Hacks

Hacks


Looking for IRIX or Solaris expertise? Visit my UNIX Consultancy website.

OK, it’s not big, and it’s not clever. Never mind, here’s a list of some of the hacks I’ve been responsible for.

 

The Octane KnightRider Light Bar

Right, remember KITT from Knight Rider? Back when David Hasslehoff was surrounded by a rather naff Pontiac Trans-Am instead of the silicon splendour of Bay Watch?

KITT was cool. And the coolest part about KITT was the moving LED bar he had on the bonnet. If you didn’t grow up with Knight Rider, think Cylons. If you didn’t grow up with Battlestar Galactica, then – to be honest – you were probably an abused child. Seek help.

Now, there are a couple of problems with the stock light bar on the Octane:

  1. It uses incandescant bulbs, which are more fragile than the XIO compression connectors
  2. It’s incredibly dull on such a cool machine

Greg Douglas, over at Reputable, sells some rather nice LED light bars. They’re cool, but the shipping costs of getting them to the UK ruled them out for me.

So, what to do?

With a bit of hunting, I found KnightLight’s web site. Now, if you can ignore the appalling image of tragic mullet heads fitting this stuff to their Vauxhall Novas, you can find a LED kit for a PC, at http://www.knightlight.co.uk/pr-ks3016.htm.

Right, now, assume you have acquired one of these trinkets. Now, down to the hackery to get it fitted as the Octane’s light bar.

Remove the existing light bar

This is easy – they’ve got four ‘gripped’ tabs, a pair at either end. (See pictures below) Push them together and then pull it out towards you. Needs a bit of force, but easily done. You’ll notice there are four pins – these provide power.

Looking at the front of the Octane, the four sockets provide:

Pin 1 (left hand side) Pin 2 Pin 3 Pin 4 (right hand side)

3.6V

(All-is-well normal bulbs)

3.6V

(Testing, or "You broke me!" red bulb)

Unused
Ground

 

The LED bar will need a 5V supply, but after some extended testing (ie. none) I can conclude that it’s happy with a lower supply of 3.6V.

Attaching the LED bar

There are two ways to do this:

  1. The Proper Way – soldering wires and taking your time
  2. The Hack Way – bodge it a bit

Always remember – electricians tape is your friend.

Here’s what I did:

  • Cut off some wires from an old broken Sparc LX which had a similar sized connector on the end
  • Used a screw driver to lever open the pressed metal connectors inside the PC-style power connector
  • Jammed the wires inside the metal connectors, and then forced them shut again
  • Next, I cut a small section away from the front panel, to fit the bar in place
  • I then stuck it in place with some electricians tape

All you need to do now is put it all together and turn on your Octane – and away you go.

Pictures

No hack would be complete without some poor digital photography to provide the details.

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