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Enigma-E: Frequently Asked Questions
This page contains some frequently asked questions and their answers. If you have a question that is not listed here, please do not hesitate to contact us. If you have any problems when building your Enigma-E, please refer to the Support Page. Additionally, you may want to join the Enigma-E support Smart Group on the Internet and learn from your fellow Enigma-E owners. Always check the list of known bugs first to see if that might be the cause of your problem.
 
Contents
1. Controlling the Enigma
Q 1.1: When I press a key, the LED only flashes briefly
A : This is normal behaviour. If you want the LED to be lit longer, simply hold the key down for as long as you want. The LED will only burn whilst the key is held down, just like on an original Enigma.
Q 1.2: It is clear how to decode a message, but how does one encode a message?
A : Due to the way in which the Enigma works, encoding and decoding are practically the same. The Enigma machine at both ends therefore needs to be setup in exactly the same manner. Remember that if A translates into Q, the letter Q would become an A.
Q 1.3: When using the M3 simulation, I can set the Ringstellung for wheel 4. Is that correct?
A : This is a misfeature of the software and should be ignored. It is a result of the fact the the simulations for the M3 and M4 are almost identical. Please ensure that the Ringstellung for the 4th wheel is always set to A when using the M3 simulation. Refer to the support page for more information. A detailed explanation is given here.

 
2. Building the Enigma-E
Q 2.1: The Enigma-E contains a rather strange fuse, Where can I buy a spare one?
A : You don't need a spare one. The multifuse used in the Enigma-E is self-restoring. So, if you have a short circuit, remove the short and try again.
Q 2.2: I have an extra yellow LED in my kit, am I missing something?
A : Most of the components in the Enigma-E kit have been weighted to ensure the correct number of items. However, due to rounding errors there may be an extra yellow LED. We thought this would be better than missing an item.
Q 2.3: The manual says I should use proper solder. What should I buy?
A : You should buy solder that consists of 60% tin and 40% lead with a rosin core. This is often referred to as 60/40 solder. The rosin core, sometimes called flux, is very important as it makes the solder flow better.
Q 2.4: I'm afraid to damage the PCB when separating the Steckerbrett from the PCB.
A : Don't be afraid. If you look closely at the PCB, you'll see a so-called V-cut at both sides of the PCB, that separates the Steckerbrett from the rest. Align the V-cut to the edge of a table and hold down the PCB on the table with one hand. Now use the other hand to push down the Steckerbrett. You don't have to apply excessive force and you won't damage any components.
Q 2.5: My kit contains 3 meters of brown wire, rather than black. Is this correct?
A : Yes it is. At times, when supply of black wire is low, we have to divert to brown wire. We weren't able to change the manuals to reflect this, as they had already been printed.

 
3. Solving problems
Q 3.1: My Enigma-E used to work OK, but now it keeps resetting.
A : Your battery is probably exhausted. If the power drops below 7 Volt, the 5 Volt stabilizer on the board can't do its job properly anymore, which will cause a reset. Try a new battery or connect an external power adapter.
Q 3.2: If I enter an encoded message that I've just created, I don't get the plaintext back.
A : First of all check the Enigma settings carefully and ensure that you've used the same settings for both encoding and decoding.
A : If it still fails, you are likely to have created a short circuit on the motherboard. Please check all soldered connections and ensure that there are no shorts between two adjacent contacts.
Q 3.3: A letter is sometimes encoded into itself, I thought this was impossible on Enigma.
A : You are right! Due to the way in which the Enigma works, it's impossible for a letter to be encoded into itself. If this does happen, you definitely have a short circuit on your PCB. Please check all soldered connections and ensure that there are no shorts between two adjacent contacts.
Q 3.4: When I turn on my Enigma-E it always says FAIL. What is wrong?
A : Nothing is wrong with your Enigma-E. FAIL in this case only means that it has failed to load any user settings, simply because you haven't stored any at memory position A. The Enigma-E has eight memory positions to hold use settings: A thru H. Set the Enigma-E up as required and store the current settings in memory position A as described in the manual. After that 'FAIL' will no longer appear on start-up.
Q 3.5: How do I test the Steckerbrett?
A : When building the Enigma-E kit, you may have caused a short circuit, or you may have missed a joint when soldering it. When starting the Enigma-E, the software first checks wether or not the Steckerbrett is correctly connected to the main board. Here is how to test the Steckerbrett:
  • Disconnect the power
  • Remove all 5 jumpers from the steckerbrett
  • Turn the power on
  • You should see the scrolling message Steckerboard OKAY
If the message appears, the Steckerbrett is correctly connected to the main board.

Remove all patch cables from the Steckerbrett and connect only the letter A to the letter Z. Now press the A key on the keyboard and watch the display. The Enigma-E is in permutation mode (as all jumpers are removed) and the display shows all stages of encryption. If all is well, it should say <--A, STKR, <--Z, etc. which means that A is translated by the Steckerbrett into Z. The above can be repeated for any other letter combination, until you've checked them all.
Q 3.6: When I press a key, more than one LED lights up. What is wrong?
A : Under normal conditions, only a single LED on the lamp panel should be turned on when a key is pressed. If multiple LEDs are turned on at this stage, you either have a short circuit in the area of IC3, or you've overheated the LEDs when soldering them. If LEDs are overheated, they are permanently damaged and they will start leaking current to the other LEDs.

You can check for damaged LEDs by using a multimeter that is capable of testing diodes. Depending on the types of LED used, they should have a junction voltage of at least 1.65 Volt. If the junction voltage is lower than that, the LED is likely to have died. Remove the LED and check if any more LEDs are leaking. When testing the junction voltage, bear in mind that LEDs are diodes, and can therefore only be tested in one direction. Also note that some white LEDs may have a junction voltage of no less than 3V.
Q 3.7: How do I replace an LED?
A : If you want to replace the LEDs on the lamp panel by, say, white LEDs, or high brightness yellow LEDs, here is how to do this:

  • Put the Enigma-E in upright position, so that you have access to both sides of the PCB.
  • Heat both legs of the LED simultaneously by using some extra tin.
  • Grab the LED with your fingers (or a pair of pliers). Don't use excessive force and don't overheat the PCB as it may be damaged permanently.
  • Clean the holes of the PCB, using Solder-wick desoldering wire.
  • Mount the new LED and solder one leg only (ensure the correct polarity; long leg in square pad).
  • Put the LED up straight, cut the legs and solder the other leg.
  • Solder carefully and don't overheat the LED.
Q 3.8: The majority of (real) German messages decodes OK, but occasionally one fails.
A : You are likely to have run into a bug in the software of the Enigma-E related to the double stepping anomaly. Although double stepping has been implemented in the Enigma-E (just like on a real Enigma), it fails when the middle wheel is set to the turnover position at the start of the message. This is the case with certain messages on Frode Weierud's website. Enigma-E user Carl Claunch has produced a workaround for this problem.

 
4. Upgrading the firmware of the Enigma-E
Q 4.1: The website mentions release 1.50 of the firmware. How can I get it?
A : Currently, firmware version 1.50 will only be supplied with the new UhrBox-E kit. It will not be for sale separately. A larger upgrade (2.00) is planned for release by the end of 2008, that will incorporate the features of 1.50. If you desperately want 1.50 now, order an UhrBox-E kit.
Q 4.2: Will the existing bugs be fixed in version 1.50?
A : Yes, all known issues have been fixed in release 1.50.

 
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