Popsci Chumby Hack

Popular Science’s blog just ran a piece on reskinning a chumby. Now that chumbys are available for general purchase by those willing to participate as a “Chumby Insider” and are running around in the wild, it’s nice to see that people are opening them up and doing something new with them!

I have to admit, it’s a little bit weird being on the “other side” and seeing your stuff in a tear-down, but it’s very rewarding to see it all the same. I look at the circuit boards and the plastics assembly and run through the manufacturing operating procedure in my head, to see if there are any flaws, obsessing over product quality…instead of seeing the opportunities of what you could do with the naked hardware. Maybe when you stare at something too hard you become myopic. I’ll keep an eye on the hack posts around the web to help my mind stay open to new ideas.

Incidentally, you don’t have to solder wires directly onto the power switch. The same signal is routed to a much easier pair of terminals (pins 9 and 11) on the chumbilical connector! I picked a classic 26-pin 0.1″ square-pin dual row connector for maximal hacker-friendliness.

14 Responses to “Popsci Chumby Hack”

  1. shaeffer says:

    Excellent – now I just have to get my hands on one (so I can take it apart and see for myself, of course).

  2. Jenn Braun says:

    Bunnie! Hi there babe! This comment has nothing to do with your post, I just stumbled across this website and thought I’d say Hi since I haven’t seen you in forever. I got here via some horrific pictures from Pimps Players and Hustlers… good lord. Any chance we can get those taken down? ;) Or maybe my name just changed to Jenn instead of Jenn Braun. lol. Ah, those were the days.

    Hmm, I also may have a freelance job/inquiry for you. Are you still at your alum address? Mine works… I’ll send you an email.

    I miss your smiling face. Hope all is well.


  3. Angela Button says:

    Hmmm…bit harsh! I love chumby because of the soft case. Mind you, I’m still not connecting with people who want to mod chumby into a new soft case. Is it a gender thing? Or a skill level thing? Or is it just that people think electronics “should” be in hard, angular cases?

    BTW I’m still all for the plastics kit.

  4. Mark Hurley says:

    Good article. I have thought about embedding a Chumby in other parts of my house too! The only thing is I will have to buy another one, I can’t bare to dismantle mine.
    Great job with everything you’ve done to make a great portable wifi appliance.

  5. snoop911 says:

    Is this a chumby knock-off idea?

  6. GoodDoctor says:

    @Ben Nguyen
    Wow interesting… seems like it!

  7. Ross Hershberger says:

    Thanks for the info about the power switch hack. I purchased the guts of a Chumby from Maker Shed. I intend to recase it in the same type of 6″ X 2″ X 3″ enclosure as a compact stereo amplifier that I built. I like the idea of an amp and source component that match. I have it running now but it’s just rubber banded into the case.
    For my application I will not be using the USB ports on the daughter card assembly. It would be more convenient for me to install my own Chumbilical cord to my power connector, power switch and headphone jack. I assume it’s possible to eliminate the daughter card assembly entirely as long as my own connections fulfill these functions. Is there a way to find out the pin assignments for power and signal?

  8. Ross Hershberger says:

    Okay. I found the schem for the Daughter Card and Chumbilical. THANK YOU for providing documentation! I’m new to Chumby and looking forward to customizing my Chumby Beauregard.

  9. Fern Knouff says:

    Great post! These are important things to stay in mind, it’s typically straightforward to forget about the straightforward things when you get consumed by a project.

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