Ice tube no light except occasional funny flickers

by dwasifar on Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:08 pm

Hi all.

In the process of building the Ice Tube clock, and I'm at the point where you plug the tube in for the first test. The tube doesn't light except for an occasional flicker; random segments light and flicker and then go off. Mostly it's just completely off.

I have beep on powerup. With chip installed, I have 16V at D3 and 4.7V at bias check point on R3. Before the chip went in I was at about 56V on the boost converter; I would check it again now but I am not sure how to safely remove the chip from the socket without damaging it.

I know my connections are good to the tube, because every lead on the tube (except for the three NC leads) has continuity to one pin on the header. (Two pins near the center of the header appear to be bridged by design.)

Not sure where to go from here.

I will post pictures when I can get some good ones. The flash is washing them out, so I might have to wait for daylight to get a well-lit shot.
dwasifar
 
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Re: Ice tube no light except occasional funny flickers

by dwasifar on Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:34 pm

Ha!

I figured out how to get the chip out safely, and while I had it out I decided to touch up all my soldering on the chip sockets. Must have had a bad connection on one of them, because now I get a working display. It's blinking on and off once a second, but it's keeping time, so I assume that's okay.

In the immortal words of Emily Littella:

"Never mind!"
dwasifar
 
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Re: Ice tube no light except occasional funny flickers

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:57 am

It's blinking on and off once a second, but it's keeping time, so I assume that's okay.

It blinks like that until you set the time.

I decided to touch up all my soldering on the chip sockets. Must have had a bad connection on one of them, because now I get a working display.

Checking continuity is not a reliable way to test solder joints. Many intermittent joints become conductive when you poke them with a meter probe. Visual inspection is more reliable. If it doesn't look smooth and shiny, it probably isn't right.
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Re: Ice tube no light except occasional funny flickers

by dwasifar on Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:24 am

I decided to touch up all my soldering on the chip sockets. Must have had a bad connection on one of them, because now I get a working display.

Checking continuity is not a reliable way to test solder joints. Many intermittent joints become conductive when you poke them with a meter probe. Visual inspection is more reliable. If it doesn't look smooth and shiny, it probably isn't right.

Yeah. Although, for the record, I only tested the tube connections that way, and in this case the test was valid because I wasn't poking any solder joints with the probe; I was testing from the tube leads (where they exit the glass) to the output pins of the header, not touching any solder points. So they seemed okay, and that led me to the chip sockets, and although they were all shiny, a few of them were a little scanty, so I touched them all up and that solved the issue.

I figured the flashing was just power-off alert or set-time alert or something. Once the switches were installed and I set it up it was fine.

Thanks for the reply!
dwasifar
 
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