Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I finished up my bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering at ITT in Tucson, June of 2006.
My final project, along with Tom Gross and Ronald Trinh, was an under water vehicle.

The construction of the frame was made from PVC pipe from the local hardware store, and the pressure chamber was made from a small Pelican case. Being a single hinge with clip lock, the pressure chamber was only good for less than 50 feet of depth, but good enough for a proof of concept.

Mounted in the case were all the electronics, as well as a small pinhole camera. Power and control signals were fed into the case via an umbilical cord, made from cat-5 cable. Two pairs of wire were used for power (one pair serving as +, one as -). One pair of wire was used for RS232 communications. Finally, one pair of wire brought back the video signal to a small LCD display.

The PCB carried a 5-volt linear regulator, as well as a pic16f877 micro-controller from Microchip Technologies. This chip had simple firmware written in PicBasic. The firmware handled all the communications via RS-232 to a laptop. In addition, using a simple state machine, it switched on the various motors of the ROV, via a standard power transistor.

The motors that moved the ROV around were bilge pumps made by Rule. All wires going into the Pelican case were first glued into a short piece of tubing with pvc caulking. Next, the wires were passed through a hose barb mounted in the case, and the tubing slipped over the barb, forming a water tight seal. Finally the wires could be connected to the PCB using screw terminals mounted to the board.

Since finishing the project, I have had a lot of time to consider all the improvements that could be made. In addition, I have joined and followed the discussions on a home-built ROV group. As such, I have been planning and am now in the circuit design and PCB layout stages of a new ROV, which will rival many commercial units, yet offer the electronics package at a price in which many can afford. My plan is to target small agencies that may be strapped for cash, in wetland areas. Agencies such as search and rescue, police departments, wildlife and fisheries, and emergency response units need small portable ROVs to work in rivers and lakes, which are of of low cost, as well as being easy to maintain. However they still need many of the same features of the mid-class inspection ROVs.

I will be making future posts as the project develops.

The original ITT-ROV project can be found here:

The posts have also been added to THIS blog. You can find them simply by clicking the ROV link on the left.

Unlock Codes ?

The following service claims to provide unlock codes for Sony phones, including the walkman series:


Has anyone tried with success?

Hacking on the Sony Walkman Cell Phone

When I first came to Japan, I signed up for service with AU, and picked up the Sony Erricson W42S Walkman phone. It was fantastic: it played music with ease, had a great screen for video, was simple and compact, and styling superb.

My only problem with it was the software. Sony and AU both enjoy making users go through all sorts of hoops in order to protect their IP, such that it makes the product nearly useless. Complicating the matter was the fact that the software was only available in Japanese. It drove me nuts. AU's software in particular was so bad, that it would even refuse to install on Windows unless it was a Japanese version.

I HAD to gain access to all those cool features, for which I fell in love with the phone in the first place. So I set out on several adventures in 'bypassing' certain basic procedures apparently designed to confuse people. Few of these jobs could technically be called "hacking." Most of them were simply discovering how to get around stupid measures taken by both companies designed to confuse people, such as switching your international settings in Windows to temporarily allow installing the software, or dropping files into hidden folders on the memory stick in order to get your own movies to play without paying extra for additional software.

I figured that if I were having trouble with the phone, than surely many other foreign customers were in the same boat. Sure enough, with a little bit of advertising on the various cell-phone fan sites, people starting asking me lots of questions. So, in a way, I became an unofficial English help line troubleshooter for AU and Sony.

The results of which are cataloged in the following blogs:

The posts have also been merged with THIS blog. You can find them by clicking the related links on the left.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

AU moves on to LismoPort

AU will no longer support AU Music Port. They have moved on to new software, named Lismo Port (presumably enhancing their tie-in with the Lismo online media service).

I have yet to play with it, other than to attempt an installation. Bad news, it absolutely refuses to install on a non Japanese OS (not even with the trickery involved to install AMP). So I will have to play around with this more. Honestly, I am very likely going to move on to a different phone set anyway. The 42/52 Walkman phones are getting old.

Anyway, since AMP is no longer available on the AU site (nor the USB drivers?) I have put up a page on my own site to hold old CD versions of the software. I don't take any responsibility for a broken system if you choose to upgrade from the old (ca 2006) CD versions.

You can find them at:

Monday, December 10, 2007


Merry Christmas Everyone!

Here is my gift to you - Getting Sonic Stage to work with the W52S!!
BONUS - Works with Duogate AND MICRO SD!!!

Wow. I finally figured this whole deal out. (I am sketchy on a few parts, but I took the 'do it all, because some of them are important, and the others wont hurt' approach.)

This one will be a lengthy/complex procedure so lets get everything together:
1: you need your W52S CD. If you do not have it, please message me and I will email or post the particular package you need.
2: Phone, Cradle, and USB cable (naturally)
3: Duogate OR MicroSD card installed.

Ok, here we go:
1: Download and install Sonic Stage from: http://sonicstage.connect.com/SS-US.zip
(unzip, run the install file. follow directions.. easy)

2: Insert your W52S CD.

Explore to: CD:\utility_softwares\SonicStage_CP

You will find a single EXE file here. DO NOT RUN THIS FILE! It will simply report back that it cannot install on a non-Japanese OS.
Instead you need to do the following:
  • Right Click on the file and choose Extract files. You will then be able to make a folder somewhere to extract the files to. I reccomend Either a new folder on your desktop, or a new folder in the root of your C drive.
  • Find the folder you extracted to. I called it C:\SSinstall. Inside you will find several sub folders. Go to C:\SSinstall\Common\OpenMG.
  • Run Is_setup.exe and follow the directions.
  • If you have not already installed the USB driver, go to C:\SSinstall\Device\Driver\W52S and do so. (You might want to do it just in case, as it may only now make Sonic Stage aware of the device.)
NOTE: At this point, my install path may diverge from yours. Give Sonic Stage a try and see if you can access your memory card. To do so, plug in the cradle, drop the phone in, and choose 2-mass storage on the phone. Run Sonic Stage. In the Transfer tab you will have two new devices: Memory Stick (in my case, drive K) and ATRAC audio device (drive J). Memory Stick is if you have a DuoGate memory stick. ATRAC audio device is for all us MicroSD users.

If you get this far, and it works, please let me know. If not, then continue exploring the folder you made. You will find SEVERAL install packages. I went through and hit them all, just in case.

I hope this works out for everyone and you can enjoy using SS and dump your crappy AMP intall!

A quick review of the projects checklist: (all of these are without AMP, and on MicoSD cards)
  • Convert and upload/watch video (full length movies in widescreen, using Image Converter 2) - check
  • Download photos and video from camera - check
  • Upload PDF files and view them - check
  • Convert and upload photos (using Image Converter 2) - check
  • Convert and upload music with Sonic Stage - check
  • Upload and run games and third party applications - still to do
  • Offer support for MAC (I dont have access to one, and wouldn't know where to start. Sorry to all you MAC users) - still to do
  • Write user guides for GPS functions - still to do
  • Write user guides for EZweb functions - still to do
  • Write guide for subscription services (TangoTown, LastTrain search, etc) - still to do
Anything I should add?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Use auMusicPort to load music

I have the preliminary write up for loading music. Please ask any questions, and make corrections. I have not included pictures, but can add them in if anything is unclear.

Music Library Primary Functions

First, open auMusicPort.From the main screen, select Music Library.
There are four icons on the far left. Their function is as follows:

1: Picture of a PC with a play arrow in the monitor - Shows the songs currently in your 'PC play list'. Play your tunes from the pc or phone here.
2: Phone and PC with two directional arrows - Sync function to load songs to and from the phone
3: papers with a pencil on them - I have no clue.. perhaps some sort of tag editor or viewer or rating thing.. whatever, dont need it! ;)
4: Musical Note, an arrow, and a PC - File importing.

Step 1: Importing Music

Click on File import (music note and PC). You will see a spreadsheet. Above this you see the import functions.

Looking at the import features: First is a CD with a drop down bar. You can rip right from a CD drive. The drop down selects which drive to rip from. It only shows valid music CDs in the drop down.
Below that is a file folder, and a LONG button. Click the button. You can now point to a specific file, or a folder. If you point to a folder, it will recurse all sub folders within that folder.
Ok, so you have chosen either a CD or a music folder.

CD: your cd will be ripped, and the file names will appear in the spreadsheet with a rip progress bar.

Folder: you will be prompted with a popup box. You are given a few options. The default selection is ALL known file types. the other options or for such options as WAV, WMA or M4A. It's important (and sad) to note here that MP3 files are NOT on the list. Unfortunately AMP only reads those three file types. You will have to convert your mp3s to WMA, or use Sonic Stage to convert them and then load to a M2 card. :( booo hiss..The top section of the popup allows the file type selection (default to all) while the bottom section allows you to choose Scan Whole System, or In a folder only. It should be pretty obvious to you how to use this function.
Left button is Ok, right is Cancel

So, hitting ok will default to all. Now all files in the folder are shown in the spreadsheet.
Its important to note that amp is a bit slow on this process.. watch progress bar. I strongly advise you point to a folder only, as the full scan initially will take FOREVER and grab all those silly sounds from the OS...

Now that you have a list, you can choose what to convert to phone format. Throw check boxes in the songs you want, using shift to select groups at a time.

Finally click the large square button with the CD icon and down arrow. You will now see progress percentage as the files are converted. When everything is 100%, move on to the next step.

Step 2: Uploading

Your tune is now in the PC library. You can even play it by clicking on the first large icon on the left (PC with a play button). Go ahead and check the quality.

When you are ready to transfer, click the icon of the phone and PC.You now have two spreadsheets. The top is your PC library, the bottom is the phone library (likely empty at first).
Highlight the songs from the top list you wish to transfer. You can use Shift and Ctrl click options to highlight groups.

Between the two lists, are 4 buttons. One has a down arrow and Japanese, then two with Japanese, then one with an UP arrow and PC.
The first and the last should be pretty obvious. The third is "Resetsuto" Im not sure what number two does, but I have had good luck with number on (down arrow) and number two for loading songs to the phone.

You can now disconnect the phone and find the music either in the phone memory, or the memory card (be it microSD or M2). The Default location is the memory card when installed.

Your music will play from either folder via the Music Menu. You can also move the songs to the other memory area from the normal file menu, and they will be found again when you re-open the Music Menue.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Loading video to the W52S

I finally figured this all out. Turns out its REALLY simple.

1: You need M2 to use video. NOT TRUE. You DO need a memory card. Either SD or M2. You can watch full length movies off SD memory, or transfer it into the phone. Your choice. Phone vs MMC may affect things like answering messages or answering a call. My guess is copying to the PHONE will be better then using the MMC.

2: You need Sony Image converter 3 in order to load video. NOT TRUE.
What IS true, is that you need Image Converter. Im using I.C. 2.


1: Obtain any version of Image Converter. To be honest, ANY might not be true. I have only tested it with 2.. and obviously 3 will work. Anything previous to 2 may or may not work. The only thing I can think of as important, is the output file. So, I'm certain there are freeware apps that will do the same job. Mileage will vary. All directions assume IC2.

2: Convert some files. In IC2, your files will dump SOMEWHERE in a folder called MP_ROOT. Unfortunately, IC is ment to load to a memory device. So, you can only point it to a ROOT of a drive. Example C:MP_ROOT will be your storage folder.

3: Jump into the folder in Explorer. Notice your files names are just a bunch of numbers. You might want to rename them something more meaningful. Refrain from too much punctuation, spaces and what not. Keep it short and sweet. Its gotta fit on the phone screen afterall.
Next, Delete the files that are not .MP4.. you dont need them.

4: Get ready to copy to the phone. Put it in the cradle, plug it in power and USB. Select Mass Storage on the phone to get into drive mode.

5: In Explorer, browse to the phone folder K:\PRIVATE\AU_INOUT
K is my drive letter, yours may be different. WARNING! There are TWO drive letters that come up. Look for the drive who's size matches the memory card size!

6: Copy your videos into the folder.

7: You cant play them on the phone from here. Disconnect from the computer. On the phone hit Menu, External Memory, PC folder. You will see your files. Hit option.
At this point, decide if you want to put them on the phone, or leave them on the memory card. Use option 4 - 6 to copy or move to phone or memory.
When the location comes up, choose Data Folder, File Corresponded.
This will put it in the video folder, and link it to the system index!

8: Play it! Look in the Data folder for ether the memory card, or the phone, and you will now see EZmovie... its an easy job at this point.

9: Delete the files out of the PC folder. Save some space for the next transfer.

The same general method works for copying PDF and html documents to be viewed in Pixel.. if you want a seperate tutorial, I'll write it.. but its essentially the same.