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Teardown Thursdays Report 2013-01-31

by Michael Park, Treasurer on February 3, 2013

in Events,Projects

Ned’s current project is the old pipetting machine that’s been sitting around for a while. The pipetting stuff is gone, but what remains is a 3-axis machine that’s begging to be turned into some sort of CNC tool. All Ned has to do is figure out how to control it.

He has determined that there is a master and three slaves, one for each axis. The master sends commands to the slaves and they in turn activate their servos to move the machine accordingly.

Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to find enough information to allow him to take command of the master, so his plan this night is to intercept the signals flowing between master and slaves and then hopefully decipher them. Having done that, he’ll be able to replace the master entirely with a controller of his choice.


Ned and the other Teardown participants had to overcome a few challenges, but eventually the logic analyzer was hooked into the appropriate circuit board. They powered on the machine. As the self-test program moved the device from one position to another, squiggles appeared on the Macbook screen–the signals between master and slaves had been captured! Maybe by next Thursday Ned will have deciphered the communications protocol.

Join Ned every Thursday as the adventure continues!

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