadband transmitter in the junior school and see if that stops the problem. At least that might identify the scource. If it is that then I really don't know what I am going to do as I can't leave that switched off all the time!

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    if its a 600 series board try taking the screws out of the bottom that hold it to the wall, this sometimes causes an interferaance issue if there is any metal in the wall, you could try taking it off the wall completly rest it on the floor and see it the pen works, you would just have to look at the laptop monitor.

    try this and report back

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    Quote Originally Posted by lindabutler View Post
    I'm going to see if I can turn off the wireless broadband transmitter in the junior school and see if that stops the problem. At least that might identify the scource. If it is that then I really don't know what I am going to do as I can't leave that switched off all the time!
    That would be a good place to start - even though it doesn't solve your problem, it at least identifies it for you so you can start looking for a solution.

    What else is nearby? Food tech rooms/kitchens with microwaves, electrical sub-stations, large metal gantries, etc...

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    Do know if this is relevant or not but we do have a SMART board that sends out lots of wireless 'noise' itself - we found out using a spectrum analyser and the whole room was suffering - fine when the board was unplugged at USB...

    Sounds very much like it isn't calibrated but once you've done that I'd call out the manufacturer - not likely to be much user-servicable stuff in there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I don't quite get what the radio/microwave interference would be interfering with - surely Smartboards are large touch-sensitive pads that you can draw on with just the end of your finger?
    True, but what you're drawing on with your pen/finger/etc is a fine grid of wires with an electric current running through them; the board determines contact by detecting distortions in the flow of electricity through that grid. Put a large enough electrical object close by and you can get interference (power packs/transformers have been known to do this). This is also why having them screwed too tightly to the wall can affect them, as it bends the grid into a slightly different shape.

    @Lindabutler - are you using the same wires in the working and non-working locations? We had a problem on one of our boards due to the amount of power being sent down the USB cable (the board was on quite a long cable run) which we resolved by plugging it into a powered hub instead of directly into the PC.

    That's possibly worth a try even if it is the same cable - it could be that whatever is causing the interference is drowning out the already weak signal from the laptop, but if you boost that with the powered hub it might get through better. I'm just theorising, of course, but it seems worth a shot to me...
    Last edited by enjay; 29th January 2008 at 11:37 AM.

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    I've already tried taking it off the wall & no joy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickJones View Post
    True, but what you're drawing on with your pen/finger/etc is a fine grid of wires with an electric current running through them; the board determines contact by detecting distortions in the flow of electricity through that grid. Put a large enough electrical object close by and you can get interference (power packs/transformers have been known to do this). This is also why having them screwed too tightly to the wall can affect them, as it bends the grid into a slightly different shape.
    Ah, I see. Hmm, could be a strong magnetic field of some kind, then? Big CRT monitor or TV screen nearby (or on the other side of the wall)? Could be (high voltage?) power cables going through the wall behind the IWB.

    Edit:
    Quote Originally Posted by lindabutler
    I've already tried taking it off the wall & no joy.
    Darn, scratch that idea, then.

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