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Author Topic: Surprisingly good website  (Read 6242 times)

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Slippyblade

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Surprisingly good website
« on: June 20, 2014, 03:20:19 pm »
Last week I was informed of a screaming good deal on Minimus AVR's from https://www.xconsoles.com.  I jumped over and checked em out, though they cater primarily to the console mod crowd, they have a lot of good stuff and reasonable prices.  They apparently have a thing where each week a random selection of stuff goes half price and last week, AVR's were one of the weekly items.

I ordered four of them.  With shipping it came out to apx $25.  Turns out that it's a US website that actually keeps stock and ships from the US.  I ordered on Monday and had em in my hand on Thursday.  That was normal cheap shipping.  What really made this stand out was that when they arrived, there was a neat extra in the package.  Four snap together enclosures four the AVR's that effectively make them thumb drives.  The little cases were clear plastic and had buttons on them so you could still use the on-board buttons on the AVR.  I love freebies.

The sale is still going.  Here's the link directly to the AVR's.
http://www.xconsoles.com/products/MINIMUS_32_AVR_ATMEL_ATMEGA32U2_USB_DEV_BOARD.html

PS: Tested with KADE Loader and works like a charm.

JDFan

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2014, 04:02:58 pm »
FYI -- it shows them @$9.99 but when you put them in the cart it does the 50% off so they are $4.99 +shipping ( I thought maybe the sale was over until placing them in the cart ! :cheers:)

Also -- seems they only take VISA or Discover cards -- No Mastercard or AMEX and No PAYPAL which is not mentioned until after you try to pay !

Slippyblade

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2014, 05:44:36 pm »
Oh yeah - forgot to mention the weirdness of payment.  I used Amazon Payment when that part came up.

JDFan

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2014, 05:56:00 pm »
Oh yeah - forgot to mention the weirdness of payment.  I used Amazon Payment when that part came up.

Yeah I tried to order 3 for $19.65 shipped  -was going to use PayPal but they didn't offer it so got out the AMEX card and pressed secure credit card only to find it said only VISA or Diners club -- so backed out and went with Credit Card by phone hoping for more choices only to find there it said only VISA or Discover and also would not let you back out - So now have the order # and instructions to call them ( No one answers this late on Friday) so then put in an E-mail to support to see if they can change it to Money Order payment and send the address to mail the payment in. Hopefully they will respond before the sale ends.  :banghead:   

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2014, 05:58:33 pm »
@slippyblade
That was easy

PL1

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2014, 07:39:37 pm »
Thanks for the link, Slippy.   ;D


Scott

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2014, 10:38:02 pm »
So how long is the sale?  Until Sunday?

JDFan

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 10:40:26 pm »
So how long is the sale?  Until Sunday?

Looks like it ends when it ends --- From the website :

Quote

Every week, select items from our inventory are placed in here and will be given an automatic discount.

THIS WEEKS DISCOUNT IS 50% OFF !!!

All offers are limited time only - they can appear at any time and they can dissapear at any time - so keep those eyes peeled.....

Discounts are applied to the shop[ping cart when you checkout.

pbj

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 11:15:29 pm »
Yeah, ---fudgesicle--- Amazon Payment.  You can't review the final charge until after they've dinged your backup payment methods.  Very unclear policies but their attitude is "return it if you don't like it and we'll consider a refund."

Extraordinary claims require pics or gtfo

ark_ader

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2014, 02:29:05 am »
I got two thanks for the link.   :applaud:
If I had only one wish, it would be for three more wishes.

Howard_Casto

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2014, 11:20:17 am »
Did you guys kill it or something?  The whole site is down now. 

JDFan

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2014, 02:00:08 pm »
Did you guys kill it or something?  The whole site is down now.

It's back up now -- does mention using a new shopping cart so was probably down for updates when you checked earlier !

Howard_Casto

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2014, 05:05:07 pm »
It's still down for me.   :-[

Slippyblade

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2014, 05:14:06 pm »
That's weird.  I checked after your last post and the site was working.  I just checked and it was up.  I added an AVR to the cart and started the check out.  Didn't actually complete the process, but it was working as far as I went.

JDFan

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2014, 05:33:13 pm »
It's still down for me.   :-[

Maybe they blacklisted you  :laugh2: -- J/K try clearing your browsers cache.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 05:35:30 pm by JDFan »

Howard_Casto

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2014, 05:37:13 pm »
It's up again.  Maybe this sale was too good to pass up and it's crashing the site?

So does anyone have any experience with this particular avr?  It looks un-headered.  I've got some standard jumper wires and I'm wondering if they'll do. 

I was thinking of buying a few for my long dead universal console adaptor project.  At this price I could just do three or 4 with all the major protocols instead of trying to cram all the code on one device. 

They would also make exceedingly cheap interfaces for a mame cab of course. 

I know the Kade project uses these, but that's about all I know. 

PL1

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2014, 06:10:06 pm »
So does anyone have any experience with this particular avr?  It looks un-headered.  I've got some standard jumper wires and I'm wondering if they'll do. 
As long as your jumpers will fit on a 0.1" header/breadboard/perfboard, you should be fine.   ;D

The holes on the Minimus have standard 0.1" (2.54mm) spacing and can take 22AWG stranded.

This thread has links to the hardware used on the KADE miniArcade board and some alternate connection methods with part numbers and vendors.

You can use straight (or right-angle for low profile) pin headers and 4-wire .1" to QD harnesses from Paradise for a mostly-prefab Xin-Mo-style wiring harness.   ;D




Scott
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 06:17:48 pm by PL1 »

pbj

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2014, 06:17:51 pm »
I have over 1,000 female pass through headers that will work with these things.  I was not creative enough to come up with a worthwhile and easy to reproduce solution for interfacing with the Minimus AVRs.

I ended up bending out the leads, soldering wires to them, and shrink wrapping.  One could probably replicate the KADEs fairly easily with these things and some project board.



 :dunno
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Slippyblade

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2014, 06:22:34 pm »
I just wish the AVR's like this had mounting holes.  Foam tape is just so messy.

PL1

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2014, 07:00:14 pm »
You can just plug it into a hub like this one (or a USB cable with a Female A connector) and use loop clamps to secure the wire bundles connected to the KADE.



Neutrik USB feedthrus and loop clamps for the wire bundles are a great choice for portable panels/fightsticks.



Scott
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 07:29:04 pm by PL1 »

JDFan

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2014, 01:49:27 pm »
Finally received my 3 today -- Other than the delay due to them not accepting Mastercard or Paypal - ( so I had to send a money order which added a couple weeks to the receipt of the order) everything is as ordered and would definitely recommend them. Also just checked and the 50% off sale is still active ( This weeks special has been the same for at least 3 weeks so might be a permanent thing ) and they still show 557 in stock - so they are a really good price (ordered 3 for $19.65 shipped) and they also included the USB case which is not mentioned in the description. Don't think you'll find the minimus for much less than this even in bulk.

I also received my screw down connectors from China a few days before these arrived so now ready to solder them onto the Minimus. (these cost me $6.00 for 10 6 pin pieces - enough for 2.5 units )  so about $2.40 per minimus to add the screw in adapters making the total cost  about $8.95 per unit. ( http://www.ebay.com/itm/111323143255?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649 ) these are the ones I purchased and they arrived in less than 2 weeks.

EDIT : Just plugged in the desktop and ran the Kade Loader and had it programmed in a few seconds (using wi7 64 bit and it was pretty much plug-n-play - after programming tested a few of the connections and all tested fine and working as programmed.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 03:22:07 pm by JDFan »

lilshawn

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2014, 03:40:16 pm »
looks like a good deal and a great way to get into AVR controllers for the average joe.. 36 bucks shipping to canada though is a little steep especially since you can just throw it into a padded envelope for the cost of an international stamp.

sucks about no paypal though. i'd probably have ordered a bunch.

JDFan

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2014, 04:04:30 pm »
looks like a good deal and a great way to get into AVR controllers for the average joe.. 36 bucks shipping to canada though is a little steep especially since you can just throw it into a padded envelope for the cost of an international stamp.

sucks about no paypal though. i'd probably have ordered a bunch.

Yeah unfortunately the USPS makes it difficult for small businesses to ship international -- the padded flat rate envelope is $35.95 for priority mail express to Canada - and that is probably what they use for the 3-5 day delivery -- you might contact them and see if they could ship it regular first class international instead which would take a bit longer to get there but would only be around $10. (never hurts to send them an E-mail and ask ! )

Howard_Casto

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2014, 04:21:01 pm »
I've been looking into this particular avr.  It seems solid, but other than the kade stuff there isn't much in the way of project demos.  I'm most interested in joystick/mouse/ect related stuff. 

At ~5 bucks per avr at the very least I could re-create the stellapator, give it two controller ports and most likely add master system/genesis support. 

The whole thing would run about 10-15 bucks in parts avr included. 

Ditto for Nintendo stuff. I could make a NES/SNES/VB adaptor pretty cheaply.

Mind you there are already some cheap ones out there, but they aren't exactly feature rich and most require you to buy one per gamepad.

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2014, 04:35:36 pm »
I've been looking into this particular avr.  It seems solid, but other than the kade stuff there isn't much in the way of project demos.  I'm most interested in joystick/mouse/ect related stuff. 

At ~5 bucks per avr at the very least I could re-create the stellapator, give it two controller ports and most likely add master system/genesis support. 

The whole thing would run about 10-15 bucks in parts avr included. 

Ditto for Nintendo stuff. I could make a NES/SNES/VB adaptor pretty cheaply.

Mind you there are already some cheap ones out there, but they aren't exactly feature rich and most require you to buy one per gamepad.

I'd be down for any classic controller adapters you could make!
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2014, 06:37:31 pm »
Great deal.  Just picked up 4 of these myself.  I've always wanted to tinker with the Kade and this is a good opportunity.   :applaud:

Nice find!

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2014, 08:14:20 pm »
.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 05:18:50 pm by Louis Tully »

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #27 on: July 14, 2014, 11:14:35 pm »
I could re-create the stellapator
I looked into that, too.

The ATmega32U2 can handle joysticks (standard encoder), keypads (matrix encoder), and driving (optical rotary gray-code encoder) controllers -- all features (except gray-code) already implemented in KADE.

Haven't confirmed Atari driving controller compatibility on the KADE optical firmware, though.   :dunno

The only Stelladaptor feature you wouldn't be able to include with this AVR is support for analog paddles. (analog encoder)

A/D conversion is needed for an analog encoder -- the ATmega32U4 (KADESTICK used this AVR) and higher have A/D conversion capability.

The other challenge is that the Atari paddles are 2-wire (variable resistor) configuration instead of the more commonly used 3-wire potentiometer (voltage divider) configuration.


Scott
EDIT: D'oh!  Forgot that the driving controller (4th diagram, Atari 2600 Accessories, top center) actually outputs gray code for a rotary encoder from a 16-position rotary switch.  What was I thinking?  :dizzy:
Thanks for the reminder, Howard.
Writing/adapting a gray-code encoder shouldn't be too hard for someone who knows how to write code.
EDIT2: Successfully tested the Atari driving controler with an Arduino Pro Micro mouse firmware.  The 2-bit gray code encoder pattern is the same as a quadrature waveform -- connect the white (pin 1) and blue (pin 2) wires as data lines, and the black (pin 8 ) wire to ground for a typical active-low encoder or to logic high voltage if you have an active-high encoder.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 09:26:09 pm by PL1 »

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2014, 01:29:03 am »
Well it's got analog comparators.... I'm not sure if that's enough to work with. 

The NES/SNES would probably be more viable as a first project anyway... those controllers are far more popular. 

The old Stelladaptor is either really brilliant or really stupid, depending upon your point of view. 

How does it handle specialty controllers?  It doesn't.  The emulator just reads the raw pin values and sends them to the game, which technically is accurate, but what it means is the driving controllers, keypads, ect won't work outside of Stella... they are just jamming down random combos of the UDLR inputs and stuff like that.  A person could do it that way, and certainly needs to leave that mode in for compatibility,  but for the driving and keypad controllers specifically, you really need to also give the option of outputting these to a hat switch (the driving controller is actually a 8 pos joystick, and that's how it's hooked up in mess) and individual buttons. 


PL1

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2014, 02:42:30 am »
Thanks for reminding me about the driving controller -- I must have been thinking about some other controller.   :dizzy:

Well it's got analog comparators.... I'm not sure if that's enough to work with. 
Good question. I'm not sure, either.

The NES/SNES would probably be more viable as a first project anyway... those controllers are far more popular. 
A serial word decoder that translates the 4021N output from the NES controller looks fairly stright forward.   ;D

The old Stelladaptor is either really brilliant or really stupid, depending upon your point of view. 

How does it handle specialty controllers?  It doesn't.  The emulator just reads the raw pin values and sends them to the game, which technically is accurate, but what it means is the driving controllers, keypads, ect won't work outside of Stella... they are just jamming down random combos of the UDLR inputs and stuff like that.  A person could do it that way, and certainly needs to leave that mode in for compatibility,  but for the driving and keypad controllers specifically, you really need to also give the option of outputting these to a hat switch (the driving controller is actually a 8 pos joystick, and that's how it's hooked up in mess) and individual buttons.
Never tried the Stelladaptor outside of Stella.   :lol

I don't know how a hat switch relates to the keypad.  :dunno

Are you sure the raw pin readings need to be kept for compatibility?

Seems like it would be better for emulators to allow different input types like MAME does.  YMMV.


Scott

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2014, 03:20:18 am »
Well, I just bought two more, for whatever project!  :cheers:
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2014, 04:09:36 am »
Just tore apart a driving controller and confirmed that it is a 2-bit gray code that repeats four times per rotation.   ;D

Blue and White = wire color in original controller

Black wire is the common/ground

X = continuity between that wire and ground, blank = open

If you break each rotation into 16 steps, the outputs are as follows:

      Blue    White
------------------ First quadrant
01
02                 X
03      X         X
04      X
------------------ Second quadrant
05      
06                 X
07      X         X
08      X   
------------------ Third quadrant
09      
10                 X
11      X         X
12      X   
------------------ Fourth quadrant
13      
14                 X
15      X         X
16      X   


Scott
EDIT: Added diagram.
Blue wire is connected to the contacts on the inner ring.
White wire is connected to the contacts on the outer ring.
Black wire (ground) is connected to the pivot arm.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2014, 10:58:56 am by PL1 »

lilshawn

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #32 on: July 15, 2014, 02:03:39 pm »
that's weird. wonder why they didn't go optical??

guess making a custom encoder wheel like that is cheaper than a slotted disk and some LED's  :dunno

least it's easy to hack. directions are easy to figure out with very little programming.

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2014, 02:27:33 pm »
Basically because Atari carts were so small they needed to do everything as simply as possible.  It's far easier to just use the generic I/O pins as-is because the games would never be able to keep up with the hi-resolution of a typical optical device like a spinner.  Also remember that when the Atari came out, small mice/trackballs were cutting edge tech. It would have been hard to fit the mouse guts of the time into such a small enclosure. 

I believe the wico trackball was quite expensive in it's day  (it used a digital encoder to convert movement to directional presses btw). 

I've got all this crap documented btw... it's just been years since I've looked at it so my memory is a little fuzzy on some aspects. 

The tennis controllers are the analog ones btw.  Two per cord.  But you need analog reading if you want to also support all the other odd-ball first gen consoles like the c64 joystick and ect.  They all basically copied the Atari pinout and used the same connector.  While the Atari never used the analog pins for a true, two axis joystick, many other consoles did. 

lilshawn

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #34 on: July 15, 2014, 03:13:58 pm »
yeah, i guess you wouldn't want the cpu being tied up with constantly having to count a hundred pulses from an optical encoder when you can do the same with 16.

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #35 on: July 18, 2014, 04:28:32 pm »
So all 4 of mine came in the mail today (only 1 is show in pics).  I was pretty impressed with the packaging and "extras".  I've posted pics below if anyone is curious.

P.S. - I just ordered 4 of the screw terminal blocks mentioned by JDFan from eBay!  And a shout out to Slippyblade who mentioned the sale!  Thanks for the tips guys!   :applaud:

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« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 04:47:09 pm by DeLuSioNal29 »
Stop by my Youtube channel and leave a comment:

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #36 on: July 18, 2014, 05:29:51 pm »
So all 4 of mine came in the mail today (only 1 is show in pics).  I was pretty impressed with the packaging and "extras".  I've posted pics below if anyone is curious.

P.S. - I just ordered 4 of the screw terminal blocks mentioned by JDFan from eBay!  And a shout out to Slippyblade who mentioned the sale!  Thanks for the tips guys!   :applaud:

DeLuSioNaL29

I'd agree the packaging and extras make it a very good deal at $5 a piece -- the Screw terminal blocks fit perfectly using 4 pieces per Maximus and are actually a pretty tight fit even before soldering - just be sure not to get things too hot while soldering the connection ( I got careless and lazy and I messed up 1 of my 3  - Instead of turning the piece around to solder the second side I was holding the iron on the inside of the connector and touched it to one of the chips legs melting the leg off before I noticed it was touching !) - But at least it was only a $5 mistake  :hissy: -- And I won't be doing that again !
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 05:31:34 pm by JDFan »

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #37 on: July 21, 2014, 10:41:56 pm »
Sale is still on! Bought 4 of these today. I live in Canada and the shipping would have been more than the total so I had them shipped to the border and I will pick them up this weekend (hopefully). Thanks Slippyblade for posting this site.  :applaud:

Also picked up enough 2.54mm screw terminal blocks for these. Thanks to JDFan for your link - I almost bought 3x8pin 5mm pitch for each (not thinking!). You saved me money and frustration.  :cheers:

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #38 on: July 23, 2014, 11:38:33 am »
So I am interested in these but a bit of a noob.  1 per controller right?  Do they show up as gamepads or a keyboard in windows?  Anything else I need to know?

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Re: Surprisingly good website
« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2014, 12:13:00 pm »
So I am interested in these but a bit of a noob.  1 per controller right?  Do they show up as gamepads or a keyboard in windows?  Anything else I need to know?

they show up as nothing. The USB is to facilitate programming of the chip.

the chip is then programmed with whatever function you so desire.

you would write your program...plug the unit into your computer...program it and then remove the stick and use it outside of your computer.

i suppose with some creative programming and a special windows program, you could get it to emulate a keyboard or joypad or something.

this item was likely specifically made to be programmed to spit out a data stream to unlock or facilitate a modified data stream to/from a game console...for example a rapid fire mod or the ability to play copies of games.