DashFest JJ's life and project dumping grounds…


DoomBOX on Hackaday/G4TV!

I submitted DoomBOX to Hackaday earlier this week, and it was accepted!

Since then, it went somewhat Viral, and eventualy made its way on TV:

Crazy! Thanks Hackaday for posting my project!


The DoomBOX

Ahh... the DoomBOX... This is a project I started, and ALMOST completed like a year ago, but then threw it on a shelf where it got dusty... Till tonight..
I dusted it off, and finished it up.. So here's the build:

It all started when I had a Kodak DC290 Camera with a bad lens. These cameras run "Digita" OS, and many apps have been written/ported to it. Various apps, games, MAME and..... Doom.

DC290 Playing Doom

Doom was playable on it, but the button locations are TERRIBLE to play with, and they were wearing out quickly. So I had the idea to cram the camera guts in a case, with nice classic "keyboard" type controls.

I started with tearing the entire lens, sensor, focusing system out and seeing if it still booted... It did.

Look ma, no lens!
Working without a lens

I continued ripping tons of parts out of it, anything that wasnt vital to running doom was taken. Here are SOME of the parts left over:


The camera frame internally supported the numerous boards, and after removed, there was a lof of empty space between them. The power supply board is soldered directly to the mainboards at a 90 degree angle. To reduce space, the boards were desoldered and seperated, then reconnected via wires. The boards were then sandwiched with plastic sheets for insulation, and hot glued in spots for rigidity.

Making it thinner
Way thinner

I then began to ponder control layouts. I came up with a pretty much classic control layout, as similar as playing it on a regular keyboard as possble, but still reasonable in the available space.


Working on the button board. Used a standard radio shack protoboard. Buttons are salvaged from a vintage PC keyboard. This is back when they used to build keyboards with individual switches, instead of a membrane. These arent "clicky" keys however, they have a soft feel. Rather than soldering the wires from the button board to the motherboard directly, I decided to create a 16 pin "header" for easy assembly. You can see this in the photo below.

Button board
Buttons poking

Each button and switch on the camera mainboard now has a wire soldered to it, which goes to a 16 pin plug, which is just a cut up floppy connector/cable. This plugs into the button board header above.

Button wiring

The internals are connected up. You can see, I added a larger speaker, as the original was way too quiet.


Thats pretty much it! I forgot to take pics of the screen install, but it was pretty simple. Cut out a hole of the case, glued it in place, and used the original ribbon cable to connect it up. The rest of the assembly is trivial. I glued Laptop keyboard keys to the control posts, and used an old Moto Q LCD glass to cover the screen. Added an LED on the top that blinks while loading from the 16MB Compact flash card installed within. It is currently powered by a 7v power brick, but there is room for a battery in the future. It will play mame games also, but eh... I wanted a DoomBOX! Video @ the end of this post


Gotta give credit where credit is due. Thanks to James Surine for creating this doom port years ago!


Harbor freight saves the day again!

Harbor freight is an interesting place.. You either hate the quality of the tools, and never shop there. Or, like me, you love it cus it has hard to find specialized tools, for DIRT cheap, and conveniently located.

Im currently in the process of removing, and remounting the plastics on the gixxer properly. During dissassemly, I noticed that numerous points are mounted directly to the hollow aluminum frame, via threaded steel inserts. Many of these inserts have been destroyed by the previous owner shoving wood screws in them, stripping them out, or forcing them to the point where they completely fall out. I thought I was screwed (HAH!), and would have to tig weld, or solder some small nuts in there place.

Harbor freight saves the day! $16.99 buys you a "nutsert" clone riveted nut insert gun, and $10 buys you 100 inserts!!


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$357 Gixxer progress

Lots of things fixed on the bike so far:

  • New triple tree clamp.
  • New levers.
  • New grips and throttle twist. (Had the wrong one installed)
  • New ram air ducts, and boots.
  • Made a new bracket for the front brake reservoir.
  • Fixed the choke (creatively).
  • Fixed the passenger seat lock release cable.
  • New right passenger peg.
  • Removed the ghetto mirror and front blinker relocation. Will be putting on flush mount blinkers.
  • Knocked the bondo plugs out of the original blinker mount holes on the fairings.
  • Spent 2 hours restoring the hacked up front harness to new condition, then Penny destroyed it. :( (Gotta get another now)
  • Removed all the ghetto taillight/plate bracket crap. (This was especially Ghettofabulous!)
  • Began attempt of stripping the paint off the windsheild with DOT4 brake fluid. I hear it doesnt harm plastic.
  • Replaced numerous missing bolts holding plastics together.
  • Some cleaning.
  • Its also now temp registered, insured, and new title arrived.


Still plenty to do, but getting closer. Waiting on many parts still. I took the bike for a longer couple of rides. Runs amazingly well dispite the cosmetic abuse!


$357 Gixxer update

I pulled the carbs, and cleaned them Saturday, but it still didnt run right. I noticed there is a vacuum line coming off the #3 intake manifold with nothing hooked up. I plug the line and it revs SOMEWHAT better. There is also another disconnected vacuum "T" underneith the carbs. Connected them together, and it revs out fine now.
Take it for a spin, and it still isnt right... Missing a lot, and mostly running on 3 cyl. Pulled the coils and made sure they were clean/dry.... No go.
The vacuum lines that I connected together didnt fit snug, and I had a feeling that these dont connect together. I look in the manual, and find the line coming off the intake actually goes to the bottom of the fuel petcock, as its vacuum actuated.  However the nipple is broken off the valve!  The next day I realized the bottom half of the petcock looks VERY similar to the one on my old 82' GS750EZ.  I had a couple of spares, and I removed the bottom to see if it fits the gixxer's valve.  Not quite, the holes were off by about a half a MM.  Drilled the holes out slightly bigger and it fit.  Screwed it onto the gixxer's valve, and tested using my breath.  It works!  Put the tank back on.

Fuel Valve

That sorted out the fuel valve, but I still didnt know where the T junction vacuum connector goes that comes off a pair of solenoids on the bottom of the carbs.  The manual does NOT mention these!  After some looking around I see a drain on the bottom of the airbox that has a small hole at the bottom.  Bingo, that isnt a drain, its where the vacuum hooks up.

Vacuum Lines

Took it for another spin, and it now runs GREAT!!


Now I just need to take care of the cosmetics, and a few other things.  I've already ordered about $250 worth of parts on ebay to get started.


The Bully

Hmmm,   whats this hiding behind my truck's grill?



Its the Hadley "The Bully" Air horn kit I picked up @ the DI for $25!


Included the Compressor, Tank, Solenoid, switches, etc.
My horn now sounds like a semi truck :D

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The $357 Gixxer

Well today I finally got a hold of a guy on craigslist that was advertising "GSXR Project Bike, Needs work" No price, year, model, or contact info. After a couple of days of emailing, I find its a 2000 GSXR 600 that he cant get started after it sat all winter. I finally get a phone number, and tells me $350 if I take it today :O

I head to Park City right after work, stopping @ an ATM on the way. When I get there, the douchfag raises the price to $400! "Dude, I gotta get $400 cus my Bro will give me $500". I stuck to my guns, and managed to get it for $357 (gave him an extra $7 in my wallet).

Here it is on the way home:


The whole bike is hacked up bad. Wiring, just about everything cosmetic, blinkers, exhaust, everything is bad shape. Blinkers are screwed in on the sides of the plastics in the wrong spot, top triple tree clamp has huge holes on it, etc. etc. etc.


After unloading I go straight to work. Ignition comes on, but no crank. So I take a jumper cable and jump the battery straight to the starter. It now cranks, but still no life. Pulled up the tank and yanked the airbox. Manually choke the carbs with my hand, and there is fuel, but still no fire. Pulled a plug, no spark. Started poking around the wiring. The wiring on this thing is hacked up pretty bad. But I did find a burned fuse! After jumping the fuse, I hear a relay click, and the fuel pump kick on. Bingo! Spark! I throw the plug back in and it fired right up! Runs like CRAP but it runs. Carbs need rebuilt badly, but luckily I have a spare engine with carbs for parts! (I have a 98 GSXR600 motor that was going to be a kart project, but it never happened)

I even took it for a quick spin tonight, and it rides good!

Here is a quick video:

Still LOTS of work to do!



50" Farmtown, BITCHES!!



The Thrift Store 50 Inch Plasma

So I was at the DI last weekend.  I stumbled apon this:

A Panasonic TH-50PHW3U   50" 720p Plasma, for $100.  Original MSRP $9670 in 2003!

At this price, it obviously didnt work.  It turned on for about 4 seconds, then shut off with the power LED flashing red.  On the chassis a repair estimate/bill was attached.  It had a couple of part numbers listed, and scribbled on was the note "Panel est. declined".  Cost of repair, $978.84.  The entire time "bad capacitors!" is running through my head.  I lug it home, and immediately open it up. 


Holy shit this thing is complicated, check out the screwdriver in the corner for scale.

First thing I hunted for were bad/swolen/leaking caps.  Didnt find any, which was a let down.  That night, I do a LOT of research, trying to dig up the service manual for it.  I never did find the correct one, but did find one for a similar panel.  There are some troubleshooting guides specifically for the LED code it was flashing.  I soon came to the conclusion while unhooking the 2 parts listed on the repair estimate that those parts are fine.  The estimate was bogus.


Further testing, swapping, and measuring determines that the either the Power board (P1) or Scan Converter board (SC) is the culprit.  I measured a voltage called "Vbk".  This line supplies 195v to the Scan Converter board.  When powered on, I measured this @ zeroV!  However as soon as the unit is powered off, it jumps to normal voltage temporarily.  Also when this cable is disconnected from the SC board, and is measured off P1, it is normal voltage.  Bingo, the SC board must be drawing too much current, and shutting down that output!  There are also diagnostic LED's on several boards internally.  All light up bright, except the SC board.  It lights, but is quite dim.  Im pretty confident at this point the SC board is the problem.



Jumped on ebay, $116 and a few days later:




Jackpot!  The next day I bought a cheap universal remote, and played PS2 on it for about 4 hours straight.  Still works great!


The $7 Yaris Cruise Control

So after a trip to yellowstone, I re-discovered that driving my wifes 08 Yaris long distance is a pain in the ass..  literally, and legs.  SoI did some digging around on the intertubes.

Found out that the 09 Yaris is INCREDIBLY easy to add cruise control.  Just plug in a stalk into the steering column, and your done!  The 08's don't have the wiring already in place, as cruise control was not offered as an option that year.  But the ECM programming is there!

After some further research on the yarisworld forums, I found that pin 40 of the A21 connector on the ECM is the key.  This pin when directly grounded, switches the cruise control on/off.  When grounded with a ~630 ohm resistor "Sets" the speed.  There are 2 other resistance values that accellerates, and decellerates by 1mph increments, but I decided to not use these.

Ran to radioshack, bought a couple of resistors, and 2 pushbutton switches.  The hardest part of this entire thing was figuring out how to get a single wire through the firewall into the dash from the engine compartment (ECM is located there).  Finally got the wire through the main harness grommet using a long piece of coat hanger wire.  I decided to give it a test run before drilling holes in the dash.

I first pulled connector A21 from the ECM, and inserted a wire into the unused pin 40 hole.  Care was taken to not short to other pins, and to still get a solid contact.   Once clamped back down, it held solid.  I then quickly twisted a 630 ohm resistor to the other end in, and handed it and a ground wire to my wife in the driver seat.  I then remembered there are 2 pins in the fuse/relay box that need to be jumpered temporarily to replace the clutch safety switch that doesn't exist.

We took it down the street, first touching the ground wire directly to the "hot" from the ECU to turn on the cruise.  Then got to about 40mph and tapped the ground to the resistor to "set" the speed.  SUCCESS!!  The car cruises along at its set speed like it should!

Now all that needed was cleaning up the wiring, and installing some push button switches.

Here is the result:


Still needed to be completed is a real clutch safety switch instead of a jumper, and some sort of indicator light to tell you the cruise is on.