Portable SID plays chiptunes

[Markus] on the DangerousPrototypes forum came up with a great little SID player.

The SID was (is?) the awesome sound generation chip inside the Commodore 64, and along with Game Boys and NESs laid the foundation for the chiptune scene. We’re happy to finally see a small SID player that doesn’t resort to SID emulation or a relatively huge MIDIbox.

The SID player itself is a shield on a CUI32 PIC dev board. The PIC32 emulates the 6510 and 6526 CPU and CIA chips found in the Commodore 64. A small USB memory stick stores the High Voltage SID Collection and the file system is navigated with an OLED screen. [Markus] says that the player draws 370 mA, so he runs it off a small wall wart. Still, we’re wondering if it’s possible to run this off of an SD card with a SwinSID so power draw can be reduced and a fully portable SID player can be realized.

We’ve got a touch of nostalgia for chiptune and demoscene music right now, so we’re going to listen to some [Nelly Furtado] [Janne Suni] right now, but you can check out the video demo [Markus] posted after the break.
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Android Talks Pulsewave

Serial communications are a mainstay of digital computing. They don’t require much physical infrastructure and they exist in variations to fit almost any application. The behaviour of serial communications lines, varying from high to low voltage in a timed pattern, is analogous to a 1-bit DAC. Using a whole DAC for serial communication would be a waste in most cases, but the [RobotsEverywhere] team found an exception which you may have encountered already.

Since the audio output of the Android is accessible and addressable, [RobotsEverywhere] wrote source code to use the left and right channels as separate serial communication lines. This circumvents the need to bust into the device and muck about with the hardware which is great if you want a no-risk hack that allows communications to an RS232 port. Any hardware on which you can write to the DAC (and control the sampling rate) is a potential target.

There are some external electronics required to convert the audio signal to TTL, but it’s not very complicated–a couple of comparators and change. You can see it in action after the break.

As a bonus, when you’re done for the day you can plug in your headphones and listen to the soothing poetry of pulse waves all night long.

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Solderless Drawdio Terminally Implemented

So you’re stuck in a boring class and you can’t fight off the urge to hack something, even your pencil, to pass the time. Maybe you are performing a live electronics show and you drop your synth down a flight of stairs and all that you are left with is a handful of components, a screw terminal block and a pencil. There are thousands, perhaps millions of these kinds of situations and for each one the answer is the solderless drawdio clone by [Martin].

You may have seen the original Drawdio here before, a fun piece of technology that is simple enough to recreate. This latest approach would make an excellent introductory project for a hacking workshop seeing as the guide is straightforward and the lack of soldering would make logistics so much easier. The results are very similar to the original–check the video after the break. Continue reading “Solderless Drawdio Terminally Implemented”

Chumby One becomes a 3g router

[bunnie] has taken a few moments to show us how to turn our Chumby One into a 3g router. As it turns out, there is an easter egg that allows it to communicate with certain models of 3g dongles. There’s no GUI for this trick, so you’ll be doing most of your configuration via SSH. That shouldn’t be a problem for this crowd though. The Chumby One just got a lot more appealing.

Classy hard drive speaker set

hdd_speakers

Hard drive speakers aren’t anything new, but they have yet to be done very professionally. Most hard drive speaker hacks are awesome, but aren’t meant to be a showpiece. [Oliver] took the opportunity to put together a set of 20GB drives and a custom-built acrylic case with a horizontal VU meter up front. The project is well-photographed and documented and can be recreated without the use of laser cutters or other expensive tools. The only thing it’s missing is an iPod dock!

Related: Giant bulb VU meter

Circuit board instrument

[Moldover] decided to change up the way CDs are packaged for his album release. Yes, you still get a CD with some pretty sweet music, but the case can also play sounds. He custom printed a circuit board containing some LEDs, buttons, photoresistors, and what looks to be a piezo transducer which all combine to produce a strange whine like noise. But with the included headphone jack, he shows it can be used to produce some very interesting music – reminds us of circuit bending.

[Thanks Ferdinand]

Hacking the Western Digital TV media player

Western Digital recently released a media player that attaches to your TV and allows you to play HD media straight from an external USB drive to the television. With a price point of about $100, it’s strange that the device hasn’t made more of a stir in the consumer electronics market. Of course, if it exists, someone will hack it, though. Clever hardware and software hackers have already managed to get an alternative firmware running on the device, allowing for packages like a web server, RSS reader, Apple trailer viewer, and other linux-based packages. It’s good to see a device with so many software mods so early into production.

Related: OpenPogo, an alternative to Pogoplug software