Pt 10533

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.

Xbox Big

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.

Pt 10530

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.


Wiha screwdriver set. Chip Lifter with Standard Handle and these. We’re using Octopart links because the Wiha site doesn’t seem to allow us to link directly easily.

Buspiratepcb Lrg

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!

Button Add To Wishlist-11


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

Pt 10531

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!

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !


  1. The all-in-one rework: (A hot air station is nice, but it is nicer to have more)

    The most versatile torch:

    The smaller ones are good too, but this has constant-on, adjustable, built in stand, larger tank, and just works. Light a candle or bend glass.

    A dental/lab spatula is the best thing for cracking open snap-together cases. They are hard to find, but are often part of wax/clay carving tools:

    (I wish I could find my old stainless steel one I got from a surplus place, but I have the wax-carving version plus another tool and the extra ends are useful).

  2. And a better class of gift card:

    And a place to put them:

    And the best flashlight – also one of the smallest:

    Pocket (full featured) multimeter:

    There are other odds and ends in my pockets: – which except for the workstation I have all of the recommendations. Note that the armored car wallet and the firehose pants are battling to see which one can wear the other out, but the firehose pants have a wearout guarantee.

  3. You should’ve mentioned your own “midnight hacker”:
    Great for spur-of-the-moment fiddling.

    I have the older “bomb defuser” model
    I carry it everywhere (except on airplanes, where it could come in handy!)

  4. lol @ calling the LD01 the best flashlight. It’s 2010 mate!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.