Online Assembly / Test Manual


Fully-detailed instructions for assembly and test of the PIC-EL Kit.

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Section 11: CHECKOUT & TEST

Alright!  If you've reached this section by completing all previous ones, you now have a fully assembled PIC-EL board ... congratulations!  What you have should look like the photo below (except your PIC and LCD are not yet inserted).

But you are actually only partway there, as you'll need to check everything out and ensure that everything is working right, which is the purpose of this section.

Although you've done some power checks already, let's do it one more time before getting down to business.

Checking for correct voltages is again a simple thing to do.  

1) Apply a 12-14V power source to J1, center lead positive, and check to see that no smoke is escaping from any of the components and that nothing is getting warm.

2) Using your DVM check to see that +5V is present at TP-C (Vdd), and at J5 pin 14 (i.e., the IC socket).  You can use a scrap lead to probe for the voltage inside the small socket connector for J5.

3) Again using your DVM check to see that +V (i.e., whatever voltage you are supplying as input to the board) is present on TP-B and J6 pin 8 (the DDS Daughtercard connector).  Again use a scrap lead to probe inside J6.

4) If the MODE slide switch S1 was not already in the "down" position, move it there and note that the "PGM" LED next to the switch turns on quite brightly.  Sliding the MODE switch "up" should turn off the PGM LED.  Leave the MODE switch in the up position with the PGM LED off.

5) Disconnect the power supply input to the board.

If you did not experience everything as described so far, you must go to Section 15 - In Case of Trouble where you will determine what's wrong.  Do not pass Go, do not collect $100. 

Otherwise ... so far so good!

Okay, did you remove the power plug??  Good, now you will insert the PIC and the LCD into their sockets J5 and J4, respectively.

6) Insert the PIC integrated circuit U1 to its socket J5, carefully orienting pin 1 of the IC to mate up with the "Pin 1" indication on the board.

7) Insert the LCD into its connector J4, being careful to properly mesh pin1 of P5 with pin 1 of J5, pin 2 with pin 2, etc.  That is, you don't want to mistakenly offset the LCD in its socket.  Not only will the LCD not work, you might even destroy it.  This is not goodness.

8) Insert the power plug again to apply 12-14V to the board.


Upon powering up the board you should immediately see the Test Program sign-on message scroll across the LCD.  It should display "PIC-EL test suite Version 1.0"  This is a very cool program written by John McDonough, WB8RCR (the course instructor) and we'll use it verify proper operation of all components on your PIC-EL board. The test program proceeds on its own without any interaction from the user.  You get some opportunities to "do certain things" that we'll describe, but the program will loop forever blinking, beeping and otherwise "talking" to you.

Test 1 - LEDs

This test checks for proper orientation of the LEDs and good signal path connections to the PIC. The test program illuminates each of the LEDs (LED1 through LED3) in succession for several seconds.  It'll actually do this operation twice before automatically moving on to the next test.

Test 2 - Pushbuttons

This test tests for proper connection and operation of the pushbuttons. When the "pushbuttons" message is displayed on the LCD, you should press each of the pushbuttons in turn while watching for the corresponding LED to illuminate.  

Test 3 - Paddles

This test checks for proper connection and functionality of the Paddles jack to the PIC. You should plug your favorite paddles into the Paddles jack J3.  When the "Paddles" message is displayed on the LCD, you can alternately tap the paddle(s) in the dit and dah direction and see two of the LEDs come on, respectively.

Test 4 - Speaker

This test checks for good operation of the miniature speaker. The LCD displays Speaker" and the test programs sends several loops of the familiar "do re me fa so la te do" tonal scale.  The speaker output is moderate - certainly noticeable in a quiet room and even quite useful in a noisy room if you are close to the board. Some of us old timers who need hearing aids may have to lean close to hear the tones. later on we'll describe ways to amplify the tones so they are more easily heard.

Test 5 - Encoder

This test checks for a properly operating encoder and it's connections to the PIC. The LCD displays "Encoder" and you then need to turn the shaft of the rotary encoder clockwise and counterclockwise while watching numbers on the LCD increment and decrement, respectively. It might be more convenient if you could install a small knob on the shaft of the encoder, thus making it easier to turn. Another fun thing to do is to watch the encoder A & B signals (on TP-Ga and TP-Gb) to see their quadrature nature.  one off the Elmer 160 course lessons will get into this in more depth.

Test 6 - Transmitter

This test sends Morse characters out the J8 connector, thus testing for proper operation of transistor Q7.  If you were to connect a 1/8" mono patch cord from J8 to the keyline input of a solid state transceiver you would enable the PIC-EL board to key the transmitter.  Of course, you should not have the VOX enabled and just be able to listen to the side tone generated by your transceiver. Two LEDs will also blink in dit-dah concert with the outgoing test message.

Test 7 - DDS 

This test is fun and checks out the operation of the DDS Daughtercard when plugged into its connector J6. (Note, the DDS Daughtercard is available separately from the PIC-EL Kit.)  The test program commands the DDS to generate three successive frequencies: 7.040 MHz, 7.041 MHz and 7.042 MHz.  So if you had your receiver on and tuned to approximately 7.040 MHz, you should hear tones from the three increasing signals, depending on how wide your IF is set on the receiver. This triplet of frequencies is programmed twice before the test concludes.


If you successfully got through all the tests described above, you have a functionally operational PIC-EL board.  We don't know yet about the programmer aspects of the board, but we'll get into that in the next section.


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Page last updated:  February 5, 2004