Developing a Sega Game Gear flash cartridge

[Gerry O’Brien] tackled his most recent project, designing a flash ROM cartridge for the Sega Game Gear, with great success. Above you can see the test rig he used to reverse engineer the communications between an original ROM chip and the circuit board that it came on. He removed the chip, soldered a ZIF socket to the pads, then used a DIP socket as an adapter for that chip. Connected to each pin is a test lead for a logic analyzer. That’s a heck of a lot of channels to decipher!

It turns out that the cartridges use Integrated Mapping (does anyone have a link explaining this?) so dropping in a flash memory chip is not an option; you need a memory bank controller. [Gerry’s] solution to this issue is twofold: you can etch your own board with a controller chip and ZIF socket for the flash chip, or you can modify a Sega Master System cartridge to use as an adapter board. We’ve got pictures of both methods after the break, as well as his five instructional videos walking us through the fabrication process.

This isn’t [Gerry’s] first time working with flash cartridges. We looked at his work with Game Boy ROMS earlier in the year.

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Cheap and easy SMS via GSM for your MCU

Non acronym version of the title: send and receive text messages via cell phone communication towers using an Arduino or other microcontroller. “We’ve been doing that for years!” you cry, well yes, technically. But [Fincham] lays it outs simply; commercial offerings are expensive and finding a cell phone that uses RS232 now a days is getting difficult, so a new way of doing the same old is necessary. The good news is USB GSM modems are readily available, cheap, and only require a few interface pins to get them talking with an Arduino. In fact, the image above is all you need.

Location tracking with Twitter and Google maps

[Ryan O’Hara] built a location tracker he could use on motorcycle trips. Ostensibly this is to give his wife piece of mind be we think that was an excuse to play with GPS and SMS. To stand up to the trials of the road [Ryan] took his breadboarded prototype to the next level, using a manufactured board and a SparkFun enclosure. Tucked safely away is a PIC 18F25K20 gathering longitude and latitude from a GM862, formatting the info into a Google Maps link, and sending it to the Twitter feed via an SMS message. If you’re not familiar with the GM862, in addition to being a GPS module it can send and receive cellular data on a GSM network.

This is a nice solid hardware platform from which we can envision a couple of other hacks. The feed could be parsed to make a nice map graphic like the webpage for that Twittering Road Bike. It also might be nice to have a d-pad and character LCD to post your own tweets to the feed at the end of the day.

Sewer clog alert system


[miketysklar] noticed that a local business was having trouble with their sewage lines. People kept flushing tampons down toilets and it ended up clogging the pump. They had already installed a set of lights and horns to go off when it clogged, but they were hoping for SMS capability so they would know wherever they were. The new system piggybacks off the flashing lights by powering an XBee when they are activated. The signal it sends is recieved by another XBee attached to a computer running a python script. The script then sends a SMS via email to the poor fellow who has to fix it.

Related: Wireless Bootloading

GSM remote control project

It’s been a while since we’d seen any new SMS/GSM/serial remote interface projects. [Emanuele] sent in his version of a project to do just that. It uses a PIC16F84 and will send or receive commands. A pair of relays provide options for controlling whatever you want to hook it up to. You’ll need a login, but he’s released the full schematics and firmware. He developed this to find uses for old phones, but an alternative is to pick up a cheap calling card cell and dedicate it to a project like this. This seems like a great way to add an out of band alarm system to your house/car/robotic minion.

Notacon 2008: Dropping humanity in non-places

[Nate Graham] gave a presentation on what he considers ‘new media art’, the convergence of art and technology. He covered quite a few great examples of what new media art is from many categories: a mower that creates pixel art, Cory Arcangel’s famous Super Mario Clouds hack, a whale hunt whose photo capture rate depended on the participant’s heart rate, the bike based SMS printer for protests.

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