Recycled Foam Box is Now A Weather Station

Raspberry pi in foam box

When [Ioannis] received some high resolution LCD’s in a tattered foam box, he posed to himself a most interesting question – Should he throw the foam box away, or use it as a container for a project? Fortunately for us, he decided on the latter and threw together a very capable weather station!

Having only an hour to spare, [Ioannis] grabbed a Raspberry Pi, WiFi USB stick and a camera module and went to work. He mounted the camera module to the foam lid using a highly advanced technique, and soldered a cable that would power the device directly to D17 – a Zener diode that sits on the bottom of the board.

For the weather data, he’s using another design of his – the Sensor Stick. This nifty device — which we featured over the weekend — is about the size of a stick of chewing gum, and sports an array of sensors including the popular BMP085, which can measure pressure and temperature .

He wraps up everything using open source software to get the data from the weather station. Pretty impressive for an old foam box and an hours time! This would be an interesting start to a home automation system. Connect it to motorized windows and/or a sprinkler system and he’s on his way to claiming The Hackaday Prize.

NSA Technology Goes Open Hardware

Raspi, GPS, USB hub and battery hooked together

When [Edward Snowden] smeared the internet with classified NSA documents, it brought to light the many spying capabilities our government has at its disposal. One the most interesting of these documents is known as the ANT catalog. This 50 page catalog, now available to the public, reads like a mail order form where agents can simply select the technology they want and order it. One of these technologies is called the Sparrow II, and a group of hackers at Hyperion Bristol has attempted to create their own version.

The Sparrow II is an aerial surveillance platform designed to map and catalog WiFi access points. Think wardriving from a UAV. Now, if you were an NSA agent, you could just order yourself one of these nifty devices from the ANT catalog for a measly 6 grand.  However, if you’re like most of us, you can use the guidance from Hyperion Bristol to make your own.

They start off with a Raspi, a run-of-the-mill USB WiFi adapter, a Ublox GY-NEO6MV2 GPS Module, and a 1200 mAh battery to power it all. Be sure to check out the link for full details.

Thanks to [Joe] for the tip!

 

 

 

Solderless Pogo-Pins For Flashing Routers

Solderless Router Pins

Low-cost wireless routers are a dime a dozen these days — but what happens if you need to flash the firmware? Normally you’d have to solder in a serial connection in order to access it, but [Luka Mustafa] had another idea — pogo-pins!

It’s actually quite easy to make a small PCB with pogo-pins and then use a 3D printed bracket or alignment jig in order to make connection. They currently only have designs for a few TP-Links (WR740 and WR741ND) on their GitHub, but more will be added soon. They’ve also included instructions on how to restore firmware on any of these devices with their handy-dandy pogo-pin PCB.

[Luka] is one of the guys behind IRNAS (the acronym is in Slovenian), a non-profit open-source company that makes lots of cool projects. They believe in open-source and sharing technology in order to empower the world.

And if you’ve royally bricked your router it could be possible to unbrick it with a Raspberry Pi!

Send Wireless TXT between Two TI Calculators

 

TI calculators with wireless circuitry

One day while sitting in class in a Cornell University schoolroom, [Will] and [Michael] thought how cool it would be to send text messages to each other via their Texas Instruments calculators.  Connecting the two serial ports with a serial cable was out of the question. So they decided to develop a wireless link that would work for both TI-83 and TI-84 calculators.

The system is powered by a pair of ATmega644’s and two Radiotronix RF Modules that creates a wireless link between the two serial ports. The serial ports are 3 wire ports, which can be used for several things, including acting as a TV out port. [Will] and [Michael] reverse engineered the port’s protocol and did an excellent job at explaining it in full detail. Because they are dealing with the lowest level of the physical protocol, there is no need for them to deal with higher levels like checksums, header packets, ext.

Be sure to stick around after the break to see a video of the project in action. It’s quite slow for today’s standards. If you have any ideas on how to speed it up, be sure to let everyone know in the comments.

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Sniping 2.4GHz

sniper

A long time ago when WiFi and Bluetooth were new and ‘wardriving’ was still a word, a few guys put a big antenna on a rifle and brought it to DefCon. Times have changed, technology has improved, and now [Hunter] has built his own improved version.

The original sniper Yagi was a simple device with a 2.4 GHz directional antenna taped onto the barrel, but without any real computational power. Now that displays, ARM boards, and the software to put this project all together are cheap and readily available, [Hunter] looked towards ubiquitous computing platforms to make his Sniper Yagi a little more useful.

This version uses a high gain (25dBi) antenna, a slick fold-out screen, and a Raspberry Pi loaded up with Raspberry Pwn, the pentesting Raspi distro, to run the gun. There’s a button connected to the trigger that will automatically search the WiFi spectrum for the best candidate for cracking and… get cracking.

[Hunter] says he hasn’t taken this highly modified airsoft rifle outside, nor has he pointed out a window. This leaves us with the question of how he’s actually testing it, but at least it looks really, really cool.

Measuring Frequency Response with an RTL-SDR Dongle and a Diode

[Hans] wanted to see the frequency response of a bandpass filter but didn’t have a lot of test equipment. Using an RTL-SDR dongle, some software and a quickly made noise generator, he still managed to get a rough idea of the filter’s characteristics.

How did he do it? He ‘simply’ measured his noise generator frequency characteristics with and without the bandpass filter connected to its output and then subtracted one curve with the other. As you can see in the diagram above, the noise generator is based around a zener diode operating at the reverse breakdown voltage. DC blocking is then done with a simple capacitor.

Given that a standard RTL-SDR dongle can only sample a 2-3MHz wide spectrum gap at a time, [Hans] used rtlsdr-scanner to sweep his region of interest. In his write-up, he also did a great job at describing the limitations of such an approach: for example, the dynamic range of the ADC is only 48dB.

Building a Mesh Networked Conference Badge

[Andrew] just finished his write-up describing electronic conference badges that he built for a free South African security conference (part1, part2). The end platform shown above is based on an ATMega328, a Nokia 5110 LCD, a 433MHz AM/OOK TX/RX module, a few LEDs and buttons.

The badges form a mesh network to send messages. This allows conversations between different attendees to be tracked. Final cost was the main constraint during this adventure, which is why these particular components were chosen and bought from eBay & Alibaba.

The first PCB prototypes were CNC milled. Once the PCB milling was complete there was a whole lot of soldering to be done. Luckily enough [Andrew]‘s friends joined in to solder the 77 final boards. He also did a great job at documenting the protocol he setup, which was verified using the open source tool Maltego. Click past the break to see two videos of the system in action.

[Read more...]

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