Tag Archives: Hacks

Broadlink smart bulb conversion to open source

via Dangerous Prototypes

VikTak writes:

Many of the current bulbs on the market are based on the same chip, the ESP8266. These bulbs are very easy to “hack” and replace the firmware in them with the likes of my ActoSenso or the more widely known and used Tasmota. However, not all bulbs use the same chip. One of my bulbs turned out to have a Broadlink BL3336T-P WiFi module in it. This chip is not open source and not well documented (like the ESP8266 family), so anyone trying to write new firmware for it must first figure out what exactly the chip does and how exactly it does it. This is not an impossible task – some have managed to make great progress on figuring out the inner workings of it, but it is a slow, hit and miss process.
In this article I will show a different approach: I replaced the WiFi chip along with its PCB and other parts that drive the LEDs and designed a new, drop-in replacement based on the ESP8266 chip.

See the full post at diy.viktak.com.

Building a 12V DC MagSafe charger

via Dangerous Prototypes

Steve blogged about his 12V DC MagSafe charger built:

Now that I have a solar-powered 12V battery, how can I charge my laptop from it? An inverter would seem absurdly inefficient, converting from 12V DC to 110V AC just so I can connect my Apple charger and convert back to DC. It would work, but surely there’s some way to skip the cumbersome inverter and charge a MacBook Pro directly from DC? Newer Macs feature USB Type C power delivery, a common standard with readily available 12V DC chargers designed for automotive use. But my mid-2014 MBP uses Apple’s proprietary MagSafe 2 charging connector. In their infinite wisdom, Apple has never built a 12V DC automotive MagSafe 2 charger – only AC wall chargers. There are some questionable-looking 3rd-party solutions available, but I’d rather build my own.

More details at bigmessowires.com.

UHF version of TinySA

via Dangerous Prototypes

DuWayne KV4QB posted his UHF version of TinySA project:

I had started on the TinySA from Groups.io HBTE, but am still waiting on some parts that I had orderd than have yet to show up. Looking around I found a UHF version that covers 240 to 940 MHz. This only uses a single si4432 transceiver module, which I have on hand. So I will try to do a similar UHF version of the TinySA. Since this does not need the input LPF, mixer, and a high local oscillator, it should turn out to be a small instrument.

See the full post on DuWayne’s Place blog.

El Carrillon | The MagPi 92

via Raspberry Pi

Most Raspberry Pi projects we feature debut privately and with little fanfare – at least until they’re shared by us.

The El Carrillon project, however, could hardly have made a more public entrance. In September 2019 it was a focal point of Argentina’s 49th annual Fiesta Nacional de la Flor (National Flower Festival), where its newly overhauled bell tower proudly rang out a brand-new, Raspberry Pi-enabled tune.

Many years ago, festival organisers created custom hardware with a PIC (programmable interface) microcontroller to control 18 tuned bells. Each bell is associated with a musical note, from A3 to D5 with all the semitones. Until its long overdue update, the tower’s 18 bells had rung the tune to Ayer, also known as Yesterday by The Beatles. They now have a brand-new repertoire of MIDI-based tunes, including the theme from Star Wars.

For Gerardo Richarte, the originator of the project, there was a little extra pressure: his dad is on the board of the NGO that organises Fiesta Nacional de la Flor, and challenged his son to come up with a way to update the bells so different songs could be played.

Ringing the changes

With the challenge accepted, Mariano Martinez Peck explains, “We chose Raspberry Pi because it was inexpensive, yet powerful enough to run Linux, Python, and VA Smalltalk. We could find ready-made HATs that actually matched the pinout of the existing flat cables without much hacking, and only a minimal amount of other hardware was needed. In addition, there was plenty of documentation, materials, tutorials, and GPIO libraries available.”

The bells had a pre-existing driver module

The project aim was to be able to run a mobile-friendly website within Raspberry Pi Zero that allowed control, configuration, and playback of MIDI songs on the bell tower. “In addition, we wanted to allow live playing from a MIDI keyboard,” says Mariano. The project developed as a live test and iteration update, but the final build only came together when Mariano and Gerardo’s moment in the spotlight arrived and El Carrillon rang out the first new tunes.

Coding a classic

The decades-old chimes were controlled by assembly code. This was superseded by Python when the team made the switch to Raspberry Pi Zero. Mariano explains, “Raspberry Pi allowed us to use Python to directly interface with both the old and new hardware and get the initial project working.”

However, the Python code was itself replaced by object-oriented VA Smalltalk code – an environment both Mariano and Gerardo are adept at using. Mariano says, “Smalltalk’s live programming environment works really well for fast, iterative development and makes software updates quick and easy without the need for recompilation that lower-level languages [such as assembly or C/C++] would need.”

El Carrillon’s bells can now play any MIDI file on Raspberry Pi, and the notes of the song will be mapped to the tuned bells. However, as the testing process revealed, some songs are more recognisable than others when reproduced on chimes.

A final feature enabled Gerardo to bag some brownie points with his father-in-law. He recently added a web interface for controlling, configuring, and playing songs, meaning the bells can now be controlled remotely and the song selected via a smartphone app.

The El Carrillon bell tower forms a striking backdrop to the flower festival and other cultural events

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The post El Carrillon | The MagPi 92 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Sinilink WIFI-USB mobile remote controller

via Dangerous Prototypes

Peter Scargill blogged about his AliExpress Sinilink WIFI USB controller project:

So here’s a thing – I had this all set up and working perfectly with Tasmota on my WiFi – then plugged the unit (USB male end) into a USB3 connector – and it immediately lost the lot – well, the settings, not Tasmota – I had to go back to using my mobile phone as an access point and re-enter the info. That’s annoying but the reset after USB3 plugin might be related to somehow triggering the “normal” Tasmota device recovery, which indeed does a “factory reset”. So what I did next after advice from subscriber “sfromis”, was to use “SetOption65 1” in Tasmota console (which is a non-volatile setting) and I’ve had no trouble since – on the same USB3 hub.

More details on Scargill’s Tech Blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Internet connected fire/smoke alarm project

via Dangerous Prototypes

Martin Harizanov blogged about his cheap DIY IoT smoke detector:

This project is an upgrade to a previous project of mine – the DIY IoT smoke alarm. It is a more advanced version that uses dedicated hardware rather than the generic “Funky” project + external components. In essence, the module integrates into cheap smoke detectors and provides wireless event transmission plus periodic battery measurements to cloud infrastructure using BBoilRF as a gateway (over MQTT).

More details on Martin’s corner on the web blog. See part 1 here.

Check out the video after the break.