20061206

Mustek PF-A700B Digital Photo Frame -- not hacking

Today I noticed that CompUSA has the Mustek PF-A700B digitial photo frame for $70. So I got one on a flier thinking that I could hack it.

Turns out, that I doubt I could hack it. Here's why.

The unit has two CheerTEK parts in it. A CT-950A and a CT-978. These two are the display engine and "CPU" for the box. However, there's no documentation available on these parts, or prior parts in the same family. There appears to be only 16MB RAM and no ROM/flash chips I could find.

It is kind of a shame because the box has USB, CF and SD slots. One could imagine replacing the firmware that's inside it with firmware that did a wireless connection to a network drive to get the pictures off one folder. There's also two unpopulated headers. One looks like it is either serial or JTAG. The second one is for IIC control. These could make hacking on this box relatively easy, but the total lack of documentation makes doing anything with it a non-starter.

I hope others have better luck, but I'm returning mine. It is too wimpy a photo frame, and there's no way to bend it to my needs.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is a really interesting opinion to me.
I never know that there is someone trying to change the firmware for digital frame.
If you can provide us more suggestions for improving the functions of digital frame design.
We'd like to change it better.

Warner Losh said...

The reason that I want to change the firmware for a digital frame is to provide better functionality.

While the notion of displaying images from a SD card, or similar, is really cool, it would be even cooler if I could connect a wireless card to the USB port, put the frame on my network (maybe have a few around the house) and have it display pictures from NFS or SMB share folder instead of the card. This would make managing things easier, at least for me.

Anonymous said...

I would be happy if I was able to store a text settings file in the root of the SD or USB memory device. This way I could change the power on defaults, formt to 16:9 kick-off background music and set Change directories (for demos) say when dir a is done run dir b MPG with dir g2 music when done.... Also could add the soft to auto reporportion 16:9 pictures. To get real useful, add a Vert Horz sensor and chane resize the picytre depending on if the picture frame is Vertical or Horizonal.

Kevin said...

i have this frame and I've been trying to find a device(or set of devices) that could plug into one of the I/O ports and emulate a disk but really be transferring the data over a network. I hadn't thought of hacking it but that is a good idea too...its too bad no one has done it yet :(

Ravi said...

HI
Do you know what is the format of the video signal going to the LCD? I was hoping to use the firmware and drive a better LCD (although with a different power supply).
Thanks.
Ravi

Warner Losh said...

I don't know the format of the video going to the LCD. Most LCDs use an uncompressed format that is signalled in parallel. Beyond that, I can't help.

Mary Jo said...

I would be happy if I could change the firmware so that I could use a power point show or get the system to recognize .gifs but I'm not finding any documentation at all. You are right about putting it on the network though. It sure would make life a lot easier for me also.

Anonymous said...

I also would be interested in hacking /changing firmware of this or any similar equipment. Did someone find some relevant information about this? If yes, please share. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I got one thinking I could some how connect an outside wireless to it and have a view of the driveway.

Anonymous said...

could you convert a VGA output and send it to the usb port of a photo frame?

Warner Losh said...

VGA signals are video. USB signals are a bunch of bits for communication between a host and a device. While there are some video over usb standards, this frame isn't setup to handle them. The conversion from VGA is a big pita. It would be a lot easier to emulate a usb flash device on an embedded platform like AT91RM9200 than it would be to do this. And that's a fair bit of work.

Ed said...

Jeroen Domburg provides instructions on how to hack the firmware on those cheap (~$20) keychain digital picture frame so that you can send images, stream video! and even use it as a mini console by sending it text through the usb connected to a unix (asus eee) box.

http://www.planetsurfer.net/2008/06/05/use-a-cheap-digital-picture-frame-as-a-secondary-display/

Anonymous said...

Some progress and information on the following link on the Hannah Montana Vu-Me picture frame. The flash chip is similar and so is the ST2205U microcontroller.

http://www.machinegrid.com/2009/02/hacking-the-hannah-montana-photocube/

Anonymous said...

Have a look at en.pudn.com and search for somethink like "cheertek", I think I found some source there. Maybe that can serve as a documentation.

Avtop said...

On e-pudn CT952a DPF I found source code but how I compile which os is used