Taking things apart and reworking it

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by JinTrigger, Mar 21, 2011.

Mar 21, 2011
  1. JinTrigger
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    Member JinTrigger Asentrix Studios

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    So I look around and I see people taking thing apart from their old gameboys down to their PSP and making them do cool shit such as making them an LED show, adding a camera, adding more speakers, and so much more. My question is that if I wanted to do such thing what kinda experience would I need and where could I get and if there is a good place to start....where is it. Of course I can take a part a lot of things (some of which I cannot put back together) and for some things I can do tiny casing mods but I want to do more.
     
  2. Originality

    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    If you're seriously considering learning to mod hardware, you need to learn about circuitry (circuit boards and circuit maps). You can get practice circuit boards with sample circuit maps to train on from various toy stores, although it can't really take you beyond the basics of creating circuits.

    After getting the hang of that practice, some people like to find an old radio and take that apart to train their soldering skills. Radio circuits aren't very complicated, so it makes for a perfect step up towards the more complicated systems that you'll find in gameboys and other handhelds.

    Once you understand how everything is connected together, you can start looking into what you can tamper with and what needs to be left alone.

    I would guess that FAST would be the best user on the board to answer more specifically than that.
     
  3. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Short version of the question- what skills do I need to be a hacker?

    The required skills are many and varied depending on what you want to do.

    Broadly speaking I am going to say they fall into 3 categories
    1) Electronics
    2) Programming
    3) More traditional engineering (mechanical, materials and the like) or science (chemistry, biology and if it did not already fall under engineering then physics).

    None is any more important than any other and there are countless subdivisions (electronics falls into digital and analogue as the big two and they divide again, programming runs from electronics right to really high level stuff like HTML and additionally the interplay between these levels is becoming more and more important, 3) I already mentioned a few divisions of) and ways to blur the lines (pharmacology- mixture of chemistry and biology for one) and most hackers will have a grounding in all three and maybe a bit of specialisation depending on what they really want to play with (or not- some of the most interesting things come from people skilled in other areas, for example http://ds9a.nl/amazing-dna/ and probably the most famous example of all is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQItB5uoiHI ). For your examples

    Light show- depends what you want to do. Simple lights that appear are very easy to add- you simply have to have a way for the light to escape and a way to power the light (LEDs take little power, run at the sort of voltages and allowable currents inside the safety limits of most devices or can be made to run at the sort of voltages and currents easily sourced in most devices)/
    Blinking lights can be done, fancy patterns can take more effort (or not if the hardware itself provides a method- see pulse width modulation) as you might need extra circuitry.

    Speakers- same idea as lights really except most speaker mods are towards adding better speakers, fixing them or lowering power requirements. You find the speaker access points and either tap the output to run through an amp in the case of upping volume (audio engineering is a field in and of itself) or if it has an amp onboard maybe bypassing that.

    Cameras- this one is more tricky. On the one hand you might have a device that already allows a camera and you just need to find a way to attach and maybe power it from the device and hide the wires.
    On the other hand it could take something like http://ladyada.net/learn/diykinect/ and hacking right down into the heart of the device.


    "if there is a good place to start....where is it"..... "Of course I can take a part a lot of things"
    You just answered your own question. Figure out how to put things back together and you are away. You will start seeing patterns in how things are made and put together (also how shockingly cheap manufacturers of stuff are)

    There are other things http://gbatemp.net/t105493-how-do-people-k...t&p=1406730
    http://gbatemp.net/t204149-psp-hacking?st=...p;#entry2541305
    http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=271...t=0&start=0

    I suppose all I will say is do not always look to traditional education and means. Not to say it can not be done or is even all that ineffective if you play the system but there are serious shortcomings in it and you can save yourself a fortune in education bills. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/temple_g...s_of_minds.html , http://blog.ted.com/2010/05/13/math_class_need/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U being three jumping off points for such a view.
    Failing that http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymsHLkB8u3s illustrates it quite well too.
     
  4. JinTrigger
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    Member JinTrigger Asentrix Studios

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    Wow thanks alot FAST and Originality...Really appreciate it and this gives me a place to start
     
  5. Schlupi

    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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    What they said.

    You need basic knowledge of circuitry, logic gates/functions, parts and tools involved in getting things to work.

    I am actually going to make a Nintoaster soon and I was so happy when the schematic on the tutorial showed up, and it was all in mumbo jumbo that I understand. [​IMG]

    It is a lot of work to understand it completely.

    I suggest the program

    MultiSim, it allows you to make circuitry on your computer without the need of hardware and parts to test things. This also is good for using when making anything really, as to not accidentally fry and ICs or anything like that.

    You can get it free if you know where to look, otherwise it costs money.

    http://www.ni.com/multisim/

    It is AMAZING. I use it all the time for my circuitry work. I got it for free in high school from my Digital Electronics teacher lol.

    Pro tip -- ALWAYS, I repeat ALWAYS ground yourself to avoid static which will ALWAYS ruin your device while handling it...
     
  6. Originality

    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    Nintoaster... does it make goomba waffles?
     
  7. Schlupi

    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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  8. Originality

    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    It involves so much hammering that it looks like it'd be a great stress reliever.

    If only I had a toaster.
     
  9. Schlupi

    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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    Yeah... I need to buy the toaster and Game Genie and I will be set.
     

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