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Topic: Sudden unreliability with my network-enabled Arduino project [SOLVED] (Read 19907 times) previous topic - next topic


Jul 12, 2012, 04:00 pm Last Edit: Jul 12, 2012, 04:04 pm by SurferTim Reason: 1
Considering the location, how is the humidity in the garage?

How about the mains power in the garage? Any chance that could cause a problem? Like big power-eaters closeby? A/C or the like that would cause voltage spikes or sags?

How about the garage door opener motor? Is that closeby? Maybe a shielded box might help?

There has to be something different if it does ok inside and not in the garage.

Just another few thoughts...

edit: How about the CAT5 cable? Is that run into the house? If the connection breaks, that could cause the ethernet shield code to lock up if not written correctly. Maybe a timeout routine on the connection?


I don't know the humidity in the garage...I think I'm going to stop by and by a thermostat on the way home and install it in the garage.

I'm pretty sure all the big guys - AC, Heater, Furnace are all on separate circuits. The furnace/heater/blower is inside the garage, but I'm pretty sure on a separate circuit. I do have a medium sized freezer inside the garage, but that might be on a different circuit, but I can check when I get home if you think that might be a problem.

I do have a lot of network/phone/security devices running on the same circuit inside the garage however. Would this cause a problem?

Yes, the garage door opener itself (the main unit with motor I guess) is pretty close by, yes. So this could cause a problem even if the motor is not 'spinning'? If so, maybe that's it! How far away does it need to be? When my device is mounted in the garage, it's probably within 12" or less of the actual opener/motor.

No, the CAT5 cable is running to my network equipment within the garage, and I tested it already - tested ok.

Maybe you could elaborate more or send me somewhere that would have more information on the proper code procedure to handle a possible broken connection?


I haven't seen your code, but here is mine.

The first downloads Google home page every 10 seconds, but has no timeout.

Here is the timeout code for the Google code above:

You must put them together. Shouldn't be that difficult. I did it.  ;)


Thanks for the code links...

Any thoughts on my replies to your questions? Particularly the proximity of my device to the actual garage door opener?



It would be best for you to post your code. This is your project, and I don't know how you are doing things. If I can take a look, maybe I can help.

I would test it a piece at a time. Try it in the garage not connected to the motor. Does it still fail? It isn't connected to the motor in the house, is it?


A link to my code on pastebin is in my first posting, but here it is:


Ok, I see...thanks. I will install it back into my garage this evening, but not hook up the wires that connect to the actual opener.

You're right - when it's in my house, no it's not connected to the opener.


Well, it seemed to have worked well back in the garage without the 2 wires connected to the garage door opener for several days, but it stopped working again. :(

So should I physically move the device further away from the actual opener?

Would being plugged into the same power strip/outlet pose a problem?


Shortly after my last posting (the one on the 20th of July), I decided just to try and move the power cords around to see if that would help (but still keeping the wires that goes from my device to the actual garage door opener disconnected). The existing setup was as follows:

I have an electrical outlet on the ceiling of my garage. I have a power strip/surge protector plugged into one of the 2 'plugs' of that outlet. I have my actual garage door opener plugged into that power strip/surge protector, and my 'device' plugged into the same power strip.

My change that I made on the 20th:
What I did was unplug the actual garage door opener from the power strip/surge protector and plug it into the 2nd 'plug' of the outlet on the ceiling (so no longer on the power strip/surge protector), leaving my device plugged into the power strip/surge protector all by itself.

5 days later (yesterday), I started experiencing the same problem as I described in my very first posting of this thread, so my change did not seem to help. :(

I guess my next test would be to move my device physically further away from the actual garage door opener as hinted at by SurferTim...I will do this this evening.


Well that didn't really help (moving the device physically further away from the garage door). Now I'm going to run an extension cord from my device to another outlet in the garage, and we'll see how that goes.


Messed up again last night. :( So I unplugged the two wires that are leading to the magnetic/reed switch...we'll see how that goes.


Hi Domiflichi,
Seems like to me you spent so much time troubleshooting the circuit, perhaps it would take lesser time to build a new circuit  :) parts are cheap and arduino is reusable, might just work that way (and maybe enclose it in a protective casing?) and you get to keep the old one as a relic.
Ps, sent a message  in your pm.


Well, I am almost down to nothing else to test. It messed up yesterday. What I did when I got home from work this evening is I ran an extension cord (actually I have to have 2 in order to reach) from my device (still in the garage) to inside my house, in my room where I was testing it. I actually plugged it into the same exact power strip that it was plugged into when it was working inside my room.

So if it fails again, the only thing I have left that I can do is run a network cable from the device in the garage to my room and plug it in the switch that it was plugged into when it was in the room working.

(Just thought I'd give another update)


Wow, you've done a lot of debugging so far.  You mentioned humidity as a potential problem. This is probably a long shot, but maybe the wood is absorbing moisture and causing a problem.  Do you have plastic stand-offs you could use to keep the circuit board from touching anything.  Another thing you might try is heat things up with a blow dryer - not too hot though - and see if things start failing.  You could also plug it into a UPS to make sure you have nice clean power.
Any chance the problem is with the garage door and not your circuit?


Tell me about it, I just wish this thing was figured out and working.

I'm sure I can find some sort of plastic standoffs for the board to be away from the wood.

If I do the blow dryer thing, won't that only tell me if heat is an issue? I don't think that's the problem anymore as my device has problems in the (cool) mornings sometimes, not just the (hot) afternoon/evenings (although it seems like the problem rears its ugly head more in the late afternoon/evening).

That UPS thing is a good idea...I purchased an OpenSprinkler device from Rayshobby.net (actually I sourced all the parts online from Digikey and Mouser and just bought the circuit board from his site), soldered it all together and have had problems with it locking up and other weird things every 1-3 weeks. Ever since I put it on a UPS, I haven't had any problems with it. Or  maybe it was after moving the ethernet cable off of the PoE switch, I can't remember.

The garage door can't be the problem as my device has been messing up even when it's not connected to the garage door.

If my 'current' test fails, and my 'last' test fails, I will try one or more of your suggestions.

Thank you for the new ideas.

And thank everyone for all their help so far. This is a great forum.


Nothing really new to report yet as I keep having to pull the power to my device for various reasons...although I haven't had to do it because of it misbehaving, so maybe the power in my garage could be the problem...don't know yet.

In the interim, I wanted to post a few pictures that may give more insight into my garage and my project.

First, here is the back of my board...I don't know if the way I made all those connections to +5V and GND are good practice (see the top area...I left a little bit of insulation on my +5V and GND bars to tell me which one is which):

(Note the length of the 2 bare wires...is that bad?)

Next, I noticed that around the solder joints/points of the Ethernet Shield seem to be 'dirty':

(Would that cause a problem?)

This is a small (or maybe medium) sized freezer I have plugged into the garage:

(Not that big, but could it be a problem?)

Lastly, this is my wall of network, telephone, security equipment (and there are 2 'servers' that you cannot see that I have plugged into the same outlet):

All that stuff is all plugged into that 1 electrical outlet just below my electrical panel.

I don't know if the garage door opener (and my device) are actually on the same circuit as all that stuff (or the freezer), but it might be. (It seems like it would be since it's all in the garage, but I'm not going to make any assumptions)

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