Mr Speaker


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Reverse Boonjaneering

Talking Boonys watching cricketThe Boony fun and games are over - no more playin' sound files at the little bugger - it's time to crack Da Boony Code. Presented here are the collected findings of people smarter than myself. It will hopefully culminate it the complete unravelling of the inner secrets of the mystical plastic batsman.

These projects aren't going to require a degree in electrical engineering - Tim's got that - and he'll tell us how to do this with just a soldering iron and a couple of bits picked up from Dick Smith. Though before we get soldering, a few warnings...

CAUTION: THIS MAY WELL DESTROY YOUR BOONY!!!!!!!!!!

Orthodox Talking Boony fieldNo responsibility will be taken for dead Boonies, burnt fingers and dead animals. (Though remember, "Boony Authority" has told us that your Boon will be dead after the ODI series anyway, so...)

Point 2: DO NOT REMOVE THE BATTERIES as Boony needs to know the time to work. Pulling out the batteries can confuse the poor fella. Hopefully this will help us extend Boonys life, but at this point its best to keep them in.

Point 3: I DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ELECTRONICS. So if you're worried, only follow Project 2 below, as that was designed by Tim - and he know bucket loads about electronics.

Point 4: If this is your first soldering efforts, do a lil' practice first - the Boony board is very small and you don't want to go shorting connections and turning it into Chucky Boon.

Project 1: Amplify the Boon

Whats better than a Talking Boony? A really really loud Talking Boony! We'll start with this project as it's a trick that is really easy, and the sound quality of an amplified Boon is so much better than Tinny Boon. Ha ha, Tinny Boon.

For this project we require two lengths of wire, and a female RCA plug. I just went to Jay Car and rummaged through the components until I found something that looked like the things on the back of my stereo. You might want to get a RCA lead while your here, so you can plug Boony in when we're done.

Right-o, lets go. Get the 2 wires and carefully solder them to two solder points that already exist on the speaker. It's a bit fiddly because of that great big lump of plastic the speaker is glued to.

Then solder the other ends of the wires to the two holes in the RCA plug. I'm not sure if there is positive and negative stuffs you need to think about. I didn't and my Boony is crackin' out his happy sayings to the world.

Project 2: See when Boony is awake

Tim is our strongest hope in the Quest for the Secrets of the Boon. He's presented this excellent tutorial on adding an LED that shows when a talk window is happening! Take it away Tim:

See when Talking Boony is awakeConnect some longish wires to the LED, so you can chuck it wherever you want. I suggest black for the cathode (shorter leg) and red for the anode (longer leg). You will need a series resistor for the LED to work. To install a RED LED, use a 560Ω. This will pull a little over 5mA. To use a BLUE LED use a 180Ω for the same current.


R = (4.5V - Vled)
    --------------
       Current

Remember, the more current you pull, the less time Boony will last.

Connect the cathode to the GROUND point (click on image above for diagram), and the anode (via a resistor) to the other point. Put the LED wherever you want, but make sure the wires do not touch (use electrical tape or something). Sit back and play the tones to Boony whenever he lights up! Solder the powerup points when he is not powered up, this way it should minimise the chances of causing damage to him.

Project 3: Make him talk when he's awake

Make Boony TalkOnce you can see when Boonys awake, you don't want to have to find tones to play at him - luckily, once in a talk window you can connect a wire between the two points shown in the diagram - and he'll let you know what he has to say!

Better still; get two lengths of wire and a simple push button. Solder one piece of wire to each of the points, then join the other ends to the push button. When the talk window is open, press away!

Some Boony Technical Info

Tim has provided this indepth run-down of whats going on: There is a local oscillator on the board (the cyllindrical thing soldered on the top of the board) that runs at 33,000 Hz. 5 mins is therefore 1,000,000 counts. If the reset switch is triggered, after this time the memory is read over and over, but I have not seen him do anything else.

During this initial time, the audio stage is powered up to allow for some programming to sync him to the current time. This makes sense as if there are a few thousand of these made, there would have to be a way to time them to the same time.

I have sped up time for one of my Boonys by removing the oscillator and connecting up my own micro (I personally hate PICs, I am using a Zilog Z8.) to speed him up. The initial time is now 25 seconds, but I haven't tried to send and programming in that time. I will try to send random 8bit numbers (the memory is an 8bit memory device) tonight and see what happens.

A normal working Boony will read the memory once, very quickly, every 5mins (or 1,000,000 counts). I have only tested this during a cricket game (my girlfriend won't let me fiddle with hers until after the season) so I will sneak hers in tonight and examine closer. I hope I don't stuff it up!!!

A re-powered Boony will powerup his audio stage for 1,000,000 counts upon release of the S1 connection. He won't speak during this time, but he is listening for something. After 1,000,000 counts, he powers down and reads the memory, but it doesn't look right. He seems to be repeating over and over, as if looking for something, like a start address.

What do you want Boony to do?

Tim has started designing a PCB to plug into Boony with various things like switches, light sensors, remote control receivers to activate him when he unlocks the Boony goodness. The question is... What do you want Boony to react to? One person wanted to get him to watch the cricket and respond to wether the ball was a boundary, wicket, dead ball etc... This is a bit hard as it involves image processing, but it sounds cool.

To be continued...

If you've got any other Boony projects, please let us know! Together we can save Talking Boony through Reverse Boonjaneering!


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37 Comments

  1. Yep same here mitch, I thought I was dreaming! but boonie is back! when was the first game? 7th of Jan? Do we have a 5 month timer or something??

    Haha who cares! he’s back baby!

    Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  2. The first game was the 13th of January – Boony must have a counter that was used as the timer which has overrun and gone back to 0, like a good game of PacMan…

    Whats the official word on this one Tim?! How many seconds has it been :)

    Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 10:33 am | Permalink
  3. HE’S ALIIIVVVEEEE!!!
    At 0720 this morning the 7th of MAy my unmodded, previously quiet Boony sprung to life and announced the cricket was about to start. He’s said four other things since then but only heard by equally amazed wife. My father-in-law also has one that went off three suburbs away at exactly the same time. Wonder if the one on my desk at work said anything?

    Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 10:58 am | Permalink
  4. OH MY GOD, HE SPEAKS,HE SPEAKS,HE SPEAKS,HE SPEAKS,HE SPEAKS,HE SPEAKS,HE SPEAKS,HE SPEAKS,HE SPEAKS,HE SPEAKS,HE SPEAKS,
    my tamper boon was picked up and “played” with by my daughter on sat 6-5-06 and today 7-5-06 he told me the cricket is about to start and has spoke twice an hour since 7:30 this morning ,i will let you know what he thinks todays code word is when he spits it out.
    PS ,he speaks

    Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  5. Hey Boonie is alive. He started talking this morning again… He sits on the mantle over the fireplace. He has stated several times that he needs nacho’s and a VB to watch the Game. But alas there is no game.

    Let the games begin is it the stat of origin he is getting ready for??

    Regards
    Roundtwoit

    Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 12:29 pm | Permalink
  6. haha…mine too. Boony is back from the dead

    Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  7. Also posted on the other page :

    Try http://www.veilinteractive.com/

    Cheers
    jg

    Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
  8. My Boony has been talking all day as well, much more talkative now than during the VB series . . . I was thinking the battery may be dying but having read Tim’s comments on this page perhaps the counter has clocked over? I’d be keen to mod him so he spoke on button push as well as said random things.

    Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 4:47 pm | Permalink
  9. From this blog thread: http://mrspeaker.webeisteddfod.com/2006/01/14/talking-boony/ it was asked: “Why today??????????????????”

    Tim tells us the timer EEPROM has 65535 possible values. Using my trusty calculator..
    Divide this number by 2 (1 read/1 write cycle ?)
    Multiply by 5 (each 5 min increment)
    Divide by 60 (mins)
    Divide by 24 (hours)
    Leaves 113.776.. (days since the Jan 13th game)
    If you can keep him powered up, it looks like Booney will restart every (approx) 114 days!

    Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
  10. i had a silent boon as well as my tamper boon,after tamper boon said “–totem tennis” ,i checked silent boon’s batteries = dead batts,replaced them and waited 45 mins latter silent boon said “– totem tennis” ,it just prooved to me that his counter / clock does not stop running even when the batteries were at 0.01 volts
    so people ,check the batteries ,if there under 4 volts replace them ,it doesnt seem to affect his clock/timer

    Monday, May 8, 2006 at 8:40 am | Permalink
  11. The resurrection is a mistake; authorities are investigating.
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/boon-companion/2006/05/08/1146940475866.html?from=rss
    Here’s to Boony, more powerful than you expected!

    Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 9:01 am | Permalink
  12. Nice Find!!! I love this bit:

    “I wouldn’t want to encourage people to tinker with it, and people can rest assured, he can’t talk forever,” she said.

    Maybe they need to spend a bit more time around here before they make outlandish comments like that :)

    Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 9:06 am | Permalink
  13. He’s awake again!

    Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  14. why is it that mine wont respond to the tone gen even when he is in a talk window even after he has just spoke
    is it that i may have to put in the “see what boony says in a talk window button” coz the tone section has expired???

    Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 10:20 am | Permalink
  15. Mark,

    The tone gen is unreliable. There is one specific frequency he responds to. (8KHz) but there are multiple durations of this tone to trigger the types of quotes (batting, bowling, wicket…). I found playing the tones to him would only work sometimes, but with the mod chip, he works every time. Plus, I can get any quote I want on demand.

    Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 11:35 am | Permalink
  16. Attention all,

    Boon mod chips are up and running!

    Email if interested me at:
    gatekeeper_man@hotmail.com

    Thursday, June 22, 2006 at 10:40 pm | Permalink
  17. For a video of the ModdedBoon:
    http://video.tinypic.com/player.php?v=15ogsgi

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006 at 8:02 pm | Permalink
  18. Mmmmmmm, push button boony,he is great

    the best mod ever ,coz he wont speak unless pushed!!!

    no more getting nachos at 3 in the morning

    I LOVE MY TIM-BOON :)

    Wednesday, July 5, 2006 at 9:23 pm | Permalink
  19. My Boony went nuts. I got home from work and he was just talking garbled nonsense real slow. I took his batteries out and replaced them with fresh. Have I killed him?

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006 at 3:24 am | Permalink
  20. No, I have not. He wants to know if I have a pool table, bless him. I haven’t even got cricket for him to watch.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006 at 3:33 am | Permalink
  21. have you managed to get the mod chip to work and make it viable for everyday people to get a hold of I would like to make my boonie talk on demand

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 8:30 pm | Permalink
  22. Ian,

    The modchips are ready,

    Monday, July 31, 2006 at 10:03 am | Permalink
  23. Hi I want to use Boony in my band Toydeath. any chance of getting a mod chip? Toydeath only use electronic toys!
    http://www.toydeath.com

    Tuesday, August 29, 2006 at 3:57 pm | Permalink
  24. Holy shit! I’m on the Toydeath mailing list – you guys ROCK!

    Tim does the mod chips – I got him to mod my Boony. Check out my “review” of the modded man.

    I’d love to see what you do to the poor fellow, knowing how you torture other platic noisy things!

    Tuesday, August 29, 2006 at 6:18 pm | Permalink
  25. 13/9/2006
    Got another Booney on Ebay, arrived Tuesady 12/9/2006 checked batteries absolutely flat 0 volts. Changed to some brand new Enegizer’s and waited. Booney has just asked ‘when is the drinks break’ at 9.10 pm and again at 9.15 pm13/9/2006 Unreal!!

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006 at 9:17 pm | Permalink
  26. Tim

    I have been reading all these comments and you seem qite the Guru. I do not have the pleasure of owning a boonie yet, but have noticed that some are avaliable on ebay. Is it worthwhile purchasing one now? are they likey to work or would the batteries be dead? LAstly can you change the batteries and give him enternal life??

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 11:58 am | Permalink
  27. King Wato,

    Yes, the batteries (3xAAA’s) can be changed without any problem.
    Most of the batteries should be dead by now, they only came with “el-cheapo” batteries.

    Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 1:31 pm | Permalink
  28. G’Day Tim. I am interested in your chip for Boonie please send the details on what is required.
    cheers
    Steve Miller (as in band)

    Sunday, September 24, 2006 at 3:38 am | Permalink
  29. Steve,

    Please contact me at:
    gatekeeper_man@hotmail.com

    Basically, installation service of the chip is $65 (you post me your Boony), else I can supply a “modded” one for $85 (I’ve got a couple of spares floating around…)

    Either way, please email me for details.

    Sunday, September 24, 2006 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  30. My new mission is to crack the Boony and Botham before the ashes starts, anyone know when that is???

    Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  31. Tim’s on the case! If they use infared then I you have to make them activated by standard remote controls :)

    I think the first match is November 23 – Australia Vs England in Brisbane.

    There are a lot more match days then the last series – I wonder how they will keep them powered?

    Monday, October 9, 2006 at 11:07 am | Permalink
  32. If you want to see the new boony and Beefy, video available here:
    http://www.mollyzine.com/2006/10/11/boony-and-beefy-make-their-video-debut/
    Enjoy.
    Molly

    Thursday, October 12, 2006 at 2:56 am | Permalink
  33. Does anyone have or know where I can get last years VB Boonanza Can still full? Had a very unfortunate incident and now need another one to complete my set. Thanks.

    Tuesday, October 31, 2006 at 9:39 pm | Permalink
  34. My email address is matsac@hotmail.com

    Thanks

    Tuesday, October 31, 2006 at 9:41 pm | Permalink
  35. Hey Matt,

    Did this unfortunate incident involve you, the can and your stomach??

    PS: Hope you love your Modified Boony!!

    Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 8:04 am | Permalink
  36. Well as a matter of fact it was one of my mates!!! He’s no longer a mate! Ha Ha.

    I’ll let you know when my modified boony comes!

    Thanks Tim, you’re a champion.

    Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 12:24 pm | Permalink
  37. Anyone know or able to email me a pic on how to tell if the batteries are flat in my original boonie?

    Can anyone in layman’s terms tell me what I need to go buy in dick smith / tandy etc … and what I need to point it at on the circuit board to test there is voltage coming from the batteries?

    thanks

    Anthony

    anthonygreen77@hotmail.com

    Saturday, December 16, 2006 at 11:20 am | Permalink
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