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Saintcon Badge is an Enigma No More

Through the weekend Twitter has been a-titter with information popping out of Saintcon, the once a year safety convention in Provo, Utah. Now that the weekend is over we will be able to after all get our fingers on complete {hardware} and device resources for the curvy, LED-covered badge we’ve been salivating over and a write up by means of its creators [compukidmike] and [bashNinja]. Let’s dive in and notice what’s ready!


This 12 months’s badge is designed to constitute a unmarried teeth on a unmarried rotor of an Enigma gadget. The complete serve as of an Enigma gadget is slightly advanced, however a person instrument has three rotors with 26 enamel each and every (one for each and every letter) in addition to a keypad for enter and a personality show to turn each and every enciphered letter. For reference, the again of the badge has a at hand diagram of a badge’s position within the Enigma gadget.

Reminiscent of the WWII instrument which the badge design recollects, each and every unit features a complete QWERTZ keyboard (with categorised keys!) and RGB “lampboard” for particular person persona output, however not like the unique there’s additionally a curved 16 x 64 RGB LED show produced from the ones beguiling little ~1mm x 1mm LEDs. All in, the instrument contains 1051 LEDs! Combined with the strangely non-rectilinear form of the badge and the Enigma-style Saintcon emblem it makes for a fantastic, cohesive glance.

The within the sandwich. Top on left (flipped over), backside on proper.

Tech Specs

Fortunately for the chiropractic wishes of the Saintcon attendees the badge creators opted to not make the chassis out of wooden like the unique. Instead it’s shaped from the an increasing number of commonplace “sandwich of PCBAs” manner, and it’s slightly a sandwich certainly! The higher PCBA is most commonly devoted to that pleasant RGB show and its supporting {hardware}. At the highest of the picture you’ll see the Lattice ICE40HX1K FPGA and 12 shift registers had to deal with the matrix. It seems like they made up our minds that there wasn’t an acceptable LED controller which might give a boost to such a lot of channels and rolled their very own. The FPGA speaks an SPI interface which used to be designed to be quite very similar to the one utilized by the ones large LED matrix panels that have develop into well-liked not too long ago, and the gadget is constrained to updating the show at 30 FPS to keep away from LED driver-related ghosting. Of path, you select an ICE40 FPGA as a result of its very good open supply toolchain give a boost to, and all over construction Icestudio’s GUI based totally visible gear have been a large assist.

The decrease PCBA holds the remainder of the badge’s magic. The primary CPU is a Cortex-M4 based totally STM32L433 in a 100 pin package deal. They have been considering a smaller section however the options saved creeping till they used each and every pin! Looking on the design, a few of the ones pin assignments got here from the keyboard which used to be in my opinion hooked up as a substitute of scanned in a matrix, besides they did use a controller for the RGB LEDs at the lampboard. All in the entire decrease board might glance extra advanced, however the extra advanced schematic is for sure the higher!

But what about the ones large connectors alongside the ground of the badge? In addition to three rotors the unique Enigma gadget incorporated a plugboard which might change pairs of letters because the operator pressed them. Of path, within the identify of accuracy, the Saintcon badge has a plugboard too! Thus the headers at the aspects.

Populated minibadges, by means of @Demos74dx

And the center connector? It wouldn’t be a Saintcon badge with out minibadges, so in fact that’s for the minibadge adapter! Brian Benchoff could have been off flogging the factors committee to ratify the expanded SAO 1.69bis addon same old in 2020, however again in 2020 [wifiluke] designed the twin header shape issue you notice right here. While an “SAO” simplest specified a connector, the minibadge same old specifies the complete minibadge, which makes it conceivable to design holders which show them extra like scouting patches to commemorate awards or accomplishments. Different teams and occasions at Saintcon give out minibadges to show club or blow their own horns fulfillment, so the badge wanted a method to show them.

For a quite unique instance of what a minibadge can develop into take a look at this one we coated not too long ago from [hamster] which drives VFD tubes!

The Badge Challenge

Faces redacted for privateness

As with many meetings, the Saintcon badge creators incorporated a problem which used to be designed to pressure conference-goers to engage. Everything from the device to the bodily form of the badge encourages this conduct. What do you do with a badge that’s a unmarried teeth of a 26 teeth rotor? Connect it to 25 buddies in fact!

Each attendee were given a collection of running directions very similar to the ones of an actual Enigma gadget, and a snippet of enciphered code (with German taste textual content in fact). By correctly configuring their rotor teeth and connecting to different correctly configured badges, problem clues may well be accessed at the large 27,326 pixel, 16 x 1664 RGB show.

If you need to make one of those beasts your self take a look at the Github repo connected on the most sensible. It contains complete {hardware}, device, and HDL resources for each PCBAs. If you’re considering of hand meeting we would possibly counsel making an attempt a solder paste stencil; the ones minuscule LEDs are simply begging to be soldered with one.

If (like us!) you revel in some within baseball, take a look at the total write up for information about BOM value, scope creep, production, and all of your favourite PCBA-related battle tales. Overall it appears like lots of the issues have been conquer to supply a badge simplest rather over price range, however totally useful for attendees! That appears like good fortune in our e-book. This submit coated just a fraction of the element [compukidmike] incorporated within the authentic, so make sure that to check out that for extra element.

If the spoken phrase is extra your genre, we embedded his badge communicate underneath.