FPSLIC powered LED matrix

[Mathieu] built this display in hopes that he can play pong on it. You can imagine the headache that awaits when trying to figure out how to drive the 6144 bi-color LEDs. I must have worked out because the thing looks great in the video after the break. The solution he chose was a bit unfamiliar to us though. He used a Field Programmable System Level Integrated Circuit produced by Atmel, or FPSLIC. This is a kind of mash-up of components we’re more accustomed to.

The AT94K is a single chip that houses an 8-bit AVR microcontroller, and FPGA, and SRAM. This project uses that FPGA to handle the multiplexing of the display via code written in VHDL. The AVR core receives data via a USB port, stores two images in the SRAM (one for each LED color), and then outputs it to be drawn on the display. On second thought, this project sounds like fun and it’s a great way to get start learning that VHDL you’ve been putting off. Continue reading “FPSLIC powered LED matrix”

Replace batteries with USB power

[Mark Bog] thought it was a waste to use batteries for his desktop touch pad. Quite frankly we agree that if you can avoid using disposable cells you should. He ditched the dual AA batteries inside of his Magic Trackpad and built a battery-sized adapter to feed it some juice. It consists of a dowel of similar diameter with a screw in each end. He scavenged a USB cord, connecting hot and ground wires to the corresponding pole of the adapter. Now his Trackpad is USB powered and never in need of a battery replacement or even a recharge.

We’re not familiar with the inner workings of Apple’s Magic Trackpad. We assume there’s a voltage regulator inside and we hope it doesn’t have a problem working with the 5V regulated power coming in from the adapter. If you’ve got the skinny on the hardware we’d love to hear about it in the comments. One last thing: because the forum linked above requires a login to view the images in the post, we’ve embedded the rest of them after the break for your convenience.

Continue reading “Replace batteries with USB power”

Modchip hacks PS3 via USB port

It’s been a long time coming, but the video above shows a modchip circumventing the PlayStation 3 security by running a game from a hard drive. The sites Ozmodchips.com which sells the modchip, and psx-scene.com which has confirmed them as working are both unstable right now due to heavy traffic. But here’s what we know. The device is called the PS Jailbreak and can be used to dump PS3 games to the hard drive of a PlayStation3 running the most current firmware (3.41). Dumped games can then be played from the hard drive by selecting them from a menu that the modchip spawns. It’ll cost you though. The current preorder price is $169.99 AUD or $147.47 US dollars with a projected delivery date of August 27th.

[Thanks Charlie via Slashdot]

Todays Arduino Moment

We have gotten a number of Arduino tips in the last couple days, and we thought we would combine them for your convenience. The first tip we received was for some hints provided by [Bill] on some digitalWrite() alternatives. Similar to some previous research we covered, this tip also includes some tips on how to make the direct register writing a little easier by using #define to simplify things. Obviously this wont be as idiot-proof as digitalWrite() is, but we think you can handle it.

Our second tip is for a set of OLED displays from 4dsystems sold as Arduino Shields. They have a couple of different sizes from .96″ to 1.7″, depending on your needs and budget. There is no official display library for them yet, but 4dsystems have been kind enough to provide a few resources to work from. Hopefully we’ll see a few great applications from this, maybe a much bigger pixel Mario? A much smaller Game of Life? Feel free to send us your projects, or leave your ideas in the comments!

7-segment Sudoku

[John Sarik] keeps cranking out new ideas for his digital Sudoku project. This time he’s using 7-segment displays for each digit. The game play works the same as the Nixie Tube version, but this makes things quite a bit easier to build. The board above is one of the nine modules that make up the game. They each use three shift registers to drive the nine 7-segment displays. With the help of five resistors all of the multiplexing is addressed via the serial input on those chips.