Assembling, Prototyping, and Planning

A project log for Mr Robot Badge

Creating hardware, and 'gonzo trade journalism'

benchoffBenchoff 06/26/2017 at 11:300 Comments

Behold! The Finished Badge! In horrifically rendered GIF form!

This is the first functional hand-assembled prototype, running a demo from Adafruit's IS31FL3731 led driver library. It's not much, but it does show the entire badge is functional, and that this entire endeavor will be a success.


This board has just under 200 components, and hand-assembly takes about 30-40 minutes. That's assembly, and the rework for the QFN LED driver takes an additional half hour. It's possible, though.

Of course, it's impractical to solder all of these by hand. That's at least 500 hours worth of work, and there are only 30 days left until defcon. I don't feel like pulling 17 hour days of soldering and reworking, so I called in a few favors. The entire assembly will be done by next week. After that, all I'll need to do is program the damn things and solder on the battery holders (the single through-hole component).


Speaking of batteries, I knew from the outset obtaining batteries would be a problem. Each badge requires four AA cells, that's 2000 batteries, and the best price I could find was about $0.25 per cell. That's $500 in batteries alone.

I was recently invited into the #badgelife slack, and one of the members pointed out an awesome deal on batteries, with free shipping:

That's a great deal, and after spending $227, I had 1440 AA cells (30 packs of 48 batteries) shipped to krux in Vegas. Is that all the batteries I need? No, but it's three quarters of the way there, and that'll be enough to last through Friday afternoon. A trip to Fry's will be in order after that. You can source a lot of batteries with a wad of hundreds.

So, all my sourcing is done, I have a plan for assembly, and all of this is going to happen. I need to spend a day or two working on the website ( before the media blitz. Everything is coming together.