Project Update – 5/31/2022 – “A hacking we will go”

aka – ‘Fixing that which is not yet broken’


Traced out the main components on the HF amplifier, found what looks like the main relay driver for the amp.
I’m pretty sure if I feed this 24v to trip the relay, it will force itself to be always-on regardless of what the computer says.

This will allow me to run the amplifier in all kinds of crazy conditions that are basically required for a Tesla Coil, but at the expense of tube protection interlocks.

Hence, if I mod this, it will probably end up as a bypass switch in a box next to the unit.
Label for the project will obviously be VBI-1, short for ‘very bad idea’.

But in the meantime I’m gonna look over the EEPROM data and see if I can’t make sense out of it. Will try doing a firmware dump later…

5/30 update – deep-dive in progress

I did manage to get a good firmware dump from the amp, and it looks like I can do ICSP live debugging which is nice.

It took some digging, but the utility/decompiler iaito is finally giving me some useful data+results. Now it’s just the long arduous process of decompiling all the major functions to work out what goes where….

5/31 update

I’ve mapped out some of the main functions and am currently drilling down into the routines that trigger the ‘gain too low’ interlocks. Might be a few more days but I think I’m actually gonna figure this out!

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