Sunday, 1 March 2015

RetroBright on the cheap

Id run out of Hydrogen Peroxide, and my latest delivery was confiscated by the post man :-(

I picked up a bottle of BBlonde from Superdrug for £1.60

Here are the results on a Plus 4 keyboard - left in the February sun for 4 hours (i.e. not much sun)

Before, after a good scrub with washing up liquid.

After 4 hours in outside. Bblonde was spread with a brush on to the keys and thats it.

A good result and extremely easy and cheap to do!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Hardware Root Amazon FireTV

Step by Step - How to hardware root the Amazon FireTV

The FireTV is a superb little media player, fast, cheap small - but restricted by Amazon. To really enjoy the device you need root access. All UK models and US models purchased now cannot be software rooted any more. The only way to obtain root is to hardware root.

Thanks to the following sites and members of their forums for the information I learned: / Maximus64 for creating the eMMC adaptor and initial hardware root.

The XDA Developers forum Click here for thread for lots of assistance and questions answered - a great community of many knowledgable people.

Shopping list:

1 - Maximus64 eMMC adaptor - order from the shop. Click here.

2 - Fine tipped soldering iron

3 - Solder!

4 - Wire. I used 0.1mm enamelled copper wire - its needs to be thin and flexible due to the very small points on the board.

5 - A decent SD Card reader. Note: Decent! The inbuilt MacBook pro one and a cheapo one didn't work for me, the one recommended by the exploitee's does. This transcend one on Amazon works perfectly and is only £6 delivered. Click here.

6 - Small phillips screwdriver, guitar pick or iPhone opening tool or a knife (i used a knife)

Step 1

Disassemble the FireTV. Follow the guide here. Videos here Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Step 2

Look at the PCB layout below and work out where the points are.

Original Hi-Res version is on the web site. Click here.

  • Remove the resistor at CLK (this is a 0 ohm resistor - do not worry if you loose or break it, it can be replaced with a wire shorting the two connections - this is actually easier than replacing the resistor).

  • Now solder wires to the CLK, DAT0, CMD and GND points from the image above. See image:

  • Next cut the wires as short as you can, mine were 5 - 6 cm and solder to the corresponding points on the eMMC adaptor:

Thats all the soldering done! Now fireup your PC boot into Linux (I used Ubuntu from a USB stick on a MAC), connect the Sandisk SD Reader and carefully plug in the eMMC adaptor. The EXT4 partitions on the eMMC should now be mounted. Video here.

The software bit (Copy SU over to the FireTV eMMC):

To gain root, we need to copy over SU to the XBIN folder on the correct EXT4 volume.

  • Boot into Linux
  • Connect the power supply to the FireTV board
  • Connect the SDReader that contains the eMMC adaptor to your USB port.
  • The volumes will be detected, you can browse the GUI and make a note of the volume that contains the XBIN folder.

We now mount the volume as read/write, copy the SU binary to the XBIN folder and set the correct permissions. Run from terminal.
  • dmesg | tail
  • mount
  • sudo su
  • cp /pathtosu/su //xbinvolumename/xbin/su
  • chown 0:0 /xbinvolumename/xbin/su
  • chmod 6755 !$
  • ls -l !$ (Check result)
  • exit
  • exit

The SU binary is now on the XBIN folder. De-solder your wires from the FireTV. Replace the resistor you removed with a piece of wire (easy) or the actual resistor if you prefer. Reassemble the FireTV and plug her in!

Your FireTV is now rooted.

Next thing to do is disable updates. Ill cover that in a upcoming post.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Restoring a Roberts RD-60 Radio

My wife loves her RD60 Roberts DAB Radio, however during our recent house move it was (electrically) broken.

It was also very very tatty - the fake leather covering they used for it was very poor quality, and no joke - just lightly tapping it would cause chunks of fake red leather to fall off!

Time to take it apart and restore it!

Before photos:

First stage was to take it apart and fix the electrical fault, this was easy - the PSU was broken. Now I know I can fix the Radio, time to re-upholster it.

A trip to Dunelm and my wife picked a rather nice red flowery material. I bought a meter at £4. Bargain.

After a strip down before recovering:

And the finished product, re-upholstered, cleaned and fully working!

I still need to do the carry handle, but I don't have a sewing machine, so that will have to wait until I visit my mum.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Home roasted chestnuts the easy way

Gather chestnuts as local wood

1 Make a cut in each chestnut

2 Place in pan of water on the heat. Remove when simmering

3 Pre heat oven to 220c drain water from chestnuts and place on baking tray with. It side up. Wait 15 minutes or longer of the shells have not opened

4 Remove from oven and place in a bowl. Cover with a tea towl for 15 minutes to steam a little.

Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

SNES RGB Scart Cable Sync Mod

My SNES looks terrible on my new Samsung LED TV :-(

The picture appears to have a checkerboard pattern / interferance:

After reasearch, I have learnt that the usual RGB Scart cables use composite video as the Sync (Pin 9 on SNES to PIN 20 on scart). This creates havoc on modern day TV's, especially on Samsungs.

How to fix it? Use Luma (PIN 7 on SNES) as the Sync.

Heres what I did.

Take your RGB SNES -> Scart Cable.

Carefully cut the moulded cover down one side so you can open it up

Remove the moulded cover to reveal the insides of the plug

Now locate PIN 9 and PIN 7 (On this cable, PIN 9 is the white wire). Carefully cut around the block of plastic, unsolder the white cable and solder it to PIN 7 (Handily the PIN next to PIN 9 :-))

Replace the rubber moulding, super glue the cut, clean it up and job done!

After sync mod, no more interference, checker board pattern :-)

Friday, 11 July 2014

Custom case for the Super Everdrive!

First I started with an old cartridge, took it spat and used white spirit to remove the front and back labels. I gave it a good clean up:

Now lined up the PCB and dremelled out a slot for the SD Card (this photo was before sanding the edges of the slot!)

PCB in and lined up:

Cart bolted to gather and the rather lovely label provided by Retro Towers applied! Job done!

Perfect! Very happy with how this turned out. Composite Video mod next.

Super Everdrive time!

I received the Super Everdrive today, a nice package from RetroTowers in the UK! Even comes with a cart sticker. Ill build the shell later.

First time to install the DSP1 chip.

It needs to go here : Top marks to Krikzz for clearly marking the PCB and orientation for the DSP1

Chip soldered in, simple :-)

Powered up and working a treat. Pilotwings and Mario Kart as they are supposed to be :-)