Sunday, August 12, 2012

Toys, to hack @ IXR

Okay nobody told me ... I should be celebrating International Hack Day (August 11th), so I present my hack for today (a day late a dollar short ;-) ).

Okay, so I joined IXR to meet people of similar interests and to hack computer hardware. It appears I have some toys to hack. :-) IXR has these LED displays that are popular in small stores to post information, such as the current lottery payout. Each display can be programmed with an IR remote.

The displays store the messages and actions and the displays can display the messages and do a few fancy tricks such as flash. Well I opened up the device and found a simple Intel 8039 processor in it. There is an RJ11 connector on it and it appears to be connected to the INT line. My guess is that it's part of the IR signal communication that is sent to the device. I'll pop the bus pirate on the pin and see what it does. In the mean time I have ideas what to do with these displays (big evil grin). I should be able to reprogram the displays to accept new commands even to possibly communicate across a network (RS485 or XBee or Bluetooth possibly). That way messages would not only display on one display but could communicate across many displays. This would allow for more fine grain control of the messages and interface to a PC (using the remote is painful). The current EPROM is a 2764 (8K) so it shouldn't be too difficult to add a larger EPROM if the address lines are not in use. If they are then I'll need to be a little more creative.


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