Using a Raspberry Pi as a JTAG Debugger to Recover a Bricked Zipit

I got my mitts on a Raspberry Pi Zero just after Christmas in a trade agreement (thanks slug). It’s been sitting here staring me in the face waiting for a job to do. About the same time the zero came, deeice was plotting to try out a modified u-boot on the zipit that squeezes a little more space out of the internal flash. Unfortunately, we haven’t got it working as intended yet. In the process deeice managed to brick one zipit by mistake and I bricked one after compiling some probably incomplete source code. Someone posted a link about using the Raspberry Pi as a JTAG debugger and since deeice got a Raspberry Pi for Christmas I figured this is a good chance to force him into getting a soldering iron and using it. :-D


Posted by mozzwald on Fri, 8 Jan 2016     |     2 comments
tags: zipit, raspi, jtag

TGIMBOEJ: Blast From the Past

Way back when, I read about and signed up to receive TGIMBOEJ (The Great Internet Migratory Box Of Electronics Junk). In 2010 I was contacted by someone who was supposed to send me a box. The box never came and according to the tracking page it seems to have never left it’s last destination. Presumed lost forever. Now it’s 2016 and I get an email from Dave at asking if I’d like to receive TGIMBOEJ. Of course I would!


Posted by mozzwald on Wed, 6 Jan 2016     |     0 comments

iminixie Arduino Clock (imitation nixie)

This is a joint project I did with my wife. We got to talking one day and thought it would be neat to make our own nixie clock. Nixie tubes look awesome, but we didn’t want to spend a buttload of money to buy all the tubes and circuitry required to run them. Instead we decided on making something that had the look of a nixie clock but with cheaper parts, most of which I had on hand already. My job was to get the code and electronics working while she did all the decorating. I’ll be talking only about the electronics and software. Check out her post about the rest of the build.


Posted by mozzwald on Mon, 20 Jul 2015     |     1 comment
tags: arduino, clock

3G Cellular Zipit Z2

I’ve had this crazy idea for a while to build my own cellphone. While Android phones are ok and have most of the applications I need, I think it would be neat to have a more pure Linux/GNU based distro running on a cellphone. It would be more of a proof-of-concept slash “just because I can” type of device than a real phone. I figured I could get this working on the Zipit. Back in April while looking around for cellular modules I found that Huawei brand USB dongles are common and supported in Linux. Some of them even support voice calls. I found a dongle on Ali Express for a measly $11USD with free shipping and promptly ordered it.


Posted by mozzwald on Wed, 8 Jul 2015     |     1 comment

Troubleshooting & Reviving Single Cell Batteries

There’s a lot of hubbub on the internet about charging Lipo batteries and how dangerous it can be. It can be, but if you take some precautions it’s perfectly safe. Charging Lipos safely typically requires specialty IC’s to ensure they don’t explode. All devices with Lipos (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc) have these charging chips built in to protect the device and the consumer from an oops. The batteries themselves also contain a protection IC. The IC’s are great but can be over protective. I often get phones and tablets for repair with “bad” batteries that just need a little coercion into working again.


Posted by mozzwald on Wed, 6 May 2015     |     1 comment
tags: lipo, battery, power, iphone

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