ThinkGeek Technomancer Hoodie

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ThinkGeek Technomancer Hoodie

Postby astronouth7303 » January 3rd, 2014, 12:18 pm

I recently acquired a ThinkGeek Technomancer Hoodie and, of course, I want to do 20 things to it. But the first step to any hacking project is figuring out how it currently works.

I opened it up last night (I'll post photos later) and found the only chip of note to be labeled simply "D361LQFP48" (yes, that is the package). All the others were 8 pins. The board itself was almost single-sided, with a ground plane, a few traces, and a through-hole cap on the back. It appears to be a 3.3v system (based on silk screen) powered by 8 AAs. The D361 appears to have the sounds baked into its firmware, since I didn't see an SD card or other flash chip. There were no obvious ICSP, JTAG, or other development headers (Just 2 pairs labeled S3 and S4).

The wearable portion consists of 24~26 WS2812 in the arms and around the neck, and a single Phillips I2C sensor. (Don't have the part number off-hand. Again, post later.) I'm not sure if it's a 3 axis accelerometer or gyro, or combination, or other. I'm guessing it's an accelerometer and that the system is tracking gravity, since it's big on angles relative to down and fast/slow movements.

I asked at my local hackerspace social (GRMakers) last night, but nobody recognized the parts.
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Re: ThinkGeek Technomancer Hoodie

Postby jason1173 » January 13th, 2014, 8:19 pm

I am definitely interested in knowing how it works. I have had some ideas along the same lines as that and could use some more ideas. It doesn't seem as though ThinkGeek is making enough of them fast enough to keep up with the demand either. I look forward to seeing your future posts on the internal workings of the hoodie!
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Re: ThinkGeek Technomancer Hoodie

Postby astronouth7303 » January 15th, 2014, 10:57 pm

Sorry, still no photos, but I have it open again next to my laptop.

The BOM is as follows:
  • D361LQFP48
  • TI ULN2003A
  • winbond 25Q16DVNIG
  • HXJ8002F CDCXOG1 (2nd line might be scratched)
  • ST 78M05 0X931
  • Volume control
  • Assorted passive components
  • 8ohm 2W flat speaker
  • WS281*-like RGB LED packages (x32)
  • 345B #223 0746 PHIL (4 lines)

The last item is the sensor chip. It's I2C (labelled SDA/SCK), and based on the way the spells work, likely a 3-axis gyro.

Each arm has 12 LEDs bussed together. The LEDs are passive, just diodes in the white package. They're arranged so there's a common voltage line and Red, Green, and Blue switched lines. On mine, "LED8" on each arm has it's Vcc trace cut. The connector on the arm PCB is labelled B, R, G, 9V.

The connector is labelled as such:
Code: Select all
R2 5V   G1 B1   G1 B1   GND  SDA
B2 G2   5V R1   5V R1   3.3V SCK
(Blue   Green    Red    Sense)

The grouping (last line) I added based on the colors each cable bundle is marked. The blue goes to the neck, green (and yellow, depending on which end of the wire) is the left arm, red is the right, and the sensor is unmarked (in the right arm). The green bundle is carried by the blue, around the neck, and down the arm. I've only verified the 3.3v rail. I'm guessing that the two arms (green, red) are linked.

What I've been able to infer is that there is a logic rail (3.3v) and an LED rail (assuming 5v, since we have conflicting labels). The ULN chip is used to switch the LEDs on the low side. (Note: I know only the bare minimum of analog electronics. I'm a software guy by nature.)

In the next week, I'd like to hook an Arduino up to this to make my own controller. (I have an event on Tuesday I'd like to have light-up clothes for.)
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Re: ThinkGeek Technomancer Hoodie

Postby astronouth7303 » January 16th, 2014, 12:23 am

I noticed the arm PCBs have resistors on them, so I did some current draw tests.

Basically, I hooked up 2 different power sources to each of the 3 channels and measured the current.

  • 5v: A chinese USB wall adapter (metered at 5.1v)
  • 7.5v: A dead 9v battery (approx voltage, because dying battery)

Code: Select all
       5v       7.5v
  Red  48.4 mA  80mA
Green   5.43mA  46mA
 Blue   1.62mA  50mA


This is for 11 (12-1, see above) LED packages. When I'm more awake, I'll see if I can look up standard forward voltages and figure out resistor values. (Prediction: They won't correlate because a dead battery is a terrible power source.)
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Re: ThinkGeek Technomancer Hoodie

Postby modder_mike » January 16th, 2014, 7:19 pm

You probably already know all this, but here's some details of what you've got there:

HXJ8002 is a 3W audio amplifier, this powers the speaker.
78M05 is a 5V linear regulator. A really terrible choice for a battery powered device (inefficient), and a good first upgrade path.
W25Q16 is a serial Flash memory. This is probably where the sound effects are being stored; they're typically too big to store in a MCU's internal memory.
This would make D361LQFP48 an obvious microcontroller, as you've proposed.

I'd think the circuitry should be fairly easy to trace - a number of SPI ports (up to 4) will run to the serial Flash, an analog or PWM line will run to the audio amplifier, I2C will go to the accelerometer/gyro, some control lines will go to the 'low side switch' (Darlington transistor array). Once you figure out the pinout of the D361, it should be trivial to remove the chip and deadbug your own controller (Arduino) in in its place.

Alright, I'm done sticking my nose in this. Good luck!
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Re: ThinkGeek Technomancer Hoodie

Postby astronouth7303 » January 17th, 2014, 11:33 am

modder_mike wrote:HXJ8002 is a 3W audio amplifier, this powers the speaker.
78M05 is a 5V linear regulator. A really terrible choice for a battery powered device (inefficient), and a good first upgrade path.
W25Q16 is a serial Flash memory. This is probably where the sound effects are being stored; they're typically too big to store in a MCU's internal memory.
This would make D361LQFP48 an obvious microcontroller, as you've proposed.


Thanks for that. I hadn't actually spent the time to look those up yet because I'm working on a fast replacement at the moment.

modder_mike wrote:I'd think the circuitry should be fairly easy to trace - a number of SPI ports (up to 4) will run to the serial Flash, an analog or PWM line will run to the audio amplifier, I2C will go to the accelerometer/gyro, some control lines will go to the 'low side switch' (Darlington transistor array). Once you figure out the pinout of the D361, it should be trivial to remove the chip and deadbug your own controller (Arduino) in in its place.


Long term, I'd rather leave the original controller unmodified, since being able to continue using the hoodie would be nice, I am not confident in my ability to undo changes, and swapping control boxes is really easy.
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Re: ThinkGeek Technomancer Hoodie

Postby astronouth7303 » January 17th, 2014, 9:10 pm

Warning: The ribbon cable and connector are 2mm pitch, not 0.1".
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Re: ThinkGeek Technomancer Hoodie

Postby astronouth7303 » January 19th, 2014, 8:35 pm

Just finished my first alternate controller. It's just an Arduino Leonardo with a prototyping shield, with a pile of resistors and 2N3904 transistors. I grouped the 2 arms together to fit in the 7 PWM channels of the leonardo.

It works fine except that both B1s are failing, and there's a software bug causing the channels to not completely turn off. It also does not connect the I2C lines for the sensor, but that's fine for this application

After I've solved out my B1 issue, I'm going to design a shield or Arduino clone to be a more permanent dev controller.

Some of my wish list includes:
  • Full alternate, arduino-compatible controller, including sound and sensor
  • Sound
  • Nice battery for long life
  • Bluefruit EZ-Link (Walk up to computer, tip-tap, hoodie I'm wearing works totally different)
  • Radio link to RGB staff (looooong future project)
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Re: ThinkGeek Technomancer Hoodie

Postby RambleSpinSpin » October 23rd, 2017, 5:02 pm

Would love to see an update on this project. Have you made any progress? I am considering buying this hoodie to attempt to remove the need for gestures. It would be a great garment to perform glow spinning!
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