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Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time
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Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by Dangerous_Toast on Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:47 pm

I am setting the time on my ice tube clock. I follow the directions all the way through, setting the hour, minutes, and seconds. Each press of each button (menu, set, +) works as it should. However, once I've set the seconds, and hit "Set", nothing happens. The clock does not run, it just sits there.

I have unplugged and replugged, changed the date, and changed the region. Nothing seems to work.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by jarchie on Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:53 pm

When you first plugged in the clock did the default (and incorrect) time blink on the display?

And when the clock "just sits there" after you've set the time, what happens when you press the menu button?

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by Dangerous_Toast on Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:43 pm

Yes, the clock initially showed the default, incorrect time.

When pressing the menu button after setting the time, I see I'm in the "set alarm" mode.
Thanks

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by jarchie on Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:14 pm

Dangerous_Toast wrote:Yes, the clock initially showed the default, incorrect time.

Interesting. Did the incorrect time advance each second while blinking?

Dangerous_Toast wrote:When pressing the menu button after setting the time, I see I'm in the "set alarm" mode.
Thanks

That indicates the clock is not freezing up--just not displaying the new time. In the Adafruit firmware, the time is only displayed when the seconds advance. The fact that nothing seems to happen after setting the time suggests that seconds are not advancing, so the problem could be with the oscillator portion of the circuit.

I would suggest posting pictures of the front and back of the main board so that Adafruit support and other forum users (such as myself) can check the component placement and soldering. Adafruit support usually asks for the photographs to rule out obvious problems with the build, so if it turns out that you do need replacement parts, you'll probably need to post build pictures anyway.

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by adafruit_support_bill on Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:44 am

I would suggest posting pictures of the front and back of the main board

Yes. Please post photos. There is a 1 meg limit. 800x600 is a good size.

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by Dangerous_Toast on Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:08 pm

Here are some pictures hosted elsewhere. They are large.

Image

Image

Image

You will notice some custom wiring between a capacitor and diode near the buzzer - this was due to a problem removing solder. The crystal appears to have been soldered cleanly. The board looks better in person than in the pictures.

Thanks for your patience and help.

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by adafruit_support_bill on Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:24 pm

Here are some pictures hosted elsewhere. They are large.

Can you post a link to the originals so we can see more detail?

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by Dangerous_Toast on Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:20 pm


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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by jarchie on Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:11 am

jarchie wrote:
Dangerous_Toast wrote:Yes, the clock initially showed the default, incorrect time.

Interesting. Did the incorrect time advance each second while blinking?

Alternatively, when you unplug the the AC adapter and plug it back in, does the time advance each second while blinking the display?

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by Dangerous_Toast on Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:05 pm

When I first plugged it in (very first time) I don't think the the incorrect time advanced. I am not sure if it blinked then.

When I unplug and plug it back in, the time does not advance, and the display does not blink. It remembers the last time I set, so when I go to "Set time" it shows the precise hours, minutes, and seconds I previously set it to.

I can't be positive I've ever seen it blink. Your questions are helping me to think through what's happening, but I am unable to recall blinking.

Thanks again.

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by jarchie on Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:41 pm

Okay, that narrows it down; the problem is almost certainly with the oscillator. I've posted information on debugging the oscillator circuit elsewhere and am quoting the relevant information below.

jarchie wrote:Fixing oscillator issues requires some trial and error, but following the procedure below will likely fix the problem.

First, excess flux or burnt flux can cause oscillator problems. Sometimes cleaning the board thoroughly with flux cleaner--or simply alcohol and a toothbrush--will solve the problem.

Second, the 20 pF oscillator capacitors included in the Adafruit kit are a bit large. Replacing C8 and C9 with with 10 pF caps will sometimes fix the oscillator. Even if the clock is functioning normally, installing 10 pF caps will increase timekeeping accuracy.

Finally, replacing the crystal will sometimes resolve the issue. The replacement should be another 32.768 kHz crystal with a 12.5 pF load capacitance and equivalent series resistance of 30 kOhm or less. The AB38T-32.768KHZ is a good choice and is available from Digi-Key or Mouser. When installing and soldering the crystal, gently push the crystal through the circuit board until there is 2-3 mm of space between the bottom of the crystal and the circuit board. Leaving this space prevents undue stress on the leads which could damage the crystal; it also ensures solder will not make unwanted electrical contact with the metallic crystal housing.

I would suggest first trying to clean excess flux from the board; be sure to allow the board to dry thoroughly before powering it again. If that fails, it's also worth touching up the solder joints on C8, C9 and the crystal.

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by adafruit_support_bill on Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:46 am

I would suggest first trying to clean excess flux from the board; be sure to allow the board to dry thoroughly before powering it again. If that fails, it's also worth touching up the solder joints on C8, C9 and the crystal.

That is good advice. From the photos, it looks like there is some burnt flux in the vicinity. Carbonized flux can become somewhat conductive and interfere with the oscillation. There are also a couple of solder joints that look a bit 'pear shaped'. This can indicate a failure to wet out the solder pad and result in a poor connection. This guide has some tips on identifying and repairing those:

http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-guid ... n-problems

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by Dangerous_Toast on Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:58 am

Thank you for your ideas and guidance. I will work on these suggestions soon.

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by Dangerous_Toast on Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:00 pm

I cleaned up the flux and touched up some solder points. Still seeing the issue.

I will order some new caps and oscillator and try those, following the advice given above. Seeing the crystal as it was installed makes me wonder if it was pressed in too much and damaged, based on the comments above.

I'll check in when that's done. I really appreciate the thorough help and explanations. This is a joint project with my son, both of us having made several other projects before this. He is also learning how to ask for help, with some of the early questions on this project coming from him. This forum is a textbook example of a great community. Thank you.

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Re: Ice Tube Clock: Unable to completely set time

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:43 am

I haven't tried the 10pF cap swap. But it sounds reasonable. Crystals are relatively delicate components and can be damaged by overheating or mechanical stress.

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.