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BBB Troubleshooting: voltage / stk500_recv(): not responding

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:15 pm
by brod
recently purchased the BBB and put it together. I am experiencing problems as I can not seem to upload a sketch.

Error message received is following:
avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding

Now there are many possible reasons for this (one is FTDI driver related as I am on a Mac 10.5.4, and I will troubleshoot this on a pc when i get a hold of one) still, I am trying to narrow down if this might be hardware related, as I am not the most experienced in soldering components.

I have been going through the Troubleshooting steps in BB_Arduino_InstrRevC.pdf
and although my pilot light is on (though very dimn when the Atmega168 is plugged into its socket), I got stuck at this point in the "Procedure":
"check for 5 volts at power buses: at USB port, at
power jack, near analog pins, at pins 7&8 of the Atmega168"

pins 7&8 (VCC & GND) actually show me a voltage of 1.631V with AtMega168 plugged into its socket and 2.165V without the Atmega in its sockets.

Does this sound reasonable or am I expected to measure a Voltage more close to 5V at those pins.
(powering via USB and USB pins show me the correct voltage of 5.02V).

Many thanks,

Re: BBB Troubleshooting: voltage / stk500_recv(): not responding

Posted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:37 am
by brod
just a follow up as I have resolved this problem.

It turned out that my Voltage Regulator was soldered on well dodgy. (I could give it a little push and the pilot light would actually light up bright, even with the AtMega168 in its socket)

After reheating those 3 solder points of the Voltage Regulator, everything works now. (uploading sketches etc.)

Just for reference I am measuring a 0.670V on Pin 7 & 8 of the AtMega168.


Re: BBB Troubleshooting: voltage / stk500_recv(): not responding

Posted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 9:14 am
by paul
Glad you got it going - I'm concerned about pins 7 & 8 though - you should see close to 5V there. The low-dropout regulator will shave 100 mv or so off the 5V USB voltage, so maybe 4.9 V or so on USB and real close to 5 on external. Try reheating those socket pins and any others that look suspicious.

Good solder joints:

* shiny
* smooth with smooth meniscus shape
* cover pad completely


Re: BBB Troubleshooting: voltage / stk500_recv(): not responding

Posted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:36 am
by brod
Thanks for your reply Paul,

yes... it seems to be an incredible gift being able to count to 7.

I have measured PINS 8 & 9, all along.

This doesn't speak much for me, but just to complete this:

PIN 7 & 8 measure a 4.8V, which is good to know.
It is still 100 mV off from what I expected, but I will go through the solder joints again and measure where they might have gone.

Cheers again.

Re: BBB Troubleshooting: voltage / stk500_recv(): not responding

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 9:36 pm
by paul

You're not going to see more than about 4.8V. This is shaved off by the low-dropout regulator. Other implementations of Diecimila-like boards, generally don't run the USB through the regulator, and use a polyfuse instead.

I chose to use a LDO regulator and run the USB voltage through the regulator - this has advantages and disadvantages. It does a good job of protecting the USB port, but technically speaking the regulator is in dropout, so it means that the voltage is going to vary a bit from load. When I designed the BBB, the Arduino folks weren't using any protection on the bus and alarming "USB overcurrent" errors were common. I may also go the polyfuse method in a future revision. We never seem to be able to leave things alone. Another possibility would be to modify the board and short the USB 5 volt to the regulator output 5V line - the only downside to this is that you don't have protection on the USB bus (Some protection is required in the host computer - according to the USB spec, but the host computer tends to be several powers of magnitudes more expensive than the uC - so protecting the host hardware seems like a good idea.

If you want to see a rock-solid 5 volts then you need to use an external power supply - I recommend 6 volts at between 500 mA and an amp. this depends on what it is that you are running of course. Digikey sells several models - one of which I purchased today to get up on the website.

Here are two 6V 1A models - these are regulated switching supplies, small light and efficient.

T978-P7P-ND 1.3 mm power jack - the smaller size jack provided on earlier models - Currently shipping models use the 2.1 mm power jack.
T1019-P5RP-ND 2.1 mm jack - Yeah so why are they $2 difference in the single piece price? Go figure.


Re: BBB Troubleshooting: voltage / stk500_recv(): not respon

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:02 am
by dclark
Hey Paul, I bought four of the BBB boards. I must be rusty on serial setups - now flailing on both PC and Mac.

The boards I am using and the BUBII were assembled by you. They used to work on the PC. Now I can't seem to get them to work on PC (windows xp) or my mac ( Imac 10.8.2). I last successfully used the boards at a techshop class. I'm sure it is some thing silly on my end. I've attempted external (9v through the plug) as well as internal USB power. Jumpers are set to [ext + v] near the power connector; and [USB] near the 6 bub pins.

I've downloaded the drivers. Using the IDE I've set board to Arduino; Dueminalove / Atmel 328; I've tried serial ports set to /dev/tty_usbserial and /dev/cu_usbserial and the others that came with the mac. with /dev/tty.Bluetooth-Modem i get an error (already in use). Green light comes on the board.

I'm trying to compile and upload examples->blink. Keep getting the same error: avrdude: stk500_recv(): programmer is not responding

Any suggestions?

Dave :-|