Does connecting connector wrong way break Wink ?

Wink setup, hardware, basic programming. User to user support.
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:17 pm

Does connecting connector wrong way break Wink ?

Postby xaf » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:23 pm

My son connected the cable the wrong way while I had my back turned... now it no longer reacts...

Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:17 pm

Re: Does connecting connector wrong way break Wink ?

Postby xaf » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:28 pm

Guess it does not... at least not immediately... 15 minutes later it started working again.

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Re: Does connecting connector wrong way break Wink ?

Postby wclift » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:34 pm

Hmm. That's probably something I don't want to test. :)
So, we should get a few more specifics from you to figure out exactly what you mean.
1) Now, when connected correctly, does the Wink "charging" light come on?
2) In what way was the cable connected incorrectly? Plug upside down? Plug rightside up, but shifted up a row? down a row? Left or right?
3) While unconnected, what happens when you try to turn Wink on with its power button? Power light on? Does it run the last program?
4) When it was plugged in incorrectly, did you try to upload a program?

I don't have the schematics handy. It would be an interesting exercise to compare the pinouts of each end of the connector and see what things might connect together badly with a mis-aligned plug. It's certainly within the realm of possibility that there might be a "bad" position that could do real damage to the Wink.

I can tell you that a simple row upshift doesn't break Wink (I've tried that one :)!)

If you have any further details, it might help debug the possibilities.

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Re: Does connecting connector wrong way break Wink ?

Postby xaf » Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:53 pm

Hi Wayne,

Thanks for getting back to me.

It's definitely not something I intended to test, but given this is a device to teach kids I guess it's something which can easily happen :-).

With my second post I intended to say it seems to be working again. Here is the detail of what happened:

* My kids plugged in the connector upside down while I was fetching my laptop power supply. Could have been plugged in incorrectly about a minute. Nothing was uploaded during that time.
* When I noticed the connector had been plugged in incorrectly I disconnected it and connected it the right way
* Connecting it the right way caused the charging led to burn very, very faint.
* I tried pushing the power and user buttons, nothing happened
* At that point I disconnected it again... pressing the buttons still had no effect
* I noticed certain parts of the wink were hot and it smelled a bit burnt, something clearly overheated
* Trying again 5 minutes later it still did not react, it still felt hot so I guess it must have been really hot at the start
* 10 minutes later - after I found / read / registered / posted on the forum - I hit the power button once more and the last program started executing again.

In the mean time I can confirm that programming / eyes / motors work, which is a big relief, not sure if anything else got damaged.


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Re: Does connecting connector wrong way break Wink ?

Postby wclift » Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:30 pm

It sounds like the battery was being shorted out, discharging high current and heating it all up. I don't know if there is any thermal cutoff on Wink. I doubt it. But the battery circuit may have something built in. Or the battery was discharged and needs cooling and charging again.

This is something I am concerned about for Wink as well. Kids are going to plug it in all different ways. I wish the plug had a female shield and polarity key to prevent incorrect connections. Glad it's still working for you.

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Re: Does connecting connector wrong way break Wink ?

Postby sil » Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:28 am

on a side note, I often connect the pin cable to Ringo and Wink one row up (so only on the top row of pins). Poor eyesight, low light in room and doing it by touch is to blame on my part. I haven't had any problems with the bots as a result, so i would suggest its not something others should be too concerned about if they do the same.
If you or your kids sometimes plug the pin connector cable in upside down I would suggest looking at putting a colour mark on the bot and the cable as a visual reminder which way to connect it.

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Re: Does connecting connector wrong way break Wink ?

Postby Kevin » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:15 pm

Hey xaf-

Connecting the cable backward should not cause any problems. I've thought this through a few times, drawing lines between pins to visualize what happens if the connector is reversed and it should be perfectly safe to do this (though it's not going to upload of course). I've tried it before and just tried it here on my desk and everything was fine. Nothing warm or anything.

I do see that if the cable was twisted and then only the top row was connected - that would cause a problem. I think this is what likely happened - twisted cable combined with only plugging the top row of pins.

This would short the VBus supply (the voltage from the computer that charges the robot) directly to ground. However, there is a resettable fuse on the programming board that will open automatically when more than about 700 mA is drawn. This is to protect your USB port on your computer (the port in your computer almost always has its own resettable fuse for the same reason). Once the fuse opens, it takes a couple minutes to reset.

There is another resettable fuse inside the battery tab which is designed to protect the battery in case you manage to short the pins that connect the battery on the bottom. The power supply to the motors, LED's, and IR light sources all goes through a current limited supply on the bot, but if you shorted right at the battery pins coming through the board, this fuse in the battery would protect everything. It should open at about 350 mA and reset in a couple minutes.

If the robot didn't power on at all for a few minutes, that tells me that this fuse on the robot opened. I'd have to really study it but I wonder if somehow battery current flowed backward through the part that manages battery charging during the short. If this was the case, my only concern would be that the part that manages the charging was damaged.

Can you plug it in and verify that the charging light turns on? If you then leave it plugged in for a couple hours, does the charging light eventaully turn off? I'd suggest keeping an eye on it during charging at least until you're sure things are working okay. If for some reason that charge manager part wants to charge and keep charging, it would eventually cause the battery to puff up and get hot. I really doubt that would happen but something to keep an eye on. If you see it charges with the light on then back off eventually, I'd say you're probably just fine.

Was the immediate problem that the code wouldn't upload to the robot (which would make sense if the programmer fuse was open), or was it that the robot wouldn't power up? Or did it power up but the code didn't seem to be running?


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Postby HowardNek » Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:53 pm

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