Category Archives: General Technology

Who’s Hungry? Cannibalizing a rubik’s slide

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This strange looking toy is the Rubik’s companies attempt to create an electronic puzzle cube style game. The Rubik’s Slide is a speed based game where you have to slide the corners to change the shapes on the LED Matrix to make a certain shape. The game itself is fun for a while but gets old fast, and apparently  breaks easily. I recently found my Rubik’s Slide (I recently moved) and was disappointed to see that it was no longer functional. So this week we will be cannibalizing this toy and I hope to get some good electronic components as well as some structural parts.

To open this up I removed the battery cover and removed four hidden screws. The inside snapped out into three pieces connected with wire through the center to separate these I snipped the wires. The picture below shows the internals…

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After cutting the wires and separating the three layers I was able to remove the circuit boards. There were about 4 unusable buttons that got scrapped and the LEDs were unable to be removed. Besides that I got the following parts…

– The top 3x3x3 panel for a LED matrix

– The center as a plastic structure

– The bottom battery holder

– 1 Three way switch

– One speaker (It’s Green!)

– 5 push button

– 4 Pins

– Various plastic pieces

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Nook Simple Touch hacked into an Android Tablet

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With the release of the last Harry Potter movie (Deathly Hallows Part Two) there were several parties going on at local businesses. My brother participated in one of these parties and took 2nd place for his costume. His prize, a Nook Simple Touch. If you’ve ever played with one of these e-readers you would know how limited their functionality is. The home screen shows your recent books you’ve read and has a link to the online store. He had no need for it, being a 7 year old, and it was given to me. After reading a few books on it, I cast it aside thinking I would never find an actual use for it.

But recently that thought changed, I read an article on someone who put Android operating system onto their Nook Simple Touch. I was ecstatic that I finally had a use for this junky e-reader. Using a Micro SD card and Touchnooter, a boot loader found online, I was able to install and run the Android OS on the Nook ST. The screen refresh is almost unbearable to work with, but using a NO REFRESH hack I was able to work around that. I will post a video soon with a demonstration on the Nook ST Android tablet.  I am currently able to run the Android app store and install .apk files from there, and use Opera Mobile as an internet browser. If you are “fortunate” enough to have one of these tablets I strongly recommend looking up Touchnooter and attempting to hack your own e-reader. I keep mine in my tool bag and use it as an emergency hacker tablet. It is able to communicate with Arduino the same way an android phone would, though i’m not sure what use it would really have. For now, I will use mine as a virtual file folder and GBC emulator. Let me know what you think with a comment below.

GBA4IOS hack allows third party app download without a jailbreak

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I recently bought the new iPhone 5c with iOS 7 preloaded. I was browsing the internet when I saw a link for downloading a GBA emulator on your iPhone without jailbreaking it. Initially I thought that this must be a joke, scam, or virus? But with further research I learned that, not only was it legit, it works very well! Its a simple installation and I will walk you through installing the app, installing games, and how to fix it if it crashes.

Step1 – This is the most important step. Set your iOS devices date back before January 2012. This is the exploit that allows the third party app to install, without this your app will be corrupt and will not function properly.

Step2- On your device visit …

emu4ios.weebly.com/

And navigate to the download section.
Step3- Scroll down until you find GBA4ios  and click install. Wait a few moments and you should be redirected to your home screen where an app is being installed.
Step4 – When it is finished installing tap on it to launch it, you should see a list of white spaces, this is where your games will be located when you install them. So lets get some games! Note – Your iOS device’s date must be set before January 2012 to install games
Step5 – For this step we are going to install a classic favorite, Pokemon Fire Red. If you open GBA4ios and click the search bar in the top right corner you will be redirected to coolrom.com in safari.
Step6 – Now search for Pokemon Fire red and slick download. This might take a little bit of time but eventually a screen will pop up with the file on it. There will be an “Open With” option, tap that and select GBA4ios.
Step7 – Go back to your app and select Pokemon Fire Red, you should see the game start up.
Congratulations! Your iOS device now functions as a Game Boy Advance, the download process is the same for all games. once you have the games installed you can set the date back to auto. If the app refuses to open the go set the date back, open the app, then set the date back to auto. Your app will now work. Comment below if you have any questions about the installation process.
Note – Along with this app there are several other applications you can download through…
emu4ios.weebly.com/

 Such as a NDS emulator, a GBC emulator, a SNES emulator, a Torrent Client, and a screen recorder.

 

 

Who’s Hungry? Canibalizing an old Speaker circuit…

Its time to serve up a fresh plate of free components! That’s right nerds, this week we will be tearing down an old speaker circuit for parts. I already removed the main circuit and the speakers from the casing. The speakers popped right out and the circuit was unscrewed.

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Now lets take a closer look at the circuit…

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It looks like we have a large amount of capacitors (useful), some varistors (useful), a power port (useful), a potentiometer (very useful) and what looks like an AV in port (not so useful). The IC is basically useless, even if I could un solder it theres no point in using it. Now that the circuit has been analyzed and we know what we want to canibalize we can get started with the deconstruction of the circuit.

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As you can see I have already removed some components in this picture, but basically I am cutting the PCB into smaller segments to work with. This allows me to be more precise in the desoldering. I will heat up the solder and then slowly pull out each component from its spot in the board. After only twenty minutes I was able to finish canibalizing the board and gained 11 capacitors of varying charges, 11 varistors of varying Ohms, the power port out, the AV out and the potentiometer (along with the two speakers already removed).

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Sneak Peak at the Arduino TRE

TRE_iso

Partnering with TI, (Texas Instruments)  Arduino has created the most powerful model to date. The Arduino TRE. This is the first Arduino able to run “Full Linux”, meaning that users will be able to run desktop applications and high speed communication. Due to the new 1-GHz Sitara AM335x processor users will get up to 100 times more performance out of the TRE then the Leonardo or the UNO. IN a recent post on Arduino blog, Author Zoe Romano says…

In addition, the Arduino TRE is partially the result of a close collaboration between Arduino and the BeagleBoard.org foundation. These open hardware pioneers share a passion for expanding open source development and making technology accessible for artists, designers and hobbyists. The TRE design builds upon the experience of both Arduino and BeagleBoard, combining the benefits of both community based boards.

So look forward to more information on Arduino’s new micrcontroller, it is scheduled to be available Spring 2014, but you can see it live at Maker Faire Rome.

Inside the Arduino Yún

YunParts

 

The Arduino Yún is the newest member to the Arduino line up and is in a class all its own.  The Overview from Arduino.com…

The Arduino Yún is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega32u4 (datasheet) and the AtherosAR9331. The Atheros processor supports a Linux distribution based on OpenWRT named Linino. The board has built-in Ethernet and WiFi support, a USB-A port, micro-SD card slot, 20 digital input/output pins (of which 7 can be used as PWM outputs and 12 as analog inputs), a 16 MHz crystal oscillator, a micro USB connection, an ICSP header, and a 3 reset buttons.

The Yún distinguishes itself from other microcontrollers with its ability to communicate with the Linux distribution onboard. This feature allows users to easily interact with their Yún using Python script and shell in onboard.  Below are more detailed specs on the Arduino Yún.

AVR Arduino microcontroller
Microcontroller ATmega32u4
Operating Voltage 5V
Input Voltage 5V
Digital I/O Pins 20
PWM Channels 7
Analog Input Channels 12
DC Current per I/O Pin 40 mA
DC Current for 3.3V Pin 50 mA
Flash Memory 32 KB (of which 4 KB used by bootloader)
SRAM 2.5 KB
EEPROM 1 KB
Clock Speed 16 MHz
Linux microprocessor
Processor Atheros AR9331
Architecture MIPS @400MHz
Operating Voltage 3.3V
Ethernet IEEE 802.3 10/100Mbit/s
WiFi IEEE 802.11b/g/n
USB Type-A 2.0 Host/Device
Card Reader Micro-SD only
RAM 64 MB DDR2
Flash Memory 16 MB
PoE compatible 802.3af card support