Ok… so I thought I did it all right. Put the batteries in and started messing with the code. I smelled something burning but the guy across from me was using a soldering iron. Soon, though, smoke was coming from my battery pack! I burnt my fingers taking the AA batteries out. What the #$$ might I have done wrong to have it start to melt? What do I do for a replacement, non-melted, battery holder?
@Dressner covered something similar here:
Anything smoking or burning would be from excessive heat coming from a short.
Here’s some information on things to look for in your solder joints:
Umm… very newbie thing. Had the USB and the battery pack plugged in at the same time. Wonder if I over looked some safety information. Now I am wondering how to ‘shut off’ the battery pack so I can use the USB cable to program.
Put a switch on one lead of the battery pack.
Hi user65000 - if you send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, we can send you a replacement battery holder. Just need to get your address.
Hi, I regularly have my board with the shield attached and batteries inserted connected via usb to my laptop and have never had a meltdown (touch wood). I am not sure that this is your problem.
Look for solder bridges and crossed connections, it is a short some where.
As @Coyote72 stated, having the USB and battery pack connected is not the problem. The arduino switches where it is drawing power from based on what is attached. You likely have a short somewhere on one of the power connections. Check your headers/connectors to see if there are any solder bridges.
If you can, upload a photo of the top and bottom of your board and we can help you figure it out.
OK. Went over the board and I can’t see any bad connections. When I plug the battery pack to the board it starts to get HOT. The D2 8 contact thing in the middle gets HOT as well as the 2 4 connectors over by the power. So… (a) wonder if I need all new parts and (b) anyone I can ship this to to check out what I might have done wrong? I am game to pay both ways…
Uploaded the photo … what I am going to try to do now is unsolder things and add them back one at a time.
OK… closer! I had someone do some checking with a volt meter and we found a tiny bridge. Clearing it stopped the heat. Now to figure out how to NOT have it drive away when the batteries and board are all on.