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"Hardware not found" PICAXE 28x1 board - Very strange

I have a PICAXE 28x1 board hooked up to a relay circuit as depicted in the attached photo. For some very odd reason, everything was working just dandy when the two bread boards were seperate. No problems. A basic program to open and close the relays made that beautiful clicking noise that was music to my ears. I needed two of these set ups to run my motors and there wasn't enough room on one bread board, so I duplicated the setup on a second breadboard and then used jumpers to connect the V+ and V- bars of both boards (again, please see photo). I added an IR remote sensor to the board (see on the far left of the photo) and am pretty confident that my wiring is ok. Please correct me if I am wrong. 

But here's the thing: Now that everything is set up and more or less secured into place, I want to download a new program into the PICAXE board/chip. I keep getting the dreaded "Hardware not found" message and I can't figure out why. I am reading a nice and steady 4.7 volts from my power source (3xAA batteries), and I have measured the same voltage to be flowing through the board. I have used a multimeter to measure every V+ and V- contact identified by the fantastic PICAXE 28 pin project page provided by Fritz (thanks Fritz!) on LMR. Everything reads the same voltage. The cable has been accepted by the computer (ie the drivers were installed and I have tested the tip of the cable using the Test Port function) and everything about the cable seems to be just fine.

No blue smoke has appeared, nothing smells funny. Nothing is running hot. But it's like the PICAXE board is just dead inside/not responding to the AXEpad program. 

Any tips on how to narrow this down? Is there something about the way that I have used jumpers to connect the two boards that would have fried the chip? I am a school teacher trying desperately to finish up a project for my kids by the end of the week/school year. Any help that you can give would be so appreciated. Thanks!


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Have you tried changing the usb port in the options ??. Maybe you haven't selected the right port, this could be the problem. Try programming it without any servos or any other output devices connected but just the plain 28x1 board.

Thanks Sanc04,

I have tested the port and it's all good. Pretty sure at this point I fried my chip. I have ordered a new one and will letcha know how it goes.



Okey dokey,

Well, it seems you have to narrow this down a bit. It looks like most of your relay stuff is "isolated" on your breadboards and thus, can be disconnected easily. I would do that. If you still don't get a sync, well, it has something to do with your 28x chip or board.

Now, if you do get a sync, then the issue has to do with the relay business. At this point, you need to reconnect your relay circuit, one piece at a time. Add power first, but no signal wires. Still get a sync? No? --Well, then it has to be something to do with power going to the relays. Etc. etc. etc.  Just keep doing this, step-by-step, part-by-part until you simply get to the point where you can connect/disconnect and force the sync problem. There is no magic bullet here, you just have to check each sub-part step by step.

Beyond the above, I am sure you have done the "hold-down the reset button/ then hit F5" thing, right?

I also could not help but notice the fact that it looks like you are using some big transistors to click your relays. While there is nothing wrong with this, I should mention that you can run these guys directly off of your Darlington chip and will simplify your relay circuits quite a bit. --Double check yourself on V1/V2 stuff when doing this.

Hi Chris,

First off, let me just say that I really love what you're doing with Rocket Brand Studios, and if I ever make this unit again, I think I'll be ordering a Micro Magician from you. I can't beleive that it comes with a 3-axis and an IR receiver built in!

Anyways, I really appreciate your advice, not because it necessarily has gotten me anywhere (haha I kid, I kid) but because it confirms in a nice, rational way my current working hypothesis.

I have started with the board connected to the 5V powersource (3xAA batteries = ±4.7 V) and it still won't accept the program. I have ordered a new chip. The tough part is always that there is no explosion when these things fry. They just go. I actually wish that they would just blow up spectacularly so that there'd be no doubt about things.

The transistors are pretty big because they are flipping the switch on a couple of 12V Volvo windsheild wiper motors. I actually was inspired by your use of electric window motors on your decendable swarm-bot platform. If you're ever trying to power something that requires a lot of torque (I'm making a bot with my school's robotics club and we would like it to be able to pull a pretty big flag across the football field at halftime), these puppies rock. The 12V circuit is powered by an on-board marine battery. I'll post some pics when it's complete.

Anywhoo, thanks for the advice. Much appreciated as always (I believe you helped me out with some advice once before when I was working on a LMR Start Here Bot).



Ian the Teacher

May I suggest perusing my search results for "hardware not found" at the PICAXE forums...


hey, ive had this problem before, thaere can be a number of problems:

1. mske sure USB cable is plugged all the way in.

2. mabey the code needs correcting.

3. it worked for me when i inserted the batteries while programing.

4. if you use AXEpad, than make sure that the mode is correct.

make sure to check after every step.

Hi, you can try hold reset and when you click in Picaxe Programming Editor on Program button, then relase Reset.

Ok, so it was a fried chip. Thanks everybody for the help. You can consider this forum finito (please)!

the earth can become detached from the 1/8 programing plug , i removed the plastic cover and soldered it on to the plug now i don't get that error :)