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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Random list of things I'm interested in

Some topics I plan to write about.

DirecTV - Installing and pointing dishes, buy and sell equipment, activate, etc
TiVo - I'm a fan of the boxes, have upgraded many using parts from Weaknees and NewEgg.  Haven't done much code hacking past formatting and logging in because I like to keep them running and legal for the family to watch TV.
Nintendo DS - Use the game sharks, Action Replays, Emulators, etc.  Also repair them, buttons, screens, etc.  My kids love them, abuse them, and my son always wants to cheat on the games
LG cell phones - Use bitpim and other software to hack these, add ringtones, proxy internet, etc
Appliances - Can't live without them, somebody has to fix them
Gamer Computer Building - I have more fun putting together systems than figuring out what to do with them.  Love monster graphic cards, AMD processors and putting together high performance systems on the cheap.
Linux/Windows and other software things I learn

Arduino rocks

I'm currently working on several projects using the Arduino microcontroller boards.  They are very easy to use and open up a world of possibilities.  Some of the projects I'm working on:

  • Automatic TV IR control to turn of the TV at night:  

Uses the Arduino, an IR remote detector scrounged from a broken TV, and IRLED scrounged from a old TV remote control.  I interfaced a basic LCD module as well so I can tell what it's doing.  Basically if someone is watching the TV, there is IR remote activity at least every 15 minutes as commercials are skipped, channels are changed etc.  The IR detector sees pulses and resets a timer.  After 15 minutes of no activity, it mimics the sleep timer control codes to eventually turn off the TV.  If the TV is already off, the sleep timer code is ignored.

Why? My wife is a night owl.  She stays up to 2 and 3am watching TV every night.  Eventually she falls asleep, half the time leaves the TV on.   I know you'll say that all TV's have sleep timer, but she never sets it, and the only way to set it is to have TV remote, she exclusively uses the multifunciton TiVo remote.   Then at 5AM, DirecTV sends out updates.  The TV goes quiet, then comes back on.  I'm a light sleeper in the AM and the fresh burst of noise wakes me up.  I have to stumble around, find the remote and turn off the TV, then try to get back to sleep for an hour before work.

I'll publish schematics, code, and links to where i found information on the Arduino boards about how to decode and transmit IR codes.   This is built and working but I'm still perfecting the software to include a digital clock so it only does this at night time.

  • Nintendo DS cartridge saved game editor
Basically the Nintendo DS cartridges contain an EEPROM that is similar to commercial models and read out over a conventional SPI interface.  The Arduino has code to talk to this interface and dump and write the data.  I've found the pinout of the cartridge.  Code for reading an SD card is on the Arduino site.  I got that up and running.  Scrounged a cartridge socket from an old broken DS.    Hardware is built but it is still flaky and I'm debugging it.   I'll publish links and code once I'm up and rolling.