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Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays
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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by jarchie on Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:50 pm

rcb wrote:I forgot to ask you a question: since the GPS-run units don't need the temp. sensor correction, I assume it's possible just to omit those 2 parts, the sensor and R9 from the build, and then compile the firmware w/ config.h suitably modified to comment out those def lines for the temp sensor.

Correct. There's really not much use for the temperature sensor if you have a GPS.

rcb wrote:What happens if you use a chip flashed with the temp code left in as defined, and you leave out the sensor and R9 from the build?

That configuration should work also. The firmware will periodically query the 1-Wire bus as if the temperature sensor was installed, and those queries will fail. If the firmware cannot read temperature data, no temperature compensation will be performed.
--John <www.jarchie.com/email>

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by jarchie on Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:42 pm

jarchie wrote:
rcb wrote:What happens if you use a chip flashed with the temp code left in as defined, and you leave out the sensor and R9 from the build?

That configuration should work also. The firmware will periodically query the 1-Wire bus as if the temperature sensor was installed, and those queries will fail. If the firmware cannot read temperature data, no temperature compensation will be performed.

If you're relying on this behavior, my latest commit breaks it. :-(

I was worried that some people might have a bad temperature sensor or install it incorrectly. They would probably never know that the clock wasn't performing temperature compensation. So now if the TEMPERATURE_SENSOR macro is defined in config.h, the clock will periodically display a "temp err" if communication with the sensor fails. If no sensor is installed, the clock will constantly flash "temp err" unless the TEMPERATURE_SENSOR macro is left undefined.
--John <www.jarchie.com/email>

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by liljester on Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:01 pm

I have used the xmas firmware on a couple clocks based on the adafruit board, and love it.

The clocks I am building do not use the clear cases, but wood and aluminum parts. To accommodate those changes, Im not using the side PCB, and I will leave out the photoresistor. To attach my VFD to the board, I am soldering a ribbon cable directly onto the tube with a plug for the board side.

I am not getting a display on my tube. (using a tube that works on the adafruit hardware) The clock beeps on startup, and the buttons make noise, just no display. So, question #1: in the picture below, have I soldered the Q4,Q6,Q5, and Q7 wrong/backwards?
xmas.jpg
xmas.jpg (359.97 KiB) Viewed 1035 times


My other questions are:
Is the side PCB connection wired the same as the adafruit board? From my initial inspection, the side PCBs appear to be wired differently...
Since my case will not be clear, I will be leaving out the photoresistor. Do I need to make any changes other than in config.h file to accommodate this?

Thanks!

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by jarchie on Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:30 pm

liljester wrote:I have used the xmas firmware on a couple clocks based on the adafruit board, and love it.

Thank you for the kind words.

liljester wrote:The clocks I am building do not use the clear cases, but wood and aluminum parts. To accommodate those changes, Im not using the side PCB, and I will leave out the photoresistor. To attach my VFD to the board, I am soldering a ribbon cable directly onto the tube with a plug for the board side.

Awesome! I see no problem there as long as the board doesn't get too hot in the case.

liljester wrote:I am not getting a display on my tube. (using a tube that works on the adafruit hardware) The clock beeps on startup, and the buttons make noise, just no display.

An xmas chip that works with a stock Adafruit clock will not work with the xmas hardware revision; the display is driven differently in the two designs. Did you start with the config.h file in the hardware/ directory? If not, try deleting the firmware/config.h file, and copy the hardware/config.h file into the firmware/ directory. Then recompile and reinstall.

liljester wrote:in the picture below, have I soldered the Q4,Q6,Q5, and Q7 wrong/backwards?

These parts appear to be placed correctly.

liljester wrote:Is the side PCB connection wired the same as the adafruit board? From my initial inspection, the side PCBs appear to be wired differently...

The boards are interchangeable and are wired the same in terms of continuity. You are correct that my PCB does run the traces differently to avoid traces too close to the edge of the board. With the Adafruit side boards, the traces run close enough to the edge of the board that chipping the board in the right place can destroy a trace.

liljester wrote:Since my case will not be clear, I will be leaving out the photoresistor. Do I need to make any changes other than in config.h file to accommodate this?

No changes are necessary. You might want to comment out the "#define AUTOMATIC_DIMMER" macro. That removes the automatic dimming code and menu option. If you leave that macro enabled, there's no problem--just a useless menu option for automatic dimming.

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by liljester on Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:36 pm

jarchie wrote:An xmas chip that works with a stock Adafruit clock will not work with the xmas hardware revision; the display is driven differently in the two designs. Did you start with the config.h file in the hardware/ directory? If not, try deleting the firmware/config.h file, and copy the hardware/config.h file into the firmware/ directory. Then recompile and reinstall.

I did recompile the firmware using the config.h from the hardware directory this morning, just before posting, but still didnt see any love. I will make sure that I have everything all sorted and try that again tonight when I get some time.

jarchie wrote:The boards are interchangeable and are wired the same in terms of continuity. You are correct that my PCB does run the traces differently to avoid traces too close to the edge of the board. With the Adafruit side boards, the traces run close enough to the edge of the board that chipping the board in the right place can destroy a trace.

Perfect :)

Where are the points I should use to test various voltages? Such as the high voltage to drive the VFD? I should pick up the 5ish Volts on the tubes Pin1 and Pin13.. yes?

Thanks again jarchie!

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by jarchie on Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:33 pm

liljester wrote:Where are the points I should use to test various voltages? Such as the high voltage to drive the VFD? I should pick up the 5ish Volts on the tubes Pin1 and Pin13.. yes?

Pin 1 and 13 of the tube should be the 5 volts AC. Just look for some voltage; very few multimeters can accurately measure high frequency AC. The 5v AC corresponds to pin 1 and 11/12 on the header used to connect the side PCB. (Header pins 11 and 12 are connected with a trace and are electrically identical.) If the filament is powered correctly, it should emit a redish glow that is readily apparent in low light. (The Adafruit design only powered the filament at ~2.5v, so filament glow is only apparent in a completely dark room.)

A good place to test for the boost voltage is to connect your multimeter leads to the positive and negative leads of C6.

If your workplace is well lit, also try turning off the lights. When the display is at the lowest brightness, it can appear blank in a well lit environment.

For debugging, the Eagle files with the schematics and board designs are in the hardware/ directory. So if you haven't already, I recommend downloading Eagle and looking over those files to understand the circuit, examine the board layout, and identify good test points.

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by phild13 on Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:52 am

Something to verify If everything else seems to check out. Make sure that you did not transpose the wiring from the main board to the tube.

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by liljester on Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:41 pm

phild13 wrote:Something to verify If everything else seems to check out. Make sure that you did not transpose the wiring from the main board to the tube.

As it turns out, I did transpose the wiring when I soldered up my tube... but that was after I tried a working tube from a working adafruit clock. So I have a working tube, and now a transposed tube.

liljester wrote:jarchie wrote:
An xmas chip that works with a stock Adafruit clock will not work with the xmas hardware revision; the display is driven differently in the two designs. Did you start with the config.h file in the hardware/ directory? If not, try deleting the firmware/config.h file, and copy the hardware/config.h file into the firmware/ directory. Then recompile and reinstall.

I did recompile the firmware using the config.h from the hardware directory this morning, just before posting, but still didnt see any love. I will make sure that I have everything all sorted and try that again tonight when I get some time.


I think I had a few things working against me: First, I was using a micro controller flashed with the adafruit board firmware. Second, since there was no display, I built another ribbon-tube assembly that I transposed. Third, my reprogramming of the original adafruit controller did not function properly.

I recompiled and flashed a fresh controller, plugged in my working tube and all is good.

Thanks for the help guys!

both.jpg
both.jpg (215.97 KiB) Viewed 929 times

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by jarchie on Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:16 pm

Awesome! Congratulations on getting everything to work.

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by phild13 on Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:19 pm

Nice to see you got it to work! Good Job!

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by jarchie on Sat May 25, 2019 11:05 pm

(Reply continued from this post.)

nix_clk_dd wrote: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.

When you look at the clock board, you'll notice a six-pin header that connects to the USBtinyISP via the six-pin ribbon cable. So you can build the clock with a blank ATmega328p, connect the USBtinyISP and program the chip in-system. There are more details in the firmware/README file, in the "Connect the Programmer" step.

As far as compilation is concerned there are two step-by-step tutorials that go into a bit more depth for Mac OS and Windows.

nix_clk_dd wrote: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.

It shouldn't matter which one you choose. The automatic drift correction code is generic enough to work with any crystal as long as the timekeeping error is consistent. The software temperature compensation requires a specific operating temperature (25 deg C) with a specific frequency coefficient (-0. 034 ppm / deg C squared). Both of the crystals you mention meet these criteria. Might as well go with the better one.

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by nix_clk_dd on Sun May 26, 2019 12:56 pm

jarchie wrote:When you look at the clock board, you'll notice a six-pin header that connects to the USBtinyISP via the six-pin ribbon cable. So you can build the clock with a blank ATmega328p, connect the USBtinyISP and program the chip in-system. There are more details in the firmware/README file, in the "Connect the Programmer" step.

As far as compilation is concerned there are two step-by-step tutorials that go into a bit more depth for Mac OS and Windows.

It shouldn't matter which one you choose. The automatic drift correction code is generic enough to work with any crystal as long as the timekeeping error is consistent. The software temperature compensation requires a specific operating temperature (25 deg C) with a specific frequency coefficient (-0. 034 ppm / deg C squared). Both of the crystals you mention meet these criteria. Might as well go with the better one.


Thanks! Your replies have been helpful and I really appreciate you taking the time to explain everything in such detail.
I think I'm ready to purchase the parts and start thinking about how to wire the photoresistor because the clock is going in a wood enclosure :)

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by jarchie on Sun May 26, 2019 4:01 pm

nix_clk_dd wrote:Thanks! Your replies have been helpful and I really appreciate you taking the time to explain everything in such detail.
I think I'm ready to purchase the parts and start thinking about how to wire the photoresistor because the clock is going in a wood enclosure :)

You're very welcome! Let me know if you have any other questions or run into other issues. And perhaps consider posting a photo when you're done? I'd love to see how your project turns out.

Anyway, good luck and happy hacking!

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by nix_clk_dd on Tue May 28, 2019 9:15 pm

jarchie wrote:
nix_clk_dd wrote:Thanks! Your replies have been helpful and I really appreciate you taking the time to explain everything in such detail.
I think I'm ready to purchase the parts and start thinking about how to wire the photoresistor because the clock is going in a wood enclosure :)

You're very welcome! Let me know if you have any other questions or run into other issues. And perhaps consider posting a photo when you're done? I'd love to see how your project turns out.

Anyway, good luck and happy hacking!



Thanks, I'll be sure to add some pictures when I'm done!

Also, for the sake of saving a few dollars, would this work as an alternative? https://www.digikey.com/products/en?Key ... _go&v=1738
Sure I'll lose the fun of soldering it myself, but it's almost $10 cheaper :)

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Re: Another Ice Tube Clock Design for the Holidays

by jarchie on Tue May 28, 2019 11:24 pm

I've never tried that particular product myself, but it should work.

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