Arcade Upgrade

So I had in front of me an old arcade machine, not too old, pretty new actually, a date code inside puts it around 22 June 2012.

Nevertheless, it was old in terms of mechanics.

The machine used a Jamma board, and was non functional.

I opened it up and had a bit of a look for any obvious electrical problems, burns out components, loose connectors, dirty connections etc. Couldn’t find anything.

For benefit of the doubt I used isopropyl alcohol to clean the PCB and the Jamma connector. Still no luck after this though.

The machine itself would power up, the board had power, but it wouldn’t output any video…

So I decided to go with my plan B, upgrading the machine to a PC based MAME emulator!

I started with physically cleaning up the machine, isopropyl and some Glen 20 did the trick, once it was nice and clean I got to the insides.

Snapped some photos of how everything was connected for future reference, and started removing components.

I can’t remember the whole process super well as it was a few days ago but I’ll recap best I can.

With all the main control and power boards removed, I was left with some bundles of wire cable tied inside.

I decided the best path would be to cut the bundles of wire that lead from the buttons to the Jamma board a short distance from the connector. This way in the future, reconnecting the Jamma connector is as simple as matching up the coloured wires.

I located the power connector for the button illumination, and tested it out. It was originally on the 12v from the power supply, I tested it on 5v and the buttons lit, but not the joystick. So I’ll just reconnect this to 12v once rebuilt.

I tested the screen using an HDMI to VGA adaptor coming from a PC that was nearby and got video out, this was great, was going to be pretty simple from here on out.

The screen is mounted in portrait which is going to prove annoying as most games these days and games I’ll be emulating will feel smaller. Also, it means that I’ll have to figure out how to display artwork above and below the emulation. Maybe themed to the console ?

I know there’s plenty of options online for ‘arcade button controller’ ranging from $6 to $100+, and I’m sure any of these would have done the trick, but I didn’t really want to wait for something to arrive, I wanted to finish this project in one day.

Luckily I had an Arduino pro micro laying around, I slapped some headers on it and some matching headers on the wires, then ran to the internet in search of a joystick emulation library for AtMega32u4 🕹️

It was actually very easy and within 3 results I had a library downloaded and installed!

Loading up the Arduino IDE I opened an example sketch that had 1 button and a joystick, this was SUPER easy to modify for the 5 buttons on the front panel of my machine, it was just a case of increasing some numbers and adding some extra cases!

I uploaded the sketch to the board and hooked up the buttons to their corresponding pins on the board, now it was time to test.

Hooked up the Arduino to my laptop and checked devices and printers, to my great surprise I saw a gamepad icon with Arduino Leonardo under it, that will be my board!

I right clicked it and hit Gamepad Properties, which brings up a screen where you can test everything.

The joystick was rotated left 90 degrees, so I suspect it was installed sideways as I used the labelling on the PCB for which wire was which, but after switching those wires around everything worked ! All the buttons and the joystick worked flawlessly now !

So now that I had the controls upgrades to modern universalness, I moved onto the speakers, there is two 10w speakers mounted to the rear of the cabinet, these used to be driven by the Jamma board, but with that gone I needed something new.

Coincidentally, a few days earlier, my friend James was over to fix my 3D printer, and had brought over a wireless speaker thing, that I didn’t know what to do with. But this thing, had a speaker driver in it, and also a 3.5mm input, so I put the transmitter unit aside and used just the receiver unit. Hooked up both audio channels with a wire so we got both left and right channel out of the speakers, and hooked them up to the device. I cut off its power cable so I could hook it up to an alternate source of power later, just 12v.

I decided it would be best to re use the original power supply, but some changes were in order. For starters, the damn thing had no earth, so adding an earth connection was my first priority, very simple and I don’t know why the original builder didn’t ???

Once that was hooked up, I proceeded to hook up the leds and the speaker driver to the 12v rail, and then pigtailed the monitor off the AC terminals, and also a cord with a 3 pin connector suitable for a laptop PSU on it.

With all the power sorted I turned to how I’ll drive everything.

I had a few options at my disposal, but given the tight space restrictions in this bartop size machine, I went with an Intel Nuc that I got last time I was planning to build an arcade machine.

I placed it inside, with some very strong Velcro, and placed its power adaptor next to the one for the monitor, also held down by Velcro.

I hooked up a USB wifi adapter and the Arduino to the back USB ports, as well as a mini HDMI to HDMI, then HDMI to VGA adaptors, to the mini HDMI port on the back. And it was time to power it up and test.

The Nuc booted and everything was fine.

I refreshed windows to a clean install as there was still many remains of my last attempt at getting things up and running, rotated the display 90 degrees to make it normal, and then fired up Project 64 for some testing !

I quickly learnt the volume was waayyyy too high, but was easy to fix. Just startled me! Haha

The controls worked great, and the picture looks fine. The colours are a bit off but I can fix that later.

For now this is enough, I’ll work out the software later as that takes aggesss to get setup nicely and all pretty like.

In the past I’ve used HyperSpin but I might give something new like GameEx a try.

I’ll make a new post once I have done that!

Album below (Please excuse the potato photos):

 

Lipo to USB thing 

It’s a very small post, and I forgot to take photos along the way, but I popped out to Daiso today and picked up a USB car charger for $3.80, back at home, I disassembled it and desoldered the contacts, I then cut open the end to fit a male XT60 connector in.

Re-soldered the XT60 in place of the old cigarette lighter socket connector and placed it back in the casing.
A little hot glue and I have a 12-24v >5v adaptors that works with all my 3s/4s lipos !!
Probably works a bit below 12 too, very convenient to keep in my bag in case I need some juice.

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Updating a Nortel 5520

Hello!

Almost exactly (give or take a few days) one year ago, I was browsing eBay looking at Nortel 5520 switches, I was upset that in America you could get them for $75US a pop, whereas over here they were almost $500AU each!

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I learned of two Nortel 5520-48T-POE that were destined to go to an IT recycling company.
I was able to negotiate my hands on these two switches for $25AU each!

I got them home yesterday when I fired them up with my beautiful homemade serial cable (the one I got from Jaycar was crossover whereas the Nortel needs straight through)
I was greeted with an older version 5.0 software version!

This was no good, all versions of the software before 6.3.3 had terrible web interface.
I know many people say you should stick with the CLI, but when im in a hurry to make a change, check the status of a port, or shutdown / turn on ports, I want a simple and fast method of doing this.

So began the journey of upgrading the switch.

It started with an hour or two of research, trying to find firmware files, and documentation on the upgrade process and path.
You cannot skip major versions apparently, So I had to go from 5.0>5.1 and then to 6.3.

I was getting worried that all of the ftp servers I was finding referenced were dead links, until I stumbled upon a reddit users dropbox, which had everything I needed, PDF docs, firmware files for versions 5-6, I was set!

I found a page detailing the update procedure, which was a pretty simple command.

I reset the switch to factory settings, then gave it an IP address,

Then it was just a case of flashing the diag image, and then the main image.

A single command was all that was needed to flash each one:
5520-48T# download address 172.16.0.123 diag 55xx_diag.bin
5520-48T# download address 172.16.0.123 image 55xx_6.3.3.0s.img

These commands aren’t exact, but you get the idea.

After flashing each one the switch rebooted itself and did a pretty light show while flashing / booting.

Once the switch had rebooted, I checked the web interface by navigating to the switch IP address in Google Chrome, and was met with a warning that my browser may not support the page!
Dismissing the warning, the UI loaded, and it was far superior to the old one.
I suddenly have everything I need!

I will be installing this switch in my homelab once I can mod it to be silent, ill replace the fans with Noctua 40mm fans and see what else I can do for it.

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RGB LED Jacket ft. Tearschu

Last year, Tearschu and I worked together to bring the LED Dress to life, and that was a huge success!

 

This year, I worked with Tearschu to create another RGB item of clothing!

 

Tearschu designed and made a jacket with a clear PVC material, and we incorporated a strip of 144 WS2812b RGB LEDs into it, this was a challenge, as the power draw was too much for the 3-5A 5v power regulator we used last year.

 

We needed a much beefier 50W power supply! However thanks to some help from Reddit user /u/krhacken we were finally able to get brightness control working mere days before the shoot!

 

This allowed us to dim the lights for scenes where they were too bright, and for when we were just walking around between locations to conserve power!

 

We were able to go the entire 3-4 hour shoot with a single Turnigy NanoTech 1.6Ah 3S LiPo!

 

Im really happy with how the photos turned out and I can’t wait to make something for next year!

 

Make sure you ‘like’ the photos on Facebook!

 

 

And check out the album below!

 

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WiFi speaker upgrade and Home Assistant TTS

A while ago I picked up a wi-fi enabled speaker from Target or Kmart for $50. It was advertised as on special for $80 down from $160, so I figured how bad could it be? Then when scanned in it came up as $50 so even better.

The speaker natively has Spotify connect and DLNA support, I don’t really have anything that streams to DLNA, so Spotify connect was what I had planned for it.
I did hope that I could get Home Assistant talking to it over DLNA but couldn’t find any DLNA components so wasn’t too confident on that.
The speaker itself feels well built, looks pretty decent, and sounds okay. It’s a bit bass heavy, and the PSU always sparks when you connect it (why is it 15v? Why not 12v???)
I used it for a day or two then it kind of got abandoned, as nice as a wifi speaker is, when it’s limited to just Spotify that’s less than amazing.
So fast forward a few weeks, I remembered that I have some Chromecast audio laying around doing nothing.
I had purchased them to test out the multiroom audio playback, something that has always interested me.

But after testing it out I didn’t really have a need for it.

I’m not walking around my apartment enough.

And the tv already has a regular Chromecast.
So the audios were just sitting on my modem in a triangle.
I grabbed one and hooked it up to the aux input on the wifi speaker to see how it sounds, and well, having the ability to stream content from almost any multimedia app, website or device is much more appealing than just Spotify.

Oh right I should mention that the speaker has a tendency to just, enter a sleeping state, where it disconnects from wifi, and doesn’t reconnect until you wake it up (I had to power cycle it ?)

This makes it REALLY annoying to use.
So I set out in a venture to install my Chromecast audio inside the wifi speaker,
What follows is a whole lot of work and overengineering that for the most part ended up being redundant.
I disassembled the wifi speaker and found that it does indeed have the rated speakers, and a fairly sized mainboard.

It had a wifi add on board too.

I left this in there so it will still function as its original purpose.

The plan was to disassemble the Chromecast audio, and solder wires between the aux port on the speaker and the Chromecast.

All the tests I did on this gave me faint audio on the right channel, and slightly louder audio on the right channel.

I couldn’t figure out why this was happening, as I traced all the connections and they were all correct ?

The only thing I can think of was maybe the wire is too high loss ?

Idk it was crappy hook Up wire.

Anyway I ended up just using the Chromecast short 3.5 cable. And melting a hole to plug it into the speaker.
For power I had to be a bit more creative, I wanted to run it off the existing power supply so it would be self contained.

A quick look at the main board of the speaker reveals a header with an i2c? Port on it. Including 3.3v VCC and GND!

I made a quick micro USB to wire lead and hooked up the Chromecast to the 3.3v line to see if that was enough to power it up.

Unfortunately it seems Chromecast needs more current than this port could give.

The Chromecast would power up then keep cycling between orange and white led, I think this is some sort of insufficient power indicator. Else it was just rebooting over and over haha.
Next I tried hooking up a 3.3v to 5v boost converter to see if it was just the low voltage causing the problem, but this has the same effect.

I concluded that this connector probably didn’t have enough current to power the Chromecast, which normally wants at least a good 5v 700-1000mAh of current.
I decided I would have to pull my power from the main +15v input, which obviously has to be stepped down.

So I grabbed a AMS1117 5V voltage regulator, which from memory the data sheet says can handle up to 12v (she’ll be right mate) and can output up to 1amp
Hooking this up between the 15v main input and and h Chromecast seemed to result in the same thing as before though …
It’s at this point I was wishing I had a nice big LM7805 or something.
I did however have an “adjustable voltage regulator module” from aliexpress, which was big and beefy. I wired this up to the 15v and then hooked up my multimeter to its output, it was showing 15v.

I turned it’s pot until it was a stable 5.02v which is close enough and then wired the micro USB to that.

Hooked up the Chromecast and it worked !!!

I shoved it all inside the speaker and reassembled it all.
With the speaker reassembled I gave it a test and all looked great!

Well worked great.
I remembered then, that Home Assistant had the ability to sent TTS to my TV Chromecast, I had disabled discovery of Chromecast because it kept showing up in the main view and nothing was using it,

I wondered if it could send TTS to the Chromecast audio??

So I re enabled discovery of Chromecast and restarted Home Assistant to see if it would pick it up. It did! And I had the option for TTS!

I did some setup stuff in Home Assistant that I didn’t document, but it was pretty straightforward!
Now I can send verbal notifications to the speaker’s by calling the tts service in home assistant, specifying the speaker media_player.wifi_speaker and giving it a message!

I also put another Chromecast Audio hooked up to a small Bluetooth speaker via a 3.5mm cable in the bathroom, so I can have notifications in there (this is also the only room with a sensor node at the moment!)

a notification in there could be: If the humidity reaches 100% and the window is detected as closed, verbally say ‘Please ensure window is opened to prevent mould build up’

or something like that.

 

Home Assistant is also able to message me via Facebook Messenger, which is handy for notifications away from home!
I might do another write up on Home Assistant another time though, once I fully understand it!

 

Thanks for reading 🙂

Some pictures follow:

ARNSW Trash and Treasure

This morning I went to the ARNSW Trash and Treasure event!

It’s pretty much a small hamfest!

This is the second time I’ve been to it, it was a bit smaller this time but there was still plenty of stuff. 

It was held at the ARNSW building in Dural
Antenna towers !
There was heaps of oscilloscopes this time, with many costing a mere $10-30!!

There was even this single channel scope with a GIANT display:



The first thing I spied when I was walking around was a small block of foam with 12 nixie tubes on it, it was sitting with a bunch of other vintage tubes. 

I’m a huge fan of nixie tubes so I went straight for my wallet to make sure they were safely mine! Haha
The list price was $120 but I talked it down to $60 for the lot. 

I also picked up a few random metal project boxes that… Seemed to be constructed into things. 

Only one of them was labelled so the other two were real mystery boxes !

Nobody was able to tell me what they were, but I see huge potential in rebuilding them into something else. 
I’m particularly fond of the one with the front handles!!

When I was home I opened up the two unknown ones to find them pretty much empty shells. 

The perfect playground for whatever I turn them into. 


I was also lucky enough to pick up some variable capacitors, which I’ve been chasing for a while. I don’t yet know the value of what I grabbed but it’s certainly closer to what I need than nothing !

I want to use it when building a magnetic loop HF antenna. 

I also picked up a rather nice dial with an easily configurable scale. You just cut out and slide it in. 

Overall it was a pretty successful morning ! 

I spent significantly less than I expected and came home with some pretty nice treasure!

Bonus picture:

Spot the long wire antenna:

Can I game on a server?

So i’ve wanted to try this one for a while, can I install a desktop GPU into a server, and pass it through to a VM for gaming on?

 

Why?

 

Well my server has 128GB RAM, 4 SSDs RAIDed together, and 16 logical processors, so like, why not add a GPU and play some games on it!?

 

I picked up a GT740 second hand on a buy sell facebook group, and i’ve spun up a VM running Windows 10 x64 to install steam on.

 

I test fit the GPU into my Dell R210, and it doesnt really fit with the fan on, so removing the fan so its just a heatsink lets it fit, but im not sure if the airflow inside will be enough to cool it down? hopefully.

 

Its not going in the R210 anyway, its going in the R610.

 

Ill power it down shortly and test fit it.

 

 

OK, I had to cut the end off one of the PCIE slots as the R610 only had x8 slots, but that wasn’t too hard, just some very careful dremel work then a small file to clean it up.

 

I also had to cut off the little lock part of the GPU, the part at the end of the connector, as the R610 raiser card has a large component there (intrusion detection switch maybe?)

With those two parts removed it fits in well.

The system is taking a *very* long time to boot… but it is booting.

 

the video is coming from the onboard graphics though.

WE HAVE ESXi!!!!

 

Okay it booted and detected the GPU correctly, but looks like getting NVidia pci-e passthrough is a pain in the ass…. Might look into an AMD card at some point instead. Until then Ill mark this as a maybe!

Maybe ill migrate all the VMs from the R210 over to the R610 and then setup the R210 with a desktop OS ? hmm

Samsung Ezon SHS-3321 Smart Door Lock, can I make it smarter?

Hello!

In today’s post we are going to be exploring my new Samsung Ezon SHS-3321 Smart Door Lock Deadbolt.

 

Photo of the box

 

This is a dead bolt mortise style lock, its main feature is that it supports NFC and PIN authentication to unlock rather than a traditional key system.

Now, this will work great with my NFC implant, but what if I wanted to allow someone else into my place?

Sure, I could tell them the PIN code, but that seems kinda silly to me, its convenient but what if I only wanted to grant them entry this one time? if I give them the PIN they could come back later that day and enter.

 

So I was looking into ways of connecting it to the internet so that I could trigger the lock from my phone.

From past experience, I was aware that Samsung does actually have a remote control module available for some door locks, such as the SHS-6020, however it seems this wasn’t compatible with my lock.

Poking around inside the lock I have located a connector that is not referenced anywhere in the manual, and is labelled as ‘Home Auto’ on the silk screen.

I searched around a bit online for it and found a reference in a whirlpool post over here: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1312681

 

One of the users suggests it could be current based, which instantly lit a bulb in my head!

So I set up the lock on my desk and got it responding to my NFC implant, everything was working great.

I tricked the lock that the door was closed by bringing the magnet near the reed switch sensor, and locked it with the lock button.

I then used a screwdriver to short the two pins together by just poking them. I was pleased to hear a nice chirp and the lock unlocked!

This opens a whole new world of opportunity.

I can now hook up the lock similarly to how I have hooked up the intercom, and trigger it via HTTP.

This is not the most secure method, so I will look into ways of making it more secure before I actually implement this.

but the important thing is, its incredibly easy to interface the lock in this way.

The next thing to do from here would be poke around on the circuit to see if theres a status pin that outputs if the lock is in the locked or unlocked state.

 

NFC Implant

Hello! 
It’s been a while. 

Since I was here last, I’ve gotten myself an NFC implant. 
Specifically a Dangerous Things xNT. 

I got the install done at Stone Heart in Sydney by Joeltron!

Here is a video of the live stream I did during the install:

Heres the HD footage of the install:

Also here’s a bonus video of scanning my hand on an opal reader:

Basically, it’s an Ntag216, implanted just under the skin next to my thumb on my left hand. 
It’s safe and cool. There’s plenty of info online if you want specifics. 
I’ve also picked up a few NFC devices to test with, two USB readers, and some Arduino RC522 modules !

I’ve had luck with the ACS 122 AND THE RC522 so far, both recognise my hand and can interact. However with the 122 I’m having difficulty finding software that works. 
The gototag software is looking the most promising, however it seems to have a bug at the moment where it is incorrectly identifying my hand as being write protected. 

I have spoken with Amal from Dangerous Things and he has confirmed there looks like something wrong. He is attempting to contact gototag to get this resolved, and seems to better understand exactly what’s wrong!
For the RC522, It can dump my card perfectly, and read the UID. 

I tried the access code control example sketch but it doesn’t seem to be working for me. 
I have some suspicion about the Arduino mega 2560 I’m using so I might pickup a new Uno or nano. 
I’ll keep this page updated as I learn more, or I’ll write a new post. Something on the other will happen!
Ciao for now 
Edit: oh right the blood thing, when I got the tag implanted Joeltron drew a smiley face on my hand in my own blood, I thought that was hilarious and wanted to share, hahahhaha 

Homemade FPV monitor

Hi guys, I wanted an fpv monitor that had a receiver built in. 
Looking around online there’s some for around $100ish but I already had a spare Sony LCD meant for a reversing camera, and a spare RC832 so I


 figured I would give it a shot !
I disassembled both first, and was pleased to find a little free space in the LCD. 

I positioned things around a bit and used a sharpie to Mark things out to get an idea of if this was feasible. 


It looked like it would work !

The cables it had were huge and thick and had multiple connectors and Yada Yada I didn’t want all that so I just soldered to the convenient break out connector !

I did some final position testing and drilled some holes for the buttons and antenna connector, also drilled a hole and filed it a bit for the LED display on the receiver to see which channel we are on. 

Hooked it up and tested everything before routing the power cable through a hole, the hole I drilled inadvertently had a connector right in front of it when ibsealed up the case, this conveniently served to compress the cable and provide strain relief!! (The connector was unused anyway!)

Everything sealed up and working !

Crude holes but meh they work !
It has a tripod screw hole in the bottom and that slot for mounting. I’ll sort something out to mount it later. 

It has the option to disable blue screen so I can always get as much image as possible even with low signal !

Runs off a 3s lipo. 

Not much room inside for anything else or I would have tried to fit something inside to power it…

Picture looks great ! It’s super bright so should be visible outdoors well enough. 

Das me

That’s all for now !