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NP-41 Emulator (may be)
12-18-2017, 06:21 PM
Post: #321
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-18-2017 02:50 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  The issue I have now is that the H/W reset itself intermittently. I think I will need to invest in a scope to pinpoint things in more detail. It could be ESD, will put ground shields on next PCBs and see. This problem is running around and difficult to chase.

A long shot, double check the watchdog. This is a common source of problems with MSP430.

Håkan
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12-18-2017, 07:32 PM (This post was last modified: 12-18-2017 08:46 PM by Guenter Schink.)
Post: #322
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
Hi Chris,
received my unit, thank you. There is an odd behaviour with ATAN, ASIN and ACOS: for most values the calculater will just show the command and then freeze. Switching it off and on, again shows the command, still frozen. Switching it off and doing a "Memory lost" brings it back to life.

Günter

Edit: Key test "x" toggles between all segments dimmed plus K=41 and then K=41 only. "R/S" shows all zeros first second push K=48
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12-19-2017, 01:03 PM
Post: #323
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
+Sylvia,
I had shipped your replacement unit yesterday, you should be receiving it tomorrow Thursday.

(12-18-2017 07:32 PM)Guenter Schink Wrote:  Hi Chris,
received my unit, thank you. There is an odd behaviour with ATAN, ASIN and ACOS: for most values the calculater will just show the command and then freeze. Switching it off and on, again shows the command, still frozen. Switching it off and doing a "Memory lost" brings it back to life.

Günter

Edit: Key test "x" toggles between all segments dimmed plus K=41 and then K=41 only. "R/S" shows all zeros first second push K=48
Hi Guenter,
Sorry you also got a lemon. It appears your firmware / register memory got messed up and that the "Memory Lost" is not fixing it (perhaps outside emulator scope). Similar to what Sylvain is experiencing. I did manage to reproduce this condition and is not yet able to find out why. And it could be reset by re-flashing the firmware via bootloader.
But of course if we don't know the cause of it, this is not a solution.
I had ran out of replacement units and had made a new unit yesterday. Although it appears good, I am losing confidence with the builds and I will test / use it for a week before shipping the replacement to you.

(12-18-2017 06:21 PM)hth Wrote:  
(12-18-2017 02:50 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  The issue I have now is that the H/W reset itself intermittently. I think I will need to invest in a scope to pinpoint things in more detail. It could be ESD, will put ground shields on next PCBs and see. This problem is running around and difficult to chase.

A long shot, double check the watchdog. This is a common source of problems with MSP430.

Håkan

Yes, I am reading the datasheet / user guide in depth. There should be registers to catch the source of reset and I will have to see if it will be useful for the investigation or not. I think I disable the watchdog timer (which I usually do as a lazy programmer). Will have to change that.

The FRAM family is relatively new, not sure if it is the way I am reading / writing to them, there are certain timing / voltage requirements for writes.

For this project, I can find a good substitute for the MSP430 though. It got in-build high segment count LCD driver, FRAM memory, sleeps at 0.6uA, all in one chip. Substituting w/ a few other chips will introduce other problems. So I will stick to debugging this.
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12-19-2017, 03:14 PM
Post: #324
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-19-2017 01:03 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  
(12-18-2017 07:32 PM)Guenter Schink Wrote:  Hi Chris,
received my unit, thank you. There is an odd behaviour with ATAN, ASIN and ACOS: for most values the calculater will just show the command and then freeze. Switching it off and on, again shows the command, still frozen. Switching it off and doing a "Memory lost" brings it back to life.

Günter

Edit: Key test "x" toggles between all segments dimmed plus K=41 and then K=41 only. "R/S" shows all zeros first second push K=48
Hi Guenter,
Sorry you also got a lemon. It appears your firmware / register memory got messed up and that the "Memory Lost" is not fixing it (perhaps outside emulator scope). Similar to what Sylvain is experiencing. I did manage to reproduce this condition and is not yet able to find out why. And it could be reset by re-flashing the firmware via bootloader.
But of course if we don't know the cause of it, this is not a solution.
I had ran out of replacement units and had made a new unit yesterday. Although it appears good, I am losing confidence with the builds and I will test / use it for a week before shipping the replacement to you.

Seems this is going to become a nightmare for you. I really appreciate your dedication to produce these nice gadgets. I'm afraid you would not have offered this to all of us, if you knew before. I will of course send the "lemon" back to you. Perhaps you can rectify it, so it would be of use for someone else. Wrt the other unit, don't rush, take your time as required. Better enjoy the holidays Smile

Günter
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12-20-2017, 10:29 AM
Post: #325
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
Something from Canada has been delivered @home...
I will report later on. ;)

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12-20-2017, 12:27 PM
Post: #326
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-19-2017 03:14 PM)Guenter Schink Wrote:  Seems this is going to become a nightmare for you. I really appreciate your dedication to produce these nice gadgets. I'm afraid you would not have offered this to all of us, if you knew before. I will of course send the "lemon" back to you. Perhaps you can rectify it, so it would be of use for someone else. Wrt the other unit, don't rush, take your time as required. Better enjoy the holidays Smile

Günter
I won't turn it into a nightmare for myself. There are stress of course to deliver the units in good order and I will pace through to get it done properly. I actually got a renewed enthusiasm on the project now. I enjoy solving problems /mysteries and these intermittent problems is occupying me.

Thanks for your patience, the new units have a very similar PCB design so I am worried that same issues can occur. And I will play w/ them a bit before releasing them.

Don't worry sending in the faulty unit. Please do that after I send you the replacement. I will repair them and these are super high-demand gift items.

I am adding ground shields on the PCB design and will order some to replace the existing ones. Not sure if this is the cause of the problems but ground shields are always good.

(12-20-2017 10:29 AM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  Something from Canada has been delivered @home...
I will report later on. Wink
Don't tell me you have a lemon, we had far too many.
Smile just kidding, another lemon won't surprise me. Just be patient when I pace through a solution.

I do enjoy the NP41 a lot, it's the right size (NP25 too small for everyday use), got a nice, square and simple case. I only use very basic functions though (mostly 4 function calculations). Differences in making 1 and a whole batch is quite an adventure.
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12-20-2017, 06:43 PM
Post: #327
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-20-2017 12:27 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  
(12-20-2017 10:29 AM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  Something from Canada has been delivered @home...
I will report later on. ;)
Don't tell me you have a lemon, we had far too many.
:) just kidding, another lemon won't surprise me. Just be patient when I pace through a solution.

I do enjoy the NP41 a lot, it's the right size (NP25 too small for everyday use), got a nice, square and simple case. I only use very basic functions though (mostly 4 function calculations). Differences in making 1 and a whole batch is quite an adventure.

Not a lemon, but the "9" key didn't register at all. I pushed it down as far as I could and things have improved a little but it is still worse than others.
I tried something simple and didn't find other issues for now.

I bought the 3V USB adapter and cables: what do you suggest now? Should I clear the ROM banks, flash the latest firmware, anything else?
It sits nicely in its green :/ cover but, as reported, key clicks sound louder in this tiny soundbox, and the display... wow!
Thank you.

Greetings,
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12-20-2017, 08:36 PM
Post: #328
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-20-2017 06:43 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  Not a lemon, but the "9" key didn't register at all. I pushed it down as far as I could and things have improved a little but it is still worse than others.

I have similar problems with the LN key. I press like any other key. I hear the click, but the key does not register. If I press a bit harder, then it registers.

My "X" (times) key didn't work at all until I pressed it hard a few times. Now it appears to work like the others. Same trick didn't work for LN, still needs a just a bit more relative force.

Cheers,

Egan
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12-20-2017, 10:41 PM
Post: #329
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
Update. My unit will no longer power up. Cable or battery. Or at least the display is blank. Is there a reset? Thanks.
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12-21-2017, 04:17 AM
Post: #330
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-20-2017 10:41 PM)Egan Ford Wrote:  Update. My unit will no longer power up. Cable or battery. Or at least the display is blank. Is there a reset? Thanks.

Egan, may try to reinsert battery, and press X key if display is blank. If the charge pump failed, the X key in key test mode will toggle charge pump on and off. Toggle off charge pump makes the unit to use Vcc for LCD biasing.

Don't think this is a firmware issue as the cold start display and key test is not likely to fail.

Keys not always registering could mean bad soldering. If you have tools, try to rework the affected button.

If you can get the bootloader going, it won't hurt to burn the latest firmware. The bootloader appears robust.
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12-21-2017, 04:25 AM
Post: #331
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-20-2017 06:43 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(12-20-2017 12:27 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  Don't tell me you have a lemon, we had far too many.
Smile just kidding, another lemon won't surprise me. Just be patient when I pace through a solution.

I do enjoy the NP41 a lot, it's the right size (NP25 too small for everyday use), got a nice, square and simple case. I only use very basic functions though (mostly 4 function calculations). Differences in making 1 and a whole batch is quite an adventure.

Not a lemon, but the "9" key didn't register at all. I pushed it down as far as I could and things have improved a little but it is still worse than others.
I tried something simple and didn't find other issues for now.

I bought the 3V USB adapter and cables: what do you suggest now? Should I clear the ROM banks, flash the latest firmware, anything else?
It sits nicely in its green :/ cover but, as reported, key clicks sound louder in this tiny soundbox, and the display... wow!
Thank you.

Key need force to register is more likely a hardware problem. Firmware update may not fix it. Could try rework the solder joint. Can test by jumping a piece of wire between the two ends of the button. A paper clip also works.

You may want to try loading ROM or new firmware. I am also interested in learning how a firmware update goes in one of the units.
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12-21-2017, 04:43 AM
Post: #332
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
+Guenter and all

In key test mode, the following keys has additional functions.
+, -, turns up and down charge pump voltage, thus controls contrast.
X, toggle between charge pump and Vcc for LCD biasing, if display nothing during cold start, charge pump may be failed. And press this key can switch back to Vcc to get back the display.
/, Buzzer test.
R/S , toggle display 12 zeros as display test.
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12-21-2017, 07:21 AM
Post: #333
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-21-2017 04:25 AM)Chris Chung Wrote:  Key need force to register is more likely a hardware problem. Firmware update may not fix it. Could try rework the solder joint. Can test by jumping a piece of wire between the two ends of the button. A paper clip also works.

You may want to try loading ROM or new firmware. I am also interested in learning how a firmware update goes in one of the units.

Yes, sorry, I was not implying that a firmware update could resolve hardware issues...
And, please!, keep me away from a soldering iron. :)
I was only asking if you suggest to proceed with firmware upgrade if this could solve other problems.
So thank you: I will try to update it in the next days and keep you posted.

Greetings,
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12-21-2017, 12:39 PM
Post: #334
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-19-2017 01:03 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  +Sylvia,
I had shipped your replacement unit yesterday, you should be receiving it tomorrow Thursday.

Hello Chris,
I have received the package yesterday. Thanks for the USB-to-serial interface.
The calculator seem to be working fine but did not have time to really dig into it.
The three NP-41 prototypes that I have will be shipped back to you today.
Thank you!
Regards,
Sylvain
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12-21-2017, 01:16 PM
Post: #335
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-21-2017 12:39 PM)Sylvain Cote Wrote:  
(12-19-2017 01:03 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  +Sylvia,
I had shipped your replacement unit yesterday, you should be receiving it tomorrow Thursday.

Hello Chris,
I have received the package yesterday. Thanks for the USB-to-serial interface.
The calculator seem to be working fine but did not have time to really dig into it.
The three NP-41 prototypes that I have will be shipped back to you today.
Thank you!
Regards,
Sylvain

Great, still haven't figure out the source of problem. As although I don't extensively test the units I sent, I do run them simple calculation plus the usual 9, sin, cos, tan, ...reverse in PRGM.

So I am still worried w/ the 2nd batch PCBs (which is almost identical to the 1st batch). I am re-working the PCB design and is placing ground plates extensively. Hope this is the cause and solution to the intermittent freezing issues.

Please mail me the units only at your convenient, I already got a tricky board that I am working on, so no rush.
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12-21-2017, 01:24 PM
Post: #336
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-21-2017 01:16 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  I do run them simple calculation plus the usual 9, sin, cos, tan, ...reverse in PRGM.

Hi Chris, I bet you didn't run this on my 9-less board! :D :D :D

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12-21-2017, 01:30 PM
Post: #337
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-21-2017 07:21 AM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(12-21-2017 04:25 AM)Chris Chung Wrote:  Key need force to register is more likely a hardware problem. Firmware update may not fix it. Could try rework the solder joint. Can test by jumping a piece of wire between the two ends of the button. A paper clip also works.

You may want to try loading ROM or new firmware. I am also interested in learning how a firmware update goes in one of the units.

Yes, sorry, I was not implying that a firmware update could resolve hardware issues...
And, please!, keep me away from a soldering iron. Smile
I was only asking if you suggest to proceed with firmware upgrade if this could solve other problems.
So thank you: I will try to update it in the next days and keep you posted.

The only addition on the newer firmware is having "clear ROM spaces" in the cold-start screen. I.e. hold down TAN key while inserting battery. Not sure how useful, but it could help for those units that got locked-up at MEMORY LOST.

Use bootloader to replace firmware would be something I would try 1st to rescue locked up units.

Key registering and display no show issues would most likely be hardware related.

Did you try to use a metal paper clip or similar method to test the problematic key? Are you going to get a "solder-man" to help you out? If it's confirmed (i.e. paper clip works), a re-solder would be the next step. If that doesn't solve the problem, it may be a bad button anyway, I can mail you spare buttons for repair. Or I can swap your unit w/ another one (need to give me time).
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12-21-2017, 01:50 PM
Post: #338
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
For everyone on the 1st batch units. This had become a beta product test (which should have been in the 1st place) and it's failing your / my expectations. So if you want to reverse the purchase, please let me know and I will provide a refund to you. Otherwise I would continue to work on fixing these units. The main issue is that I did not / was not able to do extensive testings on the hardware / firmware design. I had one unit that I used extensively and I assumed that the rest behave the same. Now that is not the case. And it could take a while before sorting everything out.

For additional replacement units, I will only ship them after I am comfortable that they behave well (at least one week w/ more extensive usage). Even so, w/o knowing the source of problem, there is still a risk that they can fail after being good for a few weeks.

Currently I am focusing on a new PCB w/ adequate ground plates to battle the "possible" EMC / noise. Also working on firmware that can report on reasons of freeze / resets.

I am also looking at the ROM modules. I have only the Math-1C.bin and the PHYSICS.bin to play w/. If you know other ROM sources, please let me know a few so that I can try more as well.

Thanks.
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12-21-2017, 02:04 PM
Post: #339
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-21-2017 01:50 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  For everyone on the 1st batch units. This had become a beta product test (which should have been in the 1st place) and it's failing your / my expectations. So if you want to reverse the purchase, please let me know and I will provide a refund to you. Otherwise I would continue to work on fixing these units. The main issue is that I did not / was not able to do extensive testings on the hardware / firmware design. I had one unit that I used extensively and I assumed that the rest behave the same. Now that is not the case. And it could take a while before sorting everything out.

For additional replacement units, I will only ship them after I am comfortable that they behave well (at least one week w/ more extensive usage). Even so, w/o knowing the source of problem, there is still a risk that they can fail after being good for a few weeks.

Currently I am focusing on a new PCB w/ adequate ground plates to battle the "possible" EMC / noise. Also working on firmware that can report on reasons of freeze / resets.

I am also looking at the ROM modules. I have only the Math-1C.bin and the PHYSICS.bin to play w/. If you know other ROM sources, please let me know a few so that I can try more as well.

Thanks.

Systemyde hosts this collection of ROMs.

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12-21-2017, 04:21 PM
Post: #340
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(12-20-2017 08:36 PM)Egan Ford Wrote:  
(12-20-2017 06:43 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  Not a lemon, but the "9" key didn't register at all. I pushed it down as far as I could and things have improved a little but it is still worse than others.

I have similar problems with the LN key. I press like any other key. I hear the click, but the key does not register. If I press a bit harder, then it registers.

My "X" (times) key didn't work at all until I pressed it hard a few times. Now it appears to work like the others. Same trick didn't work for LN, still needs a just a bit more relative force.

About keys not registering correctly, I experienced the same problem with my two NP-25 units, which share the same keys. At reception, the calculators worked perfectly, but after several months one or two keys didn't work well anymore, and required a very firm press. I use my NP-25 occasionally, and I store them in a zip plastic bag so they are protected from dust.

It's not easy to explain what I did in English, but I will try :
I have pushed the faulty keys alternatively towards the top and towards the bottom of the PCB, with the hope to produce some lateral movement underneath that would remove some dust or some other imperfection.
I have also introduced the tip of an extremely fine knife, between the side of the white key and its mount, here again alternatively on the upper side and the lower side of the key. I am pleased to report that the defective keys on my two NP-25 work now as expected.
Maybe this can solve some NP-41 key problems.

Jean-Charles
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