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View Full Version : How to test Grinch, etc.



deplanche
07-11-2008, 08:44 AM
I've finally got around to getting some soldering done, and have completed a Grinch, Ren-C, Ren-T, and two SSRs. Now I want to test them, so see if it works. I was thinking that I would just hook up everything to the PC with a simple sequence and see if it works (once my USB-to-serial adapted arrives). But then I got to thinking, if something isn't working, i'd have no idea what is wrong. And worse yet, if it is really wrong, could fry more than just one thing. So I am wondering if anyone has any suggested way of testing the individual parts before I hook them together.

I have thought about making one of the fancy testing set-ups that I have seen on here, but I am so new to this, I am not confident my tester would work, and would need to find a way to test the tester. So at this point looking for "safe" way to test, that doesn't involve making anything more that may not work.

Thanks.

Jon

ppohlman
07-11-2008, 10:23 AM
I'd definitely start out with one piece at a time. Start with the Grinch and one SSR. Once you're confident that the Grinch works, start to add the Ren-C and Ren-T. I've gone through and added tags for all threads dealing with grinch troubleshooting, so if you get stuck be sure to check those out.

One thing that I did is make a simple SSR/Controller tester (I can post pictures once I get home from work). 4 LED's that light up when the controller turns on the channel and 4 switches the act like the controller to turn on the SSR's. Then I used the tester to test itself. Push the switch and watch the LED light up. That way you can test all of your SSR's independently of the controller and visa-versa.

I know that this involves making a tester but you can test it.

deplanche
07-11-2008, 10:54 AM
I don't have a parallel port on the PC i was planning on using for testing, so I need the Ren-C and Ren-T to connect the grinch, so not sure how to separate them from the equation.

Sparkey
07-19-2008, 02:52 PM
ppohlman

Could you please post your instructions/pictures to build the Grinch tester?
I'm at that part and don't want to fry anything.

Thanks!!

WWWilson
07-19-2008, 07:26 PM
I don't have a parallel port on the PC i was planning on using for testing, so I need the Ren-C and Ren-T to connect the grinch, so not sure how to separate them from the equation.

A $9 parallel pci port card would be a good investment for anyone with a Grinch/595 that does not have a port on the computer.

you can find them on E-Bay. You can easily pay that much to build a small tester for the Grinch/595.

ppohlman
07-21-2008, 05:43 PM
Sorry Sparkey. I've been out of town all last week. Once I get home, I'll see if I can get some pictures posted.

animal
07-22-2008, 10:06 AM
I kinda threw something together this morning around 2am. I'll build one this week. Take a look and see if there is anything wrong. Should work. It's portable. I'm going to put it in a small box. Just switch it between controller and ssr to test. Yes I know I spelled controller wrong. It was early. Let me know if it's good. I'm still trying to grasp the tech side of this. It's just a basic board layout and schematic.


animal

added another pic with the switches layed out. I have a trace layout.

ppohlman
07-22-2008, 12:14 PM
I got home and got the pictures ready, but ran out of time before I had to run to another obligation. Here are a few threads that talk about different testers and their schematics. I ended up making one similar to Kevin’s (kmc123) except that it’s in one little box instead of two.


Tester Threads:

http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3542

http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2824

http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=383

Wayne J
07-22-2008, 05:32 PM
How about an All In One Tester........

http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php?title=All_In_One_Tester

;)

deplanche
07-22-2008, 09:58 PM
Wayne, Love the tester you have, but I am too much of an rookie to try self-etching. Ever been any interest in cooping that?

ppohlman
07-22-2008, 10:20 PM
I was first planning on building one of Wayne’s All-In-One-Tester but then I realized that my Cat5e cable kit came with a cable tester. Instead I ended up just making the controller/ssr tester. Now I have both.

I got my tester to fit in a 2" x 3" enclosure. It's a tight fit with a 9v battery, but I like to have things compact.

A little about what I did... I basically put two different circuits into one box.

First, I made a controller tester that lights up LEDs showing which channels are on. A little green LED to show that power is on, and a single green LED for each channel. I originally followed the plans on CC (http://computerchristmas.com/christmas/link-how_to/HowToId-117/Output_Tester_for_595_and_Renard_boards) but I added a resistor for each channel so that the LEDs wouldn't dim when more than one channel is on. The controller is connected to the tester by plugging in a cable from the controller to the tester.

Next, I made the SSR tester that turns on LEDs when the buttons are pushed. A little red LED lights up when the power switch is turned on. When each button is pushed, a separate red LED turns on to show that power is going to the SSR. Once again, I used the circuitry found on Wayne's AIOT (http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=383) except separate resistors were added to keep all LEDs lit up with the same intensity when multiple buttons are pressed. The SSR is connected using the Cat5 cable coming out of the tester.

Below are some pictures of what I built.

I will add a few diagrams of my final circuitry after I draw them up.

Wayne J
07-22-2008, 10:22 PM
Wayne, Love the tester you have, but I am too much of an rookie to try self-etching. Ever been any interest in cooping that?


Thanks, and yes I have thought of it, but I think the demand would be low and that would make the pcb's a bit pricey. :sad:

ppohlman
07-22-2008, 10:26 PM
To test if the tester is working, without other hardware, simply plug the cable into the rj45 jack and turn on the power. Both power lights should light up and when you push the button, both the red and green LEDs should light up.

Below are some pictures of how I tested it.

Sorry for the two quick posts. I can only upload a max of 5 pictures per post.

Sparkey
07-25-2008, 06:14 PM
Thanks for all the "how to test"; links, information and pics. I really need it!

I finally got everything put together, it looks like it came right off the christmaswiki
page...

and it don't work. Sigh!

I'm using the allegro chips and the externial 5VDC power and the chips get hot.

I ran a 5v molex-wire-grinch connection off my computer PwrSup, tested B4 I
used it for 5VDC, I set Vixen up for the 595 and the Grinch power light does
not come on. So now I need to build the tester and see if anything works before
I connect to the SSROZs I'm making.

dnesci
07-25-2008, 06:25 PM
If your Allegros got hot, there is a good chance you have the +5 volts and ground reversed. The chip may get warm, but it should not get hot. I did the same on my first Grinch and ended up frying the chip. As a suggestion, do your first testing with only one Allegro. When you get it working you can add the remaining three. This may save you some chips if things are not right.

Good Luck

RavingLunatic
07-25-2008, 06:31 PM
Sparkey,

I don't think a tester is going to help you right now. You have a power problem that needs to be fixed first.

Try this:

Remove all cables (except power) and remove the chips

Now apply power, if the power LED still doesn't come on, double check your polarity of the 5 VDC coming in. Probe the IC sockets for pin 24 is 5 VDC and pin 1 is GND.

You need good power before you can do anything else.

Sparkey
07-26-2008, 12:13 AM
RavingLunatic you are a genious and I am a dip....
Had my wires crossed, that was all. Power light is now on and I have
5VDC on all IC sockets.

Thanks a BeZILLION!!



Sparkey,

I don't think a tester is going to help you right now. You have a power problem that needs to be fixed first.

Try this:

Remove all cables (except power) and remove the chips

Now apply power, if the power LED still doesn't come on, double check your polarity of the 5 VDC coming in. Probe the IC sockets for pin 24 is 5 VDC and pin 1 is GND.

You need good power before you can do anything else.

Sparkey
07-26-2008, 12:15 AM
You are correct my power was reversed.
BIG thanks for the testing tip. Now I will build the tester and
take it one IC at a time!

Appreciate all the help!!!




If your Allegros got hot, there is a good chance you have the +5 volts and ground reversed. The chip may get warm, but it should not get hot. I did the same on my first Grinch and ended up frying the chip. As a suggestion, do your first testing with only one Allegro. When you get it working you can add the remaining three. This may save you some chips if things are not right.

Good Luck