Troubleshooting ResponsePad and ResponseLink Interference

Background

During your presentation, the OMBEA ResponseLink receiver communicates with the participant ResponsePads using two radio frequency (RF) channels:

  • Receive channel: The ResponseLink receives a vote from the ResponsePad.
  • Transmit channel: The ResponseLink sends an acknowledgement back to the ResponsePad. For a smooth presentation with quick voting, both the transmit and receive channels must be clear from interference. Under ideal conditions, and with a simple question (to prevent delays due to ‘thinking time’ from the participants) you can expect to collect 1,000 votes in 20 seconds. If there is wireless interference, this performance can be compromised and, in the worst case, the votes cannot get through at all. This more extreme scenario can happen in environments where there is RF ‘noise’ on an industrial scale, such as when broadcast TV equipment is operating nearby. In such circumstances you will need to find new channels for the ResponseLink, which are ‘clear’ from interference.

How to find a clear channel

You will need:

  • A computer running the latest version of OMBEA Response.
  • A ResponseLink receiver plugged in to the computer.
  • At least one ResponsePad.
  • To be in the environment you wish to test.

Steps

Part 1: Launch OMBEA Response and change the ResponseLink channel

  1. Launch OMBEA Response and click the ResponsePad button on the toolbar.
  2. In the top right corner, of the resulting ResponsePad dialogue, click Change Channel.
  3. The default channels in the the Change Channel dialogue are 5 (Receive) and 6 (Transmit).
  4. Click the dropdown menu next to Receive Channel and select Channel 0.
  5. Click Ok.

Part 2: Change the ResponsePad channel to match the ResponseLink

  1. Still in the Channel dialogue, change the Mode (at the bottom of the window) to Synchronisation.
  2. Click Start.
  3. On your ResponsePad, Locate the yellow Synchronisation button, in the bottom right corner indicated by two arrows forming a circle.
  4. Hold this button down for 3-4 seconds, until the ResponsePad LED starts to flash amber. You may now release the button.
  5. The ResponsePad LED will turn green for 2 seconds to indicate it has successfully paired with the new ResponseLink channel.

Part 3: Test the new channel

  1. Still in the Channel dialogue, change the Mode (at the bottom of the window) to Poll Test.
  2. Click Start.
  3. Ideally you will now move back to a distance of 20-30m or further from the laptop.
  4. Press any voting button on your ResponsePad.
  5. Once the vote is successfully captured by the Poll Test, you will see a green confirmation in the Channel dialogue.
  6. If this green line appeared more or less instantly, double-check by trying again with a different vote (e.g vote B if you previously voted A). This time the success of the vote will be shown by the Data column changing to show the button you just pressed.
  7. If the double-check worked (the change appeared more or less instantaneously), you have found a clear channel. Move to Part 4. If this test did not display instantly then start again at Part 1, this time using the next Receive Channel in the list. For example, if you tried channel 0, next try channel 1. If that is unsuccessful, then try channel 2, and so on, until you are successful.

Part 4: Change the Transmit Channel

  1. Now that you have found a clear Receive Channel, you need to change the Transmit Channel. Click Change Channel.
  2. Click the dropdown menu next to Transmit Channel and select a neighbouring channel number to the clear Receive Channel. For example if the clear Receive Channel was 11, change the Transmit Channel to 12.
  3. Click Ok.

Part 5: Change all ResponsePads to match the new ResponseLink channel

  1. Still in the Channel dialogue, change the Mode (at the bottom of the window) to Synchronisation. Click Start.
  2. On each ResponsePad, locate the yellow Synchronisation button, in the bottom right corner indicated by two arrows forming a circle.
  3. Hold this button down for 3-4 seconds, until the ResponsePad LED starts to flash amber. You may now release the button.
  4. The ResponsePad LED will turn green for 2 seconds to indicate it has successfully paired with the new ResponseLink channel.
  5. Repeat with all ResponsePads.

Part 6: Test to make sure everything has improved

  1. Still in the Channel dialogue, change the Mode (at the bottom of the window) to Poll Test. Click Start.
  2. Ideally you will now move back to a distance of 20-30m or further from the laptop.
  3. Press any voting button on each ResponsePad.
  4. A green confirmation in the Channel dialogue indicates that the ResponsePad voted successfully.
  5. If all has worked as it should, the voting performance should now be quicker than before because the ResponsePads and ResponseLink are communicating with each other on an interference-free channel.