Project Abandoned

I am abandoning the Propeller Beacon project. Sadly I am forced to accept that in my current state of health the construction of electronics is beyond my ability. All of my recent attempts have resulted in one problem or another due to stupid mistakes that I would never have made when I was well. It’s time to put the soldering iron away.

Yesterday I made up the LCD UI board for the Propeller. It seemed to go well. The instructions were good and I didn’t have any difficulty with the soldering. I thought I had finished, then realized that I had skipped a page and hadn’t soldered a connector to the LCD daughter board. That’s when I made a stupid mistake. I had soldered a male 2×8 header to the main board. Then I went and soldered another male header to the LCD board. And then I wondered what the four 1×4 female headers left over were for. Obviously they were meant to be soldered in two rows of two to make a 2×8 female header to mate with the male I originally installed. Bad words were said.

With the help of Olga I managed to get the header off. We heated all the pins using the soldering iron body which softened the plastic base until it could be pulled off. Then I removed the pins one at a time. I cleaned the holes using one of Olga’s sewing needles and installed the female headers I should have put in. All seemed well and no harm appeared to have been done apart from to my nerves and temper.

I powered up the Propeller board and loaded the LCD UI demo program. It seemed to work. I changed a few things in the program as an experiment. Then I found that the Propeller stopped responding to the buttons. After anything from a minute or so to a couple of seconds the program eventually crashed. Sometimes it would respond to a press of the reset button, sometimes it needed a power on/off. I restored the original unmodified demo program in case it was my changes that had messed things up. No such luck. Each attempt to run the program lasted for a shorter period eventually resulting in an unresponsive board. Sometimes a garbage character would appear on the LCD, sometimes it froze up blank.

I removed the LCD UI board from the main board and re-heated all the solder joints but it didn’t help. I can’t see anything wrong but there is just nothing I can do to make this board run reliably enough to use as a user interface. So it’s time to admit defeat and call it quits. As Olga said, a hobby is supposed to be fun, instead it is just making me stressed. I just wish I had more enthusiasm for operating radio instead of tinkering about.

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “Project Abandoned”

  • Bill K4GDR:

    Julian,

    I have made the same kinds of errors — and worse — and don’t have anything to blame it on! In my case, when I try to do too much at one time, I invariable make a mistake or two. Just take your time! Keep that soldering iron hot! Also, keep up the great posts, we all enjoy hearing from you.

    73,
    Bill
    K4GDR

  • Bill K4GDR:

    PS — just like the spelling mistake I just made — as I said, invariably!

  • Glenn DJ0IQ:

    Hi Julian,

    I sent you a private message.

    – Glenn DJ0IQ and W9IQ

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