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Support Forum » Initial Test Project Does Not Work

February 19, 2013
by dansherm
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I've been flailing about for the last week trying to get the initial welcome screen test to work but I'm not having any luck. I sent an email with a lot of pictures to the support email address but I haven't gotten a response yet so I thought I'd try here. Pics: Right Side LCD and BB BB from LCD

February 19, 2013
by dansherm
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I see that the pictures did not make it into the message so here are the links: LCD in BB LCD BB Full View Right Side

February 19, 2013
by dansherm
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After reading more posts on this forum I decided to try stripping the board down and hooking everything up again. I'm still getting the same two lines (1 & 3). This leads me to believe that my power is hooked up correctly and that pins 1,2,3 are connected properly on the LCD since I'm getting power and contrast. It seems like everything is working except for the microcontroller but I don't know how to test it.

This is the 4th or 5th time I tried building this so I'm at my wits end at this point.

February 19, 2013
by Noter
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The bars mean the display has not been successfully initialized by the firmware on the chip. There can be several causes but typically it boils down to the either the chip not running the program or the display is not hooked up correctly.

The chip will not run the program without power and GND on the appropriate pins. Also the crystal must be on the correct pins and the reset pin must have 5v on it. Double check those things and use a voltmeter to verify 5v is only where it is supposed to be.

More likely the display is wired incorrectly but I can't tell from your photos. Maybe you could straighten out some of those wires and get a better photo.

Could be a bad chip but that is quite unusual.

February 19, 2013
by dansherm
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Thanks for the reply. I took a picture of my latest attempt and I hope it's clear enough.

February 19, 2013
by Noter
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I still can't see for sure LCD pin 6 is to MCU pin 12 but otherwise it looks ok. Did you check voltages with a multi-meter? Have you disconnected the battery and then reconnected after wiring changes?

February 19, 2013
by dansherm
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I just verified that LCD pin 6 is going into MCU pin 12. I always disconnect the battery before making any wiring changes as I'm afraid of frying anything since I don't have the skinniest fingers :) .

I put the probes of my multimeter on pins 7 & 8 on the MCU and I'm getting ~4.92 volts. Do I have to have exactly 5 volts? Is it possible that there's a problem with the voltage regulator?

I tried removing the capacitor just to see what would happen and it had no effect.

Thanks again for your help.

February 19, 2013
by Noter
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No, anything close to 5v is fine. Remove the 3 wires on the other side of the chip. They're not necessary unless you're using the ADC. The fewer wires the better while trying to get it to work.

February 20, 2013
by dansherm
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I removed the 3 wires and, as you indicated, it doesn't seem to affect anything one way or the other.

February 20, 2013
by Noter
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Hard to say what the problem is because it looks like you have it wired correctly. Maybe there is a short between pins on the LCD where the header was soldered on. Check them all very closely.

Perhaps the nerdkits support folks will pay attention if you reverse the charges you paid for their kit.

February 20, 2013
by dansherm
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Thanks for your help. I sent a few emails in addition to this post and I haven't gotten any kind of reply from anyone at nerdkits, which is distressing, since the reason I bought this thing is because the reviews said the customer support is so good. I guess you can't believe everything you read.

February 20, 2013
by Noter
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Support used to be good but the business was set up by college kids and they move on. I don't recommend nerdkits to anyone now because of their lack of support and involvement in the forums and I doubt anyone here feels differently. Probably one of these days we will find the forum is down and that will be the end of nerdkits.

February 20, 2013
by dansherm
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That's dissapointing. Is there something else that's just as good for learning? I guess I can just buy the same parts at Radio Shack and troll around or perhaps the Arduino kit would be better?

February 20, 2013
by Noter
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You can get a lot of good info from http://www.avrfreaks.net/. Signup and start searching their forum for books to learn AVR programming or basic electronics. Search here too, seems I have seen some posts that id some good books.

I buy most of my parts from Mouser.com or eBay (slow boat from China) but there are several others that will be a lot less than Radio Shack as well as have more selection.

February 20, 2013
by Noter
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I haven't used Arduino so I can't really say much about it. Maybe Rick will come along with some comments.

February 20, 2013
by Ralphxyz
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. I don't recommend nerdkits to anyone now because of their lack of support and involvement in the forums and I doubt anyone here feels differently.

Yeah to bad, Humberto and Mikes's post were always so helpful, they really made the forum helpful.

Of course everybody has contributed greatly to my learning so I have a lot of appreciation to the Nerdkits forum.

Oh in case the forum ever does just disappear:

rhulslander gmail in case we have to find another place to hang out.

AVRfreaks has some strong support and very knowledgeable people, but it just ain't as friendly as Nerdkits.

Ralph

February 20, 2013
by dansherm
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I just checked out the AVR site. I found another site called AVRBegnners which might be a good place to start since I'm new to this.

I'll reach out to you guys to let you know how it works out.

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