Its been a fun busy couple of weeks…

Its been a fun/busy couple of weeks at our hackerspace Null Space Labs, from an idea to a finished dev kit.




A couple of weeks ago we decided to redo the Android ADK board from Google and the Circuits@Home/Seeedstudio Arduino board, improving on some aspects of the design but mainly getting it ready for Defcon 19. After doing some rework in Eagle and CNC’ing the boards at Null Space Labs, we sent them off for manufacturing at Silver Circuits ( Who’re also doing a tutorial based on one of the techniques we used for the board, so that’s cool ).

Oddly a project I’d been working/reworking in my last blog post was also from Circuits@Home, I had no idea til today that Oleg had been the originator of this project, he’s getting apparently not getting much love for it. I have a couple of his USB Isolators too.

On the Demo board we added IR Send and Receive so we can make them into TV B Gone’s, changed out the RGB LED’s for better ones than Google used, made some of the parts bigger to make them easier to build, added the double header row 2×18 for the mega,  and changed the logo Smile for a ninja/pirate droid.

We also gold plated the demo board, which turned out pretty nice!

The Arduino board stayed mostly the same, just moving things around though after our first build we’re going to change a few small things that we’ve noticed are problematic in the process.

A simple pan and tilt was built in Eagle to test the servos, milled out a few interlocking parts and attached a couple of servos.

Mini pan and tilt

The Google API uses their USB class software, but it only works on 2.3.4 onwards, and to be honest it doesn’t work on a lot of the 2.3.4 devices either, I couldn’t get my Atrix or Iconia A500 which is 3.1 ( even after I rewrote the code to use the new 3.1 API’s ) So today we took the baseline Seeedstudio APK test and extended it to work with the demo board, I ported all the functions, i2c joystick, RGB Leds and so on to work with MicroBridge instead.

Most of the time was actually setting up eclipse and the ADK , there are some issues with the version I downloaded of the Google API 10 which wouldn’t let me compile the DemoBoard APK, it turned out that Rev-2 Was named 10-1 and the SDK was using 10 so the usb.jar was missing, renaming it worked. Eclipse is probably the worst IDE I’ve ever used, though its neck and neck with xTunes 4.

Using the I2C joystick to control the pan/tilt, the temperature and light sensor is on the android tablet, and it also controls the relays from the phone.

Testing different devices, being a hacker space we have a lot of android phones, not so much of the fruity ones. Here it’s a Samsung Galaxy S2 and an Acer Iconia A500.


The Board running from a cheap Coby android 2.1 tablet thing from Frys Electronics, it was about $150 USD.2011-07-31_19-42-22_36.jpg

Doing some things with the Coby, actually about the only thing, it doesn’t even play Angry Birds properly.



KRS Splitting up resistors to kit for our mini production line.2011-07-31_20-39-13_205.jpg

Arko is our manual pick and place, ours doesn’t get here for 6 weeks, so we did what most starting civilisations did and relied on ‘free’ labour as its called these days.2011-07-31_20-40-00_763.jpg


Totally awesome NSL tShirt created by [NSL] top bloke and hacker, frank^2.2011-07-31_20-40-08_732.jpg

Yes even child labour, tsk tsk those evil hacker types, get back to work.


Part of the assembly line, even the food table isn’t sacred.2011-07-31_20-40-17_37.jpg

Final assemble stage, CPU’s and chips are installed here2011-07-31_20-40-31_503.jpg

Modified Arduino boards with a few of the jellybeans installed2011-07-31_20-39-51_222.jpg

CNC’d version of the top demo board.


Stack of boards we did in the last couple of days…. The pick and place can’t arrive soon enough!!!


Some of the microscopes we didn’t use. These are on their way to the Defcon 19 HHV which we’re lending a hand in.


The demo board running a pan/tilt servo setup.


Walk thru of the solder paste application process. (sorry a bit quiet on the audio). I said 5mil for the brass sheet, the original one we tried was 5mil but was too thick, so it’s actually a 3mil sheet, we get them from ace hardware.

Going from the solder paste to component layout, (Sorry low audio quality).

mmca soldering in the headers.

Hot Plating.

Quick pan of Null Space labs, tis a mess.

CNC room, low quality, short.

All the code and changes are available on our wiki , and we’ll have a box of the boards at Defcon too.

Some of the other things we did this last couple of weeks.

Our remix of the RFID Arduino shield (PN532), made this into a mega shield, it’s the board.

RFID Shield

As well as our usual blinky toys.

Cylon I
Production version of [NSL] Cylon I

Cylon II
[NSL] Cylon II

Our Logic analyser that fits in an egg
NullSpace Logic Analyser Egg

Getting the hot plates machined so we can bring them to defcon, ebay FTW.
Making a hotplate

Thermal epoxy
Thermal epoxy

Hot plate (before)

New mic-6 tooling plate

See you at Defcon 19 !!

14 thoughts on “Its been a fun busy couple of weeks…

  1. Kudos to you blokes, friends, and scamps ! I am so amazed by your presentation, I will only wish you success and profits! Keep it up !

  2. Any chance of getting hold of your new and improved demo board (with IR etc). We have a couple of seeduino ADK boards and would like to make a nice demo board to go with them. Like you did, I’m still struggling with SDK issues.

  3. Hello
    Can you tell me ho to get one of these boards? The catalog link seems to be broken and the wiki has no entry of the projekt. I realy want to have one of these. Maybe i can have the shematics and the board data if you dont have any pcb left.
    thank you very much

    1. we’re in the process of updating the store. email krs AT nullspacelabs dot com and you can buy one from her.

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