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A tale of getting started

This page recounts my experiences in getting started with a Qduino.

My poor PC has had so many different things tried on it that it is amazing if anything goes smoothly.

I very much doubt that what follows is a typical experience... but I publish it none the less, for the benefit of others having a struggle. Maybe there will be clues or ideas in it which will help you.

Given that the all time readership is likely to be small, I hope you can forgive me if I don't take as much trouble polishing this page as I normally do when creating something?

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Page contents © TK Boyd, Sheepdog Software, 9/15.

The Good News

The good news is that I DID eventually get "there. Was eventually rewarded by the sight of a working Qduino development installation. Admittedly, it hasn't been extensively tested, nor has the performance now of the PC as a development environment for my Teensy. And the serial port does still fall over fairly regularly... but it does work!!

The limits of this page

This page is limited to a narrative of my experiences setting up a Windows 7 machine with the vers 1.6.5 Arduino IDE.

See the parent page of the page you are reading for more generally useful information about Qduinos, their programming, their use. From there, there are several sub-pages addressing specific topics.

The saga....

Sadly, for a time after receiving my Kickstarter Qduino, I didn't even get as far as trying to program it!

I was using the 1.0.6 Arduino IDE... which isn't adequate, I gather, because it doesn't have the Additional Board Manager required for the Qduino. (If you REALLY don't want to go forward from 1.0.6, you MAY be able to do everything you need to other ways... but, despite being particularly reluctant, I would argue that you are best advised to spend your energy overcoming any update hassles than in making it work "the old (and dying) way".)

When I tried to update my IDE, Bad Things happened on the first attempt on the first computer, and Tiresome Things happened on the second one. (I've upgraded many things over the years, many times... including the Arduino IDE. I suspect this is just one of those (thankfully rare) things.)

Drivers for the USB port

I mostly followed the "getting started" instructions provided by the official Qduino site. At some point, I plugged a Qduino in, and, as expected, Windows launched its "New Hardware Wizard."

However, unusually, while I was typing this, perhaps 30 seconds after finishing the first install, it did a second install of something. Both installs, if I recall correctly, finished with the usual "Driver successfully installed, device ready for use." Or something like that.

Stop Press: USB port drivers

This bit of text is an insertion into the chronological narrative of my setup experiences. I'm afraid I am not going to integrate "properly", but thought you should have the following information, helpfully provided by Sparkfun, in (speedy) response to an earlier version of this essay.

Some of my driver problems may well arise from the fact that I used a Teensy on my PC before I tried the Qduino.

Like most people, I "want it all".

And the "fault" could just as easily lie with flaws in the Teensy drivers as with the Qduino drivers, remember... or in the way I installed things!!

I like the Teensy. (I like the Qduino!) I am a bit nervous, in that I may disrupt my Teensy activities along the road to improving my Qduino experience. Hmmm. But! I was advised to try updating my Qduino Mini drivers to the Qduino Mini drivers talked about in the Quickstart Guide. (I thought I HAD installed those... but computers being computers, I won't be surprised, offended, etc, if "doing it again" (if indeed I did (successfully) do it previously fixes things. You want an easy life? Stay away from computers. I hope that in the overall impression this page may make, the fact that many things about the Qduino are great doesn't get lost?

(End of out of sequence insertion.

Back to (an edited version of) the text which existed before I inserted the "stop press"....

Before long, your system should "just work". It is doesn't, Device Manager should be an early port of call. You should see, under "Ports", "Qduino Mini (COM x)", where "x" is a number. Do remember to switch the Qduino on... I gave myself a moment of anxiety just now by forgetting that.

After the auto-install (attempt, at least!) which arose when I first plugged the Qduino in, Device Manager told me I had an "new" serial port... labeled "Teensy USB serial".

Not so very long ago, using 1.0.6, I patched the IDE, to tell it about the Teensy. Not wild about creating altered IDEs, but the Teensy made it worth it. The process was simple. Downloaded a file, and then... ummm... I don't remember! But it was simple, and unremarkable.

A little matter of drivers...

This section gives you my experiences BOTH on my first attempt to use the Qduino, AND on some subsequent experiences. We will go back to just walking through the first experiences in a while....

The first attempt at all this was only marginally successful. Long after much of what follows, I went back, and tried the Qtechknow.inf install process again. It didn't seem that anything happened on the second attempt... but at the time, a Qduino was plugged in, and had already connected itself via a Teensy USB driver that is on my system. I tried unplugging the Qduino, and doing the install again. It seemed nothing happened. Reconnected Qduino... it again used the Teensy driver.

Went off to the web, searching for information on Teensy driver issues. I fear the "answer" may be in...

Discussion of driver clashes at the PJRC (Teensy) forum.

Used Device Manager to try, first, to update Teensy driver... didn't see any sensible prompts along the way. I was anticipating "This driver is up to date", in the usual way. But what DID happen is that TWO windows saying "Windows has successfully updated... Qduino Mini". Where did they come from? Overlooked, previously, after my attempts at "install"? I don't think so, but possible, I suppose. I DID look in the task bar, didn't I?

And now, in Device Manager, my extra serial port is marked Qduino Mini, not Teensy, which is how it was marked previously. Disconnected Qduino. Shut down, restarted IDE.Reconnected Qduino. Checked in Device Manager... Qduino Mini has just reappeared in the "Ports" section. Hurrah! (I think... will Teensy work any more? Funny how trying to update the TEENSY driver seemed to install the Qduino driver??! But if it works, I'll use it! I hope BOTH Qduino and Teensy will work.)

It worked!.... sigh... once. Then I was back to "board not found". And the selection of the Qduino port un-made. (Still present, pp Device Manager.) Re-specified the port. Ran again. Worked again. Made slight change to program. Checked Tools/ Port... Qduino de-selected again. Re-re-selected it. Port keeps coming and going, erratically. I now just (re-)select port (Tools/Port) before each attempt to compile and upload. Mostly works.

At this point, I unplugged the Qduino, and plugged in a Teensy... and discovered that the IDE upgrade had blown away my previously working Teensy installation.

Re-patched the IDE for the Teensy. (Needed to run AS ADMINISTRATOR.. not a big issue, but be aware, if doing this yourself.) Install suite said USB drivers already present. Slightly worried because the install package was for various IDEs, including 1.6.5-r2, but my 1.6.5 seems to be plain vanilla. We'll see what we see. Sigh.

It worked! At least it compiled and uploaded the basic "Blink" for Teensy.

Went back to Qduino... would it work still? Re-set Tools/Board. Serial port seemed to be same number as before. Device Manager is reporting it as a Qduino! (Well serial port number was unchanged before I took time to type that. Re-set it to the new port number that the USB port seems to have moved to.)

Made slight change to program. RE set the port number... the IDE had the system "connected" to NO port again. Compiled/ uploaded revised program... successfully!

So! At least at some level, I can have the Qduino and the Teensy on the same system. Whew. Qduino annoying, perhaps because of the Teensy driver, in that I have to repeatedly tell the IDE where to find the Qduino. Perhaps this too shall pass. Sigh.

I clicked compile. Things seemed to proceed as usual. The IDE said it was starting the upload...

... and then Windows said it was starting "Installing Device Driver". A USB device, it looked like. And that failed. Sigh.

The Qduino is still doing the red/ red// blue/ blue// green/ off cycle. At least we haven't gone backwards. (See my notes on what Qduino, as delivered, should do).

Closed IDE. Unplugged Qduino.

Plugged Qduino in again. Waited a while, in case a "Installing Driver" was going to pop up.

Still did the usual thing with the LEDs.

Not aware of any new device driver installs... but I did step out to make a coffee!

Restarted Arduino IDE.

Checked "Board" and "Port" setting looked okay still.

Clicked "upload". In Arduino IDE, I got an error message, lots of Good Stuff. At the heart of it:

Couldn't find a Board on
the selected port....

... and a moment later, the Windows "Installing Device Driver" message popped up again. I didn't catch if it was successful this time.

Yes, I had set Tools/Board and Tools/Port. (The latter setting was repeatedly forgotten, though... although that wasn't the problem, only a consequence.)

Just tried again. What else was there?...

And it worked! Maybe closing the IDE and re-opening it, as I did last time, was a bad idea? Or maybe it was just that it took a couple of tries to get the driver in? Who knows.

Spent another 15 minutes "fooling around". Frequently, attempts to upload failed. System would lose, then find, then lose the serial port. The IDE had to be told again and again what port to use... but sometimes it "stuck". Tried the "fuel gauge" example... same results.

After a "board not found", it may help to un-plug, re-plug Qduino... or just use the power switch on the Qduino to turn off, then on again... seems as good as unplug/ re-plug.

(See notes elsewhere on the avenues available if you are having these difficulties.)


Please don't imagine this page is typical of my usual writing. I don't expect many people will be reading it, or I would polish it.

I WOULD welcome an email from anyone that does find themselves delving into it, anyone having trouble getting a Qduino to behave. If I know lots of people are having trouble, I will have to reconsider not polishing this... and recommending the Qduino!

I hope you find my main page about the Qduino, and the sub-pages from there useful? Please tell others about them, if so? Forums, Facebook, etc?

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