Monopoly in Lights

Enriching the Electric Company

Texas Hold ‘Em

Finally soldered up one of the secondary driver boards.  Lots of little connections to make, but I’ve gotten good enough with the iron that it went pretty quickly.  Got things hooked together this morning to give it a test, and it actually went pretty well.  Not perfectly, though, which is somewhat concerning.  The LEDs on the secondary boards lit appropriately, but sometimes, randomly, came back on during phases they should have remained off. There are a couple of possibilities that I can think of here.  Both of them end up coming down to the same thing: Something is a little bit off on the reference voltage and the signal voltage passing between the chips.

I don’t have this issue on the single chip on the timing board, which is driven by the Netduino directly, but once it cascades from one chip to the next, and goes to a board driven by my voltage regulator chips, it starts acting up. So, could be the chips aren’t outputting quite as much voltage as they should, or the power supply isn’t quite as steady as it needs to be.  My bet is on the latter, since these chips are used by who knows how many people for how many applications worldwide.  They wouldn’t just not work as designed.  I haven’t included any capacitors in my power circuit yet, so I’m hoping that adding those will help out.

Of course, the second possibility is that the instability is just being caused by the fact that I have things in a sort of temporary test rig setup.  If I were to go ahead and finish the soldering, make proper connections between the boards, and hook up the board itself, maybe it’d all just work.  But if it didn’t, how deep in a hole would I be for solving the problem at that point?  Am I really ready to go all in on this?  Or do I get some caps on order and retest first?

November 24, 2012 Posted by | Electronics | Leave a Comment