Handheld consoles are always a tradeoff between portability and screen real estate. [Pavlo Khmel] felt that the Nintendo Switch erred too much on the side of portability, and built an extension to embiggen his Switch. (YouTube)
[Khmel] repurposed a Dell XPS 12 LCD panel for the heart of this hack and attached it to an LCD controller board to serve as an external monitor for the Switch. A 3D printed enclosure envelops the screen and also contains a battery, speakers, and a dock for the console. Along the top edges, metal rails let you slide in the official Joy-Cons or any number of third party controllers, even those that require a power connection from the Switch.
Since the Switch sees this as being docked, it allows the console to run faster and at higher resolution than if it were in handheld mode. The extension lasts about 5 hours on battery power, and the Switch inside will still be fully charged if you don’t mind being constrained to its small screen while you charge it’s bigger-screened exoskeleton.
[Applied Science] wanted to make some metal parts with a lot of holes. A service provider charged high tooling costs, so he decided to create his own parts using photochemical machining. The process is a lot like creating PC boards, but, of course, there are some differences. You can see the video of the results, below.
Some of the parts could be made in different ways like water jet cutting or even stamping. However, some things — like custom screens — are only really feasible to do with a chemical process like this.
Bike frames are most commonly made out of steel. If you’ve got money for something nicer though, you might go with something in aluminium or carbon fiber. [The Q] went completely off-the-wall with this build, though, constructing a bicycle frame out of 147 nuts.
Yes, a variety of nuts in various sizes were laid out and welded together to make the frame. The overall layout is a conventional diamond frame, albeit constructed out of many nuts stuck together rather than with tubes. Notably though, several important areas aren’t made in this way. The front and rear dropouts are made of sheet steel, and the bottom bracket, seat post mount, and headstem are all made of steel tube. After welding, the bike was given an attractive coat of grey paint. It was then laced up with the usual running gear and given a set of chunky mountain bike tires.
We wouldn’t want to push this frame too hard over bumps and jumps. The video only shows the nuts being joined with tack welds, and the front forks look particularly fragile. One suspects a decent shock loading could snap parts of the frame apart. Overall, though, it’s an eye-catching bike that has plenty of easy places to attach a lock. For an ultra-fashionable city-bound cruiser, it would be hard to beat.
Normally when we talk about PCBs and hotplates, we’re talking about reflowing solder. In this build from [Arnov Sharma], though, the PCB itself is the hotplate!
The idea was to create a compact hotplate for easily reflowing small PCBs. To achieve that, [Arnov] designed a board with a thick coil trace that acts as a heating element. The full coil trace has a resistance of 1.9 ohms, and passing electricity through it generates plenty of heat. Running off a 12 volt supply, the mini hotplate is capable of reaching a maximum temperature of 214°C. Higher voltages can push that figure higher.
The board is intended to self-regulate, with an ATtiny13 onboard and a thermistor to measure temperature. However, in the initial design, this feature didn’t quite work properly. Version 2 is intended to include a better temperature sensor and a OLED screen for displaying the current temperature to the user.
If you had an office word processor in the late 1970s, the chances are it ran Digital Research’s CP/M operating system. IBM went for Microsoft in the 1980s and the once-dominant player fell on hard times, but it survives today as a popular choice on retrocomputer platforms. Even the more compact Z80 systems are a little large for 2022, so when [Kian Ryan] needed the ultimate in CP/M portability it fell on a more modern piece of silicon. Hence he’s put it on a tiny RP2040-based board from Pimoroni alongside an Adafruit micro SD card breakout.
The tiny hardware is neat of course, but the real star of the show is the software. Non-CP/M aficionados will be interested to learn about RunCPM, and for this project, RunCPM 2040. This provides an emulated environment on a host microcontroller to run CP/M, allowing the operating system to be hosted on easier hardware than some of the original machines.
All this makes for a tiny development machine, but perhaps of more interest would be a machine that’s all-in-one with a display and perhaps a keyboard. The RP2040 is interesting in this case because of those programmable state machines. Could it be made to run a video display alongside RunCPM? We hope someone has a go at writing it.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, you couldn’t swing a stapler around any size office without hitting a fax machine. But what is it about the fax machine that makes it the subject of so much derision? Is it the beep-boops? The junk faxes? Or do they just seem horribly outdated in the world of cloud storage and thumb drives? Perhaps all of the above is true. While I may be Hackaday’s resident old school office worker et cetera, it may surprise you to learn that I don’t have a fax machine. In fact, the last time I had to fax something, I recall having to give my email address to some website in order to send a single fax for free.
Over across the pond, the UK government has decided to nix the requirement for fax services under something called the Universal Service Order (USO) legislation, which essentially ensures that residents all across the UK have access to phone services at a price they can afford. The UK’s Office of Communications, aka Ofcom, have announced recently that they are in agreement with the government. Since the industry is moving away from the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to IP telephony, the fax machine won’t work the same way.
As more and more electric vehicles penetrate the market, there’s going to have to be a proportional rise in the number of charging stations that are built into parking garages, apartment complexes, and even private homes. And the more that happens, the more chargers we’re going to start seeing where security is at best an afterthought in their design.
But as this EV charger teardown and reverse engineering shows, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. The charger is a Zaptec Pro station that can do up to 22 kW, and the analysis was done by [Harrison Sand] and [Andreas Claesson]. These are just the kinds of chargers that will likely be widely installed over the next decade, and there’s surprisingly little to them. [Harrison] and [Andreas] found a pair of PCBs, one for the power electronics and one for the control circuits. The latter supports a number of connectivity options, like 4G, WiFi, and Bluetooth, plus some RFID and powerline communications. There are two microcontrollers, a PIC and an ARM Cortex-A7.
Despite the ARM chip, the board seemed to lack an obvious JTAG port, and while some unpopulated pads did end up having a UART line, there was no shell access possible. An on-board micro SD card slot seemed an obvious target for attack, and some of the Linux images they tried yielded at least a partial boot-up, but without knowing the specific hardware configuration on the board, that’s just shooting in the dark. That’s when the NAND flash chip was popped off the board to dump the firmware, which allowed them to extract the devicetree and build a custom bootloader to finally own root.
The article has a lot of fascinating details on the exploit and what they discovered after getting in, like the fact that even if you had the factory-set Bluetooth PIN, you wouldn’t be able to get free charging. So overall, a pretty good security setup, even if they were able to get in by dumping the firmware. This all reminds us a little of the smart meter reverse engineering our friend [Hash] has been doing, in terms of both methodology and results.