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Another Ice Tube kit not working =(
Moderators: adafruit_support_bill, adafruit

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by ToySldr on Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:13 am

I followed the directions and didn't get the tube to light up when I plugged it in, it beeped, then nothing. I passed all the check points with no problems and the voltages were within tolerance. I have access to an o-scope. Don't judge me on the soldering, it was a project I was working on with my son =)

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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:21 am

I passed all the check points with no problems and the voltages were within tolerance.

So you are getting a good boost voltage? That is a good sign. Check the bias voltage also - as described here: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=27032

Your solder-side photos are not quite sharp enough to assess the quality of some of the more critical joints. More light usually helps. Near a window or even outside in daylight hours usually works well.

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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by jarchie on Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:15 pm

adafruit_support_bill wrote:Check the bias voltage also - as described here: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=27032

I agree that it's good idea to check the bias voltage, but the provided link specifies that "[y]ou should have ~4.7v at the end of R3 closest to Q3." This is probably true without the tube inserted or in ancient kits that included a PN2907A BJT for Q3. But I believe that, with the tube inserted, the ZVP3306A FET usually only provides ~3.3v to R3--not ~4.7v.

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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by ToySldr on Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:28 pm

I was able to get 4.76 volts at the end of R3 closest to Q3. That was without the tube inserted. I can't access my PhotoBucket from work to add new pictures of the soldered side.
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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by jarchie on Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:41 pm

A measurement of 4.76v without the tube inserted seems fine.

As Bill wrote, it's still worth posting better photos of the board as soon as possible. I'm always amazed by how it often takes a second or third set of eyes to spot seemingly obvious soldering problems--even for experienced hobbyists. But for now, there a couple of diagnostic tests worth trying.

What is the voltage on the Q3 side of R3 with the tube inserted? The added load of the IV-18 filament should cause it to fall to ~3.3v. If the voltage doesn't fall, it suggests that the IV-18 filament is not powered. And if the voltage falls too much with the added load, it suggests that Q3 is bad. Another worthwhile diagnostic is the Q3 jumper test--even if you measure the expected voltage with the tube inserted.

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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by ToySldr on Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:50 pm

Here are alot of photos I took, they are better then before but not good. The 7th photo looks like there is a short but I took a magnifying glass to it and there is not short. Must be some camera trickery. I checked the voltage at R3 by Q3 with the tube inserted and it jumps from 4.6V to 5.8 and even made it to 6.2 a couple of times. It's not at all stable.

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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by jarchie on Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:56 pm

Thank you for the photos. I don't see any potential problems that might cause a blank display.

ToySldr wrote:I checked the voltage at R3 by Q3 with the tube inserted and it jumps from 4.6V to 5.8 and even made it to 6.2 a couple of times.

From my perspective, this definitely indicates some sort of short between the filament and the boost supply. And the short is probably in the tube.

It's possible that the short is through rosin left on the board. If you haven't already, you might try cleaning the main and side board with alcohol and a toothbrush. I only suggest this because I have seen similar symptoms once, and the problem--strangely enough--was solved by cleaning excess rosin from the board. Honestly though, cleaning the board is a long shot, and unless I'm missing something, Adafruit will probably offer to replace the tube, side board, and angled header.

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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by adafruit_support_bill on Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:44 am

I have to agree with jarchie here. I don't see any major soldering issues. We do test the tubes prior to shipment, but they are somewhat fragile and sometimes something gets knocked loose internally in shipment. If cleaning the board does not resolve the issue, you can contact support@adafruit.com with a link to this thread for a replacement tube & side-board.

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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by phild13 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:07 pm

Umm, the tube board header is installed on the wrong side of the board reversing all of the tubes connections. The Adafruit flower is the tube boards rear and the silk screen side is the tube boards front and is where the tube and the header both go through.

Unsolder the header (hot air rework station is helpful if you have access to one) and stick it back in the board from the silk screen side and the clock should then work.

The tube is installed from the correct side (front) of the board so don't mess with it.

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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by jarchie on Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:11 pm

Nice catch, Phil! I can't believe I missed that.

jarchie wrote:I'm always amazed by how it often takes a second or third set of eyes to spot seemingly obvious soldering problems...

I guess sometimes it takes a fourth.

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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by ToySldr on Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:59 pm

PhilD13 wrote:Umm, the tube board header is installed on the wrong side of the board reversing all of the tubes connections. The Adafruit flower is the tube boards rear and the silk screen side is the tube boards front and is where the tube and the header both go through.

Unsolder the header (hot air rework station is helpful if you have access to one) and stick it back in the board from the silk screen side and the clock should then work.

The tube is installed from the correct side (front) of the board so don't mess with it.



Cr@p! That is going to be painful! I don't have a rework station.
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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by adafruit_support_bill on Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:35 am

Good eyes there PhilD13! I'm so used to looking at these things I don't know how I messed that.

@ToySldr - If you don't have a rework station, you may be better off sacrificing the header and de-soldering it pin-by-pin. Trying to remove the header intact with just an iron and solder-wick risks damaging the board. We do have 2x26 pin strips in the store if you don't have a local source.

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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by ToySldr on Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:11 pm

I finally got in the new header and soldered it in! But, it still doesn't work... =(

I did the jumper on Q3 outer pins and still illumination on the tube
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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by jarchie on Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:41 pm

ToySldr wrote:But, it still doesn't work... =( I did the jumper on Q3 outer pins and still illumination on the tube

Do you mean that the tube works when Q3 is bypassed? Could you describe the problem in more detail?

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Re: Another Ice Tube kit not working =(

by ToySldr on Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:20 pm

Sorry, my post was confusing. I jumpered the outer pins on Q3 and the tube still does not turn on.
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.