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ICE Tube Clock Firmware Comparison
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Re: ICE Tube Clock Firmware Comparison

by Volodya on Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:34 am

Hello, thank you very much. Сommand:
Code: Select all | TOGGLE FULL SIZE
 xmas-icetube / firmware % chmod +x util.pl
helped and compilation was successful. Today I'm going to flash the microcontroller. I hope everything works out.
If I have further problems when starting the clock, can I ask for help in the relevant sections of the forum?
Thank you in advance.
Sincerely, Vladimir.

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Re: ICE Tube Clock Firmware Comparison

by jarchie on Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:16 am

Excellent! And congratulations on a successful build.

If you do run into any issues, I would be happy to help. It's probably better to post to the thread for my firmware rather than this one.

Good luck and happy hacking!

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Re: ICE Tube Clock Firmware Comparison

by Wilcoxon on Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:38 am

Do you recommend always keeping the firmware up to date, Jarchie?

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Re: ICE Tube Clock Firmware Comparison

by jarchie on Wed May 01, 2019 5:25 pm

Wilcoxon wrote:Do you recommend always keeping the firmware up to date, Jarchie?

I guess the short answer is "no."

The long answer?

The last update I made to my firmware was several years ago. I consider the firmware to be a finished product at this point, and do not intend to make any more changes. I will probably only update the code if problems are found (e.g., if bugs are found or if the project fails to compile in some future version of the avr-gcc compiler).

I would suggest looking at the current list of features in the firmware/README file. If there's a new feature you want, then maybe installing the latest version is worthwhile. Consider also that upgrading the firmware might be a fun project (or not fun, depending on your temperment). Use your own judgement.

Anyway, as always, good luck and happy hacking!

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Re: ICE Tube Clock Firmware Comparison

by nix_clk_dd on Thu May 23, 2019 5:21 pm

Hi John,
I'm going to build an Ice Tube clock soon. I found several kits online, but I like the improvements you made and it would be a cool experience to source the parts from DigiKey and OSHPark. I would say I'm a beginner, but I've successfully built a nixie tube clock from a kit.

There are a couple questions that I have.
1. If I don't currently have anything to write the firmware to the microcontroller. would the flashing service from DigiKey work? Upon placement of an order of the ATmega328p, I can send them the firmware.

2. Do you have a parts list of the components modified from the original board and everything needed to take advantage of all the improvements (minus maybe the GPS functionality)? I'm almost certain I'm still missing things after reading your github README files.


Thank you so much! I know this is a lot to ask.

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Re: ICE Tube Clock Firmware Comparison

by jarchie on Sat May 25, 2019 3:17 am

Sorry I missed the notification of this post in my email... I hope this doesn't come too late.

nix_clk_dd wrote:1. If I don't currently have anything to write the firmware to the microcontroller. would the flashing service from DigiKey work? Upon placement of an order of the ATmega328p, I can send them the firmware.

I've never tried it, but there's no reason why it wouldn't work. I can post a binary somewhere. And they would also need to program the fuse bits, lock bits, and eeprom as well as the flash program memory.

There are some compile time options that you wouldn't be able to change if you go this route, such as Adafruit vs xmas style buttons. Check out the hardware/config.h file for a description of the compile-time options. The defaults are probably fine for most people, and most of the options are for the hardware configuration.

My suspicion is that it might be cheaper (and perhaps more fun) to program the chips yourself. If you go that route, the USBtinyISP is what I find easiest.

nix_clk_dd wrote:2. Do you have a parts list of the components modified from the original board and everything needed to take advantage of all the improvements (minus maybe the GPS functionality)? I'm almost certain I'm still missing things after reading your github README files.

It sounds like you might want my modified boards. Check out the hardware/README, especially the "Collecting the Parts" section. The components that I bought years ago are all in the hardware/BOM.csv file. (BOM = bill of materials)

As far as GPS is concerned, you might as well keep the default support in the firmware (config.h). The clock will detect that there is no GPS attached and everything will work fine.


Hope that helps. And if you run into problems or have more questions please let me know. Happy hacking!

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Re: ICE Tube Clock Firmware Comparison

by nix_clk_dd on Sat May 25, 2019 1:30 pm

Thanks for the response!

jarchie wrote:My suspicion is that it might be cheaper (and perhaps more fun) to program the chips yourself. If you go that route, the USBtinyISP is what I find easiest.

I might go that direction. The USBtisyISP is easy enough to build, but once again I feel like I'm missing something. :)
How does the microcontroller actually make the connection to the programmer? I don't have any experience with Arduino devices or flashing chips. Some images I've seen online show the chips on a breadboard connected to the programmer but I don't seen anything detailing this in the documentation.

jarchie wrote:It sounds like you might want my modified boards. Check out the hardware/README, especially the "Collecting the Parts" section. The components that I bought years ago are all in the hardware/BOM.csv file. (BOM = bill of materials)

That CSV is VERY helpful.
Once thing I noticed when searching for the crystal oscillator is that there are two versions of the Abracon AB38T-32.768KHZ
https://www.digikey.com/short/p4ww9h

All else being equal, here are the differences:

AB38T-32.768KHZ
Frequency Tolerance: ±20ppm
Operating Temperature: -10°C ~ 60°C

AB38T-32.768KHZ-B7
Frequency Tolerance: ±15ppm
Operating Temperature: -20°C ~ 70°C

I wonder if these differences would result in slightly better timekeeping. The B7 is only $0.04 more, so it might be the obvious choice unless it somehow interferes with your automatic rate correction code.

Thanks again!

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Re: ICE Tube Clock Firmware Comparison

by jarchie on Sat May 25, 2019 11:11 pm

Our discussion might be getting a bit off-topic for an alternative firmware thread, so I'm replying here.

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.