Hackaday Prize 2022: Saving The World, One Brew At A Time

OK, so maybe [satanistik] is overreaching with his project title “Save the Coffee, Save the World” but keeping an otherwise working coffee machine out of the landfill by hacking around its broken display is nonetheless a worthy pursuit. The juice must flow!

The busted display used a SSD1303 controller OLED module, for which the SSD1305Z is an almost-compatible module. Almost. The one glitch is that the screen is filled in the opposite direction by default. Digging through the manuals, there is a screen-direction bit to set, and tracing out the communication with a logic analyzer, it’s set the wrong way with every screen refresh. If only he could flip that one bit while it’s in transit. Time to man-in-the-middle!

While we certainly would have put a microcontroller in the game, [satanistik] goes old-school. A two-IC logic solution can do exactly the same thing, trading wires for code. The final iteration of the converter board is correspondingly spartan, but it does its one job.

So if you’ve got a Nivona coffee machine with a bum display, or perhaps an Agilent U1273A multimeter, or any other piece of equipment that needs a hard-to-find SSD1303 controller, now you have a ready-made solution. But if not, and you find yourself looking for a display that you can’t find, let this serve as an example to you – with a little (fun) effort, you can hack it back.

10 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize 2022: Saving The World, One Brew At A Time

    1. Yeah, especially unofficial scrapyards otherwise known as the local dump. Other than salvaging electric / electronic stuff I also learnt a lot about the behavior of rats.

  1. That’s a really nice hack! He says in the project that this could be applied to some crazy expensive Agilent multimeters. Can somebody forward this information to the guy (i never remeber his name…) from TheSignalPath. Iirc he had a similar problem a few weeks ago and ordered some expensive board with a small FPGA i think (or was it a micro?) that inverts the entire picture. Looks like it is possible to simply change the scan direction -> less silicon needed and easier to DIY.

    1. I sell two versions on eBay. The one that the Shahriar bought and another based on the same technique that this mod uses. You can check the listings to see the difference in the output. The OLED controllers have changed over the years. The SSD1305 could be modded with a $2 flash chip to get a perfect display replacement but the newer SSD1309 has had a few more changes to the layout of the display memory that prevent that method from working. Some people prefer easy and glitchless and some people prefer DIY for a lower price. I like the idea of building the DIY version into a board with power supply circuitry to avoid the need for the customer to do soldering but right now I’m investigating LCD replacement. Just drew it out and it looks like the 2.1″ LCD will cover the bottom screw holes on the U1273A.

      1. Yes, it’s few type on market, but my design is original. I made it in 2019 when compatible displays are still available. On eevblog one guys have similar solution based on flash memory. But I publish my design to help people fix his machine.

        1. It’s a good design. My only concern is that the SSD1305 might not continue to be produced or may be old stock. I’ve asked suppliers but it’s hard to get a straight answer. The SSD1309 works but has a pixel offset. The logic chips are also hard to come by and cost nearly $2 without shipping because of the part shortage. For that sum, an STM32 could be used. I think the benefit of logic chips is lower power consumption and not having to program is a big time savings.

          1. I think about use of CPLD or uP but it’s only a simple way to fix kitchen device. Broken line don’t look good but usage of machine is not worst. And all hackers around the world can make it using lot combination of cmos/ttl chip from scratch.

  2. I work for a company who repair these coffee machines. It’s a really common problem on the Nivona and we actually swap a lot of displays out. Obviously new parts from Nivona and they’re fairly expensive.

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