Supercon Badge Reads A “Punch” Card | Mage Tech

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This yr’s Hackaday Supercon, the primary since 2019 because of the pandemic, was similar to these of the previous. Nearly each hardware-oriented hacker occasion has its personal customized digital badge, and Supercon was no totally different. This yr’s flagship is a simulation platform for a hypothetical 4-bit CPU created by ourselves. [Voja Antonic], and offered an actual problem to a few of the attendees who had by no means touched machine code throughout their youth. The problem set was to give you essentially the most attention-grabbing hack for the badge, so the contributors [Ben Hencke] Y [Zach Fredin] set about nailing the ‘expandr’ class of the competitors with their screw-on optical punch card reader.

Peripheral connectivity is considerably restricted. The concept was to construct an extra board with its personal native processing, utilizing a PixelBlaze board. [Ben] fetched — to deal with all of the scanning particulars. Then, as soon as this system on the cardboard has been learn, obtain every little thing to the board’s CPU through its serial interface. With out entry to yourPrinted paper dummy punch card showing read LEDs and an array of encode set and reset bits regular services at dwelling, [Ben] Y [Zach] clearly they needed to improvise with what they’d with them, and what may very well be stolen from different badges or different {hardware} mendacity round.

One huge drawback was that most individuals do not normally carry photodiodes with them, however fortunately they remembered that an LED can be utilized as a photodiode when correctly reverse biased. By feeding the developed sign over a one mega resistor, right into a transconductance amplifier courtesy of a donated LM358, there was sufficient variance for the STM32 ADC to reliably detect the distinction between crammed and unfilled checkboxes on the playing cards. program full.

The CPU required 12-bit opcodes, which clearly implies 12 photodiodes and 12 LEDs to learn every phrase. The PixelBlaze board does not have as many analog inputs. A easy trick was that as an alternative of getting discrete inputs, all 12 photodiodes have been related in parallel and fed to a single enter amplifier. To distinguish the totally different bits, the lighting LEDs have been charlieplexed, thus delivering the person bits as a sequence of values ​​to the ADC, for later deserialization. The demo video exhibits it working, with a program loaded from a card and run manually. What enjoyable!

Punch playing cards normally have a gap by means of them and are machine readable and are a good way to arrange testers like this attention-grabbing vacuum tube tester that we coated a short while in the past.

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Supercon Badge Reads A “Punch” Card