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Category: Electronics Projects

My Electronics Projects

Flambeau Brake Control Demo Kit

Flambeau Brake Control Demo Kit

This is a nice item that I found today at Princess Auto… A grey box hiding on the bottom of a grey shelf. The phrase “Demo Kit” caught my eye, and I had to take a peek inside. I was blown away by the beautiful innards, and I just had to have it. It appears to be made by Flambeau (judging from the company name stamped into the front of the case) and the sticker on the lid says it is a “Brake Control Demonstration Kit”

A metal front panel (as seen in the picture) holds a set of terminals, a voltmeter, large Brake and Overload buttons along with various assisting components, such as Output and Stop lights, Battery test button, power switch, 30A removable fuse, and a panel-mount power plug that fits with the included wallwart.

Underneath the panel (picture attached below), reside a 12 Volt, 5 Amp-Hour SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) battery for powering the kit, and some type of coil or capacitor for powering the ‘overload’ button.

Bonus points for the Output and Stop Light lamps: They’re actually incandescent bulbs, not LEDs. (The power light is an LED though, presumably so you can still see that the unit is not DOA even with a near-flat battery.)

Possible uses: (besides requisite attempts to blow various electrical components up with the Overload button)

  • Portable bench power supply (With an adjustable voltage regulator, and maybe an LCD display for kicks?)
  • (Have any suggestions to add? Sound off in the comments!)

(NB, this doesn’t show up on Princess Auto’s website, as it’s probably a new item. It is SKU #8339715 and $19.99 at the time of posting unfortunately, no longer a stocked item.)

BGMicro Shipment

BGMicro Shipment

I just got my shipment of stuff from BGMicro, including a ton of pinheaders!

I ordered:
1x Velleman 4×4 keypad
1x GI AY-3-8910 Sound Chip (and matching IC socket)
2x LEDs with wire and
1x 2.5″ stero cable end (Digital Rebel XT Trigger?)
1x Graphical KS0108 Display
and Lots of 1×40 and 2×17 Pinheaders 🙂

MiBook Hacking? (Work in Progress)

MiBook Hacking? (Work in Progress)

I recently acquired an old Photoco MiBook. (Photoco LLC had its assets sold off by creditors, and many MiBooks and associated software are being sold on clearance by stores like The Source by Circuit City). Photoco LLC magically reopened under the name of MiBook LLC, and is currently the subject of a nice big lawsuit from Scripps Networks, the owners of Food Network, etc. It’s an interesting read.

MiBook Reader #1

My first of two MiBook readers that I’ll be looking at is this one, which I got from The Source by Circuit City in a “Home Decorating and Gardening” bundle for $29.96, and a set of “books” on 512MB SD
cards for $1.96 each.

The sticker on the back reads “miBook”, along with voltage/amperage requirements, Serial Number (no barcode) and the FCC logo.

  • Screen: 7″ Color TFT: Unknown Manufactuer M1P82BNB03170  “TS0700AAAD01” on LCD glass, “81P81N27 8C021” in small
  • CPU: Amlogic AML6210A (128-Pin QFP)
  • Memory: 64MB SDRAM: EtronTech EM638165TS-6G (54-Pin SSOP)
  • Boot Flash: 16Mbit Flash: Spansion S29AL016D70TF102 (48-Pin TSOP)
  • Real-Time Clock: Intersil ISL1208 (ISL1208IB8Z, marked “1208 ZI”) (8-Pin SOIC)
  • DAC (96kHz, Stereo): Cirrus Logic 4334-KSZ (8-Pin SOIC) (Probably)
  • Op-Amp: JRC 3414A (8-Pin SSOP)
  • Unknown/Audio Amp?: STH 63BJRC STH49S6H0 ??? (20-Pin QFN)
  • Unknown/Power-Related: 8A068 3213D (8-Pin SSOP)

MiBook Reader #2

I also have another MiBook reader which I got as a prize from DigiKey. It came as just the MiBook/charger/USB/Remote combination, and didn’t have any SD-card “books” like the Source’s bundle. This one is a little newer, and is better-built overall: the stand snaps into place, the charging LED is more visible, the buttons are better quality inside, the plastic pieces are formed better, the exterior screws are larger and much easier to remove, etc.

The sticker on the back reads “PHOTOCO miBook”, along with voltage/amperage, Serial Number with Barcode and the FCC logo. (It is interesting to note that this one is labelled specifically a PHOTOCO product. Old stock that they brought over from Photoco LLC to Mibook LLC? Check out the link at the beginning of the article for information on Photoco/Mibook/etc.)

  • Screen: 7″ Color TFT: Unknown Manufactuer HLLB-0302A1 HL080414D010075
  • CPU: Amlogic AML6210A (128-Pin QFP)
  • Memory: 64MB SDRAM: EtronTech EM638165TS-6G (54-Pin SSOP)
  • Boot Flash: 16Mbit Flash: MXIC 29LV160CBTC (48-Pin TSOP)
  • Real-Time Clock: S35390A (8-Pin SOIC)
  • Unknown: “C” or “e” C04558 (8-Pin SOIC)
  • Audio Amplifier (300mW Stereo): National LM4853L (20-Pin Mini-SOIC)
  • DAC (96kHz, Stereo): Cirrus Logic 4334-KSZ (8-Pin SOIC) (Probably)
  • Power Conversion/Adjustable VREG: STMicro LD1117A (3-Pin package)
  • Power Conversion/Switching PS Converter: Aimtron AT1380P (8-Pin TSOP?)

See also

Wii Off-brand Nunchuck Internals

Wii Off-brand Nunchuck Internals

Nyko “Kämä” Wired Remote:
MCU: Atmel ATMega 48 TQFP (The PCB also has pads for MLF package, based on availability?)
Accelerometer: Freescale A7260
EEPROM: Macronix (MXIC) MX25L4005 (4 Mbit)

Definitely a good nunchuck for hacking; it’s well-built, and the analog stick appears to be mostly metal-based, instead of plastic like others.

I wonder if the ATMega is read-locked? If so, I wonder how hard it would be to rewrite/repurpose it…

Biogenik OG1-CHUK:
The only thing of interest was a single epoxy blob on the PCB.

Madcatz Z-CHUK Wireless: (FCCID: P25S1MC5746U1709C, 2.405-2.475Ghz)
MCU: Epoxy blob of unknown origin
Accelerometer: Unknown. “033 A841 013”?
EEPROM: STMicroelectronics M24C02 (2 Kbit)

Wireless is nice, and might make for some interesting projects, and at $10/piece from XSCargo, it’s definitely an affordable way to get into wireless (and accelerometers, etc). The internals of this remote look almost identical to the actual Wii Nunchuck, with the exception of the battery and transmitter.

“Nintendo” and “Wii” are registered trademarks of Nintendo of America Inc. This site is not affiliated with, or endorsed by, Nintendo, Madcatz or Nyko.

QuahogCon 2010: My Freeduino (From AlphaOne)

QuahogCon 2010: My Freeduino (From AlphaOne)

This is my new Freeduino, which I purchased as a kit from the fine folks at the AlphaOne Hackerspace table at QuahogCon 2010.

I assembled the kit together at the Hardware Hacking Lounge with some super-sweet soldering irons, then spent the next hour and a half trying to figure out why it wouldn’t work. Turns out that it needed a jumper on the USB/External power selector. Thanks to Mr. Jimmie Rodgers for the eagle-eye lack-of-jumper spotting.

I already have an Arduino (the original); however, it doesn’t have a pin for the reset line or 3.3V line on the headers, so I guess it will just be relegated to different tasks.

I had planned to submit an entry into the Alpha One Labs Hackerspace’s Arduino Hacking Contest, though I ended up spending every waking moment trying to hack the Humans vs Zombies game. Apparently, I was not the only one with not enough time; there were unfortunately no entries into the contest 🙁 I ended up receiving honorable mention (consisting of a T-shirt) for constructing my Freeduino.

Hopefully, there will be an Arduino Hacking contest next year… Start building those Arduino projects!

QuahogCon 2010 Badge Hardware Hacking – The Beginning

QuahogCon 2010 Badge Hardware Hacking – The Beginning

What I Did:

I took a Cellboost IPR3 that was otherwise destined for a dull life of providing power to an original iPod Shuffle, and converted the cable normally used for charging it into a USB-A-to-2-pin cable using the cable from an old computer case’s hard drive activity light. (Using the cable is a bonus for me, since this cable has been kicking around the junkbox for ages.)

What I Wanted to Do:

I’ll be the first to admit this isn’t so much a ‘hack’ since it’s what the badge was designed to do. I had planned to populate the two 2×16 rows of headers with female headers, then put a piece of perfboard on top either with male headers pointed down or with female headers with double-length legs. The plan was to have something akin to an Arduino shield: Removable, changeable, and replaceable. What you see here is what I got done during the ‘con. I’ll post updates as I progress in badge-hacking now that the ‘con’s over.

About the Cellboost IPR3 Hardware

The Cellboost device contains 1 Li-Ion battery, 5V charging circuitry, and 5V output circuitry; the charging circuitry is the best part, since Li-Ions are a pain to charge otherwise. It includes a USB extension cable (USB-A Male to USB-A Female) that supplies power only (no wires for data) to charge the Cellboost unit with. The unit itself has a USB-A Male (for charging the Li-Ion) and a USB-A Female receptacle on it (for the iPod to plug into).

I acquired a number of these Cellboost devices from Princess Auto; at their last big clearance sale, they were on for (IIRC) $0.79 each. As an aside, I had someone at Quahogcon ask me if I had been to the MIT Garage Sale. Apparently they were sold there as well. Regardless, I still have 4 or 5 in their original packaging to be used to power other projects.

QuahogCon 2010 Loot

QuahogCon 2010 Loot

Here’s what I gained (physically) from QuahogCon 2010 (in no particular order):

(And yes, I would have preferred to photograph against a plain white background, but hey.)

QuahogCon 2010 Humans vs. Zombies Game

QuahogCon 2010 Humans vs. Zombies Game

For those who are curious about some of the particulars of the game, here is what I gleaned from the goings-on at the ‘con (And from a lot of borrowing Jimmie’s badge, and soliciting button-presses from random ‘con attendees).

Spoiler Warning: If you want to try to disassemble, packet-sniff, or otherwise decode the Humans vs Zombies game completely on your own, don’t read on.

Most of this is just a brain dump, it’s not really in any particular order.

  • AFAIK, 5 types of badges existed: Human, Zombie, Cleric, Mussel and Uber. All of these attacks are explained later on in the “giant list ‘o attacks”, with the only exception: Mussels can attack either humans or zombies, and have no unique attack code.
  • I managed to peek at an instruction sheet for a Cleric that was left behind by one of the lovely ladies from the CORE table; however, it held no unexpected information. (Though it was quite nice, and fit with the story in the Attendee pamphlets/schedules
  • Attendees began as humans, and were turned into zombies by attacks from other zombies, or from coaxing from an Uber badge.
  • In the download provided at con-time (q10-pub.tar.gz), there lives a file known as rftest-rx.c. By default, this will list (over UART1), the unencrypted attack type and attack power of whatever attacks it hears.

    rftest-rx.c also has a line commented out that will print the entire packet received. Note that the packet [3] and [4] need to be XOR’d with packet [2] to make any sense. (<– Uber encryption) 
    [2] ^ [3] = Attack Type
    [2] ^ [4] = Attack Power

  • From soliciting keypresses, I managed to make a list of the following attacks/powers:
    1,1: Human Defensive
    1,2: Human Normal
    1,3: Human Offensive
    1,6: Human Critical Hit
    2,1: Zombie default attack OR attack with 1 LED of charge
    2,2: Zombie charged to 2 LEDs
    2,3: Zombie charged to 3 LEDs
    2,4: Zombie charged to 4 LEDs
    2,5: Zombie charged to 5 LEDs
    3,20: Cleric Heal Humans
    3,50: Cleric Heal Humans (Critical Hit)
    4,20: (Really? 4:20? *groan*) Cleric Turn Undead
    4,50: Cleric Turn Undead (Critical Hit)
    99,5: Uber ???
    99,6: Uber Epic Win
  • During his talk on 802.15.4 security regarding replay attacks, Josh Wright briefly showed the packets that he managed to sniff from an Uber badge, which turned anyone in range into any of the 6 modes (the 5 discussed above, and also ‘dead’.) He then proceeded to execute a replay attack on the audience, and it apparently hit @innismir (Ben Jackson) in the next room during his presentation. Twitter thread: [1][2][2.5][3][4][5]

I’ll add more here if/when I think of it, and once I start sniffing in earnest. I spent the entire ‘Con trying to reinvent the wheel… Apparently all the good stuff was in the q10-pub/firmware directory… I had been tweaking code in the q10-pub/tests directory. I still managed to sniff the above code, however I didn’t get transmit working in time to pwn the closing ceremonies. Totally looking forward to pwning whatever badge they throw at us next year, though. Stuff: Arduino Shield, Breadboarding Supplies, etc Stuff: Arduino Shield, Breadboarding Supplies, etc

My latest order.

For PIC programming:
BOB-00193 (1): Adapter board for Microchip ICD and ICD2

For (hopefully) adding some IR functionality to my QuahogCon badge:
COM-09349 (4): Infrared LED – 950nm

For parts:
DEV-00348 (2): Olimex Carrier Board for OKI ML67Q5003

For prototyping on the Arduino (and otherwise generic prototyping):
DEV-07914 (1): Arduino ProtoShield Kit
PRT-07915 (1): Breadboard Mini Self-Adhesive (For Protoshield Kit)
PRT-09567 (1) : Breadboard Clear Self-Adhesive (For other breadboarding)
PRT-00124 (1): Jumper Wire Kit
PRT-08430 (1): Jumper Wires Premium 6″ F/F Pack of 10
PRT-08431 (1): Jumper Wires Premium 6″ M/M Pack of 10
PRT-09140 (1): Jumper Wires Premium 6″ M/F Pack of 10

QuahogCon Badge Details Released

QuahogCon Badge Details Released

In the fine tradition of hacker con badges, QuahogCon presents its inaugural badge, based on the Freescale MC13224v.

More info and badge specs can be found at MC13224 Hardware, and more contest-related info can be found at QuahogCon: Contests.
MC1322x-related Open Source tools and guides are available at

I’ll be adding more badge-hacking-related stuff before/during/after QuahogCon, once I get to play around with my badge.