Archive for hacking

HackerBoxes

Just got my first package from HackerBoxes and I’d originally planned to make an unboxing video but that just wasn’t gonna happen unfortunately–

So I’ll spill the secrets of what was inside…

image

image

image

Waaait up is that

Is that…. A PENGUIN?

image

Clearly I have made a very good decision here.

Holy moly I love this already.

image

This is the “Cellular Metal” box. Next to the breadboard is a small GSM(?) cellular modem. I haven’t looked up the info just yet. The black cable is a u.fl to SMA pigtail to connect it to the small antenna. There’s also a SIM card.

A pack of breadboard jumpers and components are present, as well as an Arduino compatible board, a USB to TTL level serial adapter, an Atmega328 (as used on the Arduino) and an ATTiny.

The card, meanwhile, does double duty. Flip it over and…

image

Pinouts!

This is just as cool as the business cards from Marlin P. Jones Associates that have an electronics color code/resistor code guide on the back.

Soon I shall be looking at their online documentation to see what possibilities are in store for all this.

And…. Finding a suitably awesome spot to put that penguin in. I mean— it’s Tux with “Hack The Planet” written on it—!!!!! Soooo perfect.

The fix for easily moved radio knobs

First off, our radio knobs were too easy to turn, causing them to get unexpectedly muted or knocked off channel.

Second, I fail so hard at shitposting. I always want to just fire up WordPress and drop a useless shitpost on here then I think of something actually useful and informative. What follows is a failure to shitpost.

I’m still not exactly calling this a great post because I’m too lazy to edit the images.

Step one: pull the knobs off. Pull straight up. The knob may be tight on the shaft, just don’t apply excessive force in any direction if it is. Be patient. On this Hytera it was pretty easy to pop off.

image

The recess here is what we’ll be modifying. Cut two little circles out of craft foam, mouse pad, inner tube… Whatever rubbery thing you have handy… Or use rubber o rings. It don’t matter.

image

If there’s no hole in them yet, fold in half and cut a slit.

image

Press it down the shaft and all the way into the recess.

image

Reinstall the knob. Test to see that it moves and has more resistance. If there’s no effect, add another layer. If it doesn’t fit back on there, remove it and try a thinner material.

This took me about two minutes per radio I did it on and eliminates annoyance like nobody’s business.

The first time I did this mod was on a Baofeng, so I’m gonna add the shitpost tag. You’re welcome.

Flip dots, or, what nonsense am I getting into now?

Flip dot signs are kinda awesome. They’re sunlight readable, and noisy. You’ve probably seen them in a bus somewhere or other. They usually have neon green or yellow pixels.

Let’s take a look. This is a Luminator GTi series circa 1990.

image

Here are the dots. They’re swiveled by the thin metal prongs on the ends. Note that this sign has a test message left on it, and retains this without power…

image

Each dot is a small, magnetized sandwich of metal. Note the small black dot visible through the cutout. This is significant.

image

Each pixel sits on a U shaped yoke of metal with a low magnetic coercivity. One side of that yoke is the dot you saw above.

image

I’ve seen different variants of how the dots are electrically driven. On this one, there is one coil per dot. Other variants I’ve seen used two, one for black and one for yellow (green? white?…) On this one, what you get is a function of the polarity of current applied.

image

Um, okay, it was 1990, we can forgive this uninspired light source for nighttime use.

image

Here’s the driver. Bottom section converts 24vdc to 12 and 5 and also has a switch for that florescent lamp’s power. Top section takes data over RS485 and makes pretty pointillist pictures.

image

The Micrel chips are shift registers with integrated source and sink drivers. Each row and column appears to be connected, respectively, to a pair of their outputs allowing “push-pull” drive.

image

Socketed 8 pin ic: rs-485 line driver. To its right: 80c51 CPU, GAL chip that interfaces it to the shift registers, RAM, ROM, other logic bits…

So what can I do with this sign? Right now, nothing. It was made to work with a Luminator master controller that contained all the data to be displayed.

My next step is to try to figure out how to drive the matrix. I’m a little nervous with this one though as it is possible to short +12 to ground by turning on the respective outputs of two of the shift registers that are connected to the same output… However, to flip dots, you have to turn on two shift registers – one for row, one for column. I don’t know which is which and it’ll require analyzing the board layout more to figure it out. My plan is to put about a 25 ohm resistor in series with the +12 line while testing – the dots may not flip like that, but neither will the tops of those cute little driver arrays either. Oh, how I wish they were TPIC6C595 with their short protection. 😉

image

But this thing can take a flying leap. LED tape shall be applied.

Wearing a little more paint than usual

So a week or so ago I found a really nice leather jacket at a thrift store. It was kind of weathered soft, and fits me like a glove.. I mean, perfect… But just one thing…

It was brown.

I’m too old school goth for brown.

Therefore, it needed to look like rusty old metal.

image

Initial test

image

The back of the jacket. Please excuse the cluster foxtrot workshop.

image

The front. It's not asymmetrical like a biker jacket; it's just hanging all derpy because I needed to get behind the collar.

image

Inside the collar.

I was originally just going for a rusty appearance but when Dominik of Slaughterhouse Apparel told me the red looked bloody I went with it. It’s got the look of something worn by a post apocalyptic mechanic; the red bits kind of reminding us that in an apocalyptic world, Shit Gets Real sometimes.

The funny part of all this? One of my coworkers told me this will probably look best with brown pants. Thankfully my wardrobe isn’t entirely black otherwise.