4Caster with Hacked Firmware
For those who’ve ever wished to discover ways to hack a circuit’s firmware, a terrific starting level could be SparkFun Electronics. Most of the improvement, prototyping, and sensor merchandise bought by SparkFun come geared up with a particular programming interface. Even higher, most of those merchandise function downloadable firmware. Due to this fact, with only a modest quantity of effort, you may modify one among these merchandise’ firmware, reprogram the circuit, and create your individual personalized product.
You may add your title to a splash display, develop a brand new product function, or — dwelling life on the sting — rewrite the entire shebang and make a wholly new product: the sky’s the restrict when hacking firmware. There’s one crucial caveat, although: for those who don’t know what you’re doing when tinkering with firmware, you can destroy the product.
On this introduction to firmware hacking, let’s attempt a easy modification. We’ll reformat the output from the USB Climate Board v1 in order that it may be meaningfully displayed on a serial-enabled 20×4 LCD.
In its inventory configuration, the output from the USB Climate Board is a steady string of numbers, like
Not very pleasant, is it? We’ll modify the firmware in order that the output is simpler to grasp. One thing like:
1.Humidity=47.25% 2.Temp=81.23F 3.Press=101723Pa
However wait; there’s extra. We’ll additionally add an LCD for displaying this new output and a battery energy provide, and wrap all the things up in a handheld enclosure. The result’s a conveyable, handheld personalised climate forecasting system. Or, as I’ve dubbed it: the 4Caster 1000.
TIME: 3 hours
USB climate board v1 (SparkFun Electronics #SEN-08765; $99.95)
Serial-enabled 20×4 LCD (SparkFun Electronics #LCD-00462; $32.95)
5V DC-to-DC step-up (SparkFun Electronics #PRT-08248; $10.95)
6x headers (SparkFun Electronics #PRT-00116; $2.50)
SPST push on/off swap (RadioShack #275-011; $1.99)
Challenge field (All Electronics #1593-YBK; $4.95)
Hookup wire (RadioShack #278-1224; $5.99)
AA battery (regionally out there; $.50)
Optionally available (may already be hooked up to some USB climate boards):
2×5 AVR ICSP male header (SparkFun Electronics #PRT-00778; $0.95)
4Caster USB Climate Board
- Make the firmware accessible by soldering the two×5 AVR ISCP male header to the USB Climate Board. NOTE: some boards may have already got this header hooked up.
- Solder the 6×1 header to the BlueSMiRF connector on the USB Climate Board.
- Obtain, set up, and begin the FREE AVR Studio 4 Built-in Improvement Atmosphere (IDE). The goal AVR on the USB Climate Board is an ATmega8.
- Obtain the USB Climate Board firmware and create a brand new AVR Studio 4 undertaking to your hacked firmware. For instance, name your undertaking 4Caster and paste the SparkFun Electronics firmware into the principle 4Caster program window.
- Modify the firmware. The strains that I added for creating my 4Caster 1000 might be discovered right here.
Take your moveable, handheld personalised climate forecasting system with you wherever you go. Simply press the pushbutton on the skin of the undertaking field for a fast snapshot of your present climate circumstances. By monitoring these climate stats out of your hacked firmware, you may have the ability to make a fast “guess” about upcoming climate modifications.
Please word: spurious characters may generally seem on the LCD. For instance, all “Ps” will all of the sudden change to “@.” Or, a “0” (zero) will drop out. This distasteful impact normally disappears inside 1-2 seconds.