SD activity indicator for Wii

[DeadlyFoez] wanted to know when the SD card in his Nintendo Wii was in use. He built and indicator LED using a PICAXE 08M and added it next to the SD slot. He uses one pin of the microcontroller to monitor the voltage on one pin of the SD card slot. That pin has a specific value when the card is idle, which rises when it’s in use. He didn’t share the details of which pin he’s sampling, or what the magic number from his source code actually represents. But the concept should be enough of a start if you want to do this one yourself. Watch it go blink-ity-blink in the clip after the break.

[Read more...]

MP3 player barely larger than an SD card

If your board fabrication and soldering skills are up to it, you can make your own tiny MP3 player. This rendition is just about half again as large as a standard SD card, whose slot is on the bottom of the board seen above. The heavy lifting is taken care of by a VS1011 MP3 decoder which also has its own stereo headphone driver on-chip. There’s no display and it seems that most of the 4k of program memory on the PIC 18LF88 is being used. Too bad, we’d love to take this to the next level, attaching it to the head unit in a car and spoofing the communications as if this were a CD changer.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Chumby webserver using upgraded internal storage

The Chumby One has an internal SD card offering a fair amount of storage. [Kenneth Finnegan's] came with a 1 GB card that had about 500 MB left over which he filled with a collection of MP3s. But he wanted to do more and so installed a pre-compiled version of lighttpd to act as a web server. The problem is that this binary requires a thumb drive to be plugged in because it maps the storage directory to the mounted USB folder. He wasn’t happy with that so he upgraded the internal SD card and rolled his own webserver to run from the internal SD card.

The upgrade involved going from a 1 GB to an 8 GB microSD card. In order to run the webserver internally he needed to recompile lighttpd to use a different root directory. This meant setting up an ARM cross-compiler and eventually finding a new place for the start up script. The location change for the ‘lighty’ directory leaves us wondering if a symlink couldn’t have solve the problem without recompilation. But we don’t have the hardware on hand to try this out ourselves.

But if you want to give it a shot, check out [Bunnie's] post about Chumby-based hardware. Looks like you can head out to the big-box store and have one in hand without shelling out too many clams.

RC controlled camera takes intimate video of rodents

[Leor] wanted to take some video of the wildlife in his yard, like this chipmunk or some hummingbirds, but every time he tried to get close it scared them away. His solution was to rig up a cheap video recorder to be radio controlled (PDF). The donor camera was a cheap SD card based eBay purchase that takes 720×480 video. [Leor] removed the SMD switches from the recorder’s PCB and wired up a 4066 quad bi-lateral switch IC in its place. An RC toy car donated the receiver transmitter pair. The receiver signals are monitored by an AVR microcontroller which translates the commands in a proper set of button presses for the video. What you get is a controller that and turn the camera on and set to the proper mode, and the ability to start and stop the recording.

We’ve got some pics of the hardware after the break, and [Leor] posted a bit of the chipmunk video for your enjoyment.

[Read more...]

New nook says: no root for you!

That is a blurry image of a Barnes & Noble Nook eReader stuck in an infinite reboot loop. This is the result of trying to downgrade the firmware to 1.0 in preparation to soft-root the device. So after a few failures the device will recover itself, right? It doesn’t look that way. No problem, don’t you just pop it open and re-write the OS to the SD card inside to do a hardware root? Nope, it looks like the newest hardware revision has replaced that convenient SD card with a memory chip.

For now it’s a brick, but we’re sure there will soon be a way to fix this. A bit of solder, some wires, and a reflash should work much in the same way an EEPROM recovery does. That is, if you have an original image to work with.

So for now, be careful not to attempt to root your nook if the serial number starts with 1003.

[Thanks Ken]

2 foot tall POV globe

[Ytai] let us know about his POV globe, all four parts of its current progress. While he says he was inspired to write up the project from a YouTube clip, we know the real reason. Regardless, the plan is to have a 2 foot diameter globe with 256 LEDs spinning at 50 revolutions per second streaming images from an SD card using SPI. While the project isn’t completed yet, we know [Ytai] will pull through like he has in the past, and you can be sure we’ll keep you up to date on his progress.

Emulating an Amiga floppy drive

[Retromaster's] Ultimate Floppy Emulator is a wicked display of hardware mastery. It is the culmination of several design stages aimed at replacing an Amiga floppy drive with a modern storage solution. You may be thinking that using an SD card in place of a floppy isn’t all that interesting but this hack does much more. The board, controlled by a PIC32, patches into the Amiga keyboard and monitor. This allows you to bring up an overlay menu for controlling the emulator in order to configure which virtual floppy disk is currently ‘in the drive’. He’s even gone so far as to add a piezo speaker to mimic the sounds the original drive head would make while reading a disk.

[Thanks Gokhan]

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