Reverse Engineering an LCD Display

ipod

The current marketplace allows hobbyists to easily find inexpensive, well-documented displays, but what if you wanted to interface with something more complicated, such as the screen on an iPod Nano 6? [Mike] has given us a detailed and insightful video showing his process for reverse engineering a device with little-to-no documentation. Here he covers the initial investigation, where one scours the web in search of any available information. In [Mike's] example, the display uses an MIPI D-PHY interface, which he has never worked with. He learns that the MIPI Alliance will provide design specs in exchange for a signed NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) and a modest $8000 fee. Nice.

[Mike] shows off some serious hardware hackery, tackling some extremely difficult soldering in order to set up a proper test platform. He then demonstrates how to use a rather awesome oscilloscope to better understand the display protocol. We found it fascinating to see the video signals displayed as waveforms, especially when he shows how it is possible to count the individual binary values. The amount of information he uncovers with the oscilloscope is nothing short of amazing, proving these little devices are more complex than they seem.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

[Read more...]

AuPod, the solid gold iPod nano watch

aupod

 

The 6th generation iPod nano makes a wonderful watch, but something milled out of aluminum doesn’t lend itself to more formal events. [Ted] liked the idea of an iPod nano watch, but wanted to kick things up a notch and fabricate an 18k gold iPod nano. It took 500 hours and $2500 in materials, but we’d say it’s worth it.

The new 18k gold enclosure for the watch was fabricated using the lost wax casting method. First, all the electronics and buttons were removed from the iPod, then a negative mold was made in silicone rubber. A positive wax mold was made with the silicon mold, and finally another negative mold – this time in plaster – was made by vaporizing the positive wax mold in a furnace.

[Ted] used two one-ounce coins as the source of gold for his nano enclosure, spun into the plaster mold. From there, it’s just a simple but tedious matter of cutting the sprues off, shaping, filing, buffing, and polishing. With a new leather strap, the iPod is reassembled in its new enclosure.

Wonderful work, and amazingly impressive from someone who doesn’t consider himself a jeweler.

Giving the iPod Nano a home on a Honda dashboard

[Hyeinkali's] iPod Nano looks right at home on the dashboard of his 2001 Honda Accord. He got rid of the simple LCD clock and the buttons that were used to set it. The hack holds the iPod securely in place, but it remains easy to remove and take with you.

He started by popping out the bezel that holds the clock module and hazard light button in place. The original display was about the same width as the Nano, but he wasn’t interested in mounting the mp3 player under the dash. Since he needed to be able to take it with him to sync his music library he made a space near the bottom of the bezel to accept the connector end of the USB cable while keeping the device accessible. After connecting the other end to power he covered the hole in the bezel with mesh and put everything back together. We’re not sure if audio is piped into the car stereo via a cable or through Bluetooth, but it does feed to the head unit.

[via Reddit]

Design Challenge Prize update delta


OK guys, I can finally announce all of the prizes for the Hack-A-Day Design Challenge! I’ve been waiting to get things in hand before announcing them all – Everything’s arrived, and it’s a pretty sweet haul.

  1. Fabienne’s Hack-A-Day iPod Nano
  2. MAKE Controller
  3. MAKE Daisy mp3 player kit
  4. SUMO Omni Beanbag
  5. 120 LED Assortment Package

If you’re busy, maybe you just don’t know how sweet some of this stuff is.

Fabienne kindly consented to give up her very own Hack-A-Day engraved iPod nano. It’s been used and the inside thoroughly inspected, but it’s otherwise unmodded.

MAKE gave us one of their new open source MAKE controllers – I opened up the one they sent and it’s pretty sweet. The 55Mhz Atmel SAM7X CPU is on a daughter-board, and the main board has terminals for every connection you could want, along with USB, Ethernet, CAN, Serial… They also sent along one of their new Daisy MP3 player kits. Unlike the controller, this one has to be put together.

Andrew over at sumolounge.com hooked us up with one of their SUMO Omni bean bags. This thing is awesome. It’s the biggest bean bag I’ve ever seen. (I may have to buy the winner another one, my daughter has been going nuts over it )

Finally, [Alan] of Alan’s Electronic Projects sent us a set of his 120 LED assortments along with a handy resistor pack for using them with 5vdc to get things going. The set even includes some 13000mcd white LEDs for making your own portable tanning device.

How do you win all this sweet stuff? You send in a design! You’ve got until December 25th!

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