Via email from Eric...
I think the reason your system is shutting down when you turn the ESCs on is because you have the "Servo PWR" jumper in place (based on the photo you attached). That jumper powers the 5vdc pins off the board if only servos and no ESCs are plugged in, but since the ESCs provide their own 5v power to the bus, that jumper should be removed when you're using ESCs. Hopefully that fixes the power problem your describing, but if not, let me know and we'll try other ways of solving the problem from there.
On the servo and ESC outputs for the Cape, the signal pin (usually a white or yellow wire) goes to the trace with the square solder pad. 5vdc (the red wire) goes to the center pin, and ground is the pin on the end that does not have a square solder pad. This connection scheme is written on the board, but it's a bit hard to see when the headers are in place. Another way to describe how to plug things in is that the signal pin (yellow or white wire) should be closest to the letter of the port (A, B, C or D).
The ESCs and servo should be attached "Port" (left) to A, "Vertical" to B, "Starbord" (right) to C, and "Tilt" to D. If Port and Starbord are backward (it's possible the code may be written that way but I'm not sure) just switch which ESCs attached to A and C. Also, I should mention that we've been having trouble getting the "tilt" servo to actually tilt the E-Chassis. It seems that there is just to much friction against the tube when everything is mounted into place. When I get back to the United States (I'm still on my way back home from Antarctica) I'll try to figure out some ways to reduce that friction, but in the mean time, tilt might not work very well. Let us know if you come up with a good solution there!
The connection problem is a little more challenging. I'm still experimenting to see exactly what factors cause connections to be good or bad, but so far I've noticed the following:
1. Because of cross-talk, the connection quality is significantly worse when the tether is tightly coiled. If you've been testing with the tether coiled as you got it, try unraveling it across the floor and see if that makes things better. When you recoil the tether, try to make the bundle looser, and you should find that your connection improves.
2. Check that all the connections between the Ethernet adapters are good. I've often found that numerous strands of wire often break where they are screwed onto the terminals of the Ethernet adapters which increases the attenuation of the line. Make sure that there are no breaks in these strands, that they are screwed down tightly, and that all other connections linking the tether to the Cape are good. Also, keep the set of conductors twisted as much as possible. The twist in the brown and white-shielded conductors keeps interference from creating voltage biases which cause data errors, so try your best to keep the two close to each other and twisted.
3. Make sure you're using a modern web browser. I'm not sure exactly what the effects are of using older browsers are, but Cockpit was designed to work with newer versions of Chrome, Firefox, etc. Also, Ethernet cards in different computers may vary, so if you're still having problems, try changing computers just to check if that makes a difference.
Okay, I hope that's at least a little bit helpful. If these problems persist, or if you encounter other issues, let me know and I'll try my best to help guide you through it.