Trouble shooting screen/hardware issues


My makerbuino was working fine, until recently the screen stopped working. The back light lights up, and occasionally a few random pixels activate. I can hear the music and sounds from the games playing when i push random buttons. I’ve checked many of the connections for bridging using a continuity tester and also re-flowed the solder for a bunch of the joints that I thought might be problematic.

I did notice when we were building it that in the step where you turn on the screen part way through the build, we saw text, but every other line was off. We completed the build, charged the battery, inserted the SD card, and then everything worked fine for a few days. The micro USB connector broke off and when I attempted to re-solder it to the USB charging board, it broke fully off. At this point we noticed that the screen was no longer working. The USB charging board only connects to the battery, so it seems to me like the screen is a separate issue?

We did assemble the kit with lead-free solder, so our iron was set to 400 F. Did we cook something?

Any ideas on what we should try?

Thanks for any help

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Hi there,

Thanks for reaching out.
Could you please send a few photos of the board so I can check that and see what’s the next step here?

Talk to you soon!


Thanks for responding! Here are some pictures of our board.

I guess we can only put one picture per post. Here’s another of our board

Here’s another shot of the front.

I have not used Lead Free Solder before but it sure does not solder very well based on the photos.

Some thoughts on your problems:

  1. I have had boards going dead after a while (months not weeks) and I have revived them with a toothbrush and circuit board cleaner. The (acid) flux can corrode the copper and develop shorts between pins. I note solder splatter on your board as well. These can cause shorts as well.
    However, I don’t really think this is your problem.
    As you know how to test for continuity etc., I would check the voltages (powered up) on the ATMega328P that connect to the display and resistance (powered down) between the pins. Same at the display.
    Use the circuit schematic as a guide as to what to expect (SCR_DIN and SRC_CLK).
    Remember the signal voltages will vary with data being transmitted.

  2. The cheap-Chinese Nokia 5110 displays can go bad (it has happened to me in the past). You can buy a replacement on ebay (or your local electronics store) for a few dollars. Be very careful unsoldering the old one as circuits boards are surprising fragile. I would try desoldering the display/header rather than the header/board. Desoldering wick works well as does a solder sucker but be careful not to cook the copper tracks (they can lift) or rip out the plate through holes (by pulling up the display with too much force).
    I hate trying to pull dead components out of circuit boards!

  3. Buy a replacement LiPo battery charger as well.

Just some suggestions, take it or leave it, best of luck,


Hi, sorry for the late response!
It’s hard to troubleshoot precisely over the messages so I’m suggesting you send your MAKERbuino to our office so we can fix it and send it back to you as soon as we do that.

CircuitMess d.o.o.
Ventilatorska cesta 24,
10250 Lučko,
Zagreb, Croatia

Please send an email to [email protected] with your mailing details (full address and a phone number).

Talk to you soon!