MAKE Asks: is a weekly column where we ask you, our readers, for responses to maker-related questions. We hope the column sparks interesting conversation and is a way for us to get to know more about each other.

This week’s question: Finding the gremlin in an electronics prototype can be a maddening endeavour. From your experience, what’s something from left-field you find yourself checking when trying to troubleshoot an electronics project?

I once set up an XBee and had indicator lights glowing, but no functionality. After combing through my code and breadboard connections again and again I finally found the problem. There was a cold solder joint on the power pin of the breakout unit. It was giving only a small amount of power to the XBee — just enough to light the LEDs, but not enough to make the XBee work. Since then I’ve added a solder joint test to my internal list of troubleshooting routines.


Post your responses in the comments section.