Repair stuck iPod Nano buttons

A system is only as strong as its weakest link and [Roberto Barrios] found that on the sixth generation iPod nano the buttons are the problem. It makes sense that the buttons would be exposed to wear since they’re movable parts. The issue isn’t one of contacts or springs wearing out, but how the buttons are assembled. Each consist of a couple of parts; the tactile piece that you see and press, the electrical switch which converts that force into an electrical signal, and a shim that bridges the gap between the two.

After two months of use the iPod [Roberto] was fixing had stopped responding to presses of the Power button. It turns out that the shims are attached with double-sided tape. Inspection of the internals revealed that the shim had slid to one side and no longer made contact with the electrical system. His solution was to remove the tape and clean off the goo, then reattach the shims using “two-part metal cement”.

With the shim back in place all is well but he made sure to execute this fix on all of the buttons before reassembly.

iPod nano 6g closer to being cracked

[Steven Troughton-Smith] figured out how to push signed firmware through to the iPod Nano 6g. This is accomplished by modifying iRecovery to recognize the device on the USB after forcing a recovery mode reboot. So no, this doesn’t mean that it has been cracked since it checks the firmware you push and reboots if it’s not approved. But if you can figure out how to craft a custom image that passes the check you can call yourself a jailbreak author.

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SmartLCD makes video for microcontrollers easy

[Rossum] developed a host board that makes it easy to drive a TFT screen using an inexpensive microcontroller. He’s looked around at a bunch of LCD’s that are easy to get your hands on and decided that the iPod Nano 2G screens are the right balance of performance (176×132 TFT) and low cost ($1-$5). They’re not particularly difficult to talk to, but with 22 pins they’re a bit hardware hungry.

He takes us through the signal sniffing he used to figure out the communications process. From there he harness the power of an ARM Cortex M0 processor, which he’s worked with in the past, to drive the screen. His implementation results in a driver board called the SmartLCD that takes care of the screen’s parallel protocol, power, and backlight. From there it’s just four connections and you can use a small microcontroller like the Arduino seen above with ease. See what it can do after the break.

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Making magnetite nanocrystals

Unlike many chemistry projects we post here, making magnetite nanocrystals doesn’t require anything that can’t be found in a local grocery store. All that is required is oil, vinegar, crystal drain opener, and rust. We don’t recognize the specific brand of drain cleaner that they are using, but we’re sure that you could find one with the same ingredients. Magnetite nanocrystals  are used to remove arsenic from water. If you are in the USA or most of Europe, that’s not a big concern, but it can’t hurt can it?

[via Make]

Linux (via iLoader) out for Nano 2G

Iloader

[Linux4Nano] over at the [Gna! repositories] have just finalized a breakthrough for their bootloaderproject.  Because the iPod Nano 2G has a hardware encryption chip, it could previously not be flashed with a custom firmware. By digging around in some assembly code (and working their magic) the team was able to get Linux onto the 2G, develop drivers for its peripherals (screen, clickwheel and serial interface are a few), and put all of that code into a package convenient to install by the end user. If you’ve ever considered installing uClinux (the ported distro) on your Nano, the [Linux4Nano] team have made the iLoader an easy place to start.

Update: Closer inspection yields that the iLoader is not yet able to load uClinux onto a 2G because it has not been ported. However, it can reload it with other custom firmware which is still a solid breakthrough.

Arduino Nano updated

arduinonano

The official Arduino Nano design has been updated to version 3.0. Like other new Arduino designs, it’s using the ATmega328 instead of the ATmega168. It’s also a slightly more reasonable $35. The small board is designed to be plugged directly into a breadboard and accessed via mini USB cable. This new design is also two layers instead of four making it easier to produce and modify. The new Nanos will ship at the end of the month.