Archive for the ‘Hacking’ Category

Novena on the Ben Heck Show

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

I love seeing the hacks people do with Novena! Thanks to Ben & Felix for sharing their series of adventures! The custom case they built looks totally awesome, check it out.

Name that Ware January 2016

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

The Ware for January 2016 is shown below.

I just had to replace the batteries on this one, so while it was open I tossed it in the scanner and figured it would make a fun and easy name that ware to start off the new year.

Winner, Name that Ware December 2015

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

The ware for December 2015 was a Thurlby LA160 logic analyzer. Congrats to Cody Wheeland for nailing it! email me for your prize. Also, thanks to everyone for sharing insights as to why the PCBs developed ripples of solder underneath the soldermask. Fascinating stuff, and now I understand why in PCB processing there’s a step of stripping the tin plate before applying the soldermask.

Name that Ware December 2015

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

The Ware for December 2015 is shown below.

This ware got me at “6502”. Thanks to DavidG Cape Town for contributing this specimen!

One question for the readers (separate from naming the ware!), it’s been something I’ve wondered about for decades. On the back side of this board, one can see ripples on the fatter traces. My original assumption is this is due to a problem with hot air leveling after the application of a solder finish to the bare copper board, before the soldermask is applied. However, the top side is almost entirely smooth, so clearly the process can supply a flatter finish.

So here’s my quandary: are the ripples intentional (for example, an attempt to increase current capacity by selectively thickening fat traces with a solder coating), or accidental (perhaps microscopic flaws in the soldermask allowing molten metal to seep under the soldermask during wave soldering)?

Been wondering about this since I was like 15 years old, but never got around to asking anyone…

Happy holidays to everyone! I’ll be at 32C3 (thankfully I have a ticket), haunting the fail0verflow table. Come enjoy a beer with me, I’m not (officially) giving any talks so I can actually sit back and enjoy the congress this year.

Winner Name that Ware November 2015

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

The Ware for November 2015 was an RS-482 interface picomotor driver of unknown make and model, but probably similar to one of these. It’s designed to drive piezo (slip stick) motors; the circuits on board generate 150V waveforms at low current to drive a linear actuator with very fine positional accuracy.

This one was apparently a stumper, as several guessed it had something to do with motor control or positioning, but nobody put that together with the high voltage rated parts (yet with no heatsinking, so driving low currents) on the board to figure that it’s meant for piezo or possibly some other electrostatic (e.g. MEMS) actuators. Better luck next month!