AXiS-49 teardown


We touched on harmonic table MIDI controllers when [aris] was building one. [Ken Rushton] has one of C-Thru’s commercial keypads, the AXiS-49, and disassembled the device to show how it works. A PIC18F2450 microcontroller provides the USB interface and is connected to a dsPIC33FJ128GP310 digital signal controller which decodes the keypresses. The membrane buttons are made with two concentric graphite disks that touch gold contacts. The microcontroller measures the time between the two points contacting to determine the button velocity. monome button clones also use circular contact pads, but cannot calculate velocity because they only have one element.

[via Matrixsynth]

The Dream tablet


[Matthew] has completed this Dreamcast tablet modification. That’s right, you’re looking at a Dreamcast laid out in tablet format. We’re not really sure what advantages the tablet layout has, since it’s not touch screen and you probably need to put it down to play anyway. The laptop or clam shell might have been a smart choice simply for screen protection. Putting that aside, this is really cool. He had to do some extensive re working of the motherboard in the Dreamcast to get it to fit. Interestingly, he hacked together a custom disk drive for it too. You can see detailed pictures of the entire process, including the construction of the case, on his site. Great job [Matthew].

[Thanks John, via Fusion Mods]

Through-hole Bus Pirate kit from Fundamental Logic


Fundamental Logic is selling a Bus Pirate kit and bare PCB based on our universal serial interface tool. They started with our serial port-based v1a hardware, and modified it to use all through-hole parts.  8pin DIP LP2951ACN/-3.3 switchable voltage regulators replace the surface mount TPS79650/33 that we used. The PIC is pre-programmed with our latest firmware, version 0f, which includes a bootloader for easy firmware updates through the serial port. Documentation includes illustrated assembly instructions.

Speaking of Bus Pirate goodness, we’re busy working on hardware V2. As astute readers may have already noticed, the final version of the Bus Pirate incorporates an FTDI USB->serial chip, and draws its power from the USB port. We also tackled the software-controlled pull-up resistor feature, and reduced the overall part count and cost. Best of all, we’re working to make assembled PCBs available with world-wide shipping. The how-to should be ready in a few weeks.