Picaxe 28x2 Autopilot for Snoopy's Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat


Senior Member
There is no firmware incompatability issue with any 28X2. PE6 will talk to any version.

I am reasonably certain the problem is on your new boards, but would still like to see confirmation that your PC and cable are working properly.

The paperclip test I showed in post #77 is 100% guaranteed to show one way or another that your programming system is OK. It's not difficult to perform, just follow the steps highlighted in the post.

Robin Lovelock

Senior Member
The 28X2 module has two 0V connections but you are only using the one on leg 27. It's possible that this was okay for the older module but might not be suitable for the newer module. Try connecting leg 4 to 0V and then test the download on the "Study PC" as you know this downloaded okay to your reference board (1).

Check the voltage on the legs of the 28X2 module to see if it's what you expect it to be.

With the power off use a meter to check you don't have a short between legs 26 & 27, as this would cause a permanent reset and prevent you from downloading code.
Brilliant advice Jack. Thanks - I'm onto it: may take a while. Robin. www.gpss.co.uk


Ex-Staff (retired)
I just tested those spare and new boards (2),(3),(4) but withouty good result on this "Study" PC.
See attached images picaxed1.gif and picaxed2.gif - good news I see the Picaxe on the port
but get that failure message - even if I press the reset button.
That is good news. It again confirms the "Study PC" has the AXE027 drivers installed which is why you could program (1). That (2), (3) and (4) give a "Hardware not found" error indicates that new modules either need a Hard Reset to program, or there could be a board fault, or mis-wiring as you suspect.

The issue with the "Lounge PC" does look to be that the AXE027 drivers are not fully installed on that.. Once installed you should be able to program your (1) and (2), (3), (4) using Hard Reset after resolving any hardware issue with those.

Robin Lovelock

Senior Member
Hi Guys. I have just "suspended work" ( given up ? ) after an hour or two of finding my own silly faults ( mostly sloppy soldering ) on the spare boards, (2),(3), and (4). Right now there is an (unseen) short circuit (S/C) across the 5v power on board (2). Lots of silly things causing delay like "where is board 3 ?" - slipping into the gap between cushions on our lounge sofa :) Of course, my friend Roy, has the use of an upstairs room for his "laboratory" - no chance of that here - the lounge will have to do :)

The good news is that I have 3 spare boards, and lots of the right components, if I find a mug willing to spend time on it, and do the job properly :)

Meanwhile, priorities dictate that I spend what time I have on other things.
Thanks again for your help - in helping me find my own silly mistakes and sloppy "work" ;-)

Robin on www.gpss.co.uk with Snoopy on www.gpss.co.uk/autop.htm


Senior Member
Some things require that we be well-rested, comfortably fed (but not to the point of drowsiness) and have good lighting - maybe a lighted magnifier - and that we can have an hour or two uninterrupted by "honey?" or "daddy?" or "grandpa?", depending on the ages of whomever is doing the work and other people in the dwelling. ;-)

I got more done in less time when I had a workshop in a small building 10 feet from the house but with light and heat. Few braved the dark and none braved the rain. I did have an intercom for the actual emergencies.

Something I learned the hard way - the time to do something right is always less than the time to do it over.

Robin Lovelock

Senior Member
Hi Guys. After months of little progress to report, I thought it time to point you to Snoopy's "blog10" on www.gpss.co.uk/rbblog10.htm and try and paste in a relevant extract below. I hope it works ! One reason is that today, I met up with a very experience local chap, who MAY wish to join this forum. I loaned/gave him one of the several Picaxe 28X2 boards I built months ago, but - as yet - did not get to work. Maybe my mistakes.

Here is my attempt to paste in the relevant bit on Blog10 ...

Old Snoopy Robot Boat Autopilot
Wednesday 28th June 2023: Other more important things have delayed work on Snoopy's boat, but good progress made. Servo reversers arrived, and one was soon plugged in, and - of course - worked :) More importantly, today Robin found an old "Maplins" plastic bag, full of needed electronics bits, such as circuit card, diodes, resistors, etc, etc. The old Picaxe 28X2 module, seen in the low left of this photo, will make it so much easier, as a reference, when soldering the module, then pins, resistors, etc - into the right places. THEN we can try loading the Autopilot software into it. But before that, Robin used an old multi-meter to check the current drawn by the total 5v NiMHd battery->GPS->Picaxe 28X2 Module-> Servo reverser->Acoms AS17 Servo. The current drawn seemed a little more than earlier blog notes, and schoolboy arithmetic can be used to make sure our duplicated solar power system is adequate. It obviously depends on what part of the year, such as if in Summer, Autumn, or Winter. Note that if the system runs flat, it should start up again when it gets enough light to recharge batteries. Rough figures of current drawn are as follows: 70mA peaking to 120mA when moving servo. So average of 80mA current drawn ? The old Snoopy Robot Boat Design page speaks of < 40 or 50mA. Most school kids should be able to calculate how many hours and days batteries should last. e.g. 4 x 2,400 mAH batteries = 9,600 mAH capacity divided by 80 mA -> 120 hours / 24 = 5 days ? BUT, with enough average light ( not just sunlight ), it MIGHT not run flat at all. Others can check my references, arithmetic, or might even test the same components themselves ;-)
Sunday 27th August 2023: VERY LITTLE PROGRESS during July and August. What little time Robin spent working on things, like replacement ( and spares for ) the Picaxe 28X2 Autopilot, and replament of the I-Got GPS Logger, was mostly him making mistakes ( with nobody to check his work ) - but we learn from our ( and other people's ) mistakes. Few others will wish to search for the relevant events on Robin's Youtube Channel "photo trails" ;-)

BUT, these very useful extracts from Blogs were invaluable on two topics: a suitable replacement of the I-GotU GPS logger, and - more important - Robin's shifting his time to rebuilding of the Snoopy Sloop 11 hull, including adding the new replacent solar panels.


Robin Lovelock

Senior Member
Hi Guys. Crikey - over a year since my last posting above, and the problem is the same: I wish to have several identical Picaxe 28X2 boards, as spares, before launching Snoopy's Robot Boat on another Trans-Atlantic Attempt - at risk of losing the whole boat - or what happened last time - it "sailed" in, 6 weeks after tracking stopped, near Weymouth - but EAST of Brighton ! Due to a stupid mistake by me, the rudder came out, and sea water got in - writing off all the electronics - including the Picaxe 28X2 Autopilot. Links that follow are important, but you will hear the Picaxe Autopilot software speaking, a few minutes into
All the details are on pages such as "Snoopy" on www.gpss.co.uk/autop.htm the linked "Blog10" page www.gpss.co.uk/rbblog10.htm and IMPORTANT "Design" page www.gpss.co.uk/rbdesign.htm that also provides the autopilot program for anyone who want to help me - at a sensible price. The last conversations were me needing to "reset" the module - which I did not manage to do. I hope the above links work. Here is another: linked from the top of my "Contact" page www.gpss.co.uk/contact.htm : "Robin's CV" on www.gpss.co.uk/robinscv.htm - sorry for what looks like "self promotion" but it can reduce Grandma being told how to suck eggs ;-) Try not to doze off to sleep, or fall off your chairs laughing :) Robin Lovelock in Sunninghill on www.gpss.co.uk p.s. If any of you decide to make a robot boat, rather than just the Picaxe 28X2 based Autopilot board, I'm sure we'd welcome another member to Team-Joker :)