Cue-Cat Surgery

Well, I’m back, my friends, and with more fun than ever! I have this cool little barcode scanner that looks like a cat, and was distributed at RadioShack and with issues of Forbes Magazine with the intention of allowing people to get information on an item just by swiping its barcode! Well, the idea tanked, and Digital Convergence, the company that marketed these hoobywhatties went down with the ship! So, I just use mine to inventory things in my homemade web script, called BarcodeDB… check it out!


Anywho, a while back I decided to add a switch so that the CueCat isn’t on all the time, since the red LED gets annoying after a bit.. All the connections to this CueCat is in-line with the keyboard, over P/S2 cable, and on the board of the cuecat, all connections from this cable comes in on a 6-pin plastic connector which goes with a 6-pin header on the PCB.


After many bad soldering attempts, the plastic connector sorta.. melted, and the wires had to be cut and soldered to the pins. Mind you, the pins are pretty close together, and is not much fun. So, I decided to use an IDE cable, and make my own connector!


I cut the IDE cable with an X-ACTO knife heated by a blowtorch, and you can split the ribbon cable with your fingers. (Give yourself a pin’s space when cutting: so if you are cutting a 6-pin connector, cut right inbetween the 7th and 8th pins, because the heat from the X-ACTO melts plastic around it) I simply tinned the ends, and soon, I was able to begin attaching the wires that come from the PS/2 cord.


Ah, but wait, Max, where do these wonderfully coloured wires go? Well, my friends, I wrote up a nice slip of paper, detailing these.. details. Pin 1 refers to the pin near the silkscreened “1″ on the board… you’ll find it.


Found them? Good! Allow you need to do is solder the wires together!


(I apologize.. this picture was taken before I properly soldered the yellow and silver wires.. all the others were out of focus) Now, if you are like me, you have a switch planted in the top of your CueCat. Now, Max, you ask, how do I make the switch work? Well, grasshopper, given that you have soldered wires to your switch contacts, like I (if not, no biggie.. just do.), you can simply solder the brown wire to one side and the other switch contact’s wire to the first pin wire on the IDE cable.


All good? OK! Well, all there is left to do is put tape on the wires (I ran out of electrical, so I used painter’s tape)


All there’s left to do is box it back up! Make sure to put the plastic lenses back where they came from, otherwise our feline friend won’t work so well..


And the black plastic cover on that, too.. Tuck the cable in its little niche (takes some squeezing)


And box it up!


Does it work, you ask? Well of course! Anything I do is always a success! This image…


Was shortly followed by this image…


Which may lead you to make a conclusion about this project! Good luck, and happy hacking, guys!

4 Responses to “Cue-Cat Surgery”

  1. dbr Says:

    \o/ An update!

    Hah, looking at that barcode DB thing, more specifically “Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius – VHS” – people still have VHS tapes/players these days..?

  2. Wojtek Says:

    Of course they do, why wouldn’t they? It’s the same with music cassettes and vinyl records :) .

    Why are people still using CD, when we’ve got DVD-A and SACD and others already on the market? Why do the Japanese still use Laserdiscs?

    There’s always a logical answer to those :) .

  3. » Blog Archive » HP Pavilion Secrecies! Says:

    [...] Right, well, on to the secrecies. I’ve been really excited to discover that a computer of mine from 1998 (HP Pavilion 8570C) actually has TV-out capabilities. I was cleaning out the case, and discovered a chip near the integrated video chip on the motherboard that read ImpacTV2, and became interested. I googled the name, and it turned out to be a TV encoder chip, which provided TV output capabilities to the video hardware on the motherboard. Nice! Next to it, I later discovered a set of pins labeled TVCON. Once again, I turned to Google for an answer, and I came up with this pinout: So, I took a remainder of the IDE ribbon cable I used in the CueCat Surgery post (here), cut it to the length of the header, and clipped an RCA jack to the end of the cable. Into the TV it went, turned on the computer, and voila, I see computer on my TV! If I had wanted to, I could have used the S-Video output (Luma and Chroma) but I didn’t have enough cables to be able to sabotage one. [...]

  4. Thank you for the link. Says:

    Charlie Brown…

    Charlie Brown Says Thank You….

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