Decapping integrated circuits with sap

[James] is interested in reverse engineering some integrated circuits. One of the biggest hurdles in this process has always been just getting to the guts of the chip. He used acetone to dissolve the plastic case but had trouble getting through the epoxy blob. Commonly, the epoxy is soaked in nitric acid for a few minutes but [James] didn’t have access to that chemical. Instead he popped into the local music store and picked up some rosin (used to make violin bows sticky enough to grab the strings of the instrument). After boiling down the rock-hard rosin and the chip for 20 minutes, he got a clean and relatively undamaged semiconductor that he can easily peer into.

RFID transplant

[Zach Charat] didn’t want to carry around yet another card with him so he transplanted the RFID guts from his card to his phone. Soaking the card in nail polish remover for twelve hours got him nowhere, but when he broke out the acetone the card was falling apart in 30 seconds. Above you can see the tiny chip and loop antenna that were left after ditching the plastic. The black bits are electrical tape which he then used to embed this in his Palm Pre’s touchstone charger plate ( which we just saw this in a hack last week).

This works, and while you’re waiting for the world to implement the Leeloo Dallas Multipass it’s a great solution.

[Thanks Coveredwagonkid via Pre Central]

DIY circuit etching video tutorial

toner-paper

Circuit-bending blog GetLoFi has posted the best tutorial yet on home-made printed circuit boards using the toner transfer method.

We’ve covered homebrew PCB fabrication techniques about a billion times before. What sets this tutorial apart is that it collects many bits of knowledge otherwise scattered all about the web, and then depicts the entire process on video, from initial printing to cut PCB…because reading about it versus seeing it done are two different things entirely. They give a number of immensely useful tips throughout: choice of materials and where to get them, tools and techniques, and dispelling several myths about these methods (for example, they’re adamant about not using acetone to clean toner from the PCB). Well worth the 30 minutes to watch. If that’s too much and you’ve been stuck on just one part of the process, the tutorial is in three segments.

Trimming finished boards on a paper cutter? Who would’ve guessed?

[via Make]

Laser etching printed circuit boards


While we hope you enjoyed our How-To: Etch a printed circuit board, toner transfer certainly isn’t the only way to get the job done. [Garrett] from macetech has recently been playing around with using an Epilog laser to etch PCBs. He started by applying a thin even coat of flat black spray paint to the copper board. The laser is used to remove paint in areas that you want the copper removed. Once that’s done, you proceed with etching as usual. He eventually removed the paint mask using acetone. The result has very fine, sharp traces, but most people that have tried this agree that using spray paint is less than ideal.

How-To: Etch a single sided PCB


Making a PCB is very simple; it does not consume a lot of time and the results look professional. After reading this How-To and watching the step by step video, you will be able to make your own PCB in your workshop using just a few inexpensive materials.

Many people use protoboard and point-to-point wire everything, but needing multiple copies of the same circuit is the reason that forces many away from using protoboard. After making your first circuit board, you might not point-to-point wire anything again!

[Read more...]

How-To: Make an RGB combination door lock (Part 2)


In part 1 we showed you how to build your own prototype RGB keypad. Today we’ll show off some new ideas we worked on to create the project and turn it from prototype to fully functional battle station er door lock.

[Read more...]

Check washing vulnerabilities


[vector] sent in some of his other work, but I found his posts(part 1, part 2, part 3 and final thoughts) on check washing experiments pretty interesting. His results should be enough to make you think twice about writing checks. He tested a few different pens and tested them on real check using Acetone and Alcohol as solvents.