CAM00386

Remember the famous floppy drives? They’re back… with multiplied force (yes, THAT „force”) and some friends!

I have bought some more drives in order to expand the previous project back in 2012, which spent four years in a carton box. Together with new floppy drives, some more hardware has arrived: hard disk and optical scanners. Now I have the whole computer hardware orchestra – 64 floppy drives, 8 hard disks and 2 scanners – The Floppotron.

How does it work? The principle is simple. Every device with an electric motor is able to generate a sound. Scanners and floppy drives use stepper motors to move the head with sensors which scans the image or performs read/write operations on a magnetic disk. The sound generated by a motor depends on driving speed. The higher the frequency, the greater the pitch. Hard disks use a magnet and a coil to tilt the head. When voltage is supplied for long enough, the head speeds up and hits the bound making the „drum hit” sound. The disk head coil can also be used as a speaker to play tones or even music, but… that would be too easy and too obvious.


    
Every column of 8 floppy drives is connected to one 8-channel controller built on ATMega16 microcontroller. One controller acts as one voice with envelope simulation – the higher the volume, the more drives are playing. This allows to make ADSR-like shape and simulate a musical instrument, like a piano (exponential decay) or string instrument (sine, „vibrato”). The boards which were made a few years ago, were designed as a stand-alone „players” with optional USB-to-UART bridge and was not intended to be chained. My goal was to re-use old stuff and get the job done as fast as possible, so I used the on-board ISP (which in fact is a SPI interface) connector to link 8 drivers in a SPI chain. Long SPI chain with unidirectional communication is not an example good and reliable design, but it did not require any hardware modification and took a minute to build a controller network, so let’s call it… good enough for this kind of project.


        
Scanner and disk head controllers share the same base with floppy controllers, but have a different „instrument interface”. For driving the coils, I used 2 push-pull outputs (H-bridge) built with discrete SMD MOSFETs. Scanner head controllers were built using of-the-shelf boards – an Arduino Uno (firmware also builds for ATMega328 using AVR-GCC / Atmel Studio; none of this Arduino crappy software and libraries was used) and L298 breakout to save time needed to draw and etch the boards. PC interface (another Arduino board) receives the data over UART (USB-UART), buffers the messages and keeps the timings while passing packets to „musical instruments” over SPI interface, so a Windows hiccup will not affect the playback. It can also be driven by anything else like Raspberry Pi, Android smartphone (with USB-UART or UART-over-Bluetooth adapter) or another microcontroller.

Host application was written in Python 2.7. I wrote it mostly on some boring lectures when I was still studying at the university, so it’s a one big mess, but… at least it does the job. It parses the simple language used for writing note sequences arranged in tracks tied to a specific controller / channel and merges those parallel tracks into one command list which is transferred over COM port. It can also partially generate „song script” from MIDI file which speeds up the „song porting” process.

Like the project? Here’s some another records.

I still have an annoying analog entry phone in my flat. It does not have the numeric keypad to type the passcode and enter the staircase. I am too lazy to open the block door with a key every time I come back home, but this can be solved easily. Of course I did not mean the replacement of the entry phone with a new, digital one – that would be too easy and too obvious. Here’s my quick weekend project – analog entry phone hack, which opens the door after ringing in the secret passcode consisting of short and long rings. Traditionally, I have added some useless functionality like PCM audio playback from the SD card to make it more fun. It can play some samples, e.g. from retro games, an Arnie movie quote or… a barking dog when the guest or postman calls.



The circuit is installed in the handset. It detects the call signal and simulates the button press with a relay switch if signal matches the programmed pattern. It is also connected to the microphone output and can play the audio files on guest call or passcode input. I have built this circuit in an hour using components I had around – ATMega328P microcontroller, universal soldering board, relay, 3,3V LDO regulator and some passives.

You can download the source code and schematic below. The whole project was made in a couple of hours, so the sources looks a little messy. The circuit does not provide proper isolation from the entry phone circuit, so if you are going to built it yourself, you might want to add some optoisolators.

  Pobierz plik: entry_phone_hack_0.1.zip
  Rozmiar: 1.07 MB, pobrany 5743 razy.


It’s been awhile since my last post… Work, studies and other stuff.

Last weekend i was working on my MSc graduation project. I had to build a prototype of my circuit and unfortunately I ran out of copper laminate. I have found some old, low-quality leftovers with uneven copper layer. To improve the etching result I had to provide the constant flow of etching solution  (sodium persulfate) . I looked around my room for any items i could use and here it is! I’d like to introduce You my unique, great, wonderful, terrific, magnificent, superb, glorious, outstanding and amazing invention – a unique, great, wonderful, terrific, magnificent, superb, glorious, outstanding and amazing automatic PCB etching machine!

To build this extremely advanced device, I used an old CD-ROM drive and a strawberry ice-cream box. It must be a strawberry ice-cream. Not chocolate, vanilla, lemon or any shit, but strawberry – otherwise it just won’t work. The CD tray is controlled by one of my test boards with ATMega8 connected to drive’s eject button through the transistor and relay coil.

Yeah, it’s a little dumb, but it works. A perfect solution for the fast result ;-) .

PS: Stay tuned for my new project! It’s almost complete!


Dawno tu nic nie pisałem z powodu braku czasu – praca, studia, itp.

Ostatniego popołudnia zająłem się moją pracą magisterską, która wymagała stworzenia prototypu mojego układu. Niestety, skończył mi się laminat i wygrzebałem z szafy jakieś stare resztki niskiej jakości z nierównomierną warstwą miedzi. Aby polepszyć wynik trawienia, potrzebowałem zapewnić stały ruch substancji trawiącej (nadsiarczan sodu). W tym celu rozejrzałem się po pokoju za przedmiotami, które mógłbym wykorzystać i tak powstał ten oto wynalazek. Przedstawiam mój wspaniały, wyjątkowy i niepowtarzalny wynalazek, którym jest wspaniałe, wyjątkowe i niepowtarzalne automatyczne urządzenie trawiące PCB.

Do budowy tego bardzo zaawansowanego technicznie urządzenia został wykorzystany stary napęd CD oraz pudełko po lodach truskawkowych. Muszą to być koniecznie lody truskawkowe. Nie czekoladowe, nie waniliowe, nie cytrynowe, a truskawkowe – inaczej urządzenie nie będzie działać. Napęd jest sterowany za pomocą płytki testowej z mikrokonotrlerem (ATMega8) poprzez tranzystor i przekaźnik podłączony do przycisku wysuwania tacki.

Pomimo swojego wyglądu, wynalazek bardzo dobrze wykonuje zadanie – płytka wytrawiła się bardzo ładnie. Głupie, ale działa! ;-)

PS: Już niedługo kolejny projekt.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION BELOW]

2 floppy drives – $5
A microcontroller – $3
Almost 2 million views in 5 days – PRICELESS!

Witam.

Mój ostatni film – Floppy music DUO – Imperial march – Imperial March – został obejrzany prawie 2 miliony razy w ciągu ostatnich kilku dni. Został umieszczony na wielu portalach, takich jak Gazeta.pl, JoeMonster.org, Yahoo czy Reddit. Podobno dziś rano został nawet pokazany w TVN24! (Czy ktoś może to potwierdzić? ;-)  ) Nie spodziewałem się aż tak dużej popularności. Dziękuje.

Jak już obiecałem, będą kolejne filmy. Obecnie jestem dość zajęty, gdyż właśnie zaczął się rok akademicki (już trzeci ;-) ), a oprócz tego pracuję nad dwoma innymi projektami. Spróbuję znaleźć trochę wolnego czasu w weekend. W międzyczasie spróbuję znaleźć jakieś stacje 5,25′.

Przepraszam za duże opóźnienia w odpowiadaniu na pytania. Zostałem zaspamowany Waszymi wiadomościami\komentarzami i potrzebuję trochę czasu żeby się przez nie przebić ;-) .

Dużo osób wyraziło chęć budowy takiego urządzenia.
Czy byliby byście zainteresowani zestawami do samodzielnego montażu?

——————–

Hello!

My last video – Floppy music DUO – Imperial march – has been viewed almost 2 million times in just a few days. It hat been posted on many sites like Yahoo, Reddit, polish Gazeta.pl or JoeMonster.org. Someone said that it has even been shown in TVN24, polish news television ths morning!  I didn’t expected so much popularity. Thank you!

As I promised, I will make some new videos soon. Currently I am a little busy – two other projects and back to the university classes after summer holidays. I will try to find some time at the weekend. In the meantime I will try to get some 5,25 drives.

Sorry for the big delay in responding to your questions – I am spammed and I need some time go get through all this messages ;-) .

A lot of people wrote, that he would like to build this device.
Are you interested in a self-assembly kit?

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Ponadto ostatnio skończyłem budowę drugiego panelu LED – niedługo pojawi się aktualizacja w poprzednim wpisie.

Strona jest znów dostępna po 6-tygodniowej przerwie z powodu remontu w miejscu gdzie stoi serwer oraz tajemniczego podprowadzenia switcha ;-) .
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Dziś uruchomiłem moją stronę domową.

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