Taking a break

We had our first kid few weeks back :)
So Im taking a break until we get things figured out. I expect a few baby related hacks in the nearish future.

In the meantime I present my workshop! or like my girlfriend like to call it, the kitchen.
All parts, tools and components are kept in the white nine drawer Ikea furniture in the background.

Snes modding in progress.
Snes modding in progress.


Super Nintendo, region and 60hz mod

This week I've fixed an old PAL Super Nintendo, the poor thing had soda in the controller and was pretty gunked up. I cleaned it with hot water and soap and began thinking about what else I could do with it, found this page describing mods for both region free and, more importantly, 60 Hz.

In Europe the snes runs in 50Hz, got something to do with the electricity over here, this results in a squished picture, almost like watching an 16:9 movie on a 4:3 TV. Running the snes on 60Hz also makes the games run a bit faster.

The mod itself was a bit tricky as it required me to lift pins on three ICs, I've read somewhere that you can make a tool for this out of a needle and a pen.
Worked like a charm, I carefully heated the pins with the soldering iron and lifted them up.
Soldered and taped down.
Soldered and taped down.
Wiring and switches.
Wiring and switches.
What turned out to be the hardest bit about this mod was mounting the switches as they required square holes, I used a pair of cheap files for this

Cheap cheap files.
Cheap cheap files.
As you can see in the pictures its not quite as good as I would've hoped.
Bit crooked.
Bit crooked.
Good thing its on the bottom and out of sight.

Finished product with the two switches, one for pal 50 Hz / ntsc 60 Hz and another for region, Europe / of.

50 Hz versus 60 Hz
50 Hz, mangled pixels.
60 Hz, perfect picture with square pixels.
Screw placement European snes.
Screw placement on the European snes.


Variable dc power supply

While tinkering with the BoxeeBox remote, read more here, I understood why you need a variable bench power supply. Other things I've been toying with have always been 5 volts, aka powered by my laptops USB ports. This circuit was powered by 3.3 volts so i needed a supply.

I went with, pretty much, the LM317 standard circuit from there spec sheet, link.

LM317 Spec sheet
Mmm, spec sheet.

Drawn circuit
What three years of cg study looks like.
And it worked great on a breadboard, come time to solder it up I got frustrated when I tried to work out a layout so I just built it from input to output instead. So far The jump from breadboard to separate protoboard is a big one.

Doesnt look like much
Doesn't look like much.

I'm quite pleased with the case and the front panel, I almost got all elements symmetrical and aligned

Complete variable bench supply
Complete variable bench supply

Parts where ordered from www.dx.com and most excellent www.electrokit.com

A few thoughts, the next one I build will probably have AC input, have a Amp meter and definitely have better binding posts, I still have to glue these down to the front.


Nokia Monster Purity Pro, ANC fix

I recently got a pair of Nokia Purity Pro from a college, he picked up a pair awhile back only to damage the headband as he removed the protective plastic. Nokia sent a pair back to him, as they didn't want the damaged headphones back he gave them to me.

The headset is great, featuring NFC to sync to phones via Bluetooth, according to a few reviews I've read its the best value for Active Noise Cancelling headphones.

So, everything i good then? No, there's a battery saving feature in these headphones, as soon as you remove them from your head the ANC turns off.
Normally this isn't a problem, unless you, like me, have dreadlocks, result? well the ANC randomly switch of the while wearing them, incredibly annoying as this also change the bass.

This morning I fixed this.

Headphones disassembled, you probably don't have to go to this extreme. The part you want to get to is just behind the soft earpieces, use a plastic guitar pick or one of those plastic phone opening things. Be careful, I broke one of tabs holding the earpieces.

Naked Monster Purity Pro headphones
Naked Monster Purity Pro headphones

The fix is really simple, all you have to do is solder 10k resistors between the copper pads above and below the speaker elements.
Actual photo of soldered resistor
Actual photo of soldered resistor

The headphones measures the resistance between these points to determine if you or anything else is close by.

I googled like a maniac to find a fix for this and couldn't find any, so here you go.

Note, I can still turn the ANC off by holding down Volume Down and Previous Track (Both lower buttons on the headphones)

BoxeeBox remote on XBMC

How I hooked up a standard BoxeeBox remote to XBMC / Kodi running on Windows 8

I loved the BoxeeBox, it played my movies and TV shows like a champ, found subtitles and was easy to use. The remote was awesome, it had all the buttons I really needed, entering URLs, navigating menus was easy and it look good.
Best of all it used RF instead of IR, no need for line of sight, you don't know how good that is if you haven't tried it.

Sadly BoxeeBox lost support for SVT Play web streaming service and worst of all it couldn't steam Netflix.
So I turned to XBMC, now called Kodi.
Installed it on a old busted laptop and began the setup, that last part took almost two days. They should really add a small wizard in the installer.
There I was with a new player that delivered on all of my demands, it even does steam in-home streaming (not natively of course).
Only one small detail, no remote! sure you can use your phone to control it, but to me that's just not enough, I wanted a real remote, I wanted my old awesome BoxeeBox remote.
I googled PC remotes for almost a week, there just wasn't anything like the remote i wanted. Just look at these things!
And then i found this fuzzy picture of the BoxeeBox wifi and remote circuits :

BoxeeBox Remote reciver circuit

Source http://oinkzwurgl.org/boxeebox

It almost looked like the control circuits in the BoxeeBox connects using standard USB, only 3.3volts instead of 5volts.

So, I whipped up a small circuit, not the prettiest, and probably overkill. Diodes could work, didn't try.
5v to 3.3v circuit using LD33
5v to 3.3v circuit using LD33 

Built, in project box
Built, in project box

But it works! windows identifies the remote as a standard keyboard.
In a case, hidden in my TV bench. Remember, RF so no line of sight is needed.

Hidden away under the TV
Hidden away under the TV
The only thing changed was the back button, windows reads it as Escape, so I went in to the xbmc settings for keyboard, called keyboard.xml and changed Escape to do back instead of PreviousMenu.

Looking back at this now, almost two years later, I find that the XBMC/Kodi wiki reference Oinkzwurgl.org as a source for hooking up a BoxeeBox remote to xbmc, link
Hope this helped with the details as the original post isn't, to me, very clear.