Knighttchi's Ballad

Pastel Meets Freezing + a solution

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My Pastel Meets arrived yesterday complete with its packaging and while I was happy about, lingering in the back of my mind was why would someone want to part with such a recent Tamagotchi? Well, I have unfortunately found the answer: it freezes everytime the screen turns on after it's reset. When the screen turns on, the tamagotchi stands frozen in place during its idle animation and while pressing the buttons does cause the accompanying sound effect, eventually they stop responding altogether. And the screen stays frozen like that probably forever since mine never turned off. Reseting the device causes it to act normal till, once again, the screen goes off and then turning it back on causes it to return frozen. Interestingly, it always remains frozen on the last screen that was open - such as the clock screen or outside - rather than returning to inside the house where the standard idle animaton would resume. If the screen does turn off, then the device will act normally which I've discovered is triggered by pressing the reset button.

Taking this together with further observation of my M!Xes - the previous Tamagotchi version - I conclude the malfunction with my Pastel Meets is that the device is missing the programming that tells it what to do when the screen resumes. On both my Spacy and 20th Anniversary M!X,  I discovered that the idle animation is not programmed to completely restart when the device is activated - as is the case with my On - but rather to resume from the last frame the animation was at when the device turned off. This was no doubt added for immersion to give the allusion that the tamagotchi continued moving off-screen instead of truly turning off. It is, of course, weak immersion since I never noticed it all this time but it does give a more immersive feel if you pay attention and turn the screen on immediately after it goes off, where the animation thus appears seemless. This explains why when I turn my Pastel Meets on, the screen is frozen on the last frame of the idle animation my tamagotchi did instead of being frozen at the start of the animation. It also explains why it freezes on both the clock screen and outside the tama's house rather than returning to inside the house and starting the idle animation.

I already mentioned the solution to the freezing problem but, since I mentioned it as a detail, it is worth restating again: pressing the reset button causes the screen to turn off and turning it on again with the buttons causes the device to act normally. I theorize that the reason this happens is because the reset button overrides all other commands the device is being given by the programming inside of it and it always tells it to turn off the screen and then reboot which, of course, takes it to the download and clear data screen. For some reason, mine doesn't reboot but instead just turns off which I wonder may be because the programming is stalled and maybe when it recieves the command to turn off, that leads to it then being able to follow the other commands that direct it on how to behave when the screen is turned on again. If I had more programming knowledge, I could probably give a more educated guess if not answer that altogether, since all electronics are essentially machines following scripted directions written in a language the machine can understand.

It might be worth noting that the solution I had created before I discovered the "reset trick" was simply to connect my Pastel Meets to one of M!Xes or On as I thought this might create a save point so that I wouldn't lose so much progress if I reset my Pastel Meets. I imagine this is actually true as after every connection on the Meets/On, it says that it's "updating" which of course means that it's saving data. This probably is not a good longterm solution as I would only have control during the narrow window where the device first reboots and I'd maybe have to leave it for a long time in sleepmode to reach its natural save points and then I'd have to reset it again. Or perhaps by that time I would have found out where it made all of it's natural save points and planned accordingly - whereupon it might make more sense to get a refund. I did buy it from Japan You Want and I can totally understand why they thought it was functioning fine because, oddly, none of these freezing problems happened in the baby stage - possibly because the baby stage has so much going on.

Edited by Knighttchi's Ballad
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Maybe it wasn't a "solution" after all due to some new developments which raise even more questions. I've discovered more problems with my Pastel - which is a shame since it really fits with my aesthetics - such as it draining my dollar store batteries in approximately a day when it should last at least a week, and it might have gotten the Peter Pan Glitch since Petunia, my current tama, wasn't having any meters drop at all nor going to the bathroom. I distinctly remember catching her about to go which confirmed she was functioning normally so maybe something has changed. The battery drainage problem was a major disappointment and all the while I was running through scenarios on how to make it work, it occurred to me that the problem isn't fixed if freezing leads to the Peter Pan Glitch. I considered the time ticking down and keeping up faithfully after every unfreeze as a sign that Petunia was continuing to grow up. But it turns out that this might not be the case at all as this post indicates. And it appears that the freezing is more widespread than I imagined with this poor lady's Pastel being unplayable and this topic reporting the same issue as I have. Furthermore, the Japanese reviews on Amazon (here and here) mention the same freezing issue I am understandably vexed that such a premium product could have such systemic issues that completely destroy its basic and historic premise of simulating a living creature - real life pets don't have freezing issues or refuse to grow up and the connections hardly had this. In a more compassionate light, perhaps this is a sign that the problem is incredibly complex and not some moronic error. In a more pessimistic light, perhaps I got the luck of the draw and most people get working Pastels - although it really doesn't look like that..

One part of me wants to crack both the freezing glitch and the Peter Pan glitch both by exhausting my options and by using natural loopholes. Another part of me considers getting a refund and actually buying a new Pastel because it is better than the On for me, so it's totally justified. The education value really isn't harmed by getting a refund since in most circumstances, people would be in a position to return defective products.

I ran a little test on my Pastel in efforts to see if the Tama Hotel's daycare option was a loophole I could exploit for growth - since the device would be forced to deduct money per hour which would of course have to count the time and perhaps continue growth. I was also trying to see if background activity would actually cause the device to function normally since background activity like evolutions and the tama returning home do cause the device to turn on normally. I had to unfreeze it to see Petunia coming home but this may not be a negative sign since I don't know if the Meets/On normally responds like that. One positive sign was that her happiness meter was down to three bars so this definitely resumes some of her normal cycles. I suppose this is a little ironic because some people started theorizing that the Tama Hotel's daycare actually caused the Peter Pan glitch.

Update: I tried taking out my Pastel's batteries and putting them back in to see if that might fix the freezing problem. It didn't but instead started consistently freezing on the part of idle animation where the screen would turn off. So now the problem has become the device doesn't turn off the screen instead of not knowing what to do when the screen resumes. I'm going to see if Petunia will actually grow into a teen tomorrow. If she doesn't, I'm going to reset her and see if the Peter Pan glitch persists in the next few days. If it does, I'm going to conclude freezing and the Peter Pan glitch are related in this case and just request a refund. Then I'm going to get a new Pastel Meets that will hopefully have none of these problems. If it doesn't, I can definitely live with it since batteries are dirt cheap enough and temporarily fixing the freezing is good enough.

Edited by Knighttchi's Ballad
More reasons why I'm not alone :^(
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So, some new updates. Before I get to those, I want to say that I have realized that any educational value I can give from my experimentation is only useful to those who have defective devices. A normal Peter Pan glitch occurs with a normally functioning device while in my case, the freezing is a factor that definitely skews my results and make them non-generalizable. So if I can't fix the freezing, I shouldn't try attempting to solve another malfunction. Now onto the updates. My device continues to drain exorbitant amounts of power even when the tamagotchi is asleep as Petunia ended up draining her battery around midnight and I discovered this in the morning. Rather than mess with her clock and have a potential evolution delay due to the internal clock still faithfully counting, I decided to let her wake up naturally and then I would see if she would evolve in the late evening. In the meantime, her meters refused to drop and even when I left her in the Tama Hotel's daycare for a few hours at least, nothing had dropped. That looked to be another sign that the internal clock was failing because it was acting as if real time didn't matter. Furthermore, a tamagotchi who needs no care can only evolve into one thing which would totally limit it's gameplay - although the gene-mixing Tamagotchis take this up in the second generation.

After she woke up, I decided to leave Petunia and see what happened and when I picked her up an hour or two later, her screen started flickering after I unfroze her. Sure enough, it turned off completely and no reset button presses or buttons responded. I popped out a battery and put it back in to see the device boot up and then flash the low battery screen before dying altogether. Petunia was still before noon so I resolved to toss a fresh pair of batteries into her guzzling device and leave her on while I slept - as she was a little more than 12 hours off. Well, that never got to happen because when I did that and caused the device to reboot twice as I put in the batteries and slid on the cover, it completely reset. Ahh, the reset glitch but judging by this device's abnormalities, it could be chalked up to further internal problems. For the sake of further knowledge, I should add that a Tamagotchi doing a hard reset by simply replacing the batteries is a rare but known glitch going as far back as when the software was first implemented in Connections (although I haven't dug through the forums to find a case of it happening in the Tamagotchi Plus or V1, but it has happened in other Connections).

Maybe Petunia knew of my scheme and decided to run out into Tama Planet and escape. Just my silly little musings, but I have transitioned from adoring her to just treating her as a test subject. The new test subject revealed an immediate freeze just as its egg was rolling around in the pre-hatching sequence. Great, freezing right off the bat to further dissipate my hope that this device could be saved. The reset button still blanks the screen and gives me back functionality if I press a button within a short time. I thought that maybe it would slumber in a functional sleepmode but no, the functionality has limits and only applies to an active screen. There was a ray of hope when it beeped with the screen off to indicate the baby had gone to the bathroom. But when I turned it on, the screen was frozen with the test subject frozen during his idle animation with a mess next to him. Because it's the baby stage, I could totally tell the internal growth clock only starts running when the screen is on and unfrozen because the test subject's meters haven't dropped at all from when I last unfroze it - and that was 10-ish minutes ago. It was an even greater Peter Pan scenario and hard reseting is the only thing to do now since the device had become completely unplayable.

The second attempt faired the same and it really does look like the device just flat out stalls when the screen is turned on again as if it actually soft-locks and only gets out of the soft-lock by the reset button. Thus, the only way to maintain functionality is by continuous play but seeing as the batteries drain like crazy, that's an undertaking for somebody with a disproportionate stash of batteries and time. The only plus side to this arrangement is that the batteries seem to drain just as much in "sleepmode" as it does when the screen is on, therefore making the screen being off likely irrelevant. I am not considering even doing this because my Pastel Meets is so defective that the historic concept of a virtual pet would be better experienced by my vintages, as bare bones as they might be.

Funny how this topic started out as something of a help guide and just turned into a glitch log that didn't give any definite solution besides: "if you so happened to end up with this defective monstrosity, you should sure as heck ask for a refund". When I get a new Pastel Meets in the near future, I hope it doesn't give me any reason to return to this topic.

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And I'm back again! This time, it's actually because I took my defective Pastel Meets apart and made a discovery - I have a working, white Pastel Meets now and I got a full refund for my broken one :^) Anyway, the discovery I made was that a wire inside my defective Meets has actually been burned through. Here's a picture for orientation purposes:

vffzQlA.jpg

And here's a clearer picture of the actual singed wire:

Oeu2UOU.jpg

It is highly likely that this broken wire was actually causing my problems as other than the screen issues, the device worked perfectly. What worries me is that this damage looks like it was caused by the device's internal arrangement which could suggest that my working Pastel is doomed for the same fate down the road - if not also all Meets and Ons that use this configuration. I don't have time right now to do a tam-autopsy but I'll do that in my next post (or just update this one if I get to it faster).

I also made another observation when I looked at the other colours I was running - two m!xes, my new Pastel Meets, and an On - and noticed that a spot on the top of the Tamagotchi on the right side lights up when the screen is in use. This is only visible in really dark places - which my room was at the time by virtue of the doubled-over bed sheet my father nailed above my window for curtains (it's quite nice, actually XD). Based on that, I could find out if my defective Pastel was actually running the screen the whole time even when it was not actually displayed. I'll test that out a little later and if it turns out to be true, that would explain the high battery drainage.

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On 12/16/2020 at 11:36 PM, Knighttchi's Ballad said:

What worries me is that this damage looks like it was caused by the device's internal arrangement which could suggest that my working Pastel is doomed for the same fate down the road - if not also all Meets and Ons that use this configuration.

Hmm, I stayed wondering about this, and it looks like there are 2 pieces of plastic which should act as holders for the yellow wire. I did 2 red arrows to show what I'm referring to as one is obstructed by the yellow wire in your pic:

spacer.png

I think the wire got singed by being in contact with that metal plate that the red wire is connected to. Hopefully the defective Pastel you had was just a manufacturing defect where the yellow wire wasn't in place correctly between those holders, so let's hope that other Meets/ONs don't have the same problems, and we can all keep enjoying them for years to come! Interesting topic and findings btw! ;) 

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Yep, that's exactly how the Pastel Meets is designed. I had actually taken the wire out of its holders when I was tinkering with it earlier but based on my recent findings, the issue is arguably the overall faultiness of the design.

I just did a tam-autopsy and all of you On owners can relax: the On is built so radically different from the Meets that it totally won't have the same problem! This seems to be primarily due to the fact that the On actually has a screw holding down its back cover - in contrast to the more sophisticated Meets and other Japanese colour models which actually use a button to hold the cover in place, thus making battery changes a breeze and child-friendly. (I actually removed the screw from my On and taped over the hole to mimic the Japanese back cover design, since both the Meets and On also use the reset button to keep the cover in place.)

So here are the autopsy/tear down results for the On:

jHFNh3O.jpg

aVnnRNl.jpg

As the second picture illustrates, the circuit board's underside is pretty much inaccessible due to the metal literally spearing through it. If I truly wanted to see what powers the screen, I would have to cut this metal or damage the existing structure - which I do not have enough technical skills to attempt that and rebuild it after I'm done. One consolation is that I was able to tilt the device enough to see there doesn't seem to be any wires on the underside of the circuit board at all but rather this long piece of metal running down the middle of the board. It was way too hard to take a picture of that, unfortunately, because its completely overshadowed by the board on top and I would need three hands to take the picture - one to hold the tama, one to hold my camera, and one to shine the light (I doubt any family member could focus on it properly, either). So yeah, a description is all that is possible for it.

Now for my working Pastel Meets:

bpxRkPe.jpg

This highlights that the problem with my other Pastel was that it was carelessly assembled so that the wire did touch the metal, as 321Boom notes. While the plastic prongs that hold the wire do indeed help it to stay put, there are no prongs securing the wire near the contact - the true problem. This does raise the question of whether my Pastel Meets is unplayable due to construction carelessness or actually due to faulty design. I did bend my working Pastel Meet's yellow wire closer to the translucent plastic before I close it up, just for extra safety.

With this information, I think the life of my purple, defective Pastel Meets went like this: a tama fan purchased the Tamagotchi and played with it (since it was used with its box) before eventually coming to sell it to Japan You Want. Japan You Want tested the Meets and found it was working fine, since the wire had not yet been burned through enough to cause problems. I purchased the tama from Japan You Want, received it, and started it up around 11 p.m. to finally experience it. The baby stage went fine as Petunia grew from a baby to a toddler and went to sleep for the night. The next day, after playing with the device a bit more, the wire was finally burned through and then the freezing began which lead to me tinkering with it and posting on TamaTalk, believing I had found a solution. And the rest is history.

I feel this matter has reached a conclusion - but all of you lovely people are still free to post your thoughts - as it appears that I have discovered why my purple Pastel Meets was freezing. A personal positive from this is that I can totally swap out the entire front cover of my white Pastel Meets for my purple one, thus being able to enjoy both designs. This might also be possible with the On, but it's probably an easier task just to swap the paper faceplates (which is a bit more difficult than the Meets because similar to the different innards, the prongs of the On's plastic faceplate are longer).

Edited by Knighttchi's Ballad
Typo
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Whew, massive thanks for this! That will SURELY put more ON owners' minds at ease. I really appreciate your efforts in opening up your ON to check :) 

Well, glad you got a refund for your defective one in the end, so now you have 2 faceplates you can toggle between! xD

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