Tubes blank after start up

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4 months 2 days ago #12198 by RikSeelen
Hey all!

I've build my beautiful Rev3 Modular Nixie Clock, and I have soldered everything except for the seperator leds (I'd like to wait for this untill I finish my case).

In test mode, the tubes work fine, showing the digits like they should. Then, when I push the button at 88:88:88 it enters start up mode, and it shows me version number 2.22, after which it shortly shows 88:88:88 again, and then the tubes and the leds just go blank. I tested the HV circuit, and when the tubes are blank it also only outputs 8 V instead of 180V.

So I thought the problem would be in the wifi module; I checked the online configuration page, and there I saw it said:
Communicating with: Clock not found! So the problem seems to be between the wifi-module and the clock. The wifi-module's blue light does show it's running, and as said I can access the online configuration page.

I added a closeup picture of the circuit surrounding the wifi-module; don't judge my soldering skills, I was struggling with the SMD's :lol:

I looked around on the forum but couldn't find any answers; hopefully someone of you can!

Cheers,
Rik
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4 months 1 day ago #12199 by Ty_Eeberfest
Sorry to leave you in moderation limbo for so long. I just now noticed your post in the queue.

I'm not convinced that the WiFi has anything to do with your problem. It sounds to me like either 1) the clock thinks it's supposed to be blanking the display or 2) the controller is crashing. Don't worry too much about that Clock Not Found! message right now - it is not a fatal error and it may resolve itself after solving the primary problem.

Blanking is the more likely cause of the two. A Factory Reset should clear out any inappropriate blanking setting that (somehow?) found their way into EEPROM. This is what is supposed to happen:

1) You initiate a reset by holding down the button as you apply power to the clock.
2) The RGB LEDs flash colors obnoxiously for a couple seconds.
3) Tubes begin counting 0 - 9, LEDs changing color as digits change.
4) You press the button when display is 888888 to initiate HV Calibration
5) Tubes show 888888 with LEDs blue for a few seconds.
6) Tubes count up rapidly, stop at about 170 (+/-), LEDs red brightening gradually.
7) Tubes count down rapidly, stop at about 180 (+/-), LEDs green brightening gradually.
8) Tubes again show 888888 with blue LEDs for a few seconds.
9) LEDs may flicker red for a moment, then version (something like "357") displayed.
10) Tubes display time - normal operation.
11) After a reset like this you may need to cycle power to get the first time server sync,

If that doesn't fix it then we've got to figure out when and why the controller crashes. A video clip of the entire process of a Factory Reset (from power-up through HV Calibration to the point where display goes off) would be most helpful.

Look into it later when the dust is clearing off the crater.

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4 months 1 day ago - 4 months 1 day ago #12200 by RikSeelen
Thanks for your quick reply! :D

I've tried a factory reset a desperate amount of times, but it does not work. The process that happens is also different than what you describe; I've added a video here:



It seems to crash during the countdown? It only reaches 220, I first thought that was the version number.
Thanks,
Rik
Last edit: 4 months 1 day ago by Ty_Eeberfest. Reason: Fixed video link

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4 months 1 day ago #12204 by Ty_Eeberfest
So yeah... that HV Calibration sequence is a hot mess alright! Gives me a new idea: HV Sense problem.

HV Sense is on Pin 23 of the controller. It comes from a voltage divider (R16 and R17) that divides down the HV to something the controller can handle on an analog input. HV Calibration tries to bring the HV Sense voltage to about 2 volts, which corresponds to HV = 175V,

Measure the voltage on controller pin 23 (referenced to GND) during the entire 8's and counting parts of the Calibration routine. It should ramp up and down a bit, between 1V and about 2.5V but at the end, just before the tubes black out, it should have stabilized at 2 or 2.1 volts. If you read something other than this you need to check R16 and R17 to make sure you have the right resistors in the right places and good solder joints, Also make sure Pin 23 on the controller is soldered well and the chip's pin actually plugged into the socket rather than bent to the side.

Let me know what happens...

Look into it later when the dust is clearing off the crater.

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4 months 1 day ago #12205 by RikSeelen
Alright I checked the voltage of pin 23, and indeed it rampsup till about 2.2 V, dropping down to 0.1 when the tubes blank...

The solder joints look good aswell, so i guess this is not the problem.

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4 months 1 day ago #12206 by Ty_Eeberfest
That appears to be a dead end. I'm back to thinking either the controller is crashing or it thinks it's supposed to be blanked for some reason.

This might seem a dumb question, but what happens if you press the button (just a quick 'click') after the tubes have blanked out?

IAN - are you following this? I'm close to being stuck...

Look into it later when the dust is clearing off the crater.

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