Hacking a hack: disassembly and sniffing of IM-ME binary

It’s fun to pick apart code, but it gets more difficult when you’re talking about binaries. [Joby Taffey] opened up the secrets to one of [Travis Goodspeed’s] hacks by disassembling and sniffing the data from a Zombie Gotcha game binary.

We looked in on [Travis’] work yesterday at creating a game using sprites on the IM-ME. He challenged readers to extract the 1-bit sprites from an iHex binary and that’s what got [Joby] started. He first tried to sniff the LCD data traces using a Bus Pirate but soon found the clock signal was much too fast for the device to reliably capture the signals. After looking into available source code from other IM-ME hacks [Joby] found how the SPI baud rate is set, then went to work searching for that in a disassembly of [Travis’] binary. Once found, he worked through the math necessary to slow down communication from 2.7 Mbit/s to 2400 bps and altered the binary data to match that change. This slower speed is more amenable to the Bus Pirate’s capabilities and allowed him to dump the sprite data as it was sent to the LCD screen.

[Thanks Travis]

Free laundry redux

[Koala] was worried his pseudo smart card trick wouldn’t be considered a HackaDay worthy. We’re more worried the internet police will find this article and have us all tarred and feathered.

Jokes aside, it seems Laundromat owners sure aren’t learning. Long story short, using a Bus Pirate and a few techniques we’ve seen before for smart card hacking [Koala] is able to write whatever amount he needs onto his pseudo smart card; thus giving him a free load of laundry.

Laser cut and printable cases

If you’re like us you’ve got quite a few prototyping tools that are bare PCB boards. If you’re using them a lot you might want to protect them with some type of case but the lack of mounting holes can make this difficult. One popular solution to this problem is to design a case for a perfect fit, then cut it with a laser or print it out of plastic. We’ve got examples of both.

[Stewart Allen] set to work designing laser cut cases for the AVR Dragon and the Bus Pirate V2go after seeing our post about on-the-go prototyping. We think this is especially important if you have an AVR Dragon as it’s been known to bite the dust if the bottom is shorted out. If you have access to a laser cutter you can download is DXF files and the models and cut your own.

If you don’t have a laser cutter but can get some time with a 3D printer check out the Bus Pirate V2go printed case and the Arduino printed case.

Storage for your hacking needs

Sometimes your project needs a lot of non-volatile ROM, right on cue [Matthew] let us know how to not only connect, interface, read, and write to SD cards with a PIC over serial, but also how to do the above mentioned with an old PATA HDD. For those without a PIC/serial connection don’t fret, [nada] let us know about his Bus Pirate SD card hack, of which our personal favorite part is the creative use of an old 5.25″ floppy connector as the SD card socket.

Bus Pirate preorder 2 update


A few weeks ago we held a preorder for the Bus Pirate universal serial interface tool. We split the preorder into two parts due to a shortage of PIC 24FJ64GA002-I/SO chips. The first preorder is arriving worldwide now, the second preorder has a longer lead time. Here’s everything we currently know about preorder 2, it’s subject to change, but we wanted to keep you up to date.

Preorder 2 contains orders for 563 Bus Pirates. Seeed Studio noticed an error in our quality control testing routine that misclassified about 50 preorder 1 Bus Pirates as defective. We updated the test and passing units will ship immediately to preorder 2 participants on a first come, first serve basis. Another 500 PICs are scheduled to arrive after August 1, which should take care of most remaining orders.

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Parts: Unboxing the Bus Pirate


For months we’ve used our Bus Pirate universal serial interface tool to demonstrate electronics parts, so it’s only appropriate that the Bus Pirate get it’s own parts post. We recently had a Bus Pirate preorder, and today we received the pre-production Bus Pirate prototype from Seeed Studio. This prototype was mailed just a few days before preorder 1 started to ship, so those packages should start arriving any day.

Follow along as we unbox the prototype Bus Pirate, and connect it to a debugger to determine the PIC24FJ64GA002-I/SO revision that shipped with this board. Use this post to share your own Bus Pirate unboxing experience. Pictures and discussion after the break.

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Bus Pirate preorder 1 ships


A few weeks ago we held a pre-order for the Bus Pirate V2go, the first official Hack a Day hardware. We had initially hoped for a group purchase of 20 or 40 Bus Pirates, maybe 200 if it was extremely popular. In total, nearly a thousand Bus Pirates will be made.

The first 350 Bus Pirates (pre-order 1) have already been manufactured and tested. Seeed Studio has done a great job handling the orders, pre-order 1 should start shipping more than a week early. How long will it take to get to your mail box? It will vary for everyone, but our packages usually arrive from Seeed in 7 days.

Seeed sent us pictures of the Bus Pirate depaneling, programming, and quality control process. Check them out after the break.

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