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20 Nov, 11 tweets, 4 min read
Floppy Drive
now that's it's been 12 hours, lemme explain:
I took apart a partially-broken USB floppy drive and pulled out the microcontroller to reverse engineer.
I was left with a floppy drive + case with no cable... so I dug through my spare parts bin to find a funny cable to attach.
My second choice was gonna be this DIN5 keyboard cable
This is what the case looked like originally.
There's a little PCB in there that connects to a USB cable and a 26-pin flat flex cable.
It's got a highly anonymous 12mhz 28-pin IC on it.
The other side is just the connector.
The other side of the chip says "019C" but that doesn't really help me figure out what it is.
I still want to someday have a parametric chip locator.
Like, I tell it I have a 28-pin IC and then figure out where the ground and voltage and oscillator/crystal connect, then it narrows down what possible chip it could be based on those pins.
And it's hooked up to a pretty standard TEAC FD-05HG slim floppy drive.
I fully desoldered the board and took some NUDE PICTURES so I could figure out the full layout.
(the top one has been flipped so the vias will align)
This specifically is this floppy drive, the Chuanganzhuo USB floppy drive.
It worked reasonably well for a while but then started failing a lot on some tracks. So I wouldn't recommend this drive (which is currently the "Amazon's Choice" for floppy drives)
although I might buy another one... because I made a mistake when tearing it down.
I've got pictures where I can read off the resistor values but I forgot to measure the capacitors. So besides the whole microcontroller problem, I can't recreate this thing because of MYSTERY CAPS

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More from @Foone

21 Nov
Decommissioning Arecibo is a very sad move for science, but I understand why it needs to be done.
Google maps even confirms the sad news. Image
But people are already talking about what might replace it, and the various benefits of having it in different places... Have they considered placing it in space? Maybe at the earth-sun L2?
Obviously we can't name it like Arecibo and just call it by the local city, so maybe we could, I don't know, name it after an old deceased NASA administrator or something?
Read 26 tweets
21 Nov
So there's a bay area (Cupertino) estate sale tomorrow, which has some interesting pictures.
And weirdly, it ties into something I posted a month ago.
It's the estate of Chuck Colby. Image
I posted about the Walkmac, a modification of a Macintosh to be portable, back in October, and remarked that it was odd that it said "from the estate of Chuck Colby" but I didn't see any mention of him being dead elesewhere.
but yeah, the estate sale has oscilloscopes and audio generators... ImageImage
Read 77 tweets
20 Nov
So remember that neat Twilight Zone trick I talked about a long while ago? I found a video that's using it for a different use, but in color.

I found it here, but the "source" that's reblogging is a memes page that seems to be focused around getting ad views and scam giveaways
this is that twilight zone effect I was talking about:
as for the top video, lemme know if you know where it's from.
also I wonder if it's being done in real time? it certainly looks like it is.
with a remote controlling red and blue lights you could certainly swap the colors very quickly
Read 6 tweets
20 Nov
I've run into one of the (many) holes in my electronics knowledge and Google is not helping here, so:

I have a switch I want to use with a microcontroller. The switch has high resistance, though (a couple mega-ohms)
How do I detect the state of the switch?
Googling it either gives me solutions that are way overkill (like how to build a multimeter), not practical (academic abstracts about measuring super high resistance in the gigs-ohm range), or anti-answers (get a different switch, one that doesn't suck)
I seem to vaguely get that there's some trick where you set up a matching(ish) resistance and the switch changing state causes the current flow to switch direction, enough to be detectable?
Read 7 tweets
20 Nov
I'm always vaguely amused by seeing those industrial trucks drive by with this "warning sign".

Although I swear the one I just saw only said "non flammable" and didn't specify gas.
And I thought: wait, doesn't that apply to most trucks, then? Why don't they have warning signs?
But clearly some trucks DO have flammable stuff on them. Like, I saw a truck for a shredding company, it's gonna be full of paper, right? That'll burn quite well.
There's no warning for flammability there!
Read 8 tweets
20 Nov
every day I wake up mad that there never was a computer with a built in VHS slot
we seriously got TWO (ok, really one, but the other existed enough for people to take pictures of it) video game consoles that integrated a whole-ass LASERDISC PLAYER and yet no one built a console with a built in VHS port?
those two are, of course, the Pioneer LaserActive and he RDI Video Systems Halcyon. ImageImage
Read 8 tweets

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