Personal tools

Updated dku-5 cable mod

written by rmiloh on

Better instructions for modifying one of the PCB types found in DKU-5 cables. These contain a prolific 2303HX which works fine for many serial purposes, speed up to 115200 settable in the standard baud rate settings (not continuously)

I’ve seen 3 different layouts for the pcb’s in the DKU-5 cables so far, this is what I call “Type A”, the one I run into most often:

DKU 5 pcb type A, top side

DKU-5 pcb 'Type A', top side

DKU 5 pcb type A, bottom side

DKU-5 pcb 'Type A', bottom side

Make a cable for the 6 pin header on your volksduino, boarduino, or other compatible device. There should be a cap between pin 6 of the ‘ftdi’ 6 pin header (green) and the reset pin on the arduino’s atmega chip (pin 1)
I use PATA IDE cables for the 6 pin header (connecting the vertical wires so there’s 2 of the 6 pin rows)
See the previous blog post by me for a picture of one of these cut-up IDE cables.

If you run into different PCB’s, it’s easy to figure the pinout for different pcb layouts of these common prolific 2303hx boards on your own. A rough run down of the steps to do this (my steps require a DMM and some Linux system) follows:

1) Cut out the pcb from the cable and figure out VCC and GND with continuity settings on a DMM, I use a vised hacksaw and cut the sides off.
2) Plug the board into a usb hub and see if it shows up it in your system (Linux: use dmesg and ls /dev/ttyUSB*)
3) Figure out and label possible RX and TX subjects with the voltmeter setting of your DMM.
4) Find DTR# easily by opening the Arduino software and pressing send a sketch over the connected dku-5 board. Don’t hook up a arduino, hook up your dmm to GND and the test point. DTR# to GND voltage should be ~3.3v with the device first connected to your system, get pulled to ~0V when the Arduino software starts, and then blip high every time you attempt to send a sketch out. There’s a way to toggle DTR#, CTS#, and RTS#, all the modem lines using other tools like cu, stty, minicom, and IOCTL, but I don’t remember how since I first did this.
5) build a cable and solder it on to your dku-5 pcb. Test it by opening your device in the linux terminal program screen (‘screen /dev/yourdevice 9600′), connecting pin 4 to pin 5 with a wire for loopback between TX and RX, and looking for text echo on your screen terminal when typing. Follow that up with an Arduino test by uploading a sketch.

Note: These prolific chips work at 3.3v but supply the arduino at 5v. The RX from the ‘uino back into the 2303hx is
tolerant of 5v (from the 2303hx datasheet, page 10: Schmitt inputs, 5v tolerant )

goodbye ftdi, hello prolific

written by rmiloh on
I said: "We gotta do something about these hard to obtain and pricey ftdi cables." Thanks to Jesse Welz telling me about old nokia phone cables with prolific usb to serial chip inside, and thanks to jake {jerkey} spaz for keeping it real simple with old ide cable cutups We now have $2/piece usb to serial cables at Noisebridge to use with projects like the Volksduino. Pictured below is the pinout for the prolific 2303HX, which is what I've seen used in the DKU-5 cables. It's connected to the Volksduino with an old IDE ribbon cable and a chopped IDE dual inline header with 6x2 plugs. The ribbon traces are doubled up. It fits great and is easily assembled. There's a spare Prolific pcb shown, they seem to have a little variety from part to part, but are consistent enough for someone to throw together a cable for their own Volksduino/boarduino/BBB cable in about 15-30 minutes. Prolific 2303 pinout cheapo usb-serial

Let me Explain…Why I’m in Singapore.

written by antonio on

So, I thought I was just hopping over to Noisebridge after a rare semi-”day off”, to celebrate the birthday of Moxie (who I hadn’t seen in 4 or 5 years) and the anniversary of Noisebridge. I knew that this was to be a special event–with everyone throwing $10 in a pot at the event, we were going to decide collectively the “best” use of the money.

When it came down to voting, some of the best ideas were:

-Ball playground like at Chucky Cheeze in the back room

-Drugzzz (duh)

-buying actually needed things, like USB cables or a sign for the space…

but of course the one that actually received the most support was: send someone out of the country as an ambassador for noisebridge…leaving the next day. what a stupid arbitrary use of the money. I mean, I love ball playgrounds (actually I should’ve suggested a fun house/bouncy house). I was just excited about the idea of democratic tomfoolery, and when it came to deciding how to figure out who would get to go, I suggested a Ro Sham Bo tournament.

I didn’t realize that I was the best Ro Sham Bo player around; nor did I realize that if I won, I would be peer pressured into actually doing it. I was playing for the love of the game, not to win. People who know me know that I do too much crap to support myself wasting time sitting on a plane for 15 hours, in order to spend another 30 hours somewhere I’ve never thought about visiting before (and then the 15 hour flight back of course). So when I won, I freaked out. I don’t want to do this. Um, doesn’t someone else want to? Well, yes, Zach Houston will do anything. And that guy in the green shirt had some intense desire in his eyes as I laid down the final scissors of the game, but sorry buddy, runner up counts for nothing in the game of winning a trip to Singapore.

How was Singapore chosen? I don’t actually know because I escaped to the Uptown, to seek advice from my bartender roommate and friends. Unanimously, it was agreed that I should go. Fuck it, they said. Cancel your meetings. Skip an entire week of school. Who cares about all that when you could do something for no reason? So I came back to NB and the decision had been made to send me to Singapore. Luckily enough, kindred spirits over at were interested in hosting me, even though (shhh!) I don’t know much about computer hacking. As others have explained, I’m more of a life hacker.

So, long story long, I just arrived to the apartment I’m being put up in, downtown. It’s hot and humid (as expected). I managed to not have any drugs on me, and so escaped the death penalty. I will not be chewing gum. All that is left is trying to see if I can sleep, and figure out what and how many things I can do, foods I can eat, and cool people I can meet in 30 hours.

Suggestions are welcome, as well as requests for trinkets to buy.

hit me up antidogmatist [atttt] gmail [dotttt] com


Mitch’s Eastern European & Belgium Tour of Hackerspaces

written by maltman23 on

After my Midwest Workshop Tour of Hackerspaces <> I had 8 days at home to prepare for me next Workshop Tour, this time visiting Eastern Europe and Belgium, where there are lots of new hackerspaces!

My trip to Europe was paid for by BruCON <>, and annual hacker conference in Brussels, Belgium, which is branching out this year from security to other diverse hacking activities. I’ll be giving a talk there on how to bring your project from idea to reality, and how to make a living on your project. I’ll also be setting up a Hardware Hacking Area, teaching people to solder and to make cool things with micrcocontrollers.

While in Belgium, I’ll also be visiting three hackerspaces in the area, giving workshops and talks.

VoidWarranties <> — Antwerp, Belgium
HSB <> — Brussels, Belgium
whitespace <http://0×> — Gent, Belgium

And while I’m out here in Europe, Hacktivity <>, an annual Eastern European hacker conference paid for my trip to and from Eastern Europe, where I’ll be setting up a Hardware Hacking Area.

While in Eastern Europe, I thought I’d put out the word and see if any of the brand new hackerspaces would like me to give workshops at their spaces. The response was very enthusiastic, and I set up a tour of four hackerspaces!

progressbar <> — Bratislava, Slovakia
brmlab <> — Prague, Czech Republic
H.A.C.K. <> and Kitchen BudaPest <>
Harkopen <> — Bucharest, Romania

Everywhere I go, hackers are graciously putting me up in their homes. I feel really grateful to be part of such a warm, welcoming, community of hackers.

As with my other tours, the workshops on this tour give anyone and everyone the opportunity to learn to solder by making any number of kits that me and Jimmie Rodgers and Ladyada and others have created to teach people to make cool things with microcontrollers — kits that are designed so that everyone, regardless of age or skill level, can complete successfully and take home with them. It is very similar to what I do when I’m home (and what Miloh does all the other times) at Circuit Hacking Mondays at Noisebridge . The workshops also help build publicity for the hackerspaces that host the workshops by attracting people to the space, and showing everyone how cool it is to have a hackerspace in their home town.

Sharing experiences about our hackerspaces is also a big part of how hackerspaces around the world help and support each other, and I’ll be sharing all I can about Noisebridge and how we got going and make things work out.

Other than reimbursement for air fare from the hacker conferences, I am doing this Workshop Tour without charge, and only ask to be reimbursed for any parts used ($10 to $30, depending on the kit). I do this ’cause I love it!

I am looking forward to meeting more of the coolest, intelligent, thoughtful, friendly, creative people in the world — hackerspace people!

Here is my schedule:

11-Sept: leave San Francisco
12-Sept: dinner with whitespace hackerspace — Gent, Belgium
14-Sept: progressbar hackerspace workshop and talk — Bratislava, Slovakit
16-Sept: brmlab hackerspace workshop and talk — Prague, Czech Republic
17-Sept: Hacktivity conference dinner — Budapest, Hungary
18-Sept: Hacktivity workshop
18-Sept: Hacktivity party
19-Sept: Hacktivity workshop
20-Sept: Kitchen BudaPest and H.A.C.K. visit — Budapest, Hungary
21-Sept: Harkopen hackerspace workshop — Bucharest, Romania
23-Sept: VoidWarranties hackerspace workshop — Antwerp, Belgium
24-Sept: BruCON conference talk and workshop – Brussels, Belgium
25-Sept: BruCOB conference workshop
26-Sept: HSB hackerspace workshop — Brussels, Belgium
27-Sept: whitespace hackerspace talk — Gent, Belgium
29-Sept: fly back home to San Francisco

After this tour, I’ll be home in San Francisco for the entire month of October!

– Mitch.

Mitch’s Midwest Workshop Tour of Hackerspaces

written by maltman23 on

After being on the road since the beginning of July, 2010, I’m in Toronto, my second stop on my Midwest Tour of Hackerspaces which will last throughout the month of August.  (This trip started with setting up a Hardware Hacking Area at RMLL in Bordeaux, France <>, followed by setting up a Hardware Hacking Area at Ninjacon in Vienna, Austria (formerly Plumbercon) <>.)

My first stop was the Detroit Maker Faire <>, where 22,000 people gathered to check out over 300 exhibits, enthusiastically sharing, learning, and teaching through making cool things. I led a panel on hackerspaces both days of the Faire — both with standing room only. Hackerspaces are really popular now! There are way more hackerspaces in the Midwest alone, than time to visit all of them in a month. This is an exciting time to be a geek!

My main thing at the Detroit Maker Faire was to set up a Hardware Hacking Area, which I did with the help of Jimmie Rodgers <> and Dale Grover, of A2 MechShop <>. Together with 19 other volunteers, we taught 1,500 people to solder! The Makezine blog has a really sweet writeup on it:

From now (4-August) till the end of the month, me and Jimmie and Matt Mets (of Hack PGH <> — who will be joining us for the rest of the tour after Canada) will be giving 14 workshops at that many hackerspaces around the Midwest.

The workshops will give anyone and everyone the opportunity to learn to solder by making any number of kits that me and Jimmie have created to teach people to make cool things with microcontrollers — kits that are designed so that everyone, regardless of age or skill level, can complete successfully and take home with them. It is very similar to what I do when I’m home (and what Miloh does all the other times) at Circuit Hacking Mondays at Noisebridge <>. The workshops also help build publicity for the hackerspaces that host the workshops by attracting people to the space, and showing everyone how cool it is to have a hackerspace in their home town.

I also share any and all experiences with the hackerspaces I visit about how we started and run Noisebridge.

Me and Jimmie and Matt are doing this without charge, and only ask to be reimbursed for any parts used ($10 to $30, depending on the kit).

As we go from city to city, hackers host us, and we meet some of the coolest, intelligent, thoughtful, friendly, creative people in the world — hackerspace people!

While traveling I hope to have time to blog more about our experiences here on this Noisebridge blog. Jimmie will be adding his thoughts to the blog on his website.  And Matt will be blogging about it and posting it to the Makezine website. 

Here is our schedule:

Hacklab.TO Toronto, ON — visit on 3-August
Site3Toronto, ON — workshop on 5-August
Kwartzlab Kitchener, ON — workshop on 6-August
think|haus – Hamilton, ONvisit on 7-August
OCDDetroit, MI — workshop on 8-August
Mt. Elliot Makerspace Detroit, MI — workshop on 9-August
I3Detroit, MI — workshop on 10-August
A2 MechShopAnn Arbor, MI — visit on 11-August
AHAAnn Arbor, MI — workshop on 12-August
LVL1/Actors Theatre – Louisville, KY – demo on 13-August
LVL1Louisville, KY — workshop on 14-August
Hive13Cincinnati, OH — presentation on 17-August
Hive13Cincinnati, OH — workshop on 18-August
BloomingLabsBloomington, IN — workshop on 19-August
Arch ReactorSt. Louis, MO — workshop on 20-August
KC Mini Maker Faire / CCCKCKansas City, MO — Hardware Hacking Area at Faire on 22-August
Quad Cities Co-Lab HackerspaceQuad Cities, IA/IL – workshop on 24-August
PS:1Chicago, IL — workshop on 25-August
Madison BarCampMadison, WI — talk on hackerspaces on 28-August
Sector67 Madison, WI — workshop on 29-August

I wish I had more time, since there are many other hackerspaces that we don’t have time to visit on this trip.

According to google maps, we’ll be driving about 2,400 miles in the car we rented for the month. Road trip!

- Mitch.

Noisebridge laser order

written by rmiloh on
LASER:  Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation Noisebridge Lasers are in! Data sheet for the Lasers: Laster datasheet simple test circuit for hooking a unit up to Volksduino
*Duino laser hookup

Laser hookup

Fenn and the makerbot

written by rmiloh on

Fenn has been working with the Noisebridge Makerbot to build some parts for his Mini Mendel reprap.

The site includes photos of parts and information about Mini Mendel design improvements.

Mini Mendel

The colored and white ABS pieces in this Mini Mendel were made on the Noisebridge Makerbot.

5MoF Intro Videos Online

written by aestetix on
One of the first things people who come to Five Minutes of Fame see is our intro video. What started out as a 10-15 minute jingle to distract people from the fact we weren't ready wound up taking on a life of its own, and turned into something I'm proud to consider an art form. We've been doing the intro video pretty regularly since moving into the new space at 2169, and decided it would be fun to upload our archives to the web so everyone can enjoy them again, or see ones they missed. We have posted them on the 5MoF blog, and many are accompanied by a summary explaining the intended meanings of the videos as well as background on "just what the hell was I thinking?". We're continuing to upload them over the next day or two (they take *forever* to process), so watch for updates, and keep coming to the event for new ones! Click here to see the intro videos! -aestetix

Anti/Surveillance Fashion Show

written by Rubin Starset on
Noisebridge is proud to present Anti/Surveillance Fashion Show at the upcoming Maker Faire in San Mateo. Anti/Surveillance is a runway show exploring the uses of wearables for surveillance, and for hiding from surveillance. We are currently accepting submissions for participation in the show. Constantly under the lens of the camera, fashion is a natural form in which to explore the relationship between surveillance and culture. How are we watched? How do we watch? How do we present ourselves to the eyes of the world? At Maker Faire 2010, May 22-23, we will be presenting Anti/Surveillance, a runway show that explores the role of and our relationship with surveillance in our society. We are looking for submissions covering the range from playful to practical. Do you make accessories that blind CCTV cameras with IR LEDs? Have you imagined makeup that will thwart face detection? Ever built an invisibility coat? Or maybe you just like to put QR codes on all your clothing to make it easier for people to track you. If you are interested in showing wearable work that explores the boundaries of surveillance please submit your work to be included in Anti/Surveillance Fashion Show. To submit your project, please send the following information to as soon as possible: <uL
  • A photo or short video of your project, or a link to a URL with photo(s) or video(s)
  • A few sentences describing your project and how it relates to surveillance
  • How the item is worn on the body, and any physical restrictions on the model wearing it
  • Any special requirements for care or use of the item
  • For more information, including a time line, please check out the wiki page.

    FOIA workshop at Noisebridge

    written by aestetix on

    On April 1, 2010, Marcia Hofmann of the EFF gave a talk on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). She covered the basics of what it is, how to file one, and what the legal implications and ramifications of the process are. Her talk was very insightful and cleared up a lot of common misconceptions people have about the process.

    Attached are the presentation she gave, as well as a sample FOIA request if you want to file your own. Video of the talk is forthcoming.

    Also, feel free to peruse the EFF FAQ on FOIA for more information:

    EFF FOIA Presentation

    Example FOIA request