I’ve had a CNC mill for a few years now, and while many homemade CNC mills use EasyDriver or Pololu, mine came with a sturdy, generic TB6560 controller board. For those unfamiliar, boards like this are interfaced using an old fashioned LPT parallel port, which was initially an annoyance, but quickly became impractical and a hassle, having to use an old PC with VNC installed. The board has plenty of power to push the steppers around, far more than any of the smaller / cheaper solutions had to offer I think, so I wanted to try and teach this board a few new tricks, and let me interface with it using a more modern interface.
Tag Archives: Soldering
Much to my dismay, the stock radio in my 2007 Prius did not include an AUX in port for hooking up an iPod. Searching around, it turns out that the 51824 in my car does have a CD changer port, and does have the AUX pins, however they don’t function. I even bought an adapter on eBay to use the CD changer port with an external source, and the stereo didn’t even take any notice of the adapter. I sent it back, and instead opted to replace the whole radio with a 51824, which does support these features.
My brother recently got an iPod Video off eBay which refuses to keep a charge for longer than 30 minutes. I suspected it was an old battery, and thought it could be fixed by swapping in another one. Once I got the case open, I discovered a burn mark on the back on the hard drive foam, pointing out that there was a blown out component on the main board. Lovely.
A few days ago we were driving through Ukiah, and wanted to check out the local pawn shop. They had a digital lock box which was missing it’s keys and had an unknown code. I shook it and, it didn’t seem to have anything heavy inside, but it did sound like there were keys inside. I haggled with the salesman and bought it for $12 plus tax.
Years ago I bought two 160GB Seagate external drives, then at some point I didn’t double check which power converter I was grabbing and the little 12vDC drive got a nice 18vDC over-voltage and it blew out the drive. The loss of the HD wasn’t a huge deal since it was empty at the time, but the USB to IDE converter was now curiously showing up in windows as a “Cypress AT2LP RC58”.
A lot of googling around led me to many sites where they suggested using dbflash.exe to restore the EEPROM, which was suggested to be corrupted. I tried, and the tool was successful in flashing the EEPROM, but for whatever reason now it wouldn’t even show up as a USB device in Windows or Linux! FAIL!
So, after some testing the boards, it seemed that nothing was blown, but the controller has suffered amnesia. I discovered that there was an EEPROM on the board which looked familiar. I removed the EEPROM from the still working unit and read out all the data to my computer, then flashed the failed drive’s EEPROM. After re-soldering everything, the unit came up as something different. I took out the IDE drive, and replaced it with another laying around, restarted it, and tada! We have a drive again.
Interesting to see that the over-voltage killed the hard drive, and blanked the EEPROM, but little else.
Ok, so like most days, I have the few websites I check daily. Hackaday.com had a link to a great little project a while back called “LED pimp bed” written by bkpeters(at)uiuc.edu. He had a really great idea, take primary colors red blue and green, and have them on fader controls, attach to bed. Tada: Pimp bed.
The whole thing is just wonderfully simple, but like many other geeks out there, I know that anything is better with computer control. It took me a few hours over a few days to work out the details, but I was really happy with what I came up with.
I have had a bunch of times when you need to use a hard drive designed for a Laptop in a desktop system, say for formatting, or copying massive amounts of files. Laptop drives are by spec. 2.5inch wide, while desktop drives are 3.5 inch wide. This isn’t a problem for the average user because we have these nice 3.5 to 2.5inch adapters, however what if you wanted to put a full scale drive into a laptop? You’re screwed. Of course, in most cases you couldn’t even fit the full drive into the laptop just due to it’s actual size, not just the different adapter.
Read more about my build here:
This project has been on my mind for a few years now, and has been a long time coming. If you know me, you could probably just guess the amount of shit that I have saved up on my desktop and servers. In my main desktop system I have several drives consisting of 40gb, 40gb, 80gb, 160gbRAID (2x80gb), DVDRW. This is all well and good, however to show off my collection of drives I have a single red led on the front which is almost always on. Sorta weak.