Clock Not Found! (WiFi board woes)

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4 months 2 weeks ago #12993 by Debeque
Hey Guys!

I have the Rev 5 all in one clock with IN-14 tubes, with optional Wifi module. I completed all the construction, with no major issues. However, now I am at the end I have discovered the WiFi module does not recognize the clock I get the dreaded " Clock not found!"

I seen another post here, and I went through the initial setup, calibration and power cycle, even going as far as to manually set the time and let it run for a bit, but it never picked up the clock.

I also have a RTC module from a previous clock that I was building and threw it on the board. It seems the Wifi module can read the RTC based on the summary on the webpage. With the RTC connected the Wifi module says:

Found I2C slave (24xx EEPROM on RTC) 87
Found I2C slave (DS3231 RTC) (default) 104

With the RTC module removed that section in the summary disappears.

If the RTC is supposed to "remember" the time for the clock, then the controller doesn't seem to be communicating with the RTC either. After manually setting the time and power cycling, it starts up at the same default time of like 12:30.

I've checked the components for obvious things like solder bridges or loose connections and I don't see anything too obvious. Any advice?

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4 months 2 weeks ago - 4 months 2 weeks ago #12994 by Ty_Eeberfest
Hello!

It might be informative to pull the ESP-01 out of the WiFi module then power up and see if the RTC sets the clock (almost immediately if it's working normally) to something other than the default. Default, IIRC, is 12:34:56 although by the time it gets through showing the version number it's probably 12:25:xx.

I don't know you, so don't get offended if the rest of what I say seems to you like I'm stating the obvious!

From what I've seen, most Clock Not Found problems come from one of two things:

1) Firmware version conflict between clock and WiFi module. If you bought the full kit with pre-flashed firmware this obviously wouldn't apply but if you flashed any firmware yourself this is worth a look.

2) Some sort of failure - construction or part - in the "ESP Regulator and I2C Level Shifter" circuit - see schematic, bottom right. It's safe to say U1 and C9-11 are okay or you wouldn't be able to access the WiFi module at all. But R40-43 and Q7-8 should be checked. This is a bit of a long shot since the WiFi module saw something (an EEPROM?!?!) when you connected your other RTC. Also make sure SDA and SCL are making it to the Atmega328 Pins 27 & 28, Try continuity checks from the appropriate points on CONN_RTC aka SV3 to the pins of the Atmega chip itself (not the pads on the back because that would not catch a defect in the socket itself).

In short, follow the schematic to make sure SCA and SCL are getting everywhere they need to go, are not shorted to each other, and are both pulled up to Vcc by the 10K resistors.

Look into it later when the dust is clearing off the crater.
Last edit: 4 months 2 weeks ago by Ty_Eeberfest. Reason: R43, not R42!

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4 months 2 weeks ago #12995 by Debeque
You're a champ! And no offence taken, I appreciate the first principle approach and I am an amateur so this was very helpful.

I figured it out, I had a bad solder connection on Pin 27 on the socket. It looked connected well, but after doing some continuity check, it was showing no continuity, so I really examined that pin and it just wasn't good quality, but I fixed it up and now I'm off to the races!

The clock is now showing:

Communicating with: NixieFirmwareV1, I2C v54

So now onto firing up my wood working equipment and making a case.

Thanks for the help, I appreciate it!

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4 months 2 weeks ago #12996 by Ty_Eeberfest
Glad that solved it. I2C does not like marginal solder joints let alone joints that don't connect at all.

For future reference to avoid similar problems;

Never use lead-free solder (leave that stuff to production facilities with reflow ovens or wave soldering machines!) 63/37 or 60/40 tin/lead solder with rosin core highly recommended.

I like to run my iron at 400C/750F, which is hotter than certain "hobbyist" sites state. And of course I heat the joint and feed in the solder, not carry solder to the joint on the tip.

Get a "flux pen" (eBay, Amazon) and use it to wipe a little bit of flux on the pads before inserting each part. Flux one part's pads at a time to avoid the sticky mess fluxing the whole board at once makes! Clean up the excess with alcohol and a toothbrush when finished soldering the board.

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

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4 months 1 week ago #13004 by Debeque
That's some good tips there! I've been experimenting with some strategies, trying to find the techniques to reduce the vast amount of headaches! Certainly been trying different things regarding the iron, and have had the best success on the hotter end of the scale.

Thanks again!

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4 months 1 week ago - 4 months 1 week ago #13011 by Torsten Lang

Ty_Eeberfest wrote: Never use lead-free solder (leave that stuff to production facilities with reflow ovens or wave soldering machines!) 63/37 or 60/40 tin/lead solder with rosin core highly recommended.

I like to run my iron at 400C/750F, which is hotter than certain "hobbyist" sites state. And of course I heat the joint and feed in the solder, not carry solder to the joint on the tip.

Well, I wouldn't say it this way. I tried lead free solder years ago - got some sort of solder wick from some store nearby and tried to use it with my old Weller station - well, that was a catastrophe.

But I'm absolutely fine for several years now with handsoldering and lead free solder. I switched over when I changed to my current employer - at work, we're forced to work lead free by regulations. I had luck that I could use a special deal of one of our distributors where I got my current soldering station. And I use a high quality lead free solder from Almit with iron (extends the tip life time sigificantly) and Silver.

Lead free solder is more demanding than leaded solder, that's clear. So you need the right tools...
Last edit: 4 months 1 week ago by Torsten Lang.

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