Failure Mode Analysis

This is the most complicated project in the book, so it would be amazing if your gadget worked perfectly the first time. It took us nearly a week to get all the pieces of our gadget working.

So don’t be discouraged if, on your first try, your Pachube data is a big flat line of nothing.

Remember, the first point of our workbench philosophy back in Chapter 1 is to break it down when something doesn’t work.

So, break it down:

  • Check your build: Be sure the gadget is assembled correctly.
  • Next, mentally divide the project in two parts: input (what comes into Arduino) and output (what goes out of Arduino).

    • Input:

      • Does your Geiger counter detect background radiation?
      • Does your Arduino successfully record each flash of the Geiger counter?
      • Does the data show up in the serial monitor?
      • Once you’ve gotten the input working, don’t fiddle with it.
    • Output:

      • Does your Arduino show up on your local network?
      • Did you run the Arduino web page and Arduino Pachube example sketches successfully?
      • Did you replace the values in the sketch with your IP address, gateway, subnet mask, and Pachube API code?

Troubleshoot your gadget methodically, changing only one thing at a time until you’ve solved a particular problem—and then simply move on to the next. Also, remember that it’s okay to ask for help--both online on Arduino forums and at your local hacker space.


Uploading data successfully to Pachube was the hardest part of building this gadget for us. In the process we learned a ...

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