Questions about assembling Alpha Clock Five

Home Evil Mad Scientist Forums Clock Kits Questions about assembling Alpha Clock Five

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #20708
    tschrock
    Participant

    Hello,

    After some time I have finally managed to sit down with my clock kit and make an attempt at putting it together. Full disclosure: I am not a tech expert by any means and am totally on a diy learning curve. Having said that, I have questions about this kit. Or in other words, could someone help me check my work? I have not successfully gotten it to display anything when it’s plugged in and I don’t know what’s going on.

    (I think they’re transistors) – I soldered one of the three pronged “almost circle” things facing the wrong direction on the pcb. The flat part of the circle is not at the flat part of the line on the pcb. Will this cause the clock to not work?

    I have parts left over and don’t know what to do with them. The parts list is not accurate according to my pcb and the picture in the assembly instructions online show a different board than the one I have. (REV D) What should I do? Or, where do these parts go?

    It looks like I’m missing parts. On the pcb next to the 24 pin chip socket (on the left) there’s an empty 14 holes which looks like another chip is supposed to go there. I have a 24, 16, and 8 pin chip put in but there’s a whole column of holes in the middle of the board for components that I don’t have. Am I missing parts? It just seems like there’s a lot of empty slots left.

    Does it matter which direction the stripes on the resistors face when they’re installed? I didn’t think about this when soldering them in and they are not all facing the same direction.

    Lastly (I think / hope) Where does the FTDI Friend chip go? I think I installed the part that goes where this is supposed to go but I’m not sure.

    Please help, I have attached a picture if that helps. All the parts I have are in the picture. I also apologize for the glare. The makerspace’s fluorescent lighting can be unforgiving at times.

    Thanks for your time!

    #23074
    Windell Oskay
    Keymaster

    First, yes, we can help you get it to work. You have a lot of questions here, so I’ll try to take them (more or less) one at a time.

    I can see why it isn’t working, but _please_ do not plug it into power again until you’ve both fixed what’s wrong and read carefully through the assembly instructions to double check your work. There may be other things wrong that are fixable at this point, but could lead to damage if plugged in that way.

    I’m guessing that this is an Alpha Clock Five **Red** kit, but you haven’t said so. If it is an Alpha Clock Five kit in red (not blue or white), then yes, (as it says in step 21) all of the little half-round things are transistors. As it says in the instructions, you do need to match them to their outlines on the board. I can’t tell from the photo which is backwards, but if one is backwards, then it will (at a minimum) cause one character of the display to not light. You _must_ repair this before applying power to the clock.

    You say:
    >The parts list is not accurate according to my pcb
    Can you please say exactly what you mean? If there are errors in the instructions or parts list we would definitely like to know about them.

    You also say
    >The picture in the assembly instructions online show a different board than the one I have. (REV D)
    This is true; That’s the reason that the board in your kit was sealed in a bag with a note that reads as follows:
    >**Note on PCB version** This PCB is rev D, which replaces rev. C in version 2.0 kits. In assembly step 3, just pretend that it says “rev C”.
    (The only difference between the Rev C and Rev D kits is that we have updated the logo graphics; there are no electrical differences.)

    >What should I do? Or, where do these parts go?

    Please _follow the instructions_, step by step, and do what they say. If you do so, you’ll find that there are clear, picture-heavy descriptions of where to put each part, including the parts that you haven’t installed yet.

    >It looks like I’m missing parts. On the pcb next to the 24 pin chip socket (on the left) there’s an empty 14 holes which looks like another chip is supposed to go there. I have a 24, 16, and 8 pin chip put in but there’s a whole column of holes in the middle of the board for components that I don’t have. Am I missing parts? It just seems like there’s a lot of empty slots left.

    If you are missing any parts, please let us know which, and we can send you replacements. Yes, there are different parts that go into the kit, depending on the configuration. For example, look at step 22 of the instructions: This is a step for white (and blue) Alpha Clock Five kits only, that installs a voltage regulator at location U4. This regulator is not needed on red kits, and so that becomes an “empty slot” on red kits. (Other slots are left empty on white/blue kits.)

    If you go ahead and follow the assembly instructions, you’ll even find that one of the steps lists _exactly_ which slots will be left empty when you’re done assembling the kit.

    How do you know if parts are missing? Either if (1) If there’s any part listed on the bill of materials but not present in your kit, that’s one way to know. Or (2) if you come across one of the instructions that tells you to install a part, but you don’t have that part to install. Or (3) if you check that page of the instructions that shows you which slots are supposed to be empty and you have additional slots that are still empty. (Again, if you do find that parts are missing, please let us know and we can send you replacements.)

    >Does it matter which direction the stripes on the resistors face when they’re installed? I didn’t think about this when soldering them in and they are not all facing the same direction.

    No, as it says in the instructions, resistors can go in either way.

    > Lastly (I think / hope) Where does the FTDI Friend chip go?

    It doesn’t get soldered in; it only connects by that six pin connector. Follow the picture in the instructions, with one caveat. The instructions show it connected with FTDI cable version, rather than the FTDI Friend. Where the cable has black and green wires, the FTDI Friend has labeled “black” and “green” ends so that you can tell the orientation.

    #23075
    tschrock
    Participant

    Thanks for the quick and very nice response. This helps a lot and is very reassuring. I’m just messaging now to say that I will be away from the makerspace’s tech lab for a couple days and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

    #23076
    Windell Oskay
    Keymaster

    Great, and if you do get stuck anywhere, we’re here to help– either here or by email and/or contact form. My best guess is that if you can fix that one transistor and install the remaining parts, you’ll be up and running (or at least very close to it.)

    #25704
    tschrock
    Participant

    Okay, I put in the transistor for the Q2 slot upside down and totally ruined the leads when taking it out. I think everything else is okay though. How can I get another single transistor?

    None of the digits lit up even though the single transistor was in upside down. I’m curious to know if I royally messed it up. I just retraced all the steps and everything looks to be okay.

    Sorry for taking such a long time between the original post and this one. This is totally a hobby thing for me.

    Thanks again.

    #25705
    Windell Oskay
    Keymaster

    Please contact technical support directly (reply to your order confirmation message or use our e-mail or contact form) so that we can send you a replacement transistor. Make sure that there isn’t damage to the circuit board around the location of that transistor.

    If you’ve already removed the offending transistor, it should still allow the other four digits to light, so there may be something else wrong. Double check the instructions: Make sure that you’ve got all the parts installed, that they’re in the right places, in the correct orientations, make sure that your chips are fully seated in their sockets.

    If you continue to have difficulty, you might consider sending us clear photos of the top and bottom of the circuit board (again, by e-mail — it’s much easier to share photos). We can often identify issues that way. If all else fails, there are some alternative debug strategies including physically sending the board to us for diagnosis or repair.

    #25723
    tschrock
    Participant

    Thanks for the reply, Windell. I will go through e-mail from here.

    #25724
    tschrock
    Participant

    I have just sent an e-mail with pictures as well as my download of the assembly instructions. It was a large file so it went to Google Drive. Please let me know if you need anything else from my end.

    #25725
    Windell Oskay
    Keymaster

    Message received; it looks like you skipped a few steps of the instructions. It also looks like you included a copy of the kit v1.5 instructions, even though your kit is v2.0 (which has different instructions).

    We’ll follow up by email.

    #25726
    tschrock
    Participant

    Sorry to message here, but I GOT IT TO WORK! I was just reading the wrong instructions! AWWW YEAH! Will need another transistor though… Thanks for the guidance! Pardon me for being a little beside myself :) This is the first time I got something to work! :) Super cool.

    #25727
    Windell Oskay
    Keymaster

    Great– so glad to hear that. We’ll get that transistor to you.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.