You are previewing Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks.
O'Reilly logo
Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks

Book Description

Put a hacker in a room with a Furby for a weekend and you'll hear a conversation that's fairly one-sided in its originality. Toss in an 802.11b network card, a soldering iron, wire cutters, a logic probe, and a few other carefully selected tools and materials and you'll have potential. Add a copy of Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks and by the end of the weekend that Furby will be saying things you never imagined. From building an Internet toaster to creating a cubicle intrusion detection system, Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks offers an array of inventive, customized electronics projects for the geek who can't help looking at a gadget and wondering how it might be "upgraded." Beginning with basic hacks, tools, and techniques for those who may not have a background in electronics, the book covers the tools of the hardware hacking trade and basic soldering techniques, then moves into more advanced hacking projects. Clear step-by-step instructions allow even those with no formal electronics- or hardware-engineering skills to hack real hardware in very clever ways. Hacks in the book are rated on a scale of difficulty, cost, and duration. Projects range from those that are truly useful to some things you may have never thought to do, but which are really cool, such as:

  • Building your own arcade game

  • Making radio-controlled cars play laser tag

  • Building an automobile periscope

  • Hacking an 802.11b antenna

  • Building a building size display

Perhaps you're an electronics hobbyist who likes to learn by doing. Maybe you hack software and want to see how the other half lives. Or, maybe you've never hacked at all, but you'd like to get started quickly with some projects that do something interesting from the start. If you're any of these, then Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks will indulge your inner mad scientist. Using the projects in this book as a jumping point for other new and clever hacks, it won't be long before you're looking around, asking, "I wonder what I can improve next?"

Table of Contents

  1. Contents
  2. Preface
    1. Introduction
    2. Goals of This Book
    3. Audience for This Book
    4. Organization of This Book
    5. Project Downloads
    6. Using Code Examples
    7. Acknowledgments
    8. Disclaimer
  3. Part 1: Basic Hacks, Tools,and Techniques
    1. A Tour of My Toolbox
    2. The Basics
      1. How to read a schematic diagram
      2. How to solder
      3. How to use a multi-meter
        1. How to measure voltage in a circuit
        2. How to measure current
        3. Measuring current in our circuit
        4. How to measure resistance
    3. Chapter 1: How to Build a Portable Laptop Power Supply
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Determine your laptop’s voltage input
        2. 2. Locate a suitable power connector for your laptop
        3. 3. Determine the number of required batteries
        4. 4. Assemble battery holder and connection cable
        5. 5. Attach power cable to battery pack
        6. 6. Test out the pack
      3. Project Demo
      4. Extensions
      5. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials
      6. Exhibit B: Power Pack Schematic
    4. Chapter 2: How to Build an Aquarium Inside a Macintosh
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Disassemble the Mac
          1. Remove all switches and screws
          2. Remove all internal connectors
          3. Discharge CRT
          4. Remove analog parts
          5. Remove the floppy cables, CRT, and logic board
        2. 2. Prepare the case
          1. Remove all plastic protrusions from the front case
          2. Cut out the lid
          3. Clean the top and remove the handle
        3. 3. Prepare the back case
        4. 4. Build the tank
          1. Cut out the tank components
          2. Bend the Plexiglas
        5. 5. Assemble the tank
          1. Check the piece for a good fit
          2. Clamp the pieces together and apply solvent to seams
        6. 6. Build the filter
          1. Mark out the new tank size
        7. 7. Add accessories
          1. Add back the brightness knob
          2. Add back the programmer’s switch
        8. 8. Test the aquarium
      3. Project Demo
      4. Extensions
      5. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials
    5. Chapter 3: How to Hack 3802.11b Antennas
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions for Recycled Can 802.11b Antenna
        1. 1. Select and prepare the can
        2. 2. Measure and punch holes in the can
        3. 3. Build and install the antenna probe
        4. 4. Add a connection cable and test
        5. Project Demo
      3. Hardware Assembly Instructions for Primestar Dish 802.11b Antenna
        1. 1. Decide where to mount the antenna
        2. 2. Prepare a can
        3. 3. Solder wire to the N connector
        4. 4. Mount the N connector to the can
        5. 5. Mount the can to the dish
        6. 6. Align the antenna
      4. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials for Recycled Can
      5. Exhibit B: Bill of Materials for Primestar Dish
    6. Chapter 4: How to Build a PC Water-Cooling System
      1. Project Overview
      2. Before You Start
      3. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Build the water block
          1. Task 1: Cut out the box parts from the metal sheet
          2. Task 2: Cut out corners and bend the box sides into place
          3. Task 3: Solder the seams of the box
          4. Task 4: Drill holes for tubing
          5. Task 5: Cut the tubing
          6. Task 6: Connect the tubing
          7. Task 7: Add a lid to the box
        2. 2. Connect water tubing to the box
        3. 3. Connect pump and water pan
        4. 4. Test for leaks
        5. 5. Attach water block to the CPU
        6. 6. Set the CPU clock
          1. Intel CPUs
          2. AMD CPU
      4. Project Demo
      5. Extensions
        1. Add a radiator and a closed flow system
        2. Cooling other components
        3. Other coolants
      6. Resources
      7. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials
    7. Chapter 5: How to Hack a Furby (and Other Talking Toys)
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Skin the Furby
        2. 2. Remove the circuit boards inside Furby
        3. 3. Prepare and assemble the add-in circuit board
          1. Cut out the new circuit boards
          2. Orient the circuit board
          3. Attach the MAX883 integrated circuit
          4. Add resistors and capacitors
          5. Connect power wire
          6. Test the board
          7. Add remaining ICs
        4. 4. Add the connectors
          1. Add earphone jack
          2. Build serial cable
          3. Check the circuit
        5. 5. Add the oscillator and test the serial port
          1. Solder the oscillator
          2. Add the main processor
          3. Install the digital-to-analog converter
        6. 6. Add the rest of the integrated circuits
          1. Install the audio amplifer
          2. Install the capacitors
          3. Install the board you just built
          4. Install new flash memory
        7. 7. Reassemble the Furby
      3. Software Setup Instructions
        1. Must-have software
        2. Nice-to-have software
        3. Useful information
      4. A Quick Overview of Assembly Language and C for the Hacked Furby
        1. Learning 8051 assembler code
        2. Coding in C
        3. Preparing code for download
        4. Downloading and using the software
          1. Start WinISP
          2. Power on your hacked Furby
          3. Program the Furby
          4. Sound files for your Furby
          5. Controlling the Furby motors and other output devices
          6. Input devices on the Furby
      5. Project Demo
      6. Extensions
      7. How to Hack a Generic Talking Toy
      8. Project Overview
      9. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Disassemble the backpack
        2. 2. Desolder the speaker and battery wires
        3. 3. Modify the audio recording board
          1. Remove various components
          2. Remove capacitors
          3. Trim the board to fit
          4. Make your connections
          5. Test your work
        4. 4. Test the modifications
        5. 5. Reassemble your toy
      10. Project Demo
      11. Extensions
      12. Exhibit A: Furby Bill of Materials
      13. Exhibit B: Talking Toy Bill of Materials
      14. Exhibit C: Schematic for Building Your Own Board
    8. Chapter 6: How to Hack a Video Periscope for Your Car
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Assemble the camera housing
          1. Drill holes in front of the plastic enclosure
          2. Cut exit hole for wire
          3. Mount the camera
        2. 2. Assemble the power supply
        3. 3. Assemble car mounting hardware
        4. 4. Wire the mount pole and camera
          1. Measure the wire path
          2. Cut PVC pipe to length and drill mounting holes
          3. Thread wire through the PVC pipe
          4. Connect camera cable to video and power cables
          5. Add connectors to ends of video and power cables
        5. 5. Install the camera and monitor
          1. Construct a camera lens cover
          2. Secure camera housing to PVC pole
          3. Install the car mounting hardware
          4. Pull wires from camera mount to front of car
        6. 6. Seal the enclosure with RTV silicone
          1. Test out the camera assembly
      3. Extensions
        1. Multiple cameras
        2. Motorized mount
        3. Battery-powered version
        4. Connect a video recorder
      4. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials
      5. Exhibit B: Schematic Diagram for Power Supply
      6. Exhibit C: Schematic Diagram for RC Servo Driver
  4. Part 2: Advanced Hacks,Tools, and Techniques
    1. How to Identify Resistor Values
    2. How to Identify Capacitor Values
      1. Types of capacitors
        1. Electrolytic
        2. Ceramic
        3. Tantalum
      2. Which capacitor for which job?
    3. How to Identify Transistors
    4. How to Identify Integrated Circuit and Component Packages
      1. Surface-mount components
      2. Through-hole components
    5. How to Identify Connectors
      1. Insulation displacement connectors
      2. DB9 and DB25 connectors
    6. How to Read a Manufacturer’s Data Sheet
    7. How to Use a Plug Board to Create a Simple Circuit
    8. Summary
    9. Chapter 7: How to Build a Digital Video Recorder
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions
      3. Software Setup Instructions
        1. 1. Install Mandrake Linux Version 8.2
        2. 2. Configure the system
        3. 3. Test out the system
      4. Project Demo
      5. Extensions
        1. Dedicated IR remote control
        2. Wireless PDA remote control
        3. VCD burning
        4. Share files over a network
      6. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials
      7. Exhibit B: Dedicated IR Remote Control Support Files
    10. Chapter 8: How to Hack a Building-Size Display
      1. Project Overview
      2. Small-Scale Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Determine where you will set up the system
        2. 2. Assemble the LED driver board
          1. Install sockets for all integrated circuits
          2. Connect all integrated circuits
          3. Install all components and test circuit board
          4. Place circuit board in enclosure
        3. 3. Assemble and wire the LED frame
        4. 4. Wire the LED frame to the LED drivers
        5. 5. Install a light diffuser over the LEDs
        6. 6. Mount the system on your house
      3. Large-Scale Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Choose a building for installation
        2. 2. Install the digital I/O card
        3. 3. Build relay drivers
        4. 4. Obtain lamps and build stands
        5. 5. Connect the relay drivers to the ISA I/O card
        6. 6. Build relay boxes and connect the lamps
        7. 7. Wire the building
      4. Software Setup Instructions
        1. Large-scale software
        2. Small-scale software
      5. Project Demo
      6. Wireless Extensions
      7. Exhibit A: Small-Scale Bill of Materials
      8. Exhibit B: Large-Scale Bill of Materials
      9. Exhibit C: Large-Scale Eight-Port Relay Driver
      10. Exhibit D: Large-Scale Digital Interface to Relay Driver
      11. Exhibit E: Small-Scale LED Driver Schematic
      12. Exhibit F: Small-Scale Shift Register Schematic
      13. Exhibit G: Small-Scale Connectors
      14. Exhibit H: Small-Scale LED Wiring
    11. Chapter 9: How to Build a Cubicle Intrusion Detection System
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Assemble the electronics
          1. Solder components to the circuit board (laserbased)
          2. Solder components to the circuit board (Radio Shack)
        2. 2. Assemble the photo-detector housing
        3. 3. Assemble the laser mounting pivot
        4. 4. Mount SuperCarrier, photo-detector, and laser
        5. 5. Wire the entry alert
        6. 6. Mount the LCD
        7. 7. Cut holes for power, controls, and laser
        8. 8. Construct the remote LED cable
        9. 9. Test the system
        10. 10. Program the BasicStamp2 controller
          1. Download the programming software
          2. Connect the cubicle intrusion circuit board to the PC
          3. Program the BasicStamp2
        11. 11. Align the system
      3. Project Demo
      4. Extensions
      5. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials for Laser-Based System
      6. Exhibit B: Bill of Materials for Entry Alert–Based System
      7. Exhibit C: BasicStamp2 Software
      8. Exhibit D: Schematic Diagram for Laser-Based System
      9. Exhibit E: Schematic Diagram for Entry Alert–Based System
    12. Chapter 10: How to Build an Internet Toaster
      1. Project Overview
      2. Before You Start
      3. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Disassemble the toaster
          1. Remove the outer plastic (or metal) covers
          2. Reveal the side toasting elements
        2. 2. Modify the nichrome heating element wiring
          1. Cut and modify the heating wires
          2. Add high-temperature wires
          3. Add a connector to the three new wires
        3. 3. Add a relay and test your wiring
          1. Build a SPST switch for testing
          2. Test the wiring
        4. 4. Build the toast message mask
        5. 5. Install the toast message mask
        6. 6. Reassemble the toaster
        7. 7. Build the toast control unit (TCU)
          1. Add components to BasicX carrier board
          2. Mount the TCU, switches, connectors, and display
        8. 8. Connect the TCU to the toaster and test it out
      4. Software Setup Instructions
        1. Program the BasicX controller
      5. Project Demo
      6. Extensions
      7. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials
      8. Exhibit B: TCU Firmware Code
      9. Exhibit C: Schematic Diagram for TCU
    13. Chapter 11: How to Build a Home Arcade Machine
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Acquire materials and transfer plans
        2. 2. Cut out the medium-density fiberboard
        3. 3. Assemble the cabinet
          1. Assemble the bottom and sides
          2. Add the top and back panels
          3. Video screen mounting
          4. Create a T-molding groove
          5. Cut Lexan bezel for monitor
          6. Mount speakers and leg levelers
          7. Paint and cover the cabinet
          8. Assemble the marquee
          9. Install the T-molding
        4. 4. Build the controls
          1. Build the control panel
          2. Install joysticks, buttons, and trackball
          3. Interface the controls to the PC
          4. Wire the controls
          5. Interface using a key interface controller
        5. 5. Install the monitor and PC
      3. Troubleshooting
      4. Software Setup Instructions
        1. Installing the MAME software
          1. PC requirements
          2. Video and sound cards
          3. Operating system
          4. MAME software
      5. Project Demo
      6. Extensions
      7. Resources
      8. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials
      9. Exhibit B: Cabinet Plans
      10. Exhibit C: Control Panel Plans
      11. Exhibit D: Controls Schematic Diagram
    14. Chapter 12: How to Build a Remote Object Tracker
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Build a transmitter
          1. Locate a GPS receiver
          2. Obtain and build a TinyTrack
          3. Locate a two-way radio
          4. Connect the TinyTrack, radio, and GPS receiver
          5. Program the TinyTrack
        2. 2. Assemble a receiver
          1. Select a two-way radio
          2. Select and assemble the TNC
          3. Install the software
          4. Assemble all the receiver components
      3. Project Demo
      4. Extensions
        1. Use a GMRS radio
        2. Modify the antenna in your two-way radios
        3. Set up a network of repeaters
        4. Enable two-way messaging
      5. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials
      6. Exhibit B: Connection Cable Schematic Diagram
      7. Exhibit C: Tripmate Adapter Schematic Diagram
      8. Exhibit D: Gender Changer and Null-Modem Schematic
    15. Chapter 13: How to Make RC Cars Play Laser Tag
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Disassemble the radio-controlled cars
        2. 2. Locate power on main circuit board
        3. 3. Build the IR cannon and hit-sensor circuit board
        4. 4. Build the hit-sensor optics
        5. 5. Add the IR cannon fire circuit to the remote controller
        6. 6. Mount the IR LED cannon to the RC vehicle
        7. 7. Mount the hit-sensor optics and IR cannon board to the RC vehicle
      3. Software Setup Instructions
        1. Software operation
        2. Compile the code
        3. Program the PIC chip
      4. Project Demo
      5. Extensions
        1. Software
        2. Wireless video camera
        3. Sound effects
        4. Power supply
        5. Touch sensors
        6. Light sensors
      6. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials
      7. Exhibit B: RC Car Hack Software Code
      8. Exhibit C: RC Car Controller Schematic Diagram
      9. Exhibit D: RC Car Radio Transmitter Schematic Diagram
    16. Chapter 14: How to Build a Wearable Computer
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. Display
          1. Hack a camcorder viewfinder
          2. Use a PDA as a display
          3. Simple devices
        2. CPU and motherboard
          1. PC104 platform
          2. Non-PC104 platforms
          3. PC-card-size 486 computer
          4. Palmtop computer
        3. Power system
          1. Batteries
          2. Generators and solar panels
          3. DC/DC converters
          4. Battery chargers
        4. Input devices
          1. Chorded keyboards
          2. Wearable keyboards
        5. Wireless communications
          1. Bluetooth
          2. 802.11b
          3. 900 MHz
          4. Cellular
        6. Storage devices
          1. Laptop hard drives
          2. Compact flash—based storage
          3. Disk on chip
        7. I/O devices and sensors
        8. Putting it all together
          1. Carrying the wearable
          2. Connecting the pieces
      3. Software Setup Instructions
        1. Operating system software
          1. Linux
          2. Windows
          3. DOS
          4. QNX
        2. Application software
          1. Interface applications
          2. Power management software
      4. Project Demo
      5. Wearable System Examples
      6. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials
    17. Chapter 15: How to Build an Internet Coffeemaker
      1. Project Overview
      2. Hardware Assembly Instructions
        1. 1. Construct and attach the ADC circuit board
          1. Build the ADC circuit board
          2. Attach the ADC board to the SitePlayer board
        2. 2. Mount the SitePlayer evaluation board and ADC circuit board inside a protective housing
        3. 3. Construct the temperature and liquid sensor probe
          1. Temperature sensor
          2. Liquid sensor
        4. 4. Seal the probe head
        5. 5. Modify the coffee pot
        6. 6. Test out the hardware
      3. Software Setup Instructions
        1. 1. Program the mini web server
        2. 2. Test out the complete system
      4. Project Demo
      5. Extensions
      6. Exhibit A: Bill of Materials
      7. Exhibit B: Schematic Diagram
      8. Exhibit C: SitePlayer Code
  5. Part 3: Appendixes
    1. Appendix A: Schematic CaptureSoftware
    2. Appendix B: Communication
      1. Wired
        1. RS-232
        2. Modems
        3. USB
        4. FireWire
        5. Ethernet
        6. Telephones
          1. DTMF
          2. DAA
      2. Wireless
        1. Radio control
        2. Radio data communications
        3. Infrared
    3. Appendix C: Easy-to-Use Microcontroller Boards
    4. Appendix D: Power Sources
      1. Batteries
        1. Disposable
          1. Zinc carbon cells
          2. Alkaline
          3. Lithium (nonrechargeable)
          4. Zinc air
          5. Other nonrechargeable batteries
        2. Rechargeable
          1. NiCad
          2. NiMH
          3. Sealed lead acid
          4. Lithium ion
      2. Solar Cells
      3. Generators
        1. Bicycle generators
        2. Wind-up generators
    5. Appendix E: Resources
      1. References
      2. Materials
  6. Index
  7. Colophon