Clock sometimes fails(?) on startup, with wifi module

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6 months 3 weeks ago - 6 months 3 weeks ago #12462 by goffrie
Hi! I recently built the All-In-One clock and it was quite fun. However, I've been running into an issue: sometimes, when I turn on the clock with the wifi module attached, it seems to get stuck and the tubes don't turn on. The LEDs underneath flash momentarily (very quickly) then turn off. However, the neon separators turn on and stay on. After a short while (maybe 15 seconds) the 5th digit lights up partially with a "7" - much like RikSeelen's symptom . When I probe the 170V point, it reads a suitably high voltage (~180V).

The failure is quite inconsistent. Sometimes it works on the first try, but I'll usually need to power cycle it a few times before it works.

However, if I don't plug in the wifi board, I can boot successfully every time.

I tried doing a "factory reset" twice and each time it completed fine, but didn't help the problem after power cycling.

Any suggestions on what I should look at? Thanks in advance :)

Failed boot: www.dropbox.com/s/va74sw06fwk3r1t/2021-0...%2019.59.10.jpg?dl=0
Picture of the board: www.dropbox.com/s/8fzdgv15d2koayq/2021-0...%2019.59.42.jpg?dl=0
Last edit: 6 months 3 weeks ago by goffrie. Reason: fixing the second picture

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6 months 3 weeks ago #12464 by Ty_Eeberfest
Regarding your vanishing post, because you are new your posts go to the moderation queue instead of appearing immediately. This will stop happening after you have several approved posts. It's an inconvenient but necessary anti-spam tactic.

Both your photo links are pointing to the same photo. I don't think that was your intent so please look into it.

As to your clock problem I agree that it sound similar to the RikSeelen thread. The part about removing the WiFi board making the clock work is interesting new info. Are you set up to compile Arduino code and load it onto an ESP-01? Do you have an extra ESP-01 lying around? If not, let's not go down that rabbit hole just yet but if you do then I suggest trying a different ESP.

As you can see, I pretty well exhausted my ideas on the Rik thread and as far as I know the problem wasn't found. Let's see what Ian has to say about it. He will probably be checking the forum in a few hours (once it's morning in Europe).

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

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6 months 3 weeks ago #12465 by goffrie
Oops, I fixed the link. I don't have another ESP module, sadly.

One other thing I didn't note is that when the problem happens, the wifi board still connects to the network and I can access it; it shows "Communicating with: Clock not found!" in that case.

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6 months 3 weeks ago #12466 by Ty_Eeberfest
This is probably nothing, but it's worth a look. In the picture the (factory) solder joint on Pin 5 of the ESP-01 looks really dodgy. That pin is used for communication with the clock (it is SDA). In the picture it looks like it has no solder at all though that may be a fluke of camera angle. Regardless, it needs some solder added to it!

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

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6 months 3 weeks ago #12467 by Ty_Eeberfest
Also, "Clock Not Found" could be a symptom of the clock's CPU crashing. BUT... you said you have 180VDC present even in the failed state. That can't happen if the CPU isn't running. If the CPU quits it ends up either in the HVD Off state (high voltage decays down to VIN within a second) or HVD On state (MOSFET gets really hot and high voltage drops instantly to ground).

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

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6 months 3 weeks ago #12468 by goffrie
Good eye. It wasn't entirely missing solder, but half the pad wasn't covered. I added some more solder, but the issue still persists.

Here's a picture after adding solder: www.dropbox.com/s/lo606t1lyi3ogt3/2021-0...%2000.06.59.jpg?dl=0

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