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Pointless Dingoo Mods

Posted 2010.04.22 9.44 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Last night I was a bit bored so I sat down and did some pointless hardware mods to my Dingoo.

First, I added a power LED. When the backlight is off, or if you boot it with the B button to go into flashing mode, it’s hard to know if the Dingoo is on or off. And in any event, I’m a sucker for LEDs. “Real electronics should glow in the dark.”

The easy part was attaching the LED, I used a surface mount blue LED that draws 10mA at 3.6v and stuck it near the start button, then wired it between Vcc and ground. I found a point on the rear of the board where the power is switched so I just ran a bit of 28 gauge wire around from the back to the front. The hard part was getting a hole in the black layer of the front case, without also going through the clear part of the front case. I used a cheap soldering iron to melt some of the plastic then some small precision chisels to cut out the plastic and get the hole to be just about right. Actually it was about 80% luck, I’m usually not this good at modifying the plastic parts.

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Nintendo DSi

Posted 2009.12.31 20.50 in Computers/Internet/Technology

As I usually spend New Years alone, it has become a bit of a tradition for me to buy myself a new toy that I can disassemble on the 31st of December. In the past, it has frequently been something in the Amateur Radio genre, but this year I opted to do a Nintendo DSi.

I’m not much of a gamer, and I pretty much suck at almost all video games. I’ve had a DS for a while but the only game I was really happy with was the crossword game. Then I gave my DS to my mum so she could play that brain age thing. Anyhow, so I decided to get the DSi so I could take it apart. I like electronic gizmos. I like taking them apart. I like hacking them or breaking them or just finding out how they work.

The DSi has been around for a while now – feels like a year or so. But there’s very, very little info out there about hacking it. Really there’s just one site that has no news, just aggregates info from gaming sites. I don’t want cheat codes or that sort of thing, I want to mess with the hardware. It’s got 256MB of Flash storage, 16MB of RAM, and a 32-bit ARM processor at 133MHz. With the built-in WiFi and dual screens and SDHC expansionality, there’s more than enough oomph in there to run Linux, among other things… (Remember the Zipit?)

There’s no info that I could find about the software – is the DSi operating system a complete customized Nintendo thing? Or maybe the GUI is Nintendo but there’s something else under the hood? The CPU is supposedly custom made for Nintendo so that might preclude it doing other things…

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