Troubleshooting a Broken Homemade Computer – Pet Hair is One Possible Culprit
BlondiHacks’ homemade Veronica computer, originally constructed in late 2011, recently went down for the ‘first time ever.’ In this fun post BlondiHacks walks through the troubleshooting process and suspicions that arise along the way – I too have had an encounter with errant pet hair disrupting card slot connections! (How did that hair get there to begin with?!?)
I started to probe the address lines of the RAM. This would give me a sense of whether the CPU was trying to access it. One of the reasons Veronica does a RAM check at startup is because that causes the address lines to be accessed in an ordinal fashion. That’s very handy for debugging all manner of bus and memory related issues. Having the machine exercise itself in an orderly fashion at startup gives you patterns to look for. It’s not really so much about testing the RAM itself. Modern SRAM chips pretty much don’t fail, and the visual effect of scanning through the RAM at boot is as much about nostalgic fun as anything.
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.