Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)

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andrew
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Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)

Post by andrew » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:53 am

Thanks for the information, they all just seem to be warnings not errors so shouldn't stop the sketch from compiling and uploading to the cube.

If you are only seeing warnings and no errors could you elaborate on what you mean by nothing uploads to the cube? I.e. do you see any errors as it attempts to upload the sketch, does it actually upload the sketch but the cube does nothing, does nothing at all happen, etc. ?
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Scarebird
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Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)

Post by Scarebird » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:14 pm

Andrew, thank you for taking the time to reply. I have got to the stage now where I am worried that my attempts to upload a sketch to my cube may somehow corrupt it and prevent it working at all, so I have given up trying. To my best recollection from my last attempt, the sketch didn't upload at all and came back with an error message to that effect. Consequently my cube is still running with the default animations that it was supplied with, so I am happy with that.

ETA: I tried uploading the cube sketch to an actual Arduino Nano and, despite similar warnings as listed above, the upload was actually successful, so I'm not sure what to make of that.

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Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)

Post by Scarebird » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:05 pm

My cube stopped working today, or rather it stopped working properly - some LEDs were lighting up when they shouldn't and I figured it would be easier to build a new one than waste time trying to debug this one. This is especially true given that there are some aspects of the build that I would change given what I learned during the entire process that would make cube #2 both easier to build and be prone to fewer errors introduced during construction.

andrew
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Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)

Post by andrew » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:35 am

Ok, if you do want to have another go at reprogramming it in the future there shouldn't be anything you can do to it that can't be undone by re-flashing the original sketch. So just post here if you need any further help.
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Scarebird
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Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)

Post by Scarebird » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:26 pm

Well I ordered a 2nd cube, hoping to build it and avoid some of the mistakes I made with the first one. The board itself went together easily enough again, though this time I omitted the line in connection and associated parts. Using the same jig as last time to build the LED rows, this time I pre-bent the LEDs to keep them all as uniform as possible, and to ensure there was enough clearance between the anodes and cathodes to avoid any possibility of a short circuit.

Unfortunately, despite all my expectations of a successful build, I've experienced problems with this cube that so far I haven't been able to resolve.

The first problem was that the 3rd layer (counting up from the bottom) didn't light up anywhere. I double checked the wire connection to the layer - all good - and went over the entire cube with a magnifying glass to double check for shorts, paying particular attention to the side of the cube where the layers of each row are connected together - nothing found.

Using the spare ICs from my first cube, I swapped out the ICs in the U1 and U3 sockets, as these seem to be the ones that control the layers. No change. Next I swapped out the SM13A chips (the ones that control the columns) also to no effect.

This left the ATMega328 main processing chip. I would have tried the one from my first cube, but I have since re-programmed that one and used it in a different project. I also tried putting a brand new ATMega328 in the cube (one that only has the Arduino bootloader program) but when I tried to upload the cube program to it I got the following :

Sketch uses 14222 bytes (46%) of program storage space. Maximum is 30720 bytes.
Global variables use 123 bytes (6%) of dynamic memory, leaving 1925 bytes for local variables. Maximum is 2048 bytes.
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 1 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x4e
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 2 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x4e
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 3 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x4e
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 4 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x4e
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 5 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x4e
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 6 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x4e
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 7 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x4e
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 8 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x4e
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 9 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x4e
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding
avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 10 of 10: not in sync: resp=0x4e
Problem uploading to board. See http://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/Troubleshooting#upload for suggestions.

At one point I did get to the stage where the 3rd layer is lighting up, but it is flickering when any of the LEDs are illuminated, as well as the 6th layer doing the same when any LEDs in that layer are illuminated.

I have also noticed that one of the animations is misbehaving. It's the one where an entire layer lights up and moves from the bottom to the top and back again, one layer at a time. Instead of doing it in a smooth movement, the bottom layer lights up, followed by the second layer, but then it jumps back to the bottom layer.

At this point I decided to give up and see if you have any suggestions.

Sorry for such a long post, but this is an amazing product and I just want to get it working the way I know it should.


Update ; Having restored everything to use the components supplied with this cube, I am back to the point where the 3rd layer isn't lighting up at all. several of the layers are displaying symptoms of flickering, and the strange 'bouncing' effect on the bottom two layers is present in all the animations that involve vertical movement through those layers.
Last edited by Scarebird on Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Scarebird
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Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)

Post by Scarebird » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:46 pm

Having given it some more thought, and trying to explain the 'bouncing' phenomena, it seems logical to assume that when the cube is trying to light the LEDs on the 3rd layer, it's actually lighting the LEDs on the 1st layer. It would explain why the 3rd layer isn't lighting at all and the 'bouncing' effect I am seeing in vertical animations through the bottom layers.

I've checked with a meter and there is no short between layers 1 and 3, so that's not the reason for this behaviour.

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Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)

Post by andrew » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:40 am

For the programming error I assume you only tried this with your own replacement IC? If so it probably has the wrong bootloader in it (probably an Uno bootloader) and it will need to be programmed with a Nano bootloader to work.

I think to try and debug your cube it's best to concentrate on the layer 3 issue as anything else my just be a symptom of that:

If there are any problems affecting one or more entire layers it is most likely related to ICs U1 and U3 as these control power to each layer. Could you first double check the soldering for these two ICs.

I think this is less likely but could you also check IC U7. Especially pin 23 and the resistor R10 which is connected to it.

Finally can you also check I2 U2 pins 23, 24, & 25.

Look for missing soldered pads, solder bridges, dry joints or where the pin of the IC socket may have folded under itself and not gone through its pad.
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Scarebird
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Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)

Post by Scarebird » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:38 am

Thanks for the reply Andrew - I will check those shortly and let you know.

In the meantime, I have written a very basic piece of code that illuminates one layer of Leds at a time and steps them upwards at one second intervals, and then starts at the bottom again. I find this easier to see what is going on than with the default patterns.

The sequence I am seeing with this code is as follows (numbering the very bottom layer as layer One, and this is the first one programmed to light up)

Layer one lights up
Layer two lights up
Layer one lights up
Layer four lights up, but is fainter than normal, and layer two lights up at normal brightness
Layer five lights up
Layer six lights up
Layer seven lights up but is fainter than normal, and layer five lights up at normal brightness
Layer eight lights up

Scarebird
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Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)

Post by Scarebird » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:18 pm

Hi Andrew

I've checked through the suggestions you have made.

Sockets for ICs U1 and U3 look good. No solder bridges or dry looking joints. Continuity has been checked from the legs of IC U3 to the actual anode layers, and these are all good.

Pin 23 on IC U7 seems OK as does it's resistor. Measurement across R10 in situ gives a reading of 730 ohms.

Pins 23, 24 & 25 on U2 also seem to be OK.

The only anomaly I can find is a reading of 635 ohms between anode layers 1 (bottom) and 6 (3rd from top). As best as I know, the layers should give an open reading, as all the others do. Obviously it's not a dead short, and scrutinise the LED matrix as much as I have, I can't see anything that would connect these two layers. However, with the layers disconnected from the base, the reading is still there in the matrix, so I have obviously not been as careful with my assembly of the LEDs as I thought I had.

To add to my woes I also discovered that columns 51 (pin 5 on U7) and 84 (pin 16 on U8) are also not working. I have checked the continuity from the leg of each chip in situ to the cathode column and this checks out OK. I don't know if this is connected, or is a completely separate problem, but I feel I have reached the limit of my diagnostic abilities as to what I should do next.

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Re: Hobby Components 8x8x8 Cube Kit (HCKITS0050)

Post by andrew » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:34 am

Thanks for all the information. There's a lot to digest but also a lot of clues. So just to summarise your symptoms...

1st layer lights when 3rd layer should.

2nd layer lights up when layer 4 should - layer 4 lights very dimly

7th layer lights up when layer 5 should - layer 7 lights very dimly

Swapped ICs U1 & U3 - no effect

Swapped DM13A Ics - no effect


Please correct me if I'm wrong on any of it. From the above it looks like somehow layers 1 & 3, 2 & 4, and 5 & 7 are shorted.

Layers are controlled by pins A0, A1, A2 (pins 1, 2 & 3) on IC U1. This is done by setting these 3 pins high or low in the following patterns:

LAYER.....A0.......A1......A2
1...........LOW....LOW....LOW
2...........HIGH...LOW....LOW
3...........LOW....HIGH...LOW
4...........HIGH...HIGH...LOW
5...........LOW....LOW....HIGH
6...........HIGH...LOW....HIGH
7...........LOW....HIGH...HIGH
8...........HIGH...HIGH...HIGH

Notice that with each shorted pair on your cube only the level on the middle pin is different with each pair. If this pin was stuck low then it would explain the shorted pairs.

I know I've already asked you to check this but could you just check this pin again (U1 pin 2). Also can you pin 24 on IC U2 which is the microcontroller end. Can you check continuity between the pin on the IC and the pad on both ICs, continuity between U2 pin 24 & U1 pin 2 and also check for shorts dry joints, bent pins etc.

Edit: If this is the cause of the problem I'd also expect to see the same problem with layers 8 and 6 ?
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