Hardware Hacking
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Chiploader Station

Creative hardware hacking isn't just for personal projects at home... oh, no!  A lot of creative hacking goes on in the workplace, too.  This particular hack came about due to a need to simplify and (semi-) automate the process of programming several different kinds of custom chips used in a then-new product being rolled out, so that the units could be produced without people dropping by my office every couple of hours asking me to burn chips for them. :)  Its original form, shown here, served the company well – or well enough, at least – for several years (a couple of years longer than I did, in fact), but in June of 2005 I was asked if I could drop by and have a look at it, as it was starting to get a bit flaky.

As you can see, it's the very definition of "hack" – crude, inelegant, cobbled together out of a mismatched assortment of parts, but it does the job. :)  Or at least it did... now, though, it was apparently having trouble booting on occasion, and sometimes didn't want to program one of the chip types correctly.  Since I was the one who built it in the first place, I agreed (for a modest fee, of course!) to take a look at it and see about getting it working again.

...Oh, and maybe while I was at it, could I do something about that daughterboard and power supply hanging off the side?

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