Re: Diagnostic software for uBitx #ubitx

Jack, W8TEE


I think Chuck Adams has the right approach to this. His video series on YouTube for building W8DIZ's 1 Watter (1Watter Transceiver Build, Phase 1 by K7QO) has a lot of good stuff about kit building in general.

However, his approach addresses the subject line here: How do you diagnose problems with a homebrew or kit project. If you are going to use the µC as part of the process, it would be much more successful if the diagnoses are done at stages along the way, rather than deferring until the project is done. It's much easier to diagnose a stage as it is built rather than waiting to a point where several stages can interact and be causing issues.

This suggests building the PS first, checking the voltages, etc. and pronouncing it "healthy". I would immediately then constuct the µC section, utilizing the the Serial object to verify it is working (e.g., the simple Blink program). Then (and you EE guys are better at deciding what's next) perhaps build the audio section and have program code that sends a 700Hz tone to the amplifier for replay through the headphones/speaker. If you get to a section where the test from the µC doesn't pass its test, you have limited the source of the error to the most recent section. It's the same concept as Encapsulation in software engineering.

My point is: If you're going to the trouble of building diagnostic software into the rig, utilize it through the entire construction process...don't defer it to the end. Not only does the approach enhance the odds of a working piece of equipment when the project is done, it builds confidence in the builder along the way--a double win!

Jack, W8TEE

On Friday, April 27, 2018, 8:35:43 PM EDT, Howard Fidel <sonic1@...> wrote:

Great idea. If the Arduino only had more inputs we could do a really thorough job with some mods.
On 4/27/2018 8:09 PM, John wrote:
I have started developing a diagnostic software for the uBitx. 

The need arose following a forum member's trouble with his Raduino.

The objective is to help both the original kit builder for issues like wiring or "not working" problems, but also to the more advanced experimenters both during construction and after "oops moments" like after a bad wiring or when a loose lead that "is only there for 5 seconds and will never touch another part of the circuit" went wandering around the board (I raise my hand here).

So far it only tests the I2C bus, the communication with the SI5351 and the analogue inputs of the Raduino in a graphical form.

The plan is to expand to the audio circuit, the receiver chain, the TX low pass filters' relays and hopefully more.

This is where I need your input to determine what to test for in the first instance and then some ideas to make the test results as simple but still useful to more advanced users.

So if you can give me some feedback as to what issues you had when building the kit that I could incorporate in the diagnostic software either as a new test or as a suggestion as to how solve the issue, as a self help, that would be great.

Tests need not be Arduino only tests. Operator 's interpretation, as in "Do you hear the tone in the speaker, Y/N" are quite ok.

I have uploaded the beta version of the software at

Passed the tests are the questions of deployment and the best way to do that since new kit builders may not be familiar or confident to setup the Arduino's IDE. So maybe HEx files and a simple terminal...ideas welcomed.

All the best,

73, John (VK2ETA)

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