Wink Programmer Issues - Please Read

Wink setup, hardware, basic programming. User to user support.
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Wink Programmer Issues - Please Read

Postby Kevin » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:15 pm

Hello everyone. There have been quite a few questions about getting programmers running. I'm making this post as a go-to reference for these questions. I hope this will answer most of the questions and get people up and running quickly.



These two references will likely solve most of the common questions. It is very important to read over the content of the getting started page. The Wink material is not very well integrated on the website just yet. We'll do this after all the Kickstarter rewards have been sent. The official Wink web page is:

This guide will go into more detail including trouble shooting of some of the more common questions as well as known issues toward the bottom.

Here we go... :)

There are basically two parts to getting the programmer working. The programmer itself is really just a translator - the little black processor on the programmer speaks USB on one side and speaks serial UART to the robot on the other end.

1) The connection between the programmer and your computer.
2) The connection between the programmer and the robot.

Connection to your Computer:

1) Driver Install

The programmer is not a standard USB plug and play device. It does require a driver to be installed on your computer. It is recommended that you install this driver BEFORE plugging the programmer into your computer for the first time. We recommend this because Windows may try to associate the programmer with the wrong driver.

If you did plug the programmer into your computer before installing the driver, go ahead and try to install the driver again anyway. It may automatically solve the issue.

To install the driver, please follow the instructions for your computer OS under the "Driver Installation" heading on the page.

2) Does your computer now recognize the programmer?

After installing the driver, open the Arduino IDE (the programming environment where you write your code). Navigate to the Tools > Port setting. Observe what ports are listed. Then plug in the programmer to your computer. Wait a few seconds and re-check this port listing. You should see a new port appear if the driver is correctly installed and everything is working correctly.

On Windows you should hear the customary "da dunk" sound that is normally played when you plug in any other USB device.

This should be all that is required to complete this portion of the process.


If you've tried the above and you're still not seeing anything, try the following steps:

1) It is possible there is a problem with the USB port. Try plugging to a different USB port on your computer. If you're using a desktop computer, try using a port on the opposite side of your computer (if you were using a port on the front, try a port on the rear, or vise versa). If you're using a laptop, try the same (if you were using a port on the left side, try a port on the right side).

I suggest this because different ports sometimes have different hardware controllers inside your computer. Sometimes (especially with Windows for some reason), plugging to a new port will cause Windows to re-evaluate the device and decide to now use the correct driver. We have had this happen with several end users - that a Windows driver issue was suddenly resolved by plugging to a new port. Once it was resolved, all of a sudden, any port could then be used. I don't know USB well enough to understand this, but it has fixed issues in the past.

2) Try a different USB cable. All USB cables are the same as far as I know, but it is possible you have a bad cable.

3) Try unplugging and re-plugging after a few minutes. Again I don't know why this would make a difference but it has resolved issues in the past.

4) Try installing the driver and Arduino on a different computer and see if it works there. This is can determine if you have a hardware problem with the programmer/cable combination or if it is a driver or OS related issue. If you do get it to recognize on a different computer, we can go back to focusing on the driver/OS combination on the troubled computer. If you can't get it to recognize on a different computer that points to a hardware problem with the programmer itself.

Connection between the Programmer and the Robot:

1) Make sure you have "Arduino Fio" selected under Tools > Board inside Arduino.

2) Make sure you have the correct COM port selected under Tools > Port. You should select the new port that appears when you plug in the programmer.

3) Make sure the ribbon cable is connected to all 10 pins on both the programmer and robot - it's very easy to only connect to the top row of pins.

4) Make sure the robot is turned on when attempting to program. The orange power light next to the power button should be lit. The programming process begins by resetting the robot. You can program the robot at any time regardless of what it is presently doing or how long it has been on for.

To turn on the robot, press the "PWR" button, which is the purple button on the left side of the robot. Press for 1/4 second to turn on, and press again to turn off. When the robot is on, the power light just above the power button will be lit.

5) The ribbon cable can go either direction, just make sure it doesn't twist in the middle when connecting.

When you attempt to program, observe the pair of lights on the programmer board. Correct operation is you should get one or two brief blinks then you should see both lights turn on and quickly strobe and remain doing so for the duration of the upload (usually 3 to 30 seconds depending on the size of the sketch you are uploading).

If you just see a couple of blinks then eventually a failure message, it does confirm that your computer is communicating with the programmer, but the problem is still somewhere in the connection between the programmer and the robot. Double check again that "Arduino Fio" is selected if this is the case.

6) Have a close look at the ribbon cable itself where the ribbon cable goes into the black end pieces. Try to wiggle the cable a bit while it is connected to the robot. If you have the programmer hooked to your computer and the robot connected to the programmer, you will likely see the orange "charge" light illuminate on the robot (unless it's already fully charged). If you notice this light turning on and off while wiggling the ribbon cable it may indicate a problem with the cable. Try to squeeze the black end pieces together on the cable a bit. This cable issue is very rare with new cables but after a lot of use it's possible to begin to harm the ends where the ribbon goes into the black connector.

Always try to remove the cable by pulling the black connector by the sides rather than tugging the ribbon itself. Also note that you usually don't need to press the connector all the way onto the pins. Connecting just far enough to make contact will reduce strain over time.

Hopefully that solves most problems for most people. If you've checked these items and are still having trouble, post the details below. I don't check the forum regularly so if you are still having issues the best way to contact us is via the on our main website.


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