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By: Anonymous: dave () on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 12:00 AM PST (Read 6504 times)  
Anonymous: dave

Hi

I was just aligning my first green LED and the clock gave a few flickers and then no more... None of the buttons do anything, heres what I've tried since:

1) checked 5v at power supply - good
2) checked power at various places around board - seems to be getting around, but I am unsure of where to look
3) reflowed all joints on the board & jumpers except for leds
4) installed usb power jumper and tried to power from usb - no go
5) removed green board to see if there was a problem there - no difference

During aligning of the green led i *may* have held + - and z buttons down simultaneously for a bit - can this have caused any problems?

This is frustrating seeing as i was about 80% finished... any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

Dave





       
   
By: Windell (offline) on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 12:31 AM PST  
Windell

1) checked 5v at power supply - good
2) checked power at various places around board - seems to be getting around, but I am unsure of where to look
3) reflowed all joints on the board & jumpers except for leds
4) installed usb power jumper and tried to power from usb - no go
5) removed green board to see if there was a problem there - no difference


Yikes. Starting to randomly desolder parts is the number one way that we've seen people end up with a permanently dead kit-- I strongly suggest that this is not the best approach.

If the clock suddenly stops operating, the first thing that you should do is unplug it for a full minute before plugging it back in. There are a few different ways that it can get into a sleep mode, and we've seen cases where one "played dead" even after being unplugged for a few seconds. You may also want to try resetting it to factory defaults by holding the + and - buttons for five full seconds after cycling power. (If there are issues with your buttons that could also be causing what you're seeing.)

You may want to begin by looking at the schematic, since you seem to know your way around with a multimeter. Certain connections are *essential* for any LEDs to turn on. These include: the three pins of the power jack, jumper JP1, capacitors C1 and C2, the quartz crystal, and most pins of the microcontroller chip. Carefully inspect each of these locations visually. The solder joints at each location should be shiny tears of metal that wet and connect to the pin of the component and to the circuit board. If any are suspicious or not clean looking, touch them up with fresh solder.

Slightly less obvious: Make sure that pin 1 of the chip is "high" -- near 5 V, as are the pins of the chip (11-13) that connect to the buttons. Also, double-check your board against the picture on page 27 of the instructions-- you should have an exact match, without extra resistors or components in the locations that we show as empty.

Next: Go over the whole board with a fine-tooth comb, top and bottom, to look for any stray bits of metal, clipped (or unclipped) leads, solder beads, solder bridges between pins, or other debris that could be causing a short circuit. For components that have bent-over leads, make sure that those leads only go to 45 degrees, and that they are not bent flush to the board, where they could cause undesired connections.

After doing this, plug in the clock and watch it for a full minute, just to see if any LEDs come on. It is (unlikely but) possible that in addition to the main problem, something has affected a portion of the LED ring, so be sure that you wait long enough to see if any of the LEDs are coming on.


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By: Anonymous: dave () on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 04:10 AM PST  
Anonymous: dave

Hi Windell - thanks for the prompt reply. I've tried to go through your points systematically, but it has started working again, not through anything I did but seemingly by it's own choice??? When i cycle the power, sometimes the clock turns on quick, sometimes after a few minutes, and sometimes not at all. Flexing the bottom right of the board (around the IC and quartz) seems to get it going, so I may reflow those joints again. Any other ideas? I've yet to go cross check the schematic and circuit diagram.


Yikes. Starting to randomly desolder parts is the number one way that we've seen people end up with a permanently dead kit-- I strongly suggest that this is not the best approach. - ok

If the clock suddenly stops operating, the first thing that you should do is unplug it for a full minute before plugging it back in. - done - no good.

There are a few different ways that it can get into a sleep mode, and we've seen cases where one "played dead" even after being unplugged for a few seconds. You may also want to try resetting it to factory defaults by holding the + and - buttons for five full seconds after cycling power. (If there are issues with your buttons that could also be causing what you're seeing.) - reset tried - no good. I also checked that each switch went open & closed with multimeter.

You may want to begin by looking at the schematic, since you seem to know your way around with a multimeter. Certain connections are *essential* for any LEDs to turn on. These include: the three pins of the power jack, - 5.27v at power jack, 0 ohms between two earth power jack pins

jumper JP1, - 5.26v at JP1, 0 ohms across JP1

capacitors C1 and C2, - 0 ohms to the -ive power jack pin, open circuit to the +ive

the quartz crystal, 0.48V on the outside (left), 0.9V on the inside pin (left). After I tested that, blue led at approx 5 gave a very brief flash...hmm

and most pins of the microcontroller chip.

Carefully inspect each of these locations visually. The solder joints at each location should be shiny tears of metal that wet and connect to the pin of the component and to the circuit board. If any are suspicious or not clean looking, touch them up with fresh solder. - all look good, I have re-flowed most just in case.

Slightly less obvious: Make sure that pin 1 of the chip is "high" -- near 5 V, 5.24V

as are the pins of the chip (11-13) that connect to the buttons. all 5.21V

At this point it started working again. Question although backwards. I thought I had flexed the board and had a dodgy joint somewhere, but I could not repeat the fault. I have since been able to find that touching the quartz crystal pins with my fingers is enough to reset the clock, and touching the LHS of the IC will also reset. This can't have been the only fault as I have had it sitting turned on for 20 mins without anything. Not complaining, but I fear I have some other fault somewhere.





       
   
By: Windell (offline) on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 04:34 AM PST  
Windell

OK-- glad that you have some functionality again.

Touching the left-hand side of the board will cause a reset because you bump pin 1, or the resistor or capacitor or either of the 6-pin header locations which are connected to it... and cause a reset. That doesn't normally mean that anything is wrong with your kit. I don't know what will happen if you touch the clock pins... but I wouldn't expect that to be much more friendly.

So, there may be something flaky near your clock section-- perhaps some solder goo was messing with the tiny capacitances at the clock location. However, nothing that you are describing now stands out as a red flag to me. I would encourage you *not* to touch the circuit board while power is applied, except as directed in the assembly instructions. Big Grin


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By: Anonymous: dave () on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 05:03 AM PST  
Anonymous: dave

I've just re-installed the green board and back to no functionality. I see that the tiny capacitances near the clock could be getting mucked up so I will try to clean around that area.

Thanks for the help so far, may need some more soon...

Dave





       
   
By: Anonymous: dave () on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 05:46 AM PST  
Anonymous: dave

All of the LED's are at around 1.6V, both leads. I've held the multi meter on one of the second led's for over a minute to see if it changed - no change.

All 10 of the jumper resistors at at that 1.6v, including the 10th one, the different one. So this is pointing me back to something wrong with the clock area (again)

Dave





       
   
By: Windell (offline) on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 06:02 AM PST  
Windell

>All 10 of the jumper resistors at at that 1.6v, including the 10th one, the different one.

This sounds normal- they go high and low very fast. The 10th one is only used to drive the red LEDs.


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By: Anonymous: Dave () on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 08:36 PM PST  
Anonymous: Dave

I did some more work last night, finished the entire kit off, installed red ring. Still wouldn't work. So I installed the chronodot, thinking it may override any problems with the quartz - still no good. I then reflowed all the capacitors and damaged C6 (lead partly came away from package). .... and it worked, sorta.

I have to plug in the power and touch all around the ic and quartz, sometimes i get a led flash, and just sometimes it will run (about 1 in 20 times).

Weird I know, but i did get it to run long enough to align all the green and red led's and muck around with all the settings etc. It won't hold time though, it seems to run for a while then reset to 1 o'clock or a random time. This does lead me to believe that c6 or maybe some of the other capacitors have been damaged since after I installed the blue ring. I shall replace all those starting with C6.

Oh and I've since checked off the circuit diagram and the assembled photograph, no issues. I've also used liberal amounts of contact cleaner and checked around all the joints.

Sound like a plan?
Thanks

Dave





       
   
By: Windell (offline) on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 09:01 PM PST  
Windell

I installed the chronodot, thinking it may override any problems with the quartz - still no good.


The quartz crystal is necessary for the microcontroller to operate properly, whether or not the Chronodot is present.

I have to plug in the power and touch all around the ic and quartz, sometimes i get a led flash, and just sometimes it will run (about 1 in 20 times).


This is very odd. I wonder if it could be a problem with the power supply.

This does lead me to believe that c6 or maybe some of the other capacitors have been damaged since after I installed the blue ring. I shall replace all those starting with C6.

C6 is only needed if you are planning to reprogram the clock through the USB-TTL cable. Otherwise, you could even remove it. Likewise, C3 is not critical, and if you suspect that it may be damaged, then it should go. In contrast, C1 and C2 *are* critical-- if either was cracked or stressed in installation, that could explain what you're seeing.


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By: Anonymous: Dave () on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 10:58 PM PST  
Anonymous: Dave

The power supply does seem to be throwing out a constant 5.3V. But I can try another 5V reg power supply. See how that goes.

I'll pull C6, then C3, then replace C1 and C2.

I'm off to have a swim and a rum to celebrate 2009.

Thanks for all your help - and happy new year Smile

Dave





       
   
By: Anonymous: Dave () on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 03:14 AM PST  
Anonymous: Dave

Happy 2010

I've tried another 5v power supply, no good

I removed c3 and c6, and it worked once out of about 10 attempts

I replaced c1 and c2, no good

I replaced c3, still no good.

At a bit of a loss again, since it does work occasionally. I am thinking that the quartz and he ic are the next most likely to be causing this issue. What do you think?

I have the TTL cable, could this help to diagnose?

Thanks

Dave





       
   
By: Windell (offline) on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 04:18 AM PST  
Windell

Happy new year to you as well!

These AVRs are the damned toughest chips I've ever seen, and they are the last part that I would expect to fail. I'm also suspecting the quartz, or *possibly* EEPROM corruption in the AVR. You could definitely test these with the USB-TTL cable. Try to reprogram the default firmware (or anything at all, for that matter)-- if it can be programmed, then the chip is "operating normally" and this turns out to be a software/firmware issue. If that's the case, it should work again after the default software is reprogrammed back onto it.

Keep in mind that C6 and R11 need to be in place for programming to work.


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By: Anonymous: Dave () on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 05:16 AM PST  
Anonymous: Dave

I have zero EEPROM experience, so i will have to do some reading before i have a go at testing the avr. I'll see what I can do there before I go get another quartz.

I've already got C6 and R11 in so that should be ok.

Thanks, I'll report back when I've go my head around this chip and the software.

Dave





       
   
By: Windell (offline) on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 09:51 AM PST  
Windell

The software handles the EEPROM under the hood-- you definitely don't need any experience with it; I was just thinking aloud about ways that software corruption could take place. If you'd like another quartz crystal for debugging, please let us know through the store.


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By: Anonymous: BillyBusk () on Thursday, May 13 2010 @ 06:43 AM PDT  
Anonymous: BillyBusk

Just wondering if you were able to get your clock working. I seem to have had the same problem, although I was only on the first ring. During focusing, I must have hit the circuitry at the back of the board. I had a couple of flickers as you noted dave, and then no more lights. The board was fully functional before it stopped working. I was able to advance the lights and change the mode with the buttons. I have tried to reset it to factory default after cycling power. I've checked the board for any visible shorts and reflowed all the joints to be sure. I've checked the continuity of all the resistors and that power is getting around as Windell suggested although pin 1 is high (5.47V) and pins 11-13 (which should be high?)are all at about 1.5V. Could this be causing the clock not to work?





       
   



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