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871  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Re: Regarding the TimeAlarm Library on: April 22, 2011, 02:02:02 am
Oliver: Nice job.  For my particular application I'm using a GPS receiver so I have the time available without needing to use a RTC.  Also, it's a cool use of technology since the GPS carries its own RTC inside and I just leverage it.  What I want to do is really mundane, stuff like turning lights on and off, starting motors, that kind of thing.  It's interesting that there isn't something like that heavily used and advertised since everyone builds a clock with an arduino at some point.

Bill: Cool little hint for me to use google.  Problem is that the first item on the list (I'm assuming that was your intent since the script ended there) doesn't mention the TimeAlarm library so I'm not sure the author intended it to be used.  I've looked at that page several times and the dates on the files inside go back over a year.  That's millennia in arduino development time.

It's interesting how I can't seem to find mention of the alarm library in the playground; just in various postings.  It must be there somewhere just not obvious to me.   If someone that has used it more recently doesn't respond, I'll give it a try and see how it holds up.  There's been a number of changes in the IDE and board since the library was put in place.
872  Using Arduino / Programming Questions / Regarding the TimeAlarm Library on: April 21, 2011, 08:25:42 pm
There used to be an Alarm library that worked with the time library.  I've read the posts about it.  User Mem wrote it I believe.  This sounds like exactly the thing I need for a device I'm working on.  What happened to it?  I can't find it in the playground or any mention of it in there.

Mem, are you still supporting it?  Did it go away?
873  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: XBee transceiver on: April 18, 2011, 10:08:18 pm
Help me understand.  The picture is of an XBee mounted to what appears to be a digi development board.  To get the model number, unplug the XBee, turn it over and read the number printed on the shield over the transmitter.  Next, what do you mean by drivers?  An XBee attached to an arduino doesn't use drivers, you get a library or you write code to make it work. 

I'm having a little trouble understanding.
874  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Please help, errors with using parallel port on: April 17, 2011, 12:54:09 pm
It sounds like the 328 chip could be bad.  Especially since it gets hot under normal use.  However, there may be other things wrong also.  Check the 5V supply on the board to be sure it hasn't failed.  Measure the current the board is using, it may be pulling too much power.

However, if the 328 if toasted, you cannot load it.  It will continue to fail until you replace it.   You might be able to load the board using a different device if the usb to serial device (8U2 or ftdi chip) is bad, but that doesn't seem to be your problem.
875  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Mega 2560 - avrdude: stk500_2_ReceiveMessage():timeout - Even after new firmware on: April 17, 2011, 10:30:36 am
Take a look at my thread http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,58341.0.html.  I've been fighting this problem since I got the board.  My solution is to change the code a bit in the area where I made my last change, the thread will explain why.

Reflashing the board won't make any difference, changing it to be what it already is doesn't seem useful.
876  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Re: Go Online with my project on: April 17, 2011, 10:13:15 am
Go look at dyndns.com.  Not to sign up with their service, but to read the pages on making a personal web server work.  They have links and descriptions of how to do what you want as well as how to do it through a name server.  Every dsl modem is set up differently and I couldn't begin to describe the process you will need.  However, dyndns has addressed this for us already.
877  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Moving from Ethernet to WiFi on: April 16, 2011, 01:47:27 pm
A wired ethernet implementation is at: http://draythomp.blogspot.com/p/house-clock.html and a wifi example is at http://draythomp.blogspot.com/p/test-html-code.html.  They do different things, but basically are the same for web services so you can compare them to see the differences.

I've changed both of them to add an XBee broadcasting the power usage and time, and the latest sketch is not posted.  The differences between the old sketchs and the new ones are minimal though.
878  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Moving from Ethernet to WiFi on: April 15, 2011, 11:37:59 pm
Not that shield specifically, but I've done a bunch with the Wishield.  I've also done a bunch of code with the hard wired ethernet shield.  There are a number of difference between the Wishield library and the hardwired one.  The Wishield uses callbacks to handle interaction and the ethernet shield is more directly inline.  The Wishield is interrupt driven while the other is not.  The Wishield handles a lot of the standard interaction for you while the hardwired one does not.  The Wishield takes more memory than the 'official' one, it's on a par with the ENC28J60.

They both work pretty well, just differently.

If you want to find out how hard it will be to make the wifi shield work you're welcome to take a look at the code I posted on my site for a couple of projects to see the differences.  I have at least one of each showing there.  If you have a specific question on them I may be able to help, but I haven't tried the shield you mentioned.  For me it's too much money for an experiment just to find out. 
879  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Mega 2560 upload problem Windows on: April 15, 2011, 11:16:07 pm
OK, after several hours of research which included finding and reading through several months of the developers mailing list, I'm convinced my description above is correct.  There really are two unrelated problems with different fixes.  The 8U2 problem has a patch, but the "!!!" problem does not have one yet.  The bug has been isolated and a fix developed but it isn't tested and ready for general consumption.

The insidious part of this is that the "!!!" can exhibit itself through compiled code with no way to tell where it is; you just have to move code around until it goes away and you can go back to loading software.  Also, people seem to confuse the two problems.  If I'm correct, reprogramming the 8U2 will NOT fix the "!!!" problem as has been suggested on this thread and others.  This leads to yet another level of frustration and confusion.

Anyway, now that I put my butt on the line with this, would one of the developers step up and correct me or verify what I said.  It would be nice if those of us that have encountered the problems and frustration of having to flail around randomly until it magically starts working again, at least had a clear description and a consistent place to look. 

Especially since one can't search for "!!!" on the forum.
880  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Arduino mega 2560 + Xbee2 + Xbee Shield on: April 15, 2011, 01:33:00 am
To really begin to understand these little devices you will need to get an adapter to hook the XBee into your computer.  I use the sparkfun device http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9819, but there are a lot out there that will do the job.  Once you get one of those, download the X-CTU program from digi and things will start to make sense.

There are about a million things that can go wrong and only a half-million or so are covered by the various tutorials out there.  So, get something that will let you see what is actually happening.

It's possible (and actually it works pretty well) to use an arduino board to hook into your computer.  However, that ties up an arduino that could be used for other stuff more effectively.
881  Using Arduino / Networking, Protocols, and Devices / Re: Ethernet loses connection on: April 15, 2011, 01:23:20 am
I noticed that the ethernet died for various reasons after only a couple of hours operation.  After searching the web I realized that, as the author above put it, "too bad for us" and decided to take a different approach.  I check the connection using various techniques on different devices and reset the darn board to reestablish the connection.  Some of the techniques are: Hardware modifications to the ethernet board to make sure it actually connects to my network.  I have seen many, many problems with this.  I connect to the dsl router every so often to be sure that path works.  I count the times my pachube update path fails on a connection and reset if necessary. I connect between machines inside my network to be sure they can talk to each other, and again, reset as necessary.  I carry it all the way to reseting the arduino if I suspect there is a problem.  The reason this works for me is that the arduino takes seconds to reboot, not minutes and there's no operating system to get in the way of it coming up every single time.  Heck, we even have eeprom to store things in before we reboot so we can pick right up where we left off.

This may sound like overkill, but I'm also using my little machines to monitor power, control two heat pumps in the Arizona summer heat, and present an interface where I can adjust these things as necessary to keep my power bill down.  It could cost me money if they fail.

My most recent effort in this is to replace some of the ethernet devices with XBees to reduce cost and increase reliability.  Time will tell if this is working.  At least I'll only have a small number of ethernet connected devices to worry about. 
882  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Mega 2560 upload problem Windows on: April 14, 2011, 06:48:06 pm
Folks, help me understand something.  As I see it there are two possible problems:

1.  The 8U2, which is programmed to be a usb to serial converter, may have a timing bug that seems to only cause problems if you're running a Linux machine.  I couldn't find this problem reported for Windows or Mac. 

2.  The 2560 bootloader problem that relates to "!!!" somewhere in the code that will also stop loading code to the board. 

These are different problems with different solutions.  So, now that I think I might, maybe be beginning to understand, how do I find the correct code to fix the second problem.  I have verified that I definitely, for absolute certain, have problem number 2 and I think this problem can exhibit itself by the code (chaos theory prevails) having the equivalent of "!!!" in it somewhere like the reason I started this thread.

What I "think" (at this point I'm not certain that I can think reasonably anymore) I need to do is replace the bootloader, not fix the timing bug in the 8U2.
883  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Mega 2560 upload problem Windows on: April 13, 2011, 11:13:08 am
Since nobody responded (well, at least not yet) and I wanted to get on with this and...well I just could stop myself from trying something.  I modified the code in the problem sketch by simply moving some stuff around a bit. 

It compiled and downloaded and worked just fine.  No lockup in the actual download to the board. 

However, this means I have no real proof of what the problem was.  I am totally convinced that I hit the '!!!' bug and the board jumped into the monitor.  If it happens again I'm going to save the hex file and then play with it later.

But that brings me back to the question of how to reflash the bootloader on the 2560.  Is there a clear tutorial on this somewhere?  The biggest problem with the web is too much information.  I can find a thousand tries and techniques that are partial solutions just fine, but trudging through them to find the one that actually works and has up-to-date information is seemingly impossible.
884  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Mega 2560 upload problem Windows on: April 12, 2011, 09:34:28 pm
Thanks for the quick questions!!

The problem is that I compile the sketch (which is around 28K right now) and after the compile when it is uploading to the board, the lights on the arduino flash a bunch, then quit flashing.  The upload button on the IDE is still highlighted and it never (after going to the bathroom and washing my hands and having a corndog) finishes the upload.  I click the stop button and it stops, but the port is tied up by the uploader.  I unplug the usb port, plug it back, restart the ide, etc.  Finally I can try to compile and upload again with the same results.

This happened after I added some code to the sketch (luckily saving the previous version) and wanted to try it out.  So version -1 will compile, upload and run.  Version now hangs forever.

Could I have some code in there that is the binary equivalent of !!! ?  How the heck would I know? 

Like I said, the examples and previous versions of the sketch I'm working on compile and upload fine.  Other projects I have for other board versions work fine as well. 

The problem sketch never actually loads, the board is still running version now-1
885  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Mega 2560 upload problem Windows on: April 12, 2011, 08:21:29 pm
Yes, I've searched the forum.  I have a 2560 that is having the problem loading sketches that is described in many posts.  Frankly, I've gotten totally lost trying to coordinate the various posts, tutorials and problem lists on how to correct this problem.  Is there a comprehensive, or at least clear, description somewhere for Windows?

It's the problem where it starts downloading a sketch and then just hangs.  If I switch the board type to a 1280 I can load the sketch, but that's only a workaround.  Yes, it has worked many, many times before and I don't have "!!!" anywhere in the sketch.

Update:  I'm mistaken, I can't upload it at all with my current sketch.  It fails using the 1280 selection.  I just thought it was working.  It works fine with previous versions of my sketch, or any of the examples.
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