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Posts Tagged ‘reverse engineering’

Op amp on the Moon: Reverse-engineering a hybrid op amp module

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Ken Shirriff has written an article on reverse engineering a hybrid op amp module: I recently obtained a mysterious electronic component in a metal can, flatter and slightly larger than a typical integrated circuit.1 After opening it up and reverse engineering the circuit, I determined that this was an op...

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Two bits per transistor: high-density ROM in Intel’s 8087 floating point chip

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

Ken Shirriff has a great write-up about the multi-level ROM in Intel's 8087 floating point chip: The 8087 chip provided fast floating point arithmetic for the original IBM PC and became part of the x86 architecture used today. One unusual feature of the 8087 is it contained a multi-level ROM...

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Sega System 16 security reverse engineering

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

Reverse engineering of Sega’s System 16 Hitachi FD1089 cpu security module by Eduardo Cruz: I'm glad to announce the successful reverse engineering of Sega's System 16 cpu security modules. This development will enable collectors worldwide preserving hardware unmodified, and stop the general discarding of Hitachi FD modules. The project is right...

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A journey into Capcom’s CPS2 silicon – part 3

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Eduardo Cruz published the third and last post in the Capcom CPS2 reverse engineering series we covered previously: For many years, finding how and where did Capcom hid away its security implementation has been a pending critical task for the arcade community. CPS2 systems running out of battery were rendered...

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Inside the 76477 space invaders sound effect chip: Digital logic implemented with I2L

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Ken Shirriff has written an excellent in-depth look at the 76477 sound effects chip: The 76477 Complex Sound Generation chip (1978) provided sound effects for Space Invaders1 and many other video games. It was also a popular hobbyist chip, easy to experiment with and available at Radio Shack. I reverse-engineered...

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A journey into Capcom’s CPS2 silicon – Part 2

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Here’s an informative part 2 of the Capcom CPS2 reverse engineering series by Eduardo Cruz: Capcom's Play System 2, also known as CPS2, was a new arcade platform introduced in 1993 and a firm call on bootlegging. Featuring similar but improved specs to its predecessor CPS1, the system introduced a new security...

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Inside Intel’s first product: the 3101 RAM chip held just 64 bits

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Ken Shirriff writes: Intel's first product was not a processor, but a memory chip: the 31011 RAM chip, released in April 1969. This chip held just 64 bits of data (equivalent to 8 letters or 16 digits) and had the steep price tag of $99.50.2 The chip's capacity was way...

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Reverse engineering the 76477 “Space Invaders” sound effect chip from die photos

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Ken Shirriff has written an article on reverse engineering the 76477 "Space Invaders" sound effect chip: Remember the old video game Space Invaders? Some of its sound effects were provided by a chip called the 76477 Complex Sound Generation chip. While the sound effects1 produced by this 1978 chip seem...

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Inside the vintage 74181 ALU chip: how it works and why it’s so strange

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Ken Shirriff writes: The 74181 ALU (arithmetic/logic unit) chip powered many of the minicomputers of the 1970s: it provided fast 4-bit arithmetic and logic functions, and could be combined to handle larger words, making it a key part of many CPUs. But if you look at the chip more closely,...

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Analyzing the vintage 8008 processor from die photos: its unusual counters

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Ken Shirriff writes: The revolutionary Intel 8008 microprocessor is 45 years old today (March 13, 2017), so I figured it's time for a blog post on reverse-engineering its internal circuits. One of the interesting things about old computers is how they implemented things in unexpected ways, and the 8008 is...

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Hacking the DPS5005

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Johan Kanflo's OpenDPS project, a free firmware replacement for the DPS5005: This write up of the OpenDPS project is divided into three parts. Part one (this one) covers reverse engineering the stock firmware and could be of interest for those looking at reverse engineering STM32 devices in general. Part two...

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Reverse-engineering the surprisingly advanced ALU of the 8008 microprocessor

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Ken Shirriff has written an article on reverse engineering the ALU of the 8008 microprocessor: A computer's arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) is the heart of the processor, performing arithmetic and logic operations on data. If you've studied digital logic, you've probably learned how to combine simple binary adder circuits to build...

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Die photos and analysis of the revolutionary 8008 microprocessor, 45 years old

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Ken Shirriff has written an article detailing die photos of the vintage Intel 8008 that reveal the circuitry it used: Intel's groundbreaking 8008 microprocessor was first produced 45 years ago.1 This chip, Intel's first 8-bit microprocessor, is the ancestor of the x86 processor family that you may be using right...

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Inside a RFID race timing chip: die photos of the Monza R6

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Ken Shirriff took some die photos of the Monza R6 chip  and wrote a post on his blog on how the RFID timing chip works: I recently watched a cross-country running race that used a digital timing system, so I investigated how the RFID timing chip works. Each runner wears...

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Reverse engineering a server CPU voltage regulator module

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Andy Brown wrote an article on reverse engineering a CPU voltage regulator: A recent ebay fishing expedition yielded an interesting little part for the very reasonable sum of about five pounds. It’s a voltage regulator module from a Dell PowerEdge 6650 Xeon server. I originally bought this because I had...

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Nevo C2 remote control – Reverse engineering, part 1

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Reverse engineering of a Nevo C2 remote control from Arantius.com Most recently I've switched to the "Nevo C2" remotes (also known as "Xsight Color" or "ARRX15G"), which have a graphical display built in. This makes it easy for me to deal with the huge array (TiVo, HTPC, plus eleven game consoles)...

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Inside the arm1v – the ALU control logic

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Dave writes: This is one of a number of posts on my work on reverse engineering the armv1 processor. The first in the series, and an index of the other articles can be found here. My first post in this series described in some detail a one-bit slice of the...

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Counting bits in hardware: Reverse engineering the silicon in the ARM1 processor

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Ken Shirriff writes: How can you count bits in hardware? In this article, I reverse-engineer the circuit used by the ARM1 processor to count the number of set bits in a 16-bit field, showing how individual transistors form multiplexers, which are combined into adders, and finally form the bit counter....

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Reverse engineering the ARM1, ancestor of the iPhone’s processor

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Another great article from Ken Shirriff, this time on reverse engineering the ARM1: Almost every smartphone uses a processor based on the ARM1 chip created in 1985. The Visual ARM1 simulator shows what happens inside the ARM1 chip as it runs; the result (below) is fascinating but mysterious.[1] In this...

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Reverse engineering the ESP8266 WIFI-to-Serial port adapter

Friday, January 1st, 2016

Here's a video from electronupdate on reverse engineering the ESP8266 WIFI-to-Serial port adapter: Another very interesting bit of technology. The combination of so much functionality into such a small part is a real touch-stone as to where things are heading. A quick look at the antenna design to see if...

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