MovieCart Plays Videos On The Atari 2600

The original Xbox and PlayStation 2 both let you watch DVD movies in addition to playing games. Seldom few consoles before or since offered much in the way of media, least of all the Atari 2600, which was too weedy to even imagine such feats. And yet, as covered by TechEBlog[Lodef Mode] built a cartridge that lets it play video.

It’s pretty poor quality video, but it is video! The MovieCart, as it is known, is able to play footage at 80×192 resolution, with a color palette limited by the capabilities of the Atari 2600 hardware. It’s not some sneaky video pass-through, either—the Atari really is processing the frames.

To play a video using the MovieCart, you first have to prepare it using a special utility that converts video into the right format for the cart. The generated video file is then loaded on a microSD card which is then inserted into the MovieCart. All you then have to do is put the MovieCart into the Atari’s cartridge slot and boot it up.  Sound is present too, in a pleasingly lo-fi quality. Control of picture brightness and sound volume is via joystick. You could genuinely watch a movie this way if you really wanted to. I’d put on House of Gucci.

Thanks to the prodigious storage available on microSD cards, you can actually play a whole feature length movie on the hardware this way. You can order a MovieCart of your very own from Tindie, and it even comes with a public domain copy of Night of the Living Dead preloaded on a microSD card.

We don’t see a big market for Atari 2600 movies, but it’s neat to see it done. Somehow it reminds us of the hacked HitClips carts from a while ago. Video after the break.

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Mirror, Mirror, Electron Mirror…

If you look into an electron mirror, you don’t expect to see your reflection. As [Anthony Francis-Jones] points out, what you do see is hard to explain. The key to an electron mirror is that the electric and magnetic fields are 90 degrees apart, and the electrons are 90 degrees from both.

You need a few strange items to make it all work, including an electron gun with a scintillating screen in a low-pressure tube. Once he sets an electric field going, the blue line representing the electrons goes from straight to curved.

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Reggaeton-Be-Gone Disconnects Obnoxious Bluetooth Speakers

If you’re currently living outside of a Spanish-speaking country, it’s possible you’ve only heard of the music genre Reggaeton in passing, if at all. In places with large Spanish populations, though, it would be more surprising if you hadn’t heard it. It’s so popular especially in the Carribean and Latin America that it’s gotten on the nerves of some, most notably [Roni] whose neighbor might not do anything else but listen to this style of music, which can be heard through the walls. To solve the problem [Roni] is now introducing the Reggaeton-Be-Gone. (Google Translate from Spanish)

Inspired by the TV-B-Gone devices which purported to be able to turn off annoying TVs in bars, restaurants, and other places, this device can listen to music being played in the surrounding area and identify whether or not it is hearing Reggaeton. It does this using machine learning, taking samples of the audio it hears and making decisions based on a trained model. When the software, running on a Raspberry Pi, makes a positive identification of one of these songs, it looks for Bluetooth devices in the area and attempts to communicate with them in a number of ways, hopefully rapidly enough to disrupt their intended connections.

In testing with [Roni]’s neighbor, the device seems to show promise although it doesn’t completely disconnect the speaker from its host, instead only interfering with it enough for the neighbor to change locations. Clearly it merits further testing, and possibly other models trained for people who use Bluetooth speakers when skiing, hiking, or working out. Eventually the code will be posted to this GitHub page, but until then it’s not the only way to interfere with your neighbor’s annoying stereo.

Thanks to [BaldPower] and [Alfredo] for the tips!

Op-Amp Drag Race Turns Out Poorly For 741

When it was first introduced in 1968, Fairchild’s 741 op-amp made quite a splash. And with good reason; it packed a bunch of components into a compact package, and the applications for it were nearly limitless. The chip became hugely popular, to the point where “741” is almost synonymous with “op-amp” in the minds of many.

But should it be? Perhaps not, as [More Than Electronics] reveals with this head-to-head speed test that compares the 741 with its FET-input cousin, the TL081. The test setup is pretty simple, just a quick breadboard oscillator with component values selected to create a square wave at approximately 1-kHz, with oscilloscope probes on the output and across the 47-nF timing capacitor. The 741 was first up, and it was quickly apparent that the op-amp’s slew rate, or the rate of change of the output, wasn’t too great. Additionally, the peaks on the trace across the capacitor were noticeably blunted, indicating slow switching on the 741’s output stage. The TL081 fared quite a bit better in the same circuit, with slew rates of about 13 V/μS, or about 17 times better than the 741, and nice sharp transitions on the discharge trace.

As [How To Electronics] points out, comparing the 741 to the TL081 is almost apples to oranges. The 741 is a bipolar device, and comparing it to a device with JFET inputs is a little unfair. Still, it’s a good reminder that not all op-amps are created equal, and that just becuase two jelly bean parts are pin compatible doesn’t make them interchangeable. And extra caution is in order in a world where fake op-amps are thing, too.

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Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C Makes It To The Lunar Surface In US Return After Half A Century

Intuitive Machines’ first mission (IM-1) featuring the Nova-C Odysseus lunar lander was launched on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 on February 15th, 2024, as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS). Targeting a landing site near the lunar south pole, it was supposed to use its onboard laser range finders to help it navigate safely for a soft touchdown on the lunar surface. Unfortunately, it was this component that was found to have malfunctioned as the spacecraft was already in lunar orbit. Fortunately, there was a workaround. By using one of the NASA payloads on the lander, the Navigation Doppler Lidar (NDL), the mission could continue.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the use of the NDL as a fallback option was considered before launch, and since its functionality overlaps with that of the primary laser range finders of Nova-C, it was pressed into service with a new configuration uploaded by IM operators back on Earth before Nova-C committed to a landing burn. Then, on February 22nd, the spacecraft began its descent to the surface, which also involved the Eaglecam payload that was designed to be released before snapping a self-portrait of the lander as it descended.

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Ask Hackaday: What’s In Your Garage?

No matter what your hack of choice is, most of us harbor a secret fantasy that one day, we will create something world-changing, right? For most of us, that isn’t likely, but it does happen. A recent post from [Rohit Krishnan] points out that a lot of innovation happens in garages by people who are more or less like us.

He points out that Apple, Google, and HP all started in garages. So did Harley Davidson. While it wasn’t technically a garage, the Wright brothers were in a bicycle workshop, which is sort of a garage for bikes. Even Philo Farnsworth started out in a garage. Of course, all of those were a few years ago, too. Is it too late to change the world from your workbench?


We’d argue basements are at least as important (although in southern Texas, they call garages Lone Star basements since no one has proper basements). The real point of the article, though, isn’t the power of the garage. Rather, it is the common drive and spirit of innovators to do whatever it takes to make their vision a reality. A few hundred bucks and an oddball space has given birth to many innovations.

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Hackaday Podcast Episode 259: Twin-T, Three-D, And Driving To A Tee

Hackaday Editors Elliot Williams and Al Williams sat down to compare notes on their favorite Hackaday posts of the week. You can listen in on this week’s podcast. The guys talked about the latest Hackaday contest and plans for Hackaday Europe. Plus, there’s a what’s that sound to try. Your guess can’t be worse than Al’s, so take a shot. You could win a limited-edition T-shirt.

In technical articles, Elliot spent the week reading about brushless motor design, twin-t oscillators, and a truly wondrous hack to reverse map a Nintendo Switch PCB. Al was more nostalgic, looking at the 555 and an old Radio Shack kit renewed. He also talked about a method to use SQL to retrieve information from Web APIs.

Quick hacks were a decided mix with everything from homemade potentiometers to waterproof 3D printing. Finally, the guys talked about Hackaday originals. Why don’t we teach teens to drive with simulators? And why would you want to run CP/M — the decades-old operating system — under Linux?

Download the file suitable for listening, burning on CDs, or pressing on vinyl.

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