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Ice Tube Clock Works if You Beat on it!
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Ice Tube Clock Works if You Beat on it!

by ShawnMcCombs on Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:15 pm

As the title says, My Ice tube clock works if I pick it a half inch off my desk and drop it.

I've had this clock since last Nov, I received it as a early Christmas gift.

During the build process I found that I was missing a part. I think it was the 10k resistor which I had plenty of so I sourced my own, not a problem.

I was following the online instructions here on adafruit.com finished up the clock put the case together and closed it up. Then ran into another issue, I plugged it up, it would beep then nothing on the tube. So I searched through the forum, as it turns out I was sent a different mosfet than the one in the instructions and I had it turned around. So I had to take it back apart and try to desolder it and turning it around and reusing it. Fairly difficult task to reuse a part. Once complete I tested it, everything looked good so I closed it up and placed it at my night stand.

8 hours later I woke up and found that the center digits had a faint glow to them and the others had gone dark. I posted on the forum here, and I was asked to take it back apart for the third time and take lots of pictures of my soldering skills (Which are quite good). I really didn't have the time so I stashed it away.

A few weeks ago I brought it to work as a paper weight, and sometimes plugged it in to see if it would work at all. As it turns out, as I said before dropping it a half inch off my desk seems to vibrate something into connection.

Any ideas anyone?

Looking at the case and main board the 90 degree daughter board seems to be pushed a slight 1/10th, or 2/10ths of a inch from the casing putting strain on the tube. Could this design flaw be causing the issue?

Thank you,
Shawn McCombs

ShawnMcCombs
 
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Re: Ice Tube Clock Works if You Beat on it!

by phild13 on Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:22 pm

What was the part number (R what) of the missing resistor?
Someone else may chime in with some suggestions, but as for:
Looking at the case and main board the 90 degree daughter board seems to be pushed a slight 1/10th, or 2/10ths of a inch from the casing putting strain on the tube. Could this design flaw be causing the issue?
The pins and tube wires have to be trimmed very close to the board in order to not put pressure on the tube board.

Since other forum users are not at your house looking at the clock, the request for photos has as much or more to do with being able to possibly spot an issue, than making comments about soldering abilities.

What are the voltages on both sides of Q3 (source and drain) when the clock 'works' and when it does not?

phild13
 
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Re: Ice Tube Clock Works if You Beat on it!

by jarchie on Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:45 pm

The symptoms you describe point to dodgy connection in the part of the circuit that powers the IV-18 filament.

ShawnMcCombs wrote:I posted on the forum here, and I was asked to take it back apart for the third time and take lots of pictures of my soldering skills (Which are quite good). I really didn't have the time so I stashed it away.

Please don't interpret requests for pictures as a judgement in regard to your skill level...

Pictures do help rule out issues of part placement, soldering errors, and other problems--such as an incorrect part being shipped with the kit, damage to a board, etc. Even experienced hobbyists occasionally make careless errors, and it never fails to amaze me how often it takes a second set of eyes to spot a simple oversight.

Good pictures also provide a high resolution, enlarged view of the project. That by itself can sometimes make difficult-to-spot problems more obvious.

Furthermore, pictures provide evidence that you purchased a Adafruit kit. So if you don't take pictures, you might not receive any help from the Adafruit support team--only fellow forum members like Phil and myself. And no official support means no free replacement parts.

Of course, you might be right. Photos might not help anyone diagnose your problem. But the only way to prove that to other people is to actually to post good photos of the top and bottom of the main and side boards--another reason the Adafruit support team tends to insist on photos.

ShawnMcCombs wrote:So I searched through the forum, as it turns out I was sent a different mosfet than the one in the instructions and I had it turned around.

Was it a PN2907A? That part shipped with some early Ice Tube Clock kits and is known to cause problems. By the way, the two parts look different... and the difference would be immediately obvious from a photograph of the top of the board.

ShawnMcCombs wrote:Looking at the case and main board the 90 degree daughter board seems to be pushed a slight 1/10th, or 2/10ths of a inch from the casing putting strain on the tube. Could this design flaw be causing the issue?

Without a picture, it's difficult to look for signs of strain or to tell if that strain might be problematic. But if you believe it's a concern, it might be worth touching up the solder joints that might be under excessive stress and testing the clock without the case.

jarchie
 
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Location: Santa Cruz, California, United States

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.