This gift guide is for that hacker, cracker, tinkerer, engineer and scientist who likes to take things apart and figure things out. These tools are a great start if you’re looking to reverse engineer or “hack” something like the Xbox Kinect. We’re about to do just that and help folks along with the “Open Kinect” project, here are some of the tools we like and use – all make great gifts this holiday season!
We sell one of the items in our list, the Bus Pirate – for today only it’s 10% off – use the code PIRATE on check out or you can add it to your Adafruit wishlist!
Beagle USB 480 Protocol Analyzer. The Beagle™ USB 480 Protocol Analyzer is a low cost, non-intrusive High-speed USB 2.0 bus monitor that now includes real-time USB class-level decoding. The Beagle USB 480 analyzer is capable of capturing, and interactively displaying high-speed USB bus-states and traffic in real-time with timing at 16.7 ns resolution and comes complete with software and royalty-free API. Thanks to an on-board 64 MB buffer, sustained bursts of 480 Mbps traffic can be captured with no loss of data.
Interested in an even lower-cost USB analyzer? The Beagle USB 12 Protocol Analyzer is a low- and full-speed USB analyzer for $400.
HACKING THE XBOX. An Introduction to Reverse Engineering by Andrew “bunnie” Huang
This hands-on guide to hacking was cancelled by the original publisher, Wiley, out of fear of DMCA-related lawsuits. After a period of direct distribution by the author, “Hacking the Xbox” is brought to you by the No Starch Press. The book begins with a few step-by-step tutorials on hardware modifications that teaches basic hacking techniques as well as essential reverse engineering skills. The book progresses into a discussion of the Xbox security mechanisms and other advanced hacking topics, with an emphasis on educating the readers on the important subjects of computer security and reverse engineering. Hacking the Xbox includes numerous practical guides, such as where to get hacking gear, soldering techniques, debugging tips and an Xbox hardware reference guide. ”Hacking the Xbox” confronts the social and political issues facing today’s hacker. The book introduces readers to the humans behind the hacks through several interviews with master hackers. ”Hacking the Xbox” looks forward and discusses the impact of today’s legal challenges on legitimate reverse engineering activities. The book includes a chapter written by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) about the rights and responsibilities of hackers, and concludes by discussing the latest trends and vulnerabilities in secure PC platforms.
Tools from iFixit – Depending on what you’re taking apart, and how difficult the manufacturer has made it – you’ll need some very specialized tools. One the smartest things we’ve seen is how iFixit publishes their zero-day gadget tear downs *and* has links to the tools you’ll need to take said gadget apart. The tool sales is a great business model for them and helpful for the folks looking to take apart the latest i-device that needs some weird torx screwdriver or putty knife.
Bus Pirate. Interfacing a new microchip can be a hassle. Breadboarding a circuit, writing code, hauling out the programmer, or maybe even prototyping a PCB. We never seem to get it right on the first try. The ‘Bus Pirate’ is a universal bus interface that talks to most chips from a PC serial terminal, eliminating a ton of early prototyping effort when working with new or unknown chips. Many serial protocols are supported at 0-5.5volts, more can be added. Adafruit is the official US distributor of Ian Lesnet’s Bus Pirate, each purchase directly supports Dangerous Prototypes!
E-Z-Micro-Hooks models: X2105, XKM, XK… E-Z-Hook offers micro-hooks in a selection of double hook or double gripper models. All of these micro hooks have a narrow body design ideal for use where side by side connections are required. Our most popular of the double hook styles is the XKM, and our smallest is the X2015. Only the XK is available with factory installed leads, but all have connection pins for easy lead assembly
Cheap scanner. Pick up a cheap scanner to scan circuit boards, it really doesn’t matter which one. Scanning them make it easier to make notes, draw circuits and share the images with others.
Hakko hot air tool. Great for removing components.
Perfect for soldering and desoldering small surface-mount components, shrinking tubing, heating tests and other local heating operations – adjustable temperature control from 100°C to 540°C (212°F to 1004°F), ultra-light setting for air volume control & ESD safe by design.
Have a good one? Post up in the comments! We sell one of the items in our list, the Bus Pirate – for today only it’s 10% off – use the code PIRATE on check out or you can add it to your Adafruit wishlist!
Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Learn resistor values with Mho’s Resistance or get the best electronics calculator for engineers “Circuit Playground” – Adafruit’s Apps!
Maker Business — Profile on iFixit (repair/takedowns and more)
Wearables — This one’s for all the Cosplayers out there
Electronics — Capacitor ESR
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