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Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here
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Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by AnnaOnWeb on Fri May 21, 2010 8:35 pm

Hi,

I have 2 running Ice Clocks here - 1 soldered PCB and one kit untouched.
The 3rd passed the 2 tests after LadyAda was so nice to help me out with spare parts. And I am in the very convenient situation to be able to test components against others.

But see here: (Even when I changed the processor...)
IceClock2.jpg
IceClock2.jpg (22.14 KiB) Viewed 3643 times


or here:
IceClock3.jpg
IceClock3.jpg (19.22 KiB) Viewed 3643 times


Sorry about the bad pics but I wanted to save some of Adafruits server space but the prob can obviously be seen.

Does any one has an idea? I tried everything: Resoldering, going through the tests again, comparing a working pcb with the non-working with magnifing glasses, changing the processor, changing the tube, and even prying out the tube processor out of it´s socket - nothing helped. What happened?

Thank you very much in advance for your support,

AnnaOnWeb
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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by adafruit_support_bill on Sat May 22, 2010 5:54 am

Hi Anna,
It sounds like you have ruled out the processor & firmware, so it must be something in the assembly. If you can post some clear photos of the boards, we'll take a look. LadyAda is out at MakerFaire at the moment, but she may have some ideas when she gets back.

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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by AnnaOnWeb on Sat May 22, 2010 7:37 pm

Hi,
thank you for this immediate answer.
What I have tried this evening was to touch the 4th kit. I even did not pass the 1st test! This is very annoying!!! WHAT can be done wrong in this early stage after soldering 7 components??? It could be the right time to warn other interested customer ...

As I already wrote: I would like 3 of 4 kits running and I have spent xxx EURos on that 4 kits already.
I have already seen that you sell repairing kits for the tube - good idea. But what about the other components?
The very good looking pcb? And if you solder 7 components and the first test failed? After I got 3 other ice clocks running? One only with this "garbage display""? And it will take some time to get this answered.

I would like to put everything of the 3rd and 4th kit in a small packet and hope that Limor could have a short look at these. I do not know how many other customers are not happy with the product but do not dare to discuss that openly with you.

Nichts für ungut - I found a translation: No offence. But this seems to hard. Germans mean by that: I am trusting you/you are my friend/I like you/I accept most of your points and we are both working on the the same goal but after a very controverse discussion you say that. And it is meant in a very sensible way and not like "no offence". As I know from the contacts in the UK/US there is no proper translation available.

Have a nice day and let me know, what we can do in my case.

Have fun and with my best regards,

Anna
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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun May 23, 2010 5:35 am

Anna,

Limor and Adafruit stand behind their kits and we will help you to get your Ice Tubes working. The Ice tube is a very popular kit and many have been successfully built - including two by yourself if I understand correctly.

We are all engineers here. We work with data and we need more data to help diagnose these problems. On the clock with the display problem, you have done well so far to eliminate the processor from consideration. The next step is to look for possible assembly problems. Good photographs are the best way to do this.

Of the last clock, please give us more details about what failed in your tests. I assume that you are talking about the voltage tests for the power supply circuit. What voltages did you measure?

Arduwino

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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by AnnaOnWeb on Sun May 23, 2010 1:45 pm

Hi arduwino,
first I would like to apologize for my harsh tone - sorry please.
Having so much fun with your other products I am falling into sheer desperation with the 3rd and 4th clock...

The 4th clock does not show any voltage at all except at the input plug and the fuse. I already desoldered the 7805 which did not help either.
I will try to make better pics and hope that you can at least help me with one of them.

Thank you very much in advance and have a nice weekend

Anna
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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon May 24, 2010 6:03 am

I think that pretty much narrows it down to the fuse or the diode. Check to see that you have continuity through the fuse. And double check the orientation of D1.

If there is no continuity through the fuse, check the rest of the board for shorts before replacing it. That may have blown the fuse when you first powered it up.

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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by adafruit on Mon May 24, 2010 10:03 pm

OK, so to get your kits working its best to be very clear and organized
anna, you have 4 kits? Let us name them A B C and D
what are the stages of each kit? Do any of them work correctly? It will be much easier to fix if we can keep them apart :)

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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by AnnaOnWeb on Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:10 pm

Hi, and thank you very much!

A and B are running perfectly - 2 other well functioning tubes on their boards are laying around here - D is in the process to be soldered - C - the problematic=garbage-item.... sigh .... I gave up on this totally...and decided to keep C for spare parts... D passed the 1st test after I soldered a diode in which I completely forgot ... :-(

But after desoldering THEE hard to get parts from "C" I found out what happened: I had a solder bridge under the part "2x10 position 0.1" x 0.1" female header" which I never could have noticed or repaired with my lack of desoldering experience.
A and B are running well with different FW and light sensors - one too bright, the other too low - but I will get to this.

My hints to others with "garbage" on screen:
Use 0.5mm solder wire for these VERY difficult parts - I didn´t.
Suck up every excess of solder immediately - it is easier to add solder later.
Check all the tests carefully.
Use cotton gloves when you case the kit :-) - it does make a difference.

Have a nice day and many thanks to you,

Anna
Attachments
Foto am 11-06-2010 um 04.05 #3.jpg
Foto am 11-06-2010 um 04.05 #3.jpg (83.61 KiB) Viewed 3460 times
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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by stinkbutt on Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:04 pm

AnnaOnWeb wrote:A and B are running well with different FW and light sensors - one too bright, the other too low - but I will get to this.

...
Have a nice day and many thanks to you,

Anna


If you're dissatisfied with the brightness levels of the two kits, there may be ways to fix this. Which firmware are you using? I myself installed the Digisage firmware, and dissatisfied with the brightness of the lowest setting, I modified the code to make it ever-yet-still-darker. In fact my clock is not readable at the lowest setting in a brightly lit room, (but it's fine, because the only time it's at that setting is when the room's super-dark.) It's not complicated to do that.

As for the other clock being too low, if you're at the maximum brightness the firmware allows and you're still not satisfied I would NOT recommend going any higher. The boost converter is NOT linear near the maximum brightness, (brightness is controlled via the duty cycle of the boost converter as far as I can tell - ladyada can you confirm?) because of the governing equation which is:

Vout = Vin * (1/(100-B)) where B is the brightness level. So increasing the brightness from 90 to, say, 95, would DOUBLE the output voltage.

Even if I'm wrong about this (I don't think I am, but it's not impossible,) I don't think it's a terrific idea to raise the brightness any higher than 90. Either way you risk damaging either the VFD driver chip, the VFD tube, or both.

Which firmware are you using? Reducing the minimum brightness is easysauce if I know which firmware.
Red M&M, Blue M&M: They all wind up the same color

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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by AnnaOnWeb on Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:46 pm

Hi stinkbutt,

thank you for the helpful hints!
The upper clock is running daveparker´s FW with the 10k resistor.
The other has the FW created by len17 and 1k resistor. And I like the modified "9"!
Both found on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=12932&p=68635&hilit=dimming#p68635

What I have to say:
The upper clock is powered with 12V (white cable :-)) and I am running out of adjustable wall-warts... The other is powered by 9V. That makes a real difference. When it is dark enough I will switch the power supplies and take a new pic.

To change the code? Not that prob. But dis- and re-assembling the case is a pain! I already got a 2nd usbtiny and will dremel the case ... OOOPS ... and how do I get the tube out of its socket??? I should consider another case construction...

Have a nice day, and let me get "D" running - this will not be only open source - it will be ohne case! (=without case, I mean)

Anna
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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by stinkbutt on Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:39 pm

Hey look at that. There's a fourth firmware out there. I've only examined the three from caitsith, Digisage, and JSGF. It's funny though, they all made the same changes to the stock firmware. Changes that I was also thinking when I saw it "Gosh, I should change that when I mod the firmware."

The code

Code: Select all | TOGGLE FULL SIZE
  if (brightness <= 30) {
    OCR0A = 30;
  } else if (brightness <= 35) {
    OCR0A = 35;
  } else if (brightness <= 40) {
    OCR0A = 40;
  } else if (brightness <= 45) {
    OCR0A = 45;
  } else if (brightness <= 50) {
    OCR0A = 50;
  } else if (brightness <= 55) {
    OCR0A = 55;
  } else if (brightness <= 60) {
    OCR0A = 60;
  } else if (brightness <= 65) {
    OCR0A = 65;
  } else if (brightness <= 70) {
    OCR0A = 70;
  } else if (brightness <= 75) {
    OCR0A = 75;
  } else if (brightness <= 80) {
    OCR0A = 80;
  } else if (brightness <= 85) {
    OCR0A = 85;
  } else if (brightness <= 90) {
    OCR0A = 90;
  } else {
    OCR0A = 30;
  }


has been removed in every version. Either everybody's reusing the same single mod, or we're all independently determining that codeblock makes the Baby Jesus cry. But I digress...

Well for the first case, the clock that's running off 12V, I'd suggest that you change two lines in iv.h:

Find this, starting at ~line 43:

Code: Select all | TOGGLE FULL SIZE
#define BRIGHTNESS_MAX 90
#define BRIGHTNESS_MIN 30
#define BRIGHTNESS_INCREMENT 5


and change it to this:

Code: Select all | TOGGLE FULL SIZE
#define BRIGHTNESS_MAX 85
#define BRIGHTNESS_MIN 10
#define BRIGHTNESS_INCREMENT 5


The boost converter recieves the unregulated wall-wart voltage, so the output voltage of the boost is 33% higher. Reducing the min & max to 10 and 85, respectively, get you pretty close to the original 9V minimums & maximums.
Red M&M, Blue M&M: They all wind up the same color

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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by AnnaOnWeb on Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:50 pm

Hi stinkbutt,
hey, I am very impressed by your knowledge! These hints are so helpful that you should open a new topic - or shall I do that? I have never found these firmwares with the search topic "dim" ...

1st - I have to apologize for not trying it right now ... - because 2nd: I am working on my FM receiver (based on Kemo 156) right now - see pics here:
But the sound is disappointing :-(
and see the 2 clocks with changed power supplies -oh sorry: I do not understand how to get the pics into the right order ...
have a nice day - cu soon!!! I will report when I have changed the FW again - promised!
Thank you so much for these helpful hints!
Anna
Attachments
Foto am 11-06-2010 um 23.24.jpg
Foto am 11-06-2010 um 23.24.jpg (87.1 KiB) Viewed 3431 times
Foto am 11-06-2010 um 23.22.jpg
Foto am 11-06-2010 um 23.22.jpg (102.34 KiB) Viewed 3431 times
Foto am 11-06-2010 um 23.21.jpg
Foto am 11-06-2010 um 23.21.jpg (91.44 KiB) Viewed 3431 times
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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by AnnaOnWeb on Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:01 pm

stinkbutt? would you be so kind to provide a FW which uses either 1k or 10k as the resistor?
I am so annoyed by my FM-radio and I am already putting the gloves on...
Anna
btw: I am still a compserve.com user
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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by AnnaOnWeb on Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:37 pm

and see this: www.anaonweb.de
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Re: Ice Tube Clock shows garbage ... see here

by stinkbutt on Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:08 pm

AnnaOnWeb wrote:stinkbutt? would you be so kind to provide a FW which uses either 1k or 10k as the resistor?
I am so annoyed by my FM-radio and I am already putting the gloves on...
Anna
btw: I am still a compserve.com user


I'm afraid I have not written any new firmwares on my own. I've only made minor changes to someone else's firmware. However, I can recommend that you look carefully at caitsith's firmware. It appears to contain everything you want: 9 shaping, auto-dimming, and DST if that matters to you. You'll need to make the same changes to the caitsith firmware that I suggested you make for the other firmware, (changing the iv.h file at lines 62 and 63, in this case, at least for your 12V clock,) but that should get you there.
Red M&M, Blue M&M: They all wind up the same color

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.