STK600, Something To Be Aware Of...

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I recently started a new project for a local client. It's not a terribly complicated project, really - it's a clock with the usual switches to set the thing and an output for an alarm. The projects is written in, yes JS, the C programming language.

When I initially set up the project, I was using the STK500, as that is what the client has as well and will be using for verification of functionality.

Well, I have also been playing around with the STK600, and thought that it would be a good time to make the switch to the "Newfangled " development environment.

Well, after making the switch, the HD44780 text based LCD would not initialize. I thought this odd. I checked everything - the setup thingies on the STK600, the FUSE settings, and even looked at my code. But nothing I did would initialize the LCD display. I even looked to see if there were signals at the appropriate LCD pins.

I spent about 3 hours switching back and forth between the STK500 and STK600, each time with the same results.

Finally, I started to suspect that maybe it was the adapter configuration used by the STK600. I removed the adapter plates, re-seated them, and then tried everything again.

Well, the LCD initialized. But if I put any kind of flex in the adapter boards, the LCD once again would not initialize.

So, off came the adapter plates again, bu this time for a closer visual inspection. While inspecting the top most plate, the one with the 40 pin ZIF socket, I noticed that one of the flex pins that mates to the center configuration plate was a little bit deformed - it looked like it was crushed just a bit.

I flexed that spring connector pin back up to a reasonable position and re-installed the adapter system. Now the adapter holding the ZIF socket seems to be reliable.

So, as a warning, when using the STK600 and there seems to be unexplained issues with your projects functionality, it might be worth the time to inspect the connectors of the adapter plates as a first measure.

These adapter connectors seem to be quite fragile. I'm sure that I didn't do anything that would cause the springy things to become distorted. Since I have had the STK600, the ZIF adapter board was in it's silver anti-static bag.

I hope these adapter plates aren't going to be a source of reliability issues with the STK600. At $99.00US each, that is more then what an STK500 cost.

It would be rather hard to justify the replacement cost of an STK600 ZIF adapter, when an entire STK500 can be purchased for about $15.00US less then the adapter plate, itself.

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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When I was toying with the 3290 and 3250 parts, I had a similar and frustrating experience, although with the 100 pin ZIF socket on the STK500 adapter board.

You actually have to use a magnifying glass and some real patience to get the 100 pin device in the socket properly. If you just drop it in and expect the socket to align, you will be in for some pain. Usually, an entire side will not line up, making some ports fail in odd ways.

I actually bought another adapter due to this, and realized later that both have alignment issues in a big way. Looks like the STK600 ZIF socket for the 100 pin devices is the same one - look out!

Brad

I Like to Build Stuff : http://www.AtomicZombie.com