__ __         __            ___           
  / // /__ _____/ /__  ___ _  / _ \___ ___ __
 / _  / _ `/ __/  '_/ / _ `/ / // / _ `/ // /
/_//_/\_,_/\__/_/\_\  \_,_/ /____/\_,_/\_, / 
retro edition                         /___/ 
Now optimized for embedded devices!
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The first Raspberry Pi build is a MAME machine

posted Mar 22nd 2012 9:01am by
filed under: hardware, linux hacks, Rasberry pi

The Raspberry Pi was launched nearly a month ago, but these wonderful cheap single-board computers are still on their way from China to the workbenches of hackers and builders around the globe. Although they haven’t shipped yet, plenty of people are chomping at the bit to do something useful with the Raspi. [Nicholas] figured he should hit the ground running, so he emulated a Raspberry Pi to get everything ready for the MAME machine he’ll build when his new toy arrives.

[Nick] found a Raspi VirtualBox image on the official Raspberry Pi forums. After getting a web browser up and running with a few console keystrokes, he turned his attention to a MAME emulator. It’s a relatively simple install (although it did take six hours to compile), but we’re sure the Raspi will be featured in quite a few MAME builds so it was time well spent.

Sure, the Raspberry Pi you ordered a month ago is probably on a container ship in the middle of the ocean right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your build. Just load up a VirtualBox image, check out a few of the tutorials, and you’re ready to go.

Color changing EL wire

posted Jul 13th 2011 12:01pm by
filed under: hardware, parts

All EL wire drivers use a resonator circuit to supply power to the EL wire. It’s an efficient system, but [Paul] noticed that there was some color change when powering different lengths of wire off of the same driver. He realized that this is because of the changing frequency of the resonator circuit, so the only reasonable thing for [Paul] to do was to build a color fading EL wire driver.

The circuit used to drive the wire is very simple. [Paul] used a Teensy board to switch two transistors and produce AC current. This is sent through a step-up transformer which powers the EL wire. It was necessary to use aqua or ‘Tron blue’ EL wire for this build because of the clear wire jacket. Many colors of EL wire have a fluorescent jacket – much like a fluorescent light bulb – that changes the color produced inside the wire to something different. [Paul] says the color change is subtle, but unique.

Of course the build is nothing without a video of the color changing EL wire. Check it out after the break.

Visual hardware identification guide

posted Jul 18th 2009 12:51pm by
filed under: pcs hacks, tool hacks


Check out this visual hardware guide from deviantART member [Sonic840]. It has everything from memory modules, to bus sockets, to power connectors, to an entire array of CPU sockets that have been used over the years. You’re bound to see something in there you didn’t know existed.

[via Gizmodo]

Ninja Networks Party Badge

posted Aug 10th 2009 12:13pm by
filed under: cons, led hacks


UPDATE: The director’s cut of the story

While coverage of the official Defcon badge has been pretty heavy, there was a badge that was far more exclusive and talked about way more. For the last ten years at Defcon a group of hackers known as Ninja Networks hosted an invitation-only party for selected attendees. For the 2009 event, [cstone] and [w0z] created an electronic badge which acted as the ticket to the party. The badge is based around an 8-bit Freescale microcontroller (MC9S08QE8) which drives 10 individual 16-segment HIOX-format LED displays.

The custom PCBs were manufactured by 4pcb, but all other assembly was done by hand with a huge team of volunteers in Boston, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Assembly space for this effort was provided by Redwire and Angel Valley Media. More than 500 badges were created. To help fund the effort, the Ninjas took on internet privacy company XeroBank as an event sponsor.

The assembly process is detailed in the video below which highlights a few interesting DIY techniques including using a $30 Target hotplate as a reflow oven.

Once assembled, the default mode for the badge is to randomly cycle each display through a list of characters locking in each one to finally display “NINJA PARTY”, in the same manner seen in the film “WarGames”. The badge also has a “Simon” game mode, the ability to view the badge’s unique identifier and sponsor URL, and a fully functional debugger.

Using the debugger a user can reprogram the badge to display different messages, or change it’s functionality with no computer required. This is demoed in the video below.

While all the badges were distributed at Defcon 17, [cstone] has provided the schematics and gerbers, public domain source code, and the BOM in case you wish to create your own. We were some of the many people to help hand assemble these badges, which you can find listed on his site.

[Photo: vissago]

Halloween Props: Borg costume

posted Oct 27th 2010 12:00pm by
filed under: home hacks

The Halloween hacks are rolling in late this year, but we’re delighted to see that [DJ Sures] finished his borg costume in time. It is made up of a hodge-podge of items from different cultures… oh wait, so are the borg. These include a set of hockey pads spray painted black with just a light misting of silver to give them some depth. After taking the image above (which mostly shows off his makeup) [DJ Sures] added an LCD screen to the chest plate and lighted electronics throughout. See for yourself after the break.

If you liked this you might take a look at his singing spark plug.

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