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February 25, 2014

Don't panic

A funny incident happened a few weeks back.
One of the students had come to the lab over a holiday to learn soldering. He had been soldering a bus of wires LED 7-segment to a connector and it had looked like the wires would short to each other. He spent an hour being systematic, cleaning the solder tip, using the flux, solder reasonably and redid the bus connections neatly and plugged it into the Arduino.
We were using the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) laptop to program the Arduino and when he uploaded the code into the Arduino, it blinked a zero and the whole board died (shut down). He looked aghast.
We disconnected the board and I worked with him to solder a 9 V battery clip to a connector so we can power the Arduino off this. When all was done we plugged in the battery and the Arduino woke up counting the numbers as expected.
What had happened was the OLPC USB was unable to supply the current required by both the Arduino and seven segment display and had a overload protection that turned it off.
He asked me how I was calm. I told him I just told myself 'don't panic'. He said he that he was glad that I didn't tell him the same as he every time he has been told that was a time to panic!

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