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Ice Tube Problems
Moderators: adafruit_support_bill, adafruit

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

Re: Ice Tube Problems

by jarchie on Fri Jan 16, 2015 5:41 pm

If it helps, I'm attaching a compiled version of the xmas firmware with the default xmas compile-time options for the Adafruit Ice Tube Clock v1.1. You should be able to program your ATmega328p chip with something like the following:

Code: Select all | TOGGLE FULL SIZE
avrdude -B 4 -P usb -c usbtiny -p atmega328p -u -U lfuse:w:0x62:m -u -U hfuse:w:0xD1:m -u -U efuse:w:0x06:m
avrdude -B 4 -P usb -c usbtiny -p atmega328p -U eeprom:w:icetube_eeprom.hex:i -U flash:w:icetube_flash.hex:i
avrdude -B 4 -P usb -c usbtiny -p atmega328p -U lock:w:0x2B:m

But I still recommend learning to compile the firmware yourself. Doing so will allow you to enable or disable the compile-time options in config.h to suit your needs--something that is necessary to enable support for some of the hardware mods. Being able to compile is also a useful skill, as not everyone is willing to post binaries.

Finally, if all else fails, I've been known to send people preprogramed xmas chips, but generally ask that they reimburse my costs, about $3 for the chip plus shipping. If interested, feel free to email me.

Good luck and happy hacking!

xmas-a770557c4b.zip
xmas-icetube firmware binaries
(27.43 KiB) Downloaded 67 times

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by jarchie on Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:50 pm

I copied and updated the Windows installation tutorial post to a wiki page. The tutorial is still long... but only because it explains most of what is going on behind the scenes. I am hoping that the length doesn't scare people away.

I rarely use Windows, but I did go through the tutorial this evening on a Windows 7 box with the latest version of xmas-icetube. Everything worked as expected, so the updated information on the wiki page is up-to-date.

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by phild13 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:48 am

Excellent update to the instructions. Thanks!

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by smilenjohn on Sat Jan 17, 2015 12:52 pm

Wow!! Thank you!!! That was amazing. Very nice tutorial. That is a mind blowing amount of info, but in a very easy to follow format. And best of all, it seems to work!!!!! I still need to reconnect my GPS, but the program itself seems to be working fine. I was up till 4:30am this morning messing with this, and I kept getting the same error. Anyways…. After 5 hours of sleep, I remembered that I had changed the config file in avrdude, when I was programming a trinket. Fortunately I saved a copy of the original conf file, so once I switched back to that… it worked 1st try!!!!!!! Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! I just purchased a couple of your pcb’s from OSHpark, and I had already purchased several spare IV18 tubes and spares of every single component during my troubleshooting process, so I can now go back and make it pretty. I might be getting a little ahead of myself; I’d better reconnect the GPS and the other sensors first and get this one completely done. Thanks again! I never would have got this working without this forum. I also wanted to thank PhilD13, for his assistance as well. (A bit off subject) I’d really like to learn more about programming, My first step in problem solving is to usually throw a bunch of money at the problem, and that will usually fix it. Not so much with this stuff. I purchased every chip, programmer, component target board and tool I could find, and was only more confused. Can anyone suggest a good book, tutorial, or maybe a course I can take that might help? Anyways back to the ice tube, I’m sure I’ll have more questions. Thanks again!

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by jarchie on Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:16 pm

smilenjohn wrote:Wow!! Thank you!!! That was amazing. Very nice tutorial.

You're very welcome!

smilenjohn wrote:And best of all, it seems to work!!!!!

Congratulations! I admire your perseverance after the initial streak of bad luck.

smilenjohn wrote:I just purchased a couple of your pcb’s from OSHpark, and I had already purchased several spare IV18 tubes and spares of every single component during my troubleshooting process [...]

Awesome!!!

When the time comes, you might need a few more parts, but probably not too many. There's a full list of components in the hardware/BOM.csv file.

Since my PCBs are not an Adafruit product, there is no official Adafruit support, but I'm certainly willing to help out if you run into trouble. And it's a pretty safe bet that other forum members would be happy to help as well. By the way, PhilD13 is the same Phil who helped me design those PCBs. :-)

smilenjohn wrote:I’d really like to learn more about programming, [...] Can anyone suggest a good book, tutorial, or maybe a course I can take that might help?

For microcontroller programming, I suggest starting with the Arduino environment. The ARDX experimentation kit provides an excellent introduction. The real value in that kit is the documentation which is available for free in PDF format. I would suggest skimming that documentation before investing in the kit to make sure it's right for your learning style.

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by smilenjohn on Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:39 pm

More great info, Thanks again. A couple years ago I was laid up for almost an entire year, so I tried to find some hobbies to keep me from goin crazy. You can only build so many computers, before your basement starts looking like NASA control center and the Mses starts to complain about the electric bill. So I purchased a Multimeter Clock kit by Alan Parekh. I was immediately hooked! Since then I have purchased dozens of kits components and tools, especially from Adafruit, because of their tutorials and support. I also purchased an Arduino & a Raspberry Pi. But to be honest, I’ve had better luck programming using the USBtinyISP and the Mass AVR ISP Programmer. Other than the blinking light thing, I don’t think I’ve gotten anything to work on it yet. But I think I need to actually LEARN what I’m doing, so I won’t need such rudimentary step by step instruction. That said my next project will be on the Arduino. (After I finish with the Icetube clocks) I just purchased another Arduino Uno & a Mega2560, a hand full of those Xbee thingys , a box full of sensors, displays and shields. So one way or another I’m gonna learn it. I will start with that ARDX PDF you suggested. I believe I have pretty much everything else in that kit. I’m sure I will be posting lots of questions. By the way…. My theory was wrong, my basement now looks like an electronics grave yard, and my electric bill is higher than ever! Oh well, at least I'm enjoying myself.

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by jarchie on Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:43 pm

Ah, your basement sounds like paradise!

I wish you the best of luck with everything, and if you need any more help with the xmas firmware or hardware revision, just post to the Adafruit Clocks form. I check for new posts on a semi-regular basis, and I think Phil does as well. MikeHg also seems to know the firmware well. Although there is no official Adafruit support for the xmas firmware, there is no shortage of forum users who can provide assistance.

And Adafruit deserves a big "thank you" for allowing us to use their forums to discuss a non-Adafruit project. :-)

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by phild13 on Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:21 pm

I kinda think that some of the intent of Adafruit and the forums is to provide a basis to foster experimentation and collaboration between end users which would broaden ones knowledge and abilities. The icetube clock kit provides an ideal environment to foster such experimentation.

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by jarchie on Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:02 pm

I agree, but still think Adafruit deserves accolades. When someone buys the xmas boards we designed from OSH Park, Adafruit doesn't receive any royalties. That might make good business sense in the long term, because people are probably more inclined to buy from a company who supports open hardware. Even so, I am appreciative of the fact that Adafruit allows open discussion of non-Adafruit hardware and projects.

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by smilenjohn on Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:26 am

Without question Adafruit is great. Without this site, I wouldn't have even attempted half the projects I've done. The only down side to the site is I can't hardly visit it without finding some new gadget, gizmo or widget that I just have to buy. Anyways up to this point I have been working on my Ice Tube Clock, and with some great assistance and advice, It is up and running. Now I've bought a couple of the xmas Ice tube clock PCB's and would like to "Upgrade" my project. Of course I am having some problems. Since this is now not an Adafruit product, I am looking for some other forums to find some instruction, but I'm not having any luck. Can anyone give me some recommendations?

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by phild13 on Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:16 pm

The "Boss" is always saying "Now what are you buying?!" because of Adafruit. :)

Adafruit is kind enough to allow the freedom to post questions, discussion, methods, alternate firmware questions, etc. and they even provide the files necessary for most projects to build your own boards. That is great as it helps you learn board layout and so on. Many of their products (like icetube) are perfect for hacking and experimenting with.

I am not sure which boards you bought (Adafruit does not sell the icetube main board) or what firmware you wish to use, but there is a wealth of information on the forum that deals with how to install alternate firmware, using alternate transistors for Q3, and using different methods of powering the tube filament. Along the way you will learn the basic design and how it works inside out

The basis of all the boards I have seen for the icetube are designed around the same circuit that Adafruit developed and so the troubleshooting would be much the same as one of their boards.

There are probably not any other forums dealing much if at all with the icetube clock, so you probably could ask the questions here, just be aware that forum members will be the ones to answer your questions on non Adafruit projects. You can always contact whoever made the board if there is a question on what parts are needed. I'm sure they will provide a BOM or direct you to an existing BOM for the particular board version.

Tip:
Buy a blank ATMEGA328P from DigiKey (ATMEGA328P-PU-ND) or Mouser. If you buy one from somewhere that already has a bootloader installed on it you will need to go through extra steps to remove the bootloader and make it work for the icetube clock. These extra steps will require extra parts on a breadboard in order to communicate with the chip so it can be reprogrammed.

Tip:
This depends upon what main board your using so if it does not apply to the board you have (Johns board for instance), then ignore. Use either a ZVP2110A FET or a PN2907A with a 470 ohm - 1K (any value within that range will do) base resister for Q3.

Tip:
Firmware I like is
https://github.com/johngarchie/xmas-icetube/ by JArchie It is very good.

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by jarchie on Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:54 pm

Ditto to what Phil wrote; the Adafruit forums are fine for this type of experimentation.

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:27 pm

As others have said, these forums are open for this kind of discussion. We can't provide the same level of support for these efforts as we do for our kits. But we do appreciate and encourage the hacker spirit and community contributions.

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by smilenjohn on Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:48 pm

I originally purchased the Ice Tube Clock kit. After a lot of trial and errors, I have it working. I have now purchased some Rev d PCB's from OSHpark. I assembled the first one, with all the parts listed in the BOM file, and it does nothing, I plug it in and nada. I checked and rechecked for any soldering errors, or reversed components, and found none. I decided to start over and assembled a second board. This one beeps once, then nothing. If I unplug it, and replug it in, it doesn't beep again unless I leave it unplugged for a few minutes. Ive tried swapping the Atmega328's with my working clock and the tubes, but it does the same one beep and nothing. I've also swapped the VFD's with no success. I'm wondering if I may have Q2 backwards. Should the bridged pins be on the VFD side? Other than that possibility, I'm stumped??

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Re: Ice Tube Problems

by phild13 on Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:40 pm

Johns firmware is defaulted to the Adafruit compatible setup as that is what most people will install and use the firmware on. In order for the firmware to work with John's rev D boards, you have to reconfigure the firmware and recompile it. Also any other firmware will not work on John's Rev D boards.

I have tested and assembled the rev D boards with the recommended parts with the firmware configured properly and they do work fine.

If you have configured the firmware, compiled it and installed it properly, then post clear photos of both sides of the board and maybe John or myself can spot something.

Edit: In the hardware directory there is a pre-configured config.h file for the rev d board.
https://github.com/johngarchie/xmas-ice ... r/hardware
You would replace the config.h in the firmware directory with the one from the hardware directory before using the make command to compile the firmware.

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.