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Camera Hack

Posted 2012.07.22 12.46 in Hobbies, Photography

Some long while ago I picked up a Lomography Action Sampler camera – a little multi-lens plastic ‘toy’ camera that takes four pictures in sequence when you press the shutter release. The four images all fit on a single frame of 35mm film, and are taken about 1/4 second apart.

It’s supposed to capture ‘action’ but the shutter speed isn’t very fast so if the subject is moving fast enough to capture the action, they’re probably going to come out blurry. And if they are moving slow enough not to be blurry, then there isn’t enough ‘action’ to capture.

Anyhow, I got the idea to modify it. I’d black out two of the lenses and remove the internal frame mask so that a) there was only two images instead of four, and b) they would bleed into each other.

It was a super simple modification, the frame mask was a plastic insert that just popped out when I tugged on it with pliers. To block out two lenses I just used some black electrical tape – so neither change is permanent.

I was hoping that the two lenses would have enough coverage to expose the whole negative, but it turns out they do not. I think there might be some more plastic inside that I could try and remove, to see if that does it. Or not. It’s not bad as-is.

The film was an OEM Fuji colour negative (store brand), ISO 400. Processed myself with my stale old C41 chemistry, 20 minutes at 76°F then scanned on my flatbed Epson.

Tinkerers’ Rules

Posted 2011.05.15 10.34 in Computers/Internet/Technology

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Quoth the Maker: If you can’t open it, you don’t own it.

Updated Already

Posted 2011.03.20 22.10 in Computers/Internet/Technology

I couldn’t leave it alone, of course. Had to take it apart again today and make an update.

That thing with the WizNet module hanging sometimes, I had applied a very makeshift fix to yesterday. See, the WizNet doesn’t have its own power-on reset, but it needs it. They suggest you use a digital pin from your uC but I was out of pins. So I used a 10uF capacitor, which was enough to ground the reset line on power-up or manual reboot.

The problem was, I had my WizNet reset tied to my Arduino / ATMega reset, and the capacitor meant I couldn’t update the programming. At least, not without temporarily removing that capacitor.

So it turned out, I did have a spare pin. I had been holding A3 in reserve. Just incase the temperature readings from the Chronodot remained inaccurate due to the heat from the WizNet, I was prepared to add a TMP-36 analog temperature sensor, and dangle that a few inches below the enclosure. Luckily, with the thermostat mounted vertically on the wall, and the Chronodot a good 1″ out with open air around it, the temperature readings are accurate.

So I pulled it open, removed the capacitor, and unhooked the WizNet reset line from the Arduino / ATMega reset line, and tied it instead to A3. A few quick changes to the software, and presto, no more hang-on-powerup and it can be reprogrammed without any soldering. Yay!

Also, I decided to go ahead and show off the guts. Why not? Just be warned, if you’re easily upset by ugly wiring hacks and poorly-planned soldering and random wires and tapes and dead-bug construction… well just don’t look.

And finally, here’s a link to the updated software. The zip file also contains a text file that outlines the pinout & functions for the ATMega chip, the WizNet module, and the function of the HVAC lines — or at least, how they function in my house.

Dingoo Mod – to the EXTREEEM!

Posted 2010.06.02 18.32 in Computers/Internet/Technology

For no really good reason, I had to mod a Dingoo A320 with a memory upgrade. The 320 has 32MB of RAM, but the A330 has 64MB of RAM. IMHO the A320 has more going for it, fewer glitches, than the 330. But the 330 has more memory…

So you can see how I’d already be vaguely thinking about it. Then over on Dingoonity, a user named flaming_goat asked if it would be possible. Well you know there’s no turning back after that…

I read up on the chips in the 330, and the chips in the 320. I checked my 320 to see how it was wired. It looked feasable. None of my tests said it would fail, so the only way to know for sure was to try it.

DigiKey had the chips I wanted and they were only about $12.50 for a pair of them. No turning back now…

Detailed instructions follow below the fold…

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Dingoo A330

Posted 2010.05.31 20.26 in Computers/Internet/Technology

It’s the new release from Dingoo Technologies. I got one to satisfy my curiosity, but sadly it disappoints on many levels.

Dingoo A330

I made up a new version of Dingux that takes advantage of the added memory and faster clock speed. To do that, I needed to get a serial port in there for testing. Unlike the A320, the 330 seems to just have half a port; TX but no RX. So you can get debug data out, but you can’t interact with it. Sucky.

Probing for the RX Line

The TX data is found on a single unmarked testpoint that lies beneath the LCD screen, in the upper middle part of the motherboard. In hopes of finding the RX line, I did some probing to the copper traces around the CPU in the area of the TX line, but neither of my two most-promising candidates proved to be RX data. It is probably not connected at all. More sucky.

A330 Motherboard

I stuck the serial port on the left-hand side of the Dingoo, above the reset button. It was the only clear spot on the motherboard, but it turns out the left speaker wants to sit there, and the serial port keeps failing on me – I have to take it apart and fiddle with it to get it working again. The A330 disappoints on many levels.

Dingoo Serial Port Step-by-Step

Posted 2010.05.26 10.05 in Computers/Internet/Technology

I added another serial port to another Dingoo and this time I took pics of the process all along the way.

Click the thumbnails for enlarged images and details.


P.s. I forgot to publish this earlier, sorry for the delay.

Dingux – Keeping Me Out Of Trouble

Posted 2010.05.05 10.45 in Computers/Internet/Technology

So the first couple weeks with my Dingoo, I was messing with the native firmware, doing some hacks and coming up with a nice theme/skin for it, that sort of thing. I knew you could run Linux on there but I was sort of avoiding it, trying to just stick to the native firmware.

Then I started looking for a game, to take the place of Star Trek: Tactical Assault on the DS. Something that I could pick up and play for 5 or 10 minutes then leave, something that had challenging fly-around-and-shoot-stuff combat, but didn’t have a huge backstory or a long story-mode. (Yeah I know ST:TA has that, but I never play it, I just use Skirmish mode. I get a ship, the computer gets a ship, and we slug it out.)

So after a bunch of trial and error, it boiled down to an oldie-but-goodie: Star Control 2. Or rather, the modern opensource remake, Ur-Quan Masters. Yeah, long drawn-out story mode. Skip that: Super Melee mode. I get 14 ships. The computer gets 14 ships. We slug it out. Brilliant. The only catch? It’s not available for native firmware, only Dingux – that’s what they call Linux on the Dingoo.

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