Friday, December 29, 2017

Elektor Six Digit Nixie Clock (150189-71)

I built the clock and made one stupid mistake. I failed to ensure the nixies were snugly seated on the back board before soldering them. They are a little bit cock eyed. To fix them would require some really serious custom building of esoteric soldering hardware and the risk of damaging the nixies.

"Perfection is the Enemy of Good Enough. " we concluded. 

I found it very difficult to solder the GPS daughter board since my eye sight isn't so good. LED 1 isn't going out and the 00:00:00 display isn't locking into a valid clock data stream.

"Once data is received, the microcontroller checks whether it is a GPS string and then writes the entire string to memory after a carriage return (CR) character is received. Then the checksum
of the received string is calculated and compared to the checksum in the string.
If the checksums match, the data is considered valid.

The GPS data acquisition process starts with the GPS string GPRMC output by the GPS module. The
initialization routine configures the module to send this string, all by itself, once per second. All other
GPS strings are disabled. The microcontroller polls the RS232 receive buffer to check for new
data. The internal watchdog keeps an eye on this, and if the RS232 data stream does not start
flowing after startup, it resets the microcontroller after about 1 minute. LED1 is lit during this 1-minute interval. Once a valid string is received, the RS232 data line is still monitored but in a different manner. Here again, if the LED is constantly lit there is a problem."


Most likely diagnosis is that the soldering isnt providing appropriate or contiguous connection.  Also possible the GPS unit was traumatized by the mounting / installation process.

First step will be to meter out the solder joins for continuity.

UPDATE: Sure enough James and I metered it out (after James filed a wickedly sharp point on the meter probes.) There was a bridge on one of the solder joins  - 0.00 Ohms on two leads VS nominal resistance .5 - 1 meg. Once the flux had been cleaned off, it was possible for me to see it with 4.5 reading glasses. James was able to see it through the unsullied eyes of unaided rude youth and innocence. Required a robust application of heat on a triangle of solder wick to get the excess off. Bover Boy Bolton on the Iron. Young James on Rimshot.

Then it started to work. "Boom Tish."

It was good fun fault finding with MOM James as ever.



Debrief;

Our moving coil meters are not now, nor ever have been overthrown. Our Thermionic Field Effect Devices have an everlasting place in the pantheon of electronic technology.  The NIMO tube will never be forgotten, even though his numbers decline into the scorched velum of History, indeed if all Humanity becomes incognizant of the NIMO tube; which species suffers the greater loss?

It is not the gloss and frippery of fashionable and tech specsheet "flash in the pan" inconsequence we seek; Raw numbers do not provide an irrefutable indication of efficacy, much less elegance.            

This is Western Civ at it's very marrow - whether we glean it as rich harvest from our communal garden plots or suck it out from amoung the stalks of basil and rosemary in the rich tomato paste that informs our Osso Bucco.

If your heart does not leap at this reminder of who we are and from whence. I can but offer you my most churlish pity edging on contempt.

"You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things" .. 

I know none of you will fail in you're duty since it wasn't something inculcated by training. It was a virtue already stamped ineradicaably upon you're very soul.

Get a hair cut! (Shave it all off)  Learn to solder! Embrace the Robots in our midst as our righteous allies. Work out at the gym. Rediscover the Joys of Mathematics Physics and Chemistry that were flogged out of you by persnickety Lefty School marms. 

Same with 19th century Poetry and Engineering.

 "And the words of the Physicists were written on the subway walls." 

Still the carpet baggers dominated the livelihoods of the proletariat. The Green / Left parasite kills the host.

But of course you already knew this. I have no doubt what so ever that you will acquit yourselves honorably - to a Man!

"
The game's afoot; Follow your spirit: and upon this charge, CryGod for Harry! England and Saint George! "

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