EL Backlight Troubleshooting Steps
First off, please take comfort that the vast majority of problems are not a result of a faulty board or EL panel. Its usually something simple. I test each and every unit prior to shipping. That's not to say I can't make a mistake... I can (and do!)... but even then its usually a simple fix.
Before we get too far into troubleshooting, let's start with the very basics.
CHAPTER 1: Is there even a problem?
Believe it or not, the most common "problems" aren't really problems at all. These are the four that come up the most offen:
CHAPTER 2: Narrow down the problem
I like to compartmentalize things. The problem is, generally speaking, going to be with either:
A) The EL panel or its wires or connector
B) The add-on board
C) The radio
The trick, of course, is to figure out which.
For most of the tests that follow, you're going to need a multimeter that can measure voltage in both AC and DC. It doesn't have to be a "good" one... as long as it has a setting for both AC and DC, it will do.
Test 1: Ruling out the radio
Interpret the results: If you get a voltage between 4.95 and 5.05 (or close) then its not your radio so move on to Test 2. If you get a voltage of zero or significantly less than 5v then the problem is with your radio. See the "its my radio" section below.
Test 2: Ruling out the add-on board's electronics
This test is done with the add-on board not installed in the radio and with the EL panel unplugged.
Interpret the results: We're expecting a reading of between 60VAC and 90VAC on each test (this means the panel is getting 120 to 180 VAC total). If this is what you get, then the board's electronics are not the problem so you can move on to the next test. If you are getting zero V on one or both pins, or one or both are significantly less than 60VAC, then something is wrong with the chip marked "IC2". See the "its my add-on board" section below (although you may want to first confirm you're getting 5VDC between VDD and GND to make sure your USB is properly powered and you've properly jumpered VDD and +5V).
Test 3: Ruling out the EL Panel
Now that we have the board powered and confirmed working (see Test 2), we can test if the panel itself is working. Go ahead and plug the EL panel into the board.
Interpret the results: If it glows, then its fine and you can move on to the next test. If it doesn't glow then the problem is with the EL panel. See the "its my EL panel" section below.
Test 4: Ruling out the pogo connection
We're going to basically repeat Test 1 but with the add-on board installed.
Interpret the results: If you get a voltage between 4.95 and 5.05 (or close) then there's nothing wrong with your installation. If you get a voltage of zero or significantly less than 5v then the problem is with the pogo pin connection between the board and your radio. See the "its my pogo pin connection" section below.
CHAPTER 3: Dealing with the Problem
Hopefully the above tests has narrowed down the problem and pointed you to one of the sections below, which will further help you resolve the issue.
Uh-oh: its my radio
Ok, so we've just determined that the problem is with your radio. But don't panic! That doesn't mean that something is actually wrong with your radio, just that the EL isn't turning on because of something to do with the radio. Possibilities include:
Whatever the reason, if we've narrowed it down to this section then it has nothing to do with the add-on board or the panel and this is about a far as I can go trying to help. Good luck!
Uh-oh: its my EL panel
The EL panel itself is a pretty rock solid technology and I would really be surprised if we ever see one that's truly "defective" in material. So 99.9% of the problems here are going to be with the connections. If we've narrowed the problem to this section, then the only trick left is to figure out what part of the connection is going wrong. There are only so many possibilities:
In all the cases above, you should be able to figure it out by using your meter and testing for continuity until you nail down exactly what is wrong. If its not a lifted pad on the panel then its probably something you can repair yourself. If you can't, then it can be sent back for replacement (see warranty chapter below).
Uh-oh: its my add-on board
If you've narrowed it down to this section, then there's probably not much we can do except have you return your kit to us for test confirmation and repair/replacement (see warranty chapter below).
Uh-oh: its my pogo pin connection
Hopefully you're in this section, because this will be the easiest to fix. The problem is simply that, for some reason, the pogo pin marked "VDD" isn't making contact with Pin 17's pad on the radio. Some things to consider:
If you're reading this then I guess none of the above helped you resolve the issue, or you've determined the board or panel is faulty. Unfortunately, mistakes happen and I'm here to help! You'll need to send your unit back and I'll first confirm the problem and then repair or replace as necessary and send it back to you. It would be good if you can dig up your order number (or make sure you give me your full name at least) and then contact me to get things started.
I hope this document has been comprehensive and clear enough to be useful.
Last edited by s_mack; Feb 24, 2012 at 01:26 AM.
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