Tiny Tape Cartridge Remembered And A Teardown

If you want to add sound to something these days, you usually store it digitally. Microcontrollers are cheap and fast, and you can hold a lot of audio on a small flash card or in a ROM. But back “in the day,” storing audio was often done with tape. If you wanted something you could automate, you often turned to an endless loop tape. They had the advantage of not needing rewinding and had a way to sense spots on the tape (usually the start). The 8-track, for example, was an endless loop tape, and radio stations used “carts” (technically Fedelipak cartridges). But what if you wanted to build something tiny? Bandai had the answer, and [Tech Moan] shows the 1986-era tiny carts.

In the US, these appear to be mainly in the realm of novelty items. [Tech Moan] has an Elvis figurine that sings thanks to the tape and a diminutive jukebox. He suspects these must have been used in something else, perhaps in the Japanese market.

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TVout Library Brings Cardboard Arcade To Life

Recycling old CRTs is a true Hackaday tradition, and [Rob’s] mini arcade is sure to grab your attention.

First of all, you’ll probably appreciate [Rob] circumventing the supply shortage by getting all his components from recycled material. That’s probably the only way to get anything these days. He salvaged a small CRT from an old-school video intercom system and snagged the buttons, speakers, and switches from other unused devices laying around. Not all is lost, however, as [Rob] was able to purchase an Arduino Nano and a few resistors online. So maybe things are turning around in that category, who knows?

You’ll probably also appreciate how remarkably simple this hack is. No need for a Raspberry Pi as your standard 8-bit microcontroller will do the trick. And, fortunately, [Rob] found a nice library to help him generate the composite video signal, doing most of the work for him. All that was left to do was to build the arcade cabinet. Recreating the classic design was a pretty easy step, but you might opt for something a little nicer than cardboard though. But, hey, if it does the trick, then why not?

Cool project, [Rob]! We’re definitely happy to add this project to our retro collection here at Hackaday.

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Pacman and Ghost custom-LED dispay

Temperature-Sensitive Pac-Man/Ghost LED Matrix

If you’re like us, you never get tired of retro game-inspired projects, and the dynamic duo, [monsely], seem to love them too. Their Temperature-Sensitive Pac-Man/Ghost LED Matrix would make a great desktop display for any gaming enthusiast.

First, they did a bit of sketching on good ol’ paper and pencil to organize all the LEDs they would need and work out the connections. With this many LEDs, coordination is pretty critical or you’ll quickly end up with a big mess on your hands. Luckily, WS2812/Neopixel-style LED strips minimize most of the necessary connections, so that was a relief. These LED strips only need a single GPIO for control, making it easy to get this project going with a pretty basic microcontroller.

Just displaying an animated graphic was a bit too simple for [monsely]. They decided to make the Ghost temperature-sensitive, changing to blue if it’s cold outside and red if it’s warm. Of course, you’ll probably want to tweak the thresholds based on where you live or how your HVAC system is doing. Pac-Man stays the classic yellow, which we would expect.

Of course, no good desktop display would be complete without a proper enclosure. [monsely] opted for a cardboard box, but we’re sure you could laser cut or print something a bit sturdier and a bit more aesthetically pleasing. But, hey, whatever works, right?

90s Apple Computer Finally Runs Unsigned Code

Back in the 90s, the console wars were in full swing. Nintendo vs Sega was an epic showdown at first, but when Nintendo seemed sure to clench the victory Sony came out of nowhere with the PlayStation. While these were the most popular consoles at the time, there were a few others around that are largely forgotten by history even if they were revolutionary in some ways. An example is the Pippin, a console made by Apple, which until now has been unable to run any software not signed by Apple.

The Pippin was Apple’s only foray into gaming consoles, but it did much more than that and included a primitive social networking system as well as the ability to run Apple’s Macintosh operating system. The idea was to be a full media center of sorts, and the software that it would run would be loaded from the CD-ROM at each boot. [Blitter] has finally cracked this computer, allowing it to run custom software, by creating an authentication file which is placed on the CD to tell the Pippin that it is “approved” by Apple.

The build log goes into incredible detail on the way these machines operated, and if you have a Pippin still sitting around it might be time to grab it out of the box and start customizing it in the way you probably always wanted to. For those interested in other obscure Apple products, take a look at this build which brings modern WiFi to the Apple Newton, their early PDA.

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