Instructables
A couple of weeks ago, Christy ( Canida ) handed me a silvery antistatic bag of goodness that can contain only one thing: Electronic fun! It was a kit from Adafruit Industries, and I was tasked with building it and using it, followed by making it into an Instructable. That would be this Instructable. Onward!

-Bradley Powers
bpowers.org
 
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Step 1: What you'll need

1 YBox 2 Kit from Adafruit
1 Soldering Iron (I'd recommend an adjustable temp. iron set to 700° F)
1 Roll of Solder (preferably lead free, with rosin)
5 Electricity (for the soldering iron, later for the Ybox itself)
1 Computer (You don't need it, unless you want to configure anything on the Ybox. I strongly recommend a computer, as you might not care what the weather in Campbell, CA is like)
2 Internet (For the Ybox, and for the computer)
1 9V power supply from Adafruit
1 RCA Cable
1 Ethernet Cable
1 PCB Vise (recommended, you don't burn yourself as much. Unless you like that)
Some Love (All electronics projects require this)

Step 2: Check the Parts list.

Picture of Check the Parts list.
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So, the very first thing that you should do with any kit is to verify that you have everything. Sometimes, parts go missing (they're rather small, and sneaky. Very sneaky.) and have a tendency to hide from anti-static bags. With that said, you should dump the kit out on your table, (desk, bed, floor) and check the list to verify that you have all of your parts. If not, contact Ladyada She'll take care of you. If so, let's move on.

Step 3: Solder

There is a set of instructions here which are well written and easy to follow. Basically, you are taking all of the parts from the kit, and putting them together using solder and love. Be careful that your soldering job is done well, you can always remove a part and try again. Clip the leads on each part if they are long. I used some miniature Diagonal Cutters.
DJ Radio6 years ago
it's pretty good, but here's a much faster way....

Plug the TV to the computer as a monitor, and then use the internet!


LOL that was a joke....
adeii DJ Radio2 years ago
I've used Amiga 1200 and TV (as monitor) and surf internet in 1994!
Bor6 years ago
Hmm, I like my C64 better...
ReCreate Bor5 years ago
C4?
Commodore 64
Oh i get it! WOO Commodore 64! (Also, How could you get internet on a commodore?)
adeii ReCreate2 years ago
Well, YES!
We need serial (RS232 port) dial-up modem or TFE (The Final Ethernet) C64 Ethernet Cartridge.
And we got even 3 web-browsers for surfing: Hyperlink 2.5e, Contiki and Singular Browser 0.1!
I prefer C4 myself. Nothing's better for entertainment than making things go BOOM!
Dark Magis4 years ago
I am creating a little workshop in my basement (just starting out in electrical engineering), and I was wondering if by any chance you know what the best LCD (preferably from Adafruit, as they were the only place where I found the size I wanted) to hook up in a small space (not one of those small, 10 character two row things). By the way, wicked instructable. Thanks for posting it.
bradpowers (author)  Dark Magis4 years ago
Are you thinking like an LCD monitor, or a small LCD screen? If it's the latter, I like this one: http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37&products_id=250

And this one: http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37&products_id=250

You just have to pick whether you want white on black or black on green. That said, Sparkfun has a more impressive selection of screens like this PSP Screen (note, you'll need a relatively powerful microcontroll, think ARM7 or so, to drive this) http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8335 or this: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=710

Let me know if you have any other questions, or if I didn't answer this one very well.
Thanks. I also prefer Sparkfun. Nice tutorial by the way.
bradpowers (author)  Dark Magis4 years ago
Thank you. Best of luck with your Electronics workshop, and your electrical engineering endeavor. Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help.

Thanks,
Brad Powers
Heres a hint get a PS3 or Wii then you don't have to waste your time!!!!
bradpowers (author)  OriginalMacMan6 years ago
Here's another. This is not a waste of time. This is called doing something to learn. Sure, I could hook up a laptop to a TV, or use a Wii. But what will I have learned? Nothing. WIth this, I learned a new programming language, I refined my soldering skills, I wrote a killer program that parses html and displays arbitrary websites on the TV. While this did take me excessive amounts of time, I learned, I was able to share my new knowledge on this site, and I was able to make something amazing. How can you dismiss all that so easily?
Wow brad what a way to stick it to them... most people forget that the name of this is is INSTRUCTABLES.COM and that great electronic engineers and hobbyists such as yourself do projects like this to learn, explore or just have fun. I give you big kudos for this instructable and your prrevious comment. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!
ReCreate5 years ago
Wow that's neat, How easily can you program it and in what language?
ReCreate5 years ago
so this can only view text from the web? no java,html,flash,asp,php,javascript, vbscript or anything else?
No, that is only a sample program. Other 'widgets' can be written in parallax propeller spin and uploaded either via the ethernet or through a parallax PropPlug
Oh, I get it thanks :)
I really don't understand why you would spend the time to do this if you can just connect the TV to a computer.
I think he explained it above
Because this way, you don't need an expensive computer strapped to your television yo use twitter :D
Sandisk1duo6 years ago
so what can this thing do?
bradpowers (author)  Sandisk1duo6 years ago
That's the beauty of microcontrollers, it can do anything that you can program it to do. Typical applications include pulling data from a server or website, parsing it, and putting it on a television screen, but you could attach sensors to it and have it put that data on the web if you wanted.
well, can you program it to convert VGA to TV?
its not a matter of programming... its just about finding the right connector... i believe there are ones out that have a VGA plug on one end (to computer) and 3 RGB Component cables on the other end (to a tv that supports component video)
these are the sort of things u would be looking for:

http://www.everything2connect.com/images/Component_VGA_RCA.jpg
http://media.teamxbox.com/dailyposts/hardware/vd-z3_05.jpg

i managed to change my xbox 360 AV cable to have a vga plug on the end replacing the composite (yellow plug) which i never really used.
i was then able to have 2 options of using a component connection and a VGA connection....
btw, that was just for anyone interested in using a computer monitor for an xbox 360

http://www.engadget.com/2006/11/14/how-to-turn-a-standard-xbox-360-video-cable-into-a-vga-cable-fo/
did YOU make it?
if your talking about the xbox 360 VGA cable... then yes, but where i live, they don't sell Microsoft's version, so seeing i had the parts, i thought i would make it, following the tutorial carefully cos i didn't have the money for a replacement lol
but no way to convert S-Video/Composite(yellow) to VGA?
yeah sorry, reading over my comment, i realised i made a mistake, i meant component, i replaced the component plugs, i dont know about the yellow one
joe6 years ago
This is a neat product. The Parallax chip looks interesting, and having a web server, chip and carrier board all for $75 is a deal. I have used the bs2s for a while. But the parallax bs2 chip, a dev board and the parallax PINK web server come to way than $75 so this kit looks like a neat base for other projects. -Joe
bradpowers (author)  joe6 years ago
Yeah, the PINK server looks OK, but bottom line, all you need is an ethernet controller and some smart programming.
hondagofast6 years ago
I'd rather use Damn Small Linux on my old Pentium II. It has TV-out. And it's free. No coding.
bradpowers (author)  hondagofast6 years ago
Sounds good. This is hardly the only way to get content on your TV. If you have an interest in programming, in microcontrollers, in adding sensor input, then this might be for you, if not, I would imagine you wouldn't enjoy this kit.
mensmaximus6 years ago
Of no use to our poor elderly disabled group of boomers.
bradpowers (author)  mensmaximus6 years ago
That's not true, you could easily solder this thing up. You could totally even learn Spin and program this thing! Give it a shot, worst case, you have a device that will tell you what the weather is like in California!
To quote Curly: "Hey, I resemble that remark" I'm a boomer and I'm going to build one. We are not all aging Dead Heads looking back at glory days, you young whipper snapper!
This looks like it would be a fun project to build, and the finished product is awesome. One thing though, do you think that it is worth the $75?
bradpowers (author)  plane phanatic6 years ago
Bottom line, this isn't just about the finished product. This is about learning (whether thats how to solder more effectively, learning about making something with a microcontroller, learning how to program, etc), the added benefit is that it does something cool. And yes, if there were a consumer product that was open source, programmable, and displayed information from the internet (I mean come on, TwitterTV) that cost $75, I'd jump all over it. This has the added benefit of needing to be built.
Okay, thanks for the information. I may purchase this in the future to learn to solder and program etc. By the way, this was a great Instructable.
bradpowers (author)  plane phanatic6 years ago
Thank you for the praise. I'm glad that you're interested in the kit, it's been something I've been wanting to put together for a long time, but being a college student, I never did. Thanks to Limor (Ladyada) I was finally able to do it. Lots of fun, I (sort of) learned a new language, and now I always know what's up with my friends' Twitter feeds. Win-win-win... Have fun!
Nice one. That is rather an interesting kit with a (whole)lot of possibilities for playing down the road. The P8x processor is also rather interesting, would be even if it didn't have the video built in. It is definitely worth the $75. Once you have it built you could do quite a few different projects and have the results display on your tv.
bradpowers (author)  Wragie6 years ago
Definitely. I'm considering doing something with it and an RFID reader at school
Thornburg6 years ago
Nice pics, and great detail. Favorited.
bradpowers (author)  Thornburg6 years ago
Thank you.
Hmmm that would be a great idea for an old p1 with a cga card. I could install dsl linux or the sort.
cotton6 years ago
of i just firgured somthin out yo can use your phones internbet connaction tablet iphone itouch and more to chang the things you do
bradpowers (author)  cotton6 years ago
ok?
osgeld6 years ago
well this is defiantly cool as a kit, it teaches some basic electronic assembly, lets you work on your soldering, shows you how to access embedded web devices, and some simple transfer concepts other than plugging in a chip, i dont fully agree with "working with a mcu" nor do i really consider ftping a precompiled program "programming" almost everything above could be done with a pong kit for far less (thinkgeek.com) would i buy it, heck yea! is it worth 75$ in the end imo no if you have no intrest in electronics one could put fully graphical internet (and a crapton more) on your tv for 70$ and modding your xbox .. which has about the same level of "programming" that this does
bradpowers (author)  osgeld6 years ago
Well, you certainly aren't limited to simply ftping a precompiled program to the chip. I definitely had fun writing my own programs, however, I left it out of the Instructable, as it is a relatively complex topic. My goal was to show how to use the YBox, not how to program in Spin, or how to add external devices like sensors and such. I could have done that in this Instructable, and may do that in a later Instructable, but making something super long makes people lose interest.
bradpowers (author)  bradpowers6 years ago
Also, if one has no interest in electronics, this is probably unappealing from so many angles. The bottom line is that yes, there are easier ways to do this, and yes, they might be more advanced, but people seem to forget that there can be a lot of satisfaction to be had by simply soldering something together, firing it up, and having it do something cool. Xbox really can't compete on that level. I also disagree that a pong kit can offer the same amount of learning and satisfaction, simply because once the kit is built, that's it. With the YBox, you can build the kit, mess around with the included widgets, and call it a day. Or, you can dig deeper, mess with Spin, reprogram the device, really, the opportunities with an ethernet enabled microcontroller with an video output are endless. Just one last thing. If you think about it, $75 is relatively cheap for what this has going for it. Sure, you could possibly fit a webserver on a cheap PIC mcu, maybe use a secondary for the video output, but that's about it. With the Propellor, the code being used takes up a fraction of the available space and processing capability. Even though the Propellor is clearly the more expensive micro, you get what you pay for in that case. Also, you can't beat supporting people like Limor, maybe she doesn't have the volume to produce these for ten bucks, but keeping her making new kits is an investment in her future, and if you use them, your own. Apologies for the rant.
I think it's worth pointing out that Limor is also a longtime fellow Instructables member. Ladyada
bradpowers (author)  mycroftxxx6 years ago
Absolutely
well just including the fact that it CAN has made me much more interested :)
randomguy966 years ago
my parents did the same thing but linked the tv to the hard drive instead of the monitor
ItsTheHobbs6 years ago
What does the inside yellow box thing say on the first pic? I can't get to it.
it says "awsome" lol
bradpowers (author)  pyelitegamerro766 years ago
Only because it is.