Cyrozap's Tech Projects

Computers. Circuits. Code.

Mac SE Update

I just realized that I haven't posted any updates on my Macintosh SE in over a year! I've made a few big strides since then and I'm really getting excited about it.

Remember that RAM Issue I was having? Well, the computer managed to work on 2.5MB, but I really wanted the maximum of 4MB so I bought 2 x 1 MB 30-pin 60ns SIMMs on ebay for $4. Now, the computer works great! Well, not really. The HDD is toast (it's been making the "click of death"), so there's no OS. Luckily it still has a floppy drive! Unfortunately, it only takes 800k floppies and is completely incompatible with modern 1.4M floppies.

After I discovered that I was't going to get an OS running on the Mac via a floppy, I started searching for alternative means. First, I looked into SCSI to IDE adapters. Unfortunately, they are EXTREMELY expensive (on the order of hundreds of dollars). Next, I tried finding 50-pin SCSI drives. I then realized that, even if I was able to buy a drive like that, I would still have no way of loading an OS onto it. Finally, I started researching floppy disk drive emulators. After a bit of research, I discovered that they are more plentiful than many would think. Sadly, they only support 1.4M floppies.

For a while, I thought I was out of luck. But then, I discovered the blog of a computer engineer who, among other things, managed to create a floppy disk emulator for 68k-based Macintoshes. I really liked the concept and the design was proven so I decided to build a few for myself!

My first Mac floppy emu!

Upgrading the Kyocera KR2 With the CradlePoint MBR1000 Firmware

This is the first post in my quest to get my Kyocera KR2 running some more modern firmware. For those of you who don't know, The CradlePoint MBR1000 3G/4G wireless router is essentially a rebranded Kyocera KR2 with different firmware and no PCMCIA slot. Internally, the hardware is exactly the same (except for the PCMCIA card slot). The MBR1000's firmware is more up-to-date than the KR2 firmware with support for more 3G and 4G cellular cards, so I wanted to see if I could upgrade the firmware. If I do eventually get this to work, I'll probably lose the PCMCIA card slot functionality, but it will be worth it.

Here's what I have so far:

The Peeks have arrived!

Update 3/29/12: Peek's OS has been open-sourced! The new dev site is here: PeekLinux.com

Well, I just received my casepack of 30 Peek devices (it was originally supposed to be 20...) and I have nothing to do with them. I'll be hanging out in #peekdev (##peek is no longer used) on Freenode IRC as cyrozap, so spread the word about the IRC channel and join in so we can collectively figure out how to make this awesome device better! Code to help get started has been posted to http://peekhack.posterous.com. http://elinux.org/Peek has some good info on how to flash the device.

Oh, and thanks to Sam Aarons for letting me know that Peeks were being given away! I still have no idea why that news hasn't reached Hack-a-Day yet...

Update 2/29/12: For those of you wondering, this is how you wire up a normal micro-USB cable to an FTDI cable for use with a Peek. Sorry for the poor photo quality; my iPhone's case has plastic covering the lens that likes to diffuse light. :|

Cable Wiring

From FTDI -> USB, the connections are: Black -> Black, Red -> Red, Orange -> Green, Yellow -> White

Peek Linux With GSM Support

The Peek is a mobile device that uses a GSM radio to get your email and display it. Basically, it's a single-purpose email device.

A month or two ago, I bought a Peek on eBay for $22. I thought it might be useful, but it ended up being useless without the Peek service. So far, I've managed to upgrade the firmware, but I still need the Peek service to get it to work. Peek customer support has been unresponsive to my request to activate my Peek, so I now want to install Linux on this thing to at least get SOME functionality out of it. Unfortunately, without the GSM radio drivers of the TI Locosto chip, this device is still useless (even on Linux). My new side project is to now get access to TI's Locosto dev info so I can make binary drivers for the chip for Linux. I would only be able to make binaries because of TI's NDA.

Any help with this would be appreciated!

Here's some info on the Peek's hardware: http://elinux.org/Peek

My New Old Macintosh SE

Today, I got a free Macintosh SE! It's pretty awesome. Unfortunately, it's giving me a RAM error, so I'll have to swap out the modules. I'm going to try to fix it to the best of my ability because to gut a fixable machine would be to destroy a piece of Apple history. I'm thinking about replacing some of the components with more reliable modern equivalents, too. Now that I think of it, I might just go ahead and replace all the capacitors before they start leaking and ruin the board. If I can, I'll also replace the floppy drive with an SD card-based floppy drive emulator.

CD/Cassette/Radio Hack

Today, I hacked a multi-function audio player (commonly known as a "boom box") to add an external audio input. This hack isn't really done yet (I still have to solder everything up, drill a hole, add the 1/8" jack, etc.), but I have pictures of what I've done.

Essentially, I started out by poking around the live circuit with my oscilloscope. I didn't get very far with that, so I decided to look up the datasheet for the identical DIP chips that looked like they were the amp chips. After reading the bits I needed, I saw that the chips were indeed amplifiers (with one for each channel). After tracing some circuit paths, I managed to find a good point to input the signal. I connected some wires to those points, found a point for ground, and connected it to an 1/8" jack in my iPhone.

I was able to play Derezzed REALLY loud before it started getting distorted.

Sorry there's no video, but the music player I was using also happens to be my video camera, phone, calendar, and video player (among other things). Also, my normal video camera wasn't available. Click "Continue Reading" to see the pictures.

Updated Sabertooth X58 Files

I updated the files to what I'm using now. You can use the same link to the modified files as in the previous post. For the updated files.

If these files don't work, you can always use the ones made by other people. There are a few more DSDT's for this board floating around now.

An interesting idea I had...

So I recently saw the smartlcd project and immediately thought of the Mac SE/ARM DIY USB GPU. If you could modify and run the GPU firmware on the smartlcd, you could have a bunch of tiny, inexpensive, USB screens. I would do this, but I have neither the time nor the programming skill.