Nevo C2 remote control – Reverse engineering, part 1

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Reverse engineering of a Nevo C2 remote control from Arantius.com

Most recently I’ve switched to the “Nevo C2″ remotes (also known as “Xsight Color” or “ARRX15G”), which have a graphical display built in. This makes it easy for me to deal with the huge array (TiVo, HTPC, plus eleven game consoles) of devices I’ve got hooked up. The built in software is pretty good, especially with RemoteMaster to customize it. But it’s pretty clunky in some areas. At one point I found a post with pictures of the inside of my remote. The post was meant to highlight the (very minor) differences between two similar models. In the full size image, one can just make out a big ARM chip in the middle. I got interested in discovering more about the innards of these things, and how hackable they could be with some reverse engineering.

More details at Arantius.com.

ESP8266 wireless SID project

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bl4rk shares his ESP8266 wireless SID in the project log forum:

I’ve been trying to start a SID project for about 5 years now. Back then I wanted to use a 6502 along with a CPLD and other ‘real’ hardware… while I might still do something like that (or even try to use an FPGA for everything except the SID), I think it’s probably good that I waited so long because now this great cheap ESP8266 wireless SoC is around.

Via the forum.

PWM dimmer for RGB LED

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Lukas Fassler has designed and built a PWM dimmer for RGB LED:

In my last post I’ve described the design and construction of my LED dimmer project. This project here is similar but a bit more involved. It controls RGB LEDs so it can not only change the brightness but also the color of the light. Instead of a simple pot it used a pair of rotary encoders with push buttons. One controls the brightness, pushing its button turns the light on or off. The other changes the color, pushing its button toggles between color and white.

Project info at Soldernerd site.

 

App note: Microcontroller-based serial port interface (SPI®) boot circuit

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Simple circuit for sending command upon boot to the target device sortof boostraping hardware tachnique, an app note from Analog Devices. Link here (PDF)

This application note describes the operation of a general purpose, microcontroller-based Serial Port Interface (SPI) boot circuit. This is a low cost solution for users who need to modify some of their device’s parameters at power up. This circuit addresses a 3-wire SPI application for programming converters, or any device that has a SPI option, and sends commands to user-defined SPI registers.

App note: Peak-to-peak resolution versus effective resolution

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Effective resolution is superior compared to peak-to-peak resolution when comparing ADCs from different companies. An application note from Analog Devices. Link here (PDF)

The low bandwidth, high resolution ADCs have a resolution of 16 bits or 24 bits. However, the effective number of bits of a device is limited by noise. This varies depending on the output word rate and the gain setting used. This parameter is specified by some companies as effective resolution. Analog Devices specifies peak-to-peak resolution, which is the number of flicker-free bits and is calculated differently from effective resolution. This application note distinguishes between peak-to-peak resolution and effective resolution.

How do I FPGA?

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TC-Engineering writes:

I’ve been thinking about building stuff with FPGA’s for a while, and usually get turned away because FPGA’s are considerably harder to implement than microcontrollers since they have no on-chip memory. It is necessary to re-program the gates every time they power up, which requires an external flash memory chip. There aren’t great references online for the DIY community, so I figured I’d post how to get this working. Not using dev boards opens a world of opportunities, so I’m a proponent of not using Arduino’s and their FPGA equivalent for too long (sure, they’re good to get started with, but don’t become dependent)
Not wanting to screw up an expensive complex board by being a first-timer at putting an FPGA into a circuit, I figured I’d build a little test board with the cheapest Spartan 6 you can get (about $10), which comes in a solderable TQFP144 package. Sadly, most high end FPGA’s are BGA and therefore quite hard to solder as a DIY project.

More details at TC-Engineering blog.

Dual USB serial and I2C converter

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Jesus Echavarria has developed a dual USB-Serial converter for debugging serial and I2C communications:

Hi all! After a couple of months with a lot of work, I come here again with the last board I develop before Christmas. It’s a dual USB serial and I2C converter based on two MCP2221 Microchip 2.0 USB-Serial bridges. I develop it as a need on my work with the last project I’m involved. I need to monitor a serial communication between two devices. With only one converter, I must choose between RX and TX lines to monitoring the traffic. With this solution, I can listen at the same time TX and RX lines, so the monitoring is more easy. And with a software like Docklight (you can download a free evaluation copy here), you can choose the monitoring option to display both channels. After the break you can find all the technical info of the board!

More details at Echavarria’s project page.

Seeed Studio March sale: Bus Pirate, USB Infrared Toy, ATX Breakout

Seeed spring sale

Seeed Studio shares our vision for the open source community. Since the beginning, Seeed has been our partner for project manufacture, sales, and shipping. That free us to concentrate on the fun stuff, but still make projects available to the community.

Seeed kicked off a spring sale on Mar 1st. Each week they’ll have a Flash Deal, with additional discounts during the whole month. If you are itching to pick up one of our projects, this might be the best chance. Seeed is offering these discounts themselves – you get a deal and we still get paid!

ATX Breakout Board Bench Power Supply
Flash Deal $9.5 (31%0ff) 2016/03/01~ 2016/03/07

ATX

Recycle an ATX computer power supply into a beefy bench tool that powers your projects. The ATX breakout board routes the -12, 3.3, 5 and 12 volt ATX outputs to screw terminals, each protected by a 1.25 amp resettable polyfuse. These four voltages cover many common electronics needs, there’s even a negative voltage (-12 volts) for op amps and audio projects. Get the deal here!

Features

  • -12, 3.3, 5, 12 volt supplies @ 1.25 amp
  • 1.25 amp polyfuses with reset on each power rail
  • Indicator LEDs show that each rail is working
  • Power good and enabled indicator LEDs
  • On-Off button and control circuit
  • Optional load resistor included but NOT soldered
  • Open source (CC BY-SA)

USB Infrared Toy v2
Flash Deal $16.5 (15%0ff) 2016/03/01~ 2016/03/07

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Use a remote control with your computer, view infrared signals on a logic analyzer, capture and replay remote control buttons, and play TV POWER codes. Get the deal here!

  • NEW: 100mA constant current IR transmitter with improved range
  • NEW: Infrared frequency measurement
  • NEW: Pin breakout area
  • Infrared remote control decoder (RC5)
  • Infrared signal logic analyzer
  • Capture and replay infrared signals
  • USB connection, USB bootloader for easy updates
  • Supported in WinLIRC
  • Open source (CC-BY-SA)

Bus Pirate v4
Flash Deal $29 (22%off) from 2016/3/15~2016/3/21

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Bus Pirate v4 is a universal bus interface that talks to electronics from a computer serial terminal. Get to know a chip without writing code. Eliminates a ton of early prototyping effort with new or unknown chips. Seeed Studio is the official manufacturer and supporter of the Bus Pirate project. Get the deal here!

Features

  • 256K program space, 4 times more flash than v3
  • Integrated, on-board USB (faster)
  • Data storage EEPROM to store settings
  • Software pull-up voltage selection: 3.3volt, 5volt, or external supply
  • 2 extra I/O pins
  • Multipurpose button

To see all our projects at Seeed, please click here.

Repairing the HackRF

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Ramiro from t4f.org did a repair of a HackRF One and documented the whole process on his blog:

I broke my HackRF One. I have no idea how, but I did it.
While testing a power amplifier I realized that there was not transmission at all. After checking the software, the connections and the power amplifier, I confirmed that my HackRF was broken. It was able receive but not to transmit. More precisely, I was not able to transmit when configuring the HackRF with medium-high TX power. However it worked when configuring the HackRF to transmit with low power.
A fast check in the schematics confirmed my fears: the power amplifier stage was blown.

More details at t4f.org.