Malfunctioning valves

I still have issues with valves that don’t work.

I can’t tell when it happens, just random. Not after a power cycle or something. I leave the system powered up at all time. I leave it one day all valves working, another day after I come back and a few valves don’t work.

After one of the last updates the LEDs on the valve control board behave different. Result is that if the valve is in open or closed position, both LED’s are on (opened/opening or closed/closing). The LEDs of the malfunctioning valve control board behave different, even though the valve is completely opened or closed. Only the opened or closed LED is on. The opening or closing LED is not on, my guess is those are controlled from the sprak.

If I look in the valve control board widget of the malfunctioning valve contorl baord the connection is still good, at least that is what the spark thinks. :slight_smile: It looks like the connection with the chip on the vavle control board freezes or something…

From breblox a command is sent to the valve control board. I checked in the developers mode (ctrl+shift+I in chrome).

A powercycle at the 5V to the control boards is the remedy.
Is there already a solution for this problem?
In the mean time it would be great to have the actual feedback of the valves in brewblox. At least then I can see if all the valves are in the correct position… I already pumped half a batch into the drain because of a malfunctioning valve :slight_smile:

I changed the behavior for valves a few updates ago to only use the feedback for status. The valve is driven open or closed at all times (middle LEDs), regardless of the status feedback. This is done because the feedback was not always reliable and it is safer to let the internal shutoff of the valve handle stopping the motor.

The middle LEDs are directly connected to the motor driver (H-bridge), which is set by the DS2408. The feedback pins and LEDs are toggled by the switches in the valves and are only read by the DS2408.
If the DS2408 would get stuck, these LEDs would still react to the valve.

I think you can also power cycle the DS2408 by toggling the peripheral 5V and 12V in the SparkPins widget (Spark 3 only). We could perhaps automate that if communication is lost, but it does reset all peripherals.
If you look at the chart of the malfunctioning valve, do you see where it misbehaves?
I’ll check what we can do for better visualization of misbehavior.

Just now it happened again. I made some photo’s and screenshots. Hope this helps.

Brewblox showing all valves open. The four with the red circle are still closed.

The status of the malfunctioning valves is ‘Opening’. All four of them, only two on the screenshot.

The middle valve control board works the two others don’t.

The commands from the browser. Valve 5,6,9 and 10 doesnt work.

The valve control board is connected according to the widget:

Any devolopments on this topic? Still have the issue…

What happens if you power cycle only the peripherals using the 5V and 12V toggles on the Spark Pins widget?

And just to double check: are you running the latest firmware?

I can not toggle from the widget because I supply 12V direct from the power supply. This was one of the possible solutions a while ago.
But if I do powercycle the peripherals all the valves work again.

Yes I am running the latest firmware. image
In all the releases I checked if anything was changed regarding valve control. In the last releases I didn’t see anything regarding valve control, so I didn’t check the problem in my setup.
Just now I checked and all the valves are working now. In the next days I’ll keep an eye on it.

The Spark v2 doesn’t support toggling the peripheral power, that is why it is not showing.
Try if toggling too many of the valves at once creates the issue. Then too much power draw over the ground line could explain that the DS2408 chips go into a wrong state.

The spark I’m using is a v3 and it does support toggling the 12V en 5V and this does work. But I cannot use this now because I bring 12V directly to the valve control boards, so the 12V for the valves is not from the spark. The 5V is though and I can toggle that.

When it happens is hard to say. If I toggle all the valves at onces via step view it works just fine, at least now. The valves do not start all at once but one by one with a second delay in between.

Ah, that’s fine. The 5V is what powers the DS2408, toggling that should reset the chips. But maybe they’ll stay up by getting parasitic power from the bus, I’m in doubt now.