3D render of the badge programming adapter PCB

Supercon 2022 Badge Gets A Tinkering Helper Add-on

Are you one of the lucky ones to own a Hackaday Supercon 2022 badge? Would you like to make it even easier to program than it already is? [brokebit] has exactly the project you might’ve been dreaming of all along — it’s a Supercon 2022 Badge programming adapter. With pass-through for all badge pins, four buttons, a total of ten DIP switches and four LEDs, the sheer IO of this add-on makes good use of the badge’s expansion header. But that’s not all, as there’s a USB-UART converter accessible through a MicroUSB socket.

Using mostly through-hole components, this board won’t leave you digging through parts drawers for exotic buttons or pin headers; most everything is jellybean. The pass-through capability of the adapter means that other badge add-ons will be compatible and you can even use this adapter to debug them, with DIP switches helping you disconnect whatever onboard circuitry interferes. For instance, if you’re not looking for USB-UART functionality provided by the classic CP2102, the dual DIP switches are right there for you to disconnect it on the fly.

The board is 6 layers, but since the quoted price was the same as a 4-layer board, it made for a more comfortable layout. Want a refresher on the badge? Here you go, and here’s our write-up about it before Supercon. Hackers have been stretching the limits of what the 2022 badge can get done — here’s a punch card reader, for instance.

Hacking The ZH03B Laser Particle Sensor

Laser particle detectors are a high-tech way for quantifying whats floating around in the air. With a fan, a laser, and a sensitive photodetector, they can measure smoke and other particulates in real-time. Surprisingly, they are also fairly cheap, going for less than $20 USD on some import sites. They just need a bit of encouragement to do our bidding.

[Dave Thompson] picked up a ZH03B recently and wanted to get it working with his favorite sensor platform, Mycodo. With a sprinkling of hardware and software, he was able to get these cheap laser particle sensors working on his Raspberry Pi, and his work was ultimately incorporated upstream into Mycodo. Truly living the open source dream.

The ZH03B has PWM and UART output modes, but [Dave] focused his attention on UART. With the addition of a CP2102 USB-UART adapter, he was able to connect it to his Pi and Mac, but still needed to figure out what it was saying. He eventually came up with some Python code that lets you use the sensor both as part of a larger network or service like Mycodo and as a stand-alone device.

His basic Python script (currently only tested on Linux and OS X), loops continuously and gives a running output of the PM1, PM2.5, and PM10 measurements. These correspond to particles with a diameter of 1, 2.5, and 10 micrometers respectively. If you want to plug the sensor into another service, the Python library is a bit more mature and lets you do things like turn off the ZH03B’s fan to save power.

These sensors are getting cheap enough that you can build distributed networks of them, a big breakthrough for crowd-sourced environmental monitoring; especially with hackers writing open source code to support them.

Hackaday Links: May 11, 2014


North Korean drones! Yes, your local hobby shop has the same aerial reconnaissance abilities as North Korea. Props to Pyongyang for getting v-tail mixing down.

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as the look of a well laid out resistor array, and the folks at Boldport have taken this to a new level. It’s an art piece, yes, but these would make fabulous drink coasters.

Here’s something even more artistic. [cpurola] found a bunch of cerdip EPROMs and bent the pins in a weird chainmaille-esque way. The end result is an EPROM bracelet, just in time for mother’s day. It’s a better use for these chips than tearing them apart and plundering them for the few cents worth of gold in each.

[John] still uses his original Xbox for xmbc, but he’d like to use the controllers with his computer. He never uses the third and fourth controller ports, so he stuck those in his computer. It’s as simple as soldering the controller port module to a connector and plugging it into an internal USB port. Ubuntu worked great, but Windows required XBCD.

[Kerry] has modified an FT232 USB/UART thingy as an Arduino programmer before. The CP2102 USB/UART is almost as popular on eBay, a little less expensive, and equally suited for ‘duino programming. It requires desoldering a resistor and soldering a jumper on a leadless package, but with a fine solder tip, it’s not too bad.