Category: Hardware

Posts about any sort of physical thing – computer parts, consoles, thoughts on random gadgets and occasional modding.

Recently I’ve taken up maintenance on my 20 year old car. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and have done a few small jobs over the years, but acquiring the tools to do anything larger is a bit of an investment I’ve been working up to. It’s been interesting seeing how simple some scary-sounding mechanical jobs can be and applying my knowledge of electrics and computers to vehicle systems.

Having fixed a lot of other problems that all occured around the same time I was left with a single fault code on the airbag (SRS) system which is permanently stored and unable to be reset by regular diagnostic tools. Let’s take a look at what’s involved in repairing this ourselves!

Continue reading “Clearing permanent faults on a car airbag controller”

More USB ports is always better, but have you ever tried to add more? Over the years I’ve tried several PCI Express (PCIe) addin cards designed to give your computer up to 7 additional ports but have never been able to get one working. They’ve all delivered power but won’t talk data.

Continue reading “VIA VL805 USB PCIe expansion cards stumped by AMD IOMMU”

D-Link DIR-615 Modding

Hello everyone, today we’ll take a very quick look at a hardware mod I did a little while back on an old D-Link DIR-615.

This was initially an experiment in building a wireless repeater network to span some more of my workplace, so I wanted to fit large, high gain antennae. The DIR-615 seems an odd choice then, given it has fixed, non-removable antennae and is fairly famous for dodgy wireless performance out-the-box.

But I haven’t lost all my marbles because it also supports DD-WRT, the open source router firmware that gives you a worrying amount of control. Coupled with the fact that I was able to buy two DIR-615‘s for under £10, I think we have a winner!

Continue reading “D-Link DIR-615 Modding”

I bought my Xbox 360 just after Christmas 2006, £300 for the console with two wireless controllers, Project Gotham 3 and the first Gears of War.

Since then it’s been custom painted, it’s red ringed and taken a holiday to Frankfurt where it was repaired over Christmas 2009, lived with me in five different houses, and generally been run in to the ground; but although all the internals were replaced with the RRoD repair in 2009, the hard drive was still the original 20Gb unit it arrived with.

Until the last couple of years this hasn’t been a problem, but now it’s annoying. Halo 4 for example, requires you to install the second disc to the drive before you can play anything – that’s 4Gb gone right there. Throw in a few map packs and a lot of accumulated game saves, and suddenly space is at a premium. Not only that, new hard drives are also at a premium – depending where you look, a new drive at the top end of the available sizes (250/320gb) can be £70!

But of course, you never need to do things the “official” way. Within that drive enclosure is actually a standard 2.5″ SATA drive, and besides a little bit of software tinkering you basically just need to swap it for a larger drive…

In the newer style 360 it’s even easier since the native SATA connections are exposed inside the HDD slot, so you can literally take a 2.5″ drive and (carefully) plug it in to the slot. I knew this was possible having read about it at some point long ago, so “why not”, I thought.

Continue reading “Upgrading an Xbox 360 hard drive, the cheapskate way”

Xbox Mods Part Deux

Hopefully this week I’ll be recieving a large number of LEDs and some replacement chips for ones that were fried in my first attempt and I can finish off my new Xbox mod. I pulled it apart and figured out all these problems over the weekend, and fixed a few small glitches while I was there, as well as finally switching the ROL lights in my 360 to blue so they match the Xbox1. One photo now, one in a few weeks when everything’s finished and beautiful :D