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[S]IV-18 VFD Clock Booster Pack

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BH - do you have pin 1 for the 34063 in the right spot? Pin 1 for both IC's is upper left (towards the USB connector)

Also - try turning the Pots all the way down. I noticed my schottky ran a little warm when I had them turned all the way up.


I'll get some good pictures uploaded tomorrow so it's very obvious what the orientation of everything should be.


GeekDoc - I left the header the way it was in the V1 booster - it was different than I planned, but wasn't a difference from a balance standpoint. The only difference between the 1.0 and 1.1 is that I fixed the footprint for the DS10B30.

The Eagle part was designed by Lady Ada - I


One BIG hint - if you put the tube in and anything turns red - UNPLUG IT!


I'd suggest everyone hold off until I can get some pics uploaded.

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Success!   The only issue so far - I flipped the header for the plug-in board for the tube in the schematic and didn't flip it on the PCB. Had to solder it on the other side, no big deal.   I'm c

Update - demo video recorded and added to first post!

Whaaaa, 22 ohms isn't the same as 22k? *smackface*  

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Just got called in the middle of the night for work and decided I'd check in really quick.


SA - can you measure what voltage you get on the side of the schottky with the silver band? Did you get the 5v from TP1 connected to the "5v" pin on the booster? You should be seeing at least 30V and up to 50v if you've got the pots turned all the way up. If you could also measure what voltages you're seeing on the pins that the tube connects to and verify that you're getting.

I'm assuming you did not get any red glowing on the tube? Did you put the right-angle header on the side of the board that said "header goes in here"?


I don't have my kit yet (we were short a board) - could you check resistor values and make sure something wasn't mis-labeled?


And one last thing that I forgot to mention - the RTC functions depend on the crystal being soldered onto the LP. Has that been done? I believe that would have just resulted in the word "startup" displaying and never going away, but I haven't tested on an LP without the crystal.

Any issues with the code compiling?


If there's nothing obvious there - can you post a picture of your board?

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Ok - so here's a start on assembly instructions. I'll try to update this specific post with additional info so it doesn't get too fragmented.


***This board requires > 100 mA of current, so it must be connected to a USB port that provides > 100 mA***


Step 1 - Solder crystal to the LP. Run test code from TI to make sure it's running.


Step 2 - Solder SMD components to board first. It's awfully difficult to do this after the larger components (caps, etc) are added. Pay attention to the orientation of the chips.


Step 3 - Solder in everything else except the DS18B20, Transistor and Female Header. Go ahead and solder the headers to connect to the BP.

***Pay special attention to the orientation of the schottky***

Step 6 - with a small piece of wire (enough that you can take the BP off and on without pulling the wire out), connect TP1 on the booster pack (our 5v source) to the 5v+ hole on the booster pack.

Step 5 - Turn the Pots all the way down. If possible, Connect the GND from the LP to the GND of the booster pack so you're only running power to the boost circuit. Test the output voltage of the boost circuit in the location shown in the image (banded side of the schottky). You should be reading around 30V (20v is the minimum to light the tube). If components start to get hot or you're not measuring 30V - stop and get help.


Step 6 - If everything is fine so far, and no components are warm, solder in the remaining components. Place the full booster on the LP and power up. Make sure everything remains cool for a minute or two.

Step 7 - Solder the header on the tube board. Make sure you put the header in on the side of the board that says "43oh.com". Note the text that says "header goes in here".

**will upload a picture when I get a new set of boards**

Step 8 - Solder the tube. ***Be extremely careful about this step - if you don't solder correctly - it's a huge pain to fix, maybe impossible.***

Find the three pins on the front of the display that aren't connected to anything inside of the tube. These three pins go into the holes labeled as "nc" and within the white box on the silk-screen.

I used Lady Ada's eagle part for this, she has a great section on getting the tube in correctly here. You'll have to scroll about 2/3 of the way down the page to the section on assembling the tube board.


Step 9 - Program your board. Get the latest code from my GitHub repository. https://github.com/cubeberg/Clock/tree/ ... ockProject

This is written for Code Composer Studio.

Step 10 - Check to make sure the VFD driver chip is working. Using a multimeter - check the voltages on the header pins. **I'll fill in more information here in a bit***

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BH - resistors look good on your picture (correct value) - caps look like they're in the right orientation as does the schottky. Does the capacitor say "391"? Can you give me the values on the caps as well? Just making sure we don't have any other incorrect parts.



Cap says 391. I also changed the 34063, it still gets hot. I'll wait for you to get yours.

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Step 1 - Solder crystal to the LP. Run test code from TI to make sure it's running.

Okay, this may sound odd, but: I've never used the crystal on my LaunchPads. :oops:


I have no problem adding it, but can someone point me to TI's test code (or any that I can use)?

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Here's a guide that worked well for the LP without headers - http://justinstech.org/2010/07/msp430-l ... t-how-too/

It's a little tricker with the headers in place now, but a smaller piece of tape will work - I've done it without. A set of tweezers is extremely helpful.


I've uploaded one of the code samples that uses the crystal - it should toggle the LED. I'll test on my board in a bit so you'll have exact specifics.


You could complete the other steps without it - the clock just won't work right. It should display a message though.


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I'm really sorry about this guys - I'm looking over the gerbers now to see if there's something wrong. My daughter (8) was actually able to successfully solder a first rev board herself without any issues (minus the SMD parts) - so I'm really surprised we're having so much trouble. There aren't any air wires or anything. The only thing I've really found so far is that the traces are 6mil instead of 10mil.


Hopefully if you bear with me for a couple of days - I'll be able to get this sorted out.

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No worries.

Congrats on your daughter soldering her kit :)


I would not discount the pcb.

So far, just to summarize so that it is easier to debug:

1. 34063 gets hot on mine. I think the same goes for SA. he has not reported what gets hot.

2. Base gets hot without the tube board, so you can take that out of the equation.

3. All components aligned ok(verified from mine and SA's pic)



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