Yiynova MSP19U+ VGA Pinout Diagram

My sister loves drawing digital artwork. (check out her amazing artwork here!) Sadly she always seems to have the worst luck with computers. Back when she used to use her Wacom Bamboo Fun drawing tablet, I soldered on a new USB cable after she wore out the original. (Which I had to replace a second time for the same thing.) After she was able to save up enough money, she bought herself a Yiynova MSP19U+ drawing tablet monitor. She’s been using it for the last 2 years and loves it, the ability to see your hand while drawing makes it more natural for her, like actual drawing on pencil and paper.

Well, as fate would have it, she was able to wear out the VGA cable that’s built into the monitor. Her computer (running Windows 7 Pro 64bit,) could not determine the model of the monitor, and forced a generic resolution (1024×768) instead of its native resolution. (1440×900.) I was familiar enough with the VGA spec to know that there are a couple pins in a VGA cable that let the monitor communicate with the computer and inform it of its model and such. I figured that these wires inside the VGA cable were the culprits, as she noticed that sometimes she could get it to work again by wiggling the cable around the area where it comes out of the monitor.




Using a multimeter to test the resistance (or continuity) between the pins on each end, I was able to determine the pinout of the connector that goes into the tablet monitor. (As shown in the adapted diagram above.) This also allowed me to determine which wires were broken, and sure enough pins 12 and 15 (SDA and SCL respectively,) had no continuity. I was able to remove the offending areas of the white and red wires, and replace them with some solid core wrapping wire. The monitor now correctly reports its model and native resolution. Sister is once again a happy artist!


Old Console Repairs

Been making some extra cash by repairing old game consoles for Classics & Oddities in Longview. Cory (the owner,) had 5 broken Sega Game Gears all needing capacitors replaced. It might be tedious work, but seeing a device restored to functional use always makes me happy.

Making modchips for the Nintendo GameCube (XenoGC Clones)

Been taking advantage of “wrapping wire” and protoboards that I bought using Christmas gift cards from last month.

Modded a gamecube with a homemade modchip, this lets it play backups as well as “homebrew” software such as emulators.

I also built a microcontroller programming “shield” to replace the mess of wires and breadboard I had been using previously. Now I can easily load programs onto microcontrollers without having to worry about which wire went where, and can free up the breadboard for future projects.

Reflection of Donald Knuth

Donald Knuth, considered to be one of the leading computer scientists. Author of “The Art of Computer Programming” series. (Of which I only have the first 3 volumes.)

“I have to see something to the point where I have surrounded it, and totally understood it before I can write about it with any confidence.”

“A lot of times I’ll have to read through a lot of material just in order to write one sentence, because I’ll choose words that will make it more convincing, and if I don’t really have the knowledge then it’ll somehow come out implicitly in my writing.”

I had no idea that I had so much in common with this man. I frequently get frustrated with myself when I seem to struggle with writing essays in college. It’s not that I can’t do them, but I often feel like I never have enough time to really learn the material well enough to write it how I really want to with confidence.

The cursed iMac “yellow tint”


So a friend gave me a (2007?) iMac 24″, the whole screen had a yellow tint to it. I disassembled the LCD screen… And found the cause.

There is an acrylic sheet in the backlight that acts as a diffuser for the CCFLs. This acrylic sheet had aged, and the heat from the bulbs caused the whole sheet to become a bit yellow. The sheet became brittle enough to break on me while handling it for a bit. (Whoops!) Well I need to find a replacement anyway if I want the screen to look normal again.

Collecting sensor data with a Raspberry Pi


For the past year I’ve been working off and on (as time permitted,) a volunteer project with one of my CS instructors.

The goal of the project is to replace MogulWireless’ outdated, $200 embedded Linux SBCs (Single Board Computers,) which they currently use to collect and submit the sensor data, with $35 Raspberry Pi SBCs. (Seen in the lower right of the picture.) The previous software company that wrote the original program has since gone into bankruptcy, so we did not have access to the original source code, and have been writing a new program from scratch. (Which we’ll be giving a copy of the source code to them so they can always port the program to different hardware.)

The program listens for binary data being received on a serial connection, decodes the binary data into useful information, namely temperature and humidity values, and then submits that data to a web server. I believe Mogul’s main customers are hospitals and other health related industries where real-time monitoring is important for temperature sensitive items.

The decoding binary data part has actually been done for a couple months now. Currently we are finalizing what format the data will be sent in, and writing sub-programs to automate the uploading process.

It’s nice to see a long-term project be so close to deployment for stress testing. We need real world testing to determine if there are any performance issues, as these receivers will be listening to possibly hundreds of sensors every minute. The project has been an awesome experience of the kind of things I’d like to do for a living.