Error: Hardware not found on COM3!

I think I've managed to wreck a Picaxe. I had this message when trying to program my 28x2. It continued to run the previous program, but Picaxe Editor couldn't find the chip to download the new one to it. I did various things to check it:
  • Double-checked the entire circuit in case I had accidentally dislodged a jumper wire on the breadboard
  • Tried to load a very simple program to flash one LED
  • Pressed the reset button. It restarted the program, but still wouldn't allow me to download a new one.
  • Restarted PE6
  • Checked the download cable with the loopback and voltage tests, both fine
  • Tried programming another Picaxe on another breadboard (which worked fine)
  • Rebuilt the entire circuit
  • Finally, this evening, substituted into exactly the same circuit another 28x2 that arrived from Revolution earlier today. That worked first time. That seems fairly compelling evidence that it's the chip and not anything else
So I guess I've damaged the serial connection part of the Picaxe somehow.

Presumably there's nothing more to be done? I'm not sure what I did wrong. I may have interrupted the download. The program that was running was just more fiddling around with the OLED display, trying to create a bar display to show motor direction and speed. Presumably this just happens sometimes? Thanks
 

techElder

Well-known member
First do the "Hardware Reset" routine.

Basically, power off the PICAXE circuit, start the download, then quickly power on the PICAXE circuit.
 
Genius techElder! Tried it again and this time it worked. What I had done before was as instructed in the manual:
"1) Disconnect the power supply.
2) Wait until all power supply decoupling capacitors have discharged (can take up to 30 seconds or more depending on circuit design).
3) Click the PICAXE>Program menu to start a download.
4) Wait until the progress-bar appears on screen.
5) Reconnect the power supply"

But got stuck on 4) because no progress bar appeared. This time I did what you said and powered back on after a couple of seconds, and then the progress bar appeared and the program downloaded.

Now I have two working 28x2s!

Thanks very much - what a great forum this is.
 

Eng460

New member
Hi Whitespace, glad it was all sorted so quickly.

You are not alone in experiencing that issue. I recently had the dreaded, “hardware not found on Com 3”. It was on an 08M2+. I did all the checks, found a couple of circuit errors, corrected them and tried again. I finally had three I thought were blown up. Never done that before even to a transistor or LED. Tried a hard reset with no change. Re loaded the drivers, reloaded the editor, rebuilt the circuit, twice!. Then finally, a hard reset and success. Now have three good chips in the parts box, and my program running on another. Not totally sure which of the many things I tried finally did it.

But I did find one thing. If with no power to your circuit, in editor, you click on “check chip connected“ in the little panel in the top left corner of the screen, you will get the “Hardware not found“ message as expected. Without closing that panel, (just close the pop up), if you now click on “Program”, the little panel will check for hardware then give a message “Connect power now”. Switch on the power, and the download then proceeds. At least it will if your hard reset is successful. Otherwise you will get hardware not found again. But don’t throw away the chip yet. There may still be a solution that you will eventually find.

I found the messages in this method quite helpful in telling me what stage things were up to, rather than just a blind hard reset.

Eng460
 

westaust55

Moderator
If you use the DISCONNECT command (and not later RECONNECT) or if the program is in a “tight” loop in which case the PICAXE may not have enough time to detect the start of a new download
Then
You may need to use the Hard Reset method to perform a new download.
A long pause (couple of seconds) at the start of the program can help overcome the “tight” loop situation.
 

hippy

Technical Support
Staff member
But I did find one thing. If with no power to your circuit, in editor, you click on “check chip connected“ in the little panel in the top left corner of the screen, you will get the “Hardware not found“ message as expected. Without closing that panel, (just close the pop up), if you now click on “Program”, the little panel will check for hardware then give a message “Connect power now”.
Alternatively, in the Workspace Explorer, click on the Compiler tab at its bottom, and that will select the panel which Check PICAXE Type Connected does, without the delay of it checking for a non-existent PICAXE. Click on the Settings tab to get back to the traditional view.

The "Wait until progress bar appears" was perhaps more obvious in PE5 where it was a huge, unmissable, pop-up. For PE6 the progress is tucked down at the bottom, far right of the status bar, will start with "Searching for hardware..." which is the point when one should turn the power on.
 

AllyCat

Senior Member
Hi,
Presumably this just happens sometimes?
It happens quite often, but there should be a reason which is worth identifying (either to avoid it, or to expect the Hard Reset to be needed).

The usual reason is that a DISCONNECT command has been executed, and a "gotcha" is that the SERRXD command "invisibly" executes one, without the complementary RECONNECT. If your program actually has an "end" (i.e. it doesn't loop continuously) then it can be worth putting a RECONNECT at the end, to avoid the hassle of a Hard Reset.

Another reason can be if the program spends a lot of time executing one or more "blocking" commands; generally associated with waiting for serial communications (including Infra Red or Radio) or measuring accurately-timed events (e.g. a long PULSOUT).

Cheers, Alan.
 
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