Embedded devices

Home Automation – Making a dumb switch for smart lights.

by on Feb.23, 2016, under Embedded devices, Hardware, How-To's, IoT

Sometimes you need a smart switch for a stupid job, othertimes you need a stupid switch for a smart job.It might not look like much, but the switch used as this feature image has more to offer than one would think judging by appearances.  In this article, we will be converting a “stupid” switch into a “smart” switch for the purposes of controlling a connected GE Light Bulb over Z-wave and discuss why you’d want to look for a stupid switch for smart devices in the first place. (continue reading…)

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Cisco WiFi – Disconnect from the hive mind

by on Jul.16, 2015, under Embedded devices, Hardware, How-To's, Linux, Networking

Cisco AIR-AP1131AG-A-K9

Cisco AIR-AP1131AG-A-K9

Everyone knows that I love a bargain. That love for bargains is intensified any time networking gear is involved.  Imagine my excitement when I found a bunch of the above pictured Cisco access points on Ebay for around $8 a pop because the lid won’t stay on.  Unfortunately, my excitement was tempered a bit when I found out that these were designed to work with a controller and weren’t stand alone units.  Undeterred by this disappointment, I researched and found a way to get these things to operate on their own as standalone units and freed them from the hive mind!  In this article, we will cover converting the Cisco AIR-AP1131AG-A-K9 from “Lightweight”(controller-based) to “Autonomous”(standalone) and will even cover how to put them back in “Lightweight” mode if you want later on.

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Raspberry Pi tastes better with RPi B+ edition

by on Jul.23, 2014, under Embedded devices, Hardware, Hardware Pr0n, Linux

Raspberry Pi B+

Raspberry Pi B+

The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced a new arrival to their existing line of awesome little credit-card sized computers.  I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one and give it a go.  In the article (with pics!) below, I’ll cover what’s changed, what’s stayed the same, and what you can expect from everyone’s favorite mini machine.

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Giving a PIX firewall a new lease on life

by on Jan.24, 2014, under Embedded devices, Hardware, Networking

PSU Spaghetti

Buying networking equipment off of Ebay can be one of the most rewarding and frustrating challenges you may ever face. Of course, being able to identify and fix issues with newly purchased hardware may mean the difference between having purchased a $500 firewall for $11 and some parts versus buying another piece of crap for $11 that will live out its life in the back of the parts closet.   In this article, I’ll cover how to replace the power supply to a Cisco PIX 506E firewall with a standard computer power supply.

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IBM RS/6000 display repurposed for Arduino

by on Jul.23, 2012, under Embedded devices, Hardware, Microcontrollers

I couldn't find a picture of an IBM server with the LCD so here are some squirrels.

I couldn’t find a picture of an IBM server with the LCD so here are some squirrels.

We managed to unearth an old IBM RS/6000 server at work and decided that since the machine didn’t work, it was time for it to go away.  Right off the bat, one of the things I noticed about this machine was that it had a diagnostic LCD panel in the bezel presumably for showing POST error codes and warnings.  Since the machine was going to the scrap heap, I decided to relieve it of the LCD and managed to get it to work on an Arduino with minimal effort.  Read on for pictures and a wiring pinout.

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Networking: Installing and configuring pfSense Embedded

by on Nov.11, 2011, under Embedded devices, How-To's, Networking, Security, Software

pfSense Logo

After publishing the last post on networking and the security series, I felt it was necessary to go ahead and publish a piece on building a custom router.  I have been a fan of pfSense for the past four years and swear by it. It has the ease of use of a commercial GUI-driven router and unrivaled flexibility limited only by the hardware it is installed on.  In this howto article, we will cover installing pfSense on an embedded platform and initial configuration for getting your router up and running.

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CVS Netbook Revisited

by on Jul.25, 2011, under Embedded devices, Hardware, How-To's, Linux, Software

A few months ago, I posted a hardware teardown of the CVS Sylvania Netbook pictured above. After working with it and performing a lot of research on it, I promised a follow up article, and here it is.  To sum it all up, with a bit of modification to the software, a spare SD card and a lot of patience, you can actually turn this thing into a somewhat useful Linux device.  There’s also some improvements and suggestions to be had for improving the Windows CE side of things should you decide to continue using it in its default state.

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Hardware Pr0n: Sylvania “netbook” from CVS

by on Jan.08, 2011, under Embedded devices, Hardware, Hardware Pr0n, Investigative Dissassembly, Windows

cvs logo

Well, the annual gift-giving season has drawn to a close and now we are left with retailers trying to get rid of all that extra stuff that thy have left over in their inventories.  Of course as a hardware geek, I’m always on the look out for another great hack. While at my CVS I came across a Sylvania netbook device for under $100. Even better, I got mine as an open box for only $30 making it an awesome find.  Read further to discover what this little beastie’s hiding under its hood. (continue reading…)

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GUIDemo – A full VGA Library for the Propeller

by on Nov.19, 2010, under Embedded devices, Hardware, How-To's, Microcontrollers

The Parallax VGA GUI Demo is great for adding a pre-built GUI for your projects. The bonus is that the drivers for using a PS/2 keyboard and mouse and a VGA display are pre-built and ready to run.  With a little bit of configuration, you can add a well built UI to your application and make it easier to display output and receive input from the user.

In this article, I will demonstrate some of the basic options that are needed in order to get the GUI up and running.  While our application is going to be turning on a few LEDs, once you have these basics down you should be able to use this article and build whatever user elements are required for your application. (continue reading…)

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Dead Dockstar Resurrected with JTAG!

by on Sep.08, 2010, under Embedded devices, Hardware, How-To's, Linux

Hey, I never said I was a graphics designer.  This was created in MS Paint after 15 minutes searching for a zombie icon and a JTAG icon or an angel I could slap JTAG over.

The reason I haven’t written any more about my fun with the Dockstar was that due to an unfortunate set of circumstances I was left with a bricked dockstar. (read: I did something stupid.)  After performing a lot of research and thanks to a bunch of people over at the PlugApps.com Forum site who helped me, I was able to get it running.  Read more for a complete list of what you will need including how to build an adapter and where to get the needed JTAG kit. (continue reading…)

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