To those that ordered products online for DEF CON, a big thank you! My team and I truly appreciate your support for the things we love to make!
We started to ship orders today, and should have everything out by mid-next week. I will try to ensure that you get a tracking number from our system when your items ship. As always, if you have any questions or need help getting things up and going, do not hesitate to contact us.
Thank you to all that helped support the CHV this year with your badge purchases! Your purchase helps keep the unique badge designs coming year after year and also helps build the CHV's presence at DEF CON.
I finally made it back last night around 3am (we drive out and back every year) and now its down to keeping all of my promises :-) Sorry these are late - I needed to get on my systems at the office to finish building the files.
You can find the main badge SDK and all of the other goodies associated with the main badge here.
You can find the stoplight badge SDK and all of the other goodies associated with it here.
You can find the speedometer SDK here.
For SWD/JTAG info see this page.
If you see anything that is missing or have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you again!
This year, there will be two ways to get the badge - at the show and online. You may have another event that you want to attend on Friday morning, so ordering online might be the way to go to ensure you get one. However, please note that all online orders will be sent after the show is over.
If you want one during the show, get there early on Friday! Supplies are limited!
Online ordering will end when DefCon ends (or when supplies run out). So order now if you want to ensure that you get one!
Pricing is the same both at the show and online. Shipping is included.
Check out our store - there might be some other goodies in there too ;-)
Well last week we blew out the laser cutter's power supply. Guess we ran it too much :-). Dropped in a Cloudray PSU and it is working better than before. The old PSU was off of one of those cheap laser cutters, and it's questionable as to how good it really was. I picked up another tube as well, just in case.
When we fired up our Samsung CP45NEO we had problems with heads 3 and 4. The R axis seems to be broken - heads 3 and 4 share the same stepper motor and driver. Probably the stepper driver? We don't have time to fix it now, so we're just running with 4 heads :-( and filling in with our Quad. Even though it's old, the Quad is awesome. It just works. The Samsung, not so much. It's so picky, especially when using odd components that you have to hack in footprints for. Plus there's really no good way to get the settings just right except by trial and error. We always run into the case where it picks up components just fine when testing things via the GUI. But then you download the program to the VME, press run, then watch it puke away components :-(. Watch the dump bin fill up with $. I hate it - there has to be someone out there who knows the secrets. I want to talk to you :-).
Of course, the bright side of the Samsung machines are the replacement part costs. So cheap, since they are used so heavily in Asia (and maybe in the USA too?). I recently got refurb 8x2 feeders for $30 each. I thought the quote was a typo and had to reconfirm with the supplier!
I'd love to know your experiences with the Samsung machines. Are they just always a pain to get up and going? I'm almost wishing I had 4 quads connected together. It's so WYSIWYG. Testing things is the same as running. You can pretty much make changes on the fly. But of course, those quad feeders...the Achilles heel of the Quads...I'm thinking about trying to design a replacement feeder for the Quads. Or maybe an adapter that somehow uses someone else's feeders...
I'd love to hear your pick and place machine operating experiences. Feel free to grab me at Defcon to talk. Is there a silver bullet out there that is the "best" all round used machine(s)? Universal? Juki? Europlacer? Is Neoden even worth considering?
The mechanical portions of the badge are coming along nicely. This week we will be finishing up the mechanical stuff. We get our production PCB panels later today and will start pick and placing the PCB's (there are 6!) for the badge on Wednesday. All of the remaining components will be arriving tomorrow, and we will need a few hours to get them loaded up and ready to rock. Fingers crossed!!
I think this year's badge looks awesome. As I have mentioned previously, this year we have expanded beyond just a circuit board for the badge and have a very significant mechanical aspect to it. When I started this endeavor, I thought that adding the mechanical stuff would double our historic efforts. I was mistaken - it's more like triple the effort :-). Pareto's rule is in full effect due to the sight variances between all of our custom parts and the off-the-shelf parts. We got through 80% of units without issue, but the last 20% are taking a significant amount of time. Some filing, some grinding, re-cut some parts, try things, repeat until they work.
I don't want to let any secrets out, but I think you will surprised with some of the extra stuff we will be bringing along with us. I plan on having a "junkyard" where we will have many different things available that we have accumulated over the years. Everything will be steeply discounted. A couple of these things would make awesome controller boards for your projects (thermocouple inputs, high current 24v outputs, water level sensors, CAN, 3.2" touch screens, etc.). I plan on making the schematics available for these units to get you up and going. Unfortunately, I can't provide all that much in terms of software, but I'm always here to help you out with your questions/requests. We will also have some other goodies that might be just the thing you've been looking for... for CHEAP.
Over the next few days I plan on posting the following info:
1. Stuff you will need to bring if you want to program/tinker with the badge at the conference.
2. Full schematics and artwork for the badge PCB's.
3. The software for the badges at this point (I'm still finishing it up) so you can start to get a feel for the badge (and some big clues about it :-) )
As mentioned previously, I plan on making everything available for the badge this year. This includes:
1. All CAD files in native (I use Alibre) and DXF
2. All the Lightburn files
3. All the software
4. All the electrical design files in native formats (Altium and gerbers)
5. Specs for the junkyard stuff (what I can - schematics for sure for PCB's)
Alex and James would be proud of TJ (our laser cutter). He's cranking out parts.
We are about 40% through the parts at this point, and have about 20% of the parts assembled. I thought previous years were crazy when it came to assembly, but this year... well let's just say I'm glad we started early.
For the badges, I always had the feeling that using "off-the-shelf" (COTS) modules was kind of like cheating. For example, using a Raspberry Pi might be cheaper/easier, but I don't think it's as cool as full-custom stuff. I want to make something that is premium and also challenging to do. Using COTS stuff kind of shortcuts that.
But are my opinions skewing my perception of how things should really be? Using something like a Raspberry PI or an ESP32 WiFi module, for example, has the benefit of being widely accessible/known by all of you. So it could enable a higher degree of fun? But maybe you don't want shortcuts either? What do you think?
This year, we had to make a similar trade off for a subsystem module that we will be using. It is more of a mechanical piece and we really thought about trying to roll-our-own version of it. In the end, we went with the off-the-shelf unit. I think that this decision was wise since it would have been a sizable effort to make our own version that worked in volume as reliably as the COTS version. In the end, I think the COTS unit looks better too. I'd post a picture of it, but I think it might give the surprise away :-).
For this year's CHV badge, we needed to get a new machine up and going to help with production. However, the machines that are commercially available in our price range won't "cut" it. So we built our own.
We have always had an idea to make one of these "the right way", and actually had most of the parts laying around for it. Now it's all up and going on the parts of the badge it will be creating.
There are about 50 parts made on this machine for each badge - this means about 110hrs of machine time, and over that time it will chew through about 55,000 sq-in of material.
On the other front, we now have the prototype boards out to the PCB house and will get them back late next week. There are 6 populated PCB's per badge this year with all sorts of goodies on them including BLE.
As for software, it's looking to be a good year. We will make *everything* available and it's going to be more than just embedded software :-) . Stay tuned!
We are getting close on finalizing the design for the CHV badges this year. As always, expect great things.
We listened to many comments last year about the badges, and one that came up often was "What does the badge do this year that it didn't do last year?"
This really stuck with me. It dawned on me that all the previous badges, although different, really accomplished the same task - being a development/debugging tool for vehicles. So even though they looked different, we were delivering the same thing with different looks and varying functionality.
All I can say is - not this year :-).
We put our thinking caps on and came up with something that truly captures the spirit of the CHV and gives you something new to play with. Something you can play with for quite a while, actually. Just like in previous years, I want the badge to be usable long after the show is over. This year will be no different - maybe better.
Can't wait to see you all again in August! Thank you for all of your interest and support, and stay tuned for many more updates as we get closer to the conference!
P.S. The wood pile shown in the previous post didn't pan out, unfortunately. It turns out that Wikipedia and YouTube is not a substitute for a PhD in chemistry - lol!
We have been busy planning for DC2019! Next year we are really aiming to push our badge(s) beyond traditional components on circuit boards. We feel like with all of the wonderful badgelife stuff happening, we need to give you more.
This idea aligns perfectly with what we are about - providing unique solutions for unique applications.
We think that what we have in mind will really add a new twist to what can be done for a mass-produced badge.
Here are some pictures to give you a hint about what I mean about going beyond the traditional.
We now have gauge badges available for sale in the store. We only have about 60 of them, so get them while they last!
This unit is fully-scriptable using the PAWN language and has its own SDK for customizing it.
It features 448 RGB LED's arranged in an arc around the gauge perimeter. It has two HSCAN channels routed to the HSCAN pins on the OBD2 connector (6 and 14) and the MSCAN pins (for Ford) on pins 3 and 11. It can be powered through the micro USB connector, the OBD2 connector, or the included 1100mAh LiPo battery. The battery charges via USB or OBD2.
The video above shows a script (that is in the SDK) that implements both RPM and speed being displayed on the badge (I wasn't driving in the video). It uses standard OBD2 commands, so it should work on most vehicles.
The badge ships with many demos. One can be seen in the video below. This script is also in the SDK and can help get you up and going with PAWN.
We have finally shipped out the ECM simulators. I apologize that it took so long. There is a unique SDK for the ECM simulator that you can get here. It is very similar to the badge SDK, but the PAWN API is different to support the ECM's features.
Take a look at the product page for more information on how to use the device.
As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need assistance using this tool. I think you will find that it can do some powerful things when emulating the vehicle side of the OBD2 port.
We have observed that some badges may experience problems when powering off of OBD2. The two issues we have seen are:
1. Badge does not power up or gets really hot when running from OBD2.
2. USB connection with PC is terminated upon plugging into OBD2.
If you are experiencing these issues, please take a look at this page for more information on how to fix it.
Well, we missed DerbyCon - darn. We have put a lot of work into this badge, but we hit some delays with the PCB's due to a recent Chinese holiday.
My plan is to still build them and have them for sale on the website. They are too cool in my opinion to just put them in the archives.
We are getting the last parts for them tomorrow, and then I am planning on doing a build of 60 pieces. They should be up for sale by the end of the week. This "badge" will be a very useful tool that can be used in your car while you drive (you'll see :-) ). I plan on posting a video of me using it. I'll also try to post a video of what I did to make it work.
We are working on a small badge that we will have for sale at DerbyCon this year! Stay tuned for more details, but I assure you that it will be impressive. It will feature PAWN scripting, have 2x HSCAN, and an OBD2 port. It will have a ton of RGB LEDs - more than the DefCon badge this year - arranged in a "unique" pattern. It will be powered by a LiPo and charges through the micro USB port.
We are working hard to get it done! Prototype PCB's get ordered next week!