Friday, June 03, 2005

SanDisk MobileMate MS+ meets PEZ

A lot of people have been hacking their pez dispensers lately. Well, I noticed it lately. So maybe I'm behind, but whatever. I found a few pez dispensers and decided to try and pair one of them with my recently aquired SanDisk MobileMate MS+. For those of you who don't know, thte MobileMates are flash memory devices designed to look like every other USB flash drive, but instead of having built in storage, there's a slot for your particular flavor of memory card. I grabbed one to help me cope with the lack of friendship between my MAC & my Sony Clie. My wife, Sharon, and I did this this afternoon. It was pretty fun. If you have any questions/comments post them here. I am gunna try to keep this simple, so here it goes.

Step 1
Gather your supplies

I found these PEZ dispensers when we moved. I picked up the MS+ from BestBuy for about 20$, it came with the cable.

As you can see I already disassembled tweety and opened the MobileMate MS+.

As for tools, I used a small screwdriver, a cheap radio shack soldering iron, a cheap radio shack multimeter, pliers, and a dremel.

Step 2

To open the MS+ take the sticker off, and use a small screwdriver to pry the two pieces apart.

If you're carefull you might not mess it up like I did, and it may go back together if you get cold feet.

Step 3
The cable

At this point I drilled a hole for the usb cable. My original plan was to have the cable centered on the back of the PEZ the way it is here.

My entire plan was centered around keeping the PEZ usable, while adding USB MS functionality. I don't have a lot of tools, or a lot of patience.

Step 4
Neuter your MS+

Removing the male USB plug is key to limiting interference with candy dispensing.

I looked up the chip, a GL817E, and discovered that it is capable of reading SD/MMC in addition to MS.

Step 5
Making it Fit

The MS+ board is a bit too big to fit nicely inside the PEZ, so I had to dremel down the edges of the board. There isn't much room to dremel, so be careful. If you sand any of the contacts you'll ruin your 20$ investment.

It was about this time that tragedy struck. The MS+ board won't fit, even after sanding as much away as I dared.

There was only one thing to do, make more room in tweety. Trying to dremel out tweety proved disasterous. the brittle plastic cracked easily.

Tweety had a rough life. We'd found her on part of the roof of the downstairs apartment all covered with mud.

Her sacrifice wasn't in vain, however.

Step 6
Get a new PEZ & start over

Step 7
Making it fit, again

Some quick testing with bugs was reassuring, the sanded down board fit quite nicely.

Taking apart the dispenser mechanism is pretty simple, just cut the plastic. Make sure you keep the spring and the spacer piece. I almost launched mine across the yard. I'll spare you the details on how the PEZ works.The important thing is to cut as far from the head as you can. Our finished dispenser sticks out just a tad farther than it should.

Step 8
Step 3, revisited

This time, the hole for the cable is on the side. After careful consideration, we decided that it would be a much better fit, even if it doesn't look as nice.

Step 9
Let the memory stick in

Cut a hole in the PEZ so you can fit the memory stick into the reader. I used the disc cutter bit for this cut. Originaly it was quite clean, and only as long as the memory stick itself.

While trying to widen it the dremel jumped and make the hole a LOT longer than it had to be.

As you can tell from the pictures, I waited until the last minute to actually disassemble bugs' dispenser. We'd pretty much figured out the dispenser part, and being impatient, I wanted to get on to the stuff we hadn't worked out already.

Step 10
Making the connection

Next, solder the wires from the USB cable to the terminals that used to connect to the male plug.

If you followed me this far, then the pins, from right to left with bugs facing left are red, white, green, black.

Sorry about not having a pic for this step, but its not that hard. I used my multimeter to measure the resistance between each pin and wire to determine which was which.

Step 11
Status update & product test

At this point you should have a fully functional usb memory stick reader in your not quite functional pez.

If you're like me, you'll already be rushing to your computer to test it out.

Step 12
Making it work

Satisfied with the MS reader, Sharon and I went to the store to get some super glue to reassemble the dispenser.

Once again, I'm assuming that you've got the basic concept of PEZ operation. feel free to ask if you need help getting it apart or back together.

Sharon cut a piece of plastic from the unuzed portion of bugs' candy dispenser and glued to the rails to make a new base for the dispenser.

Step 13
Making it beautiful

Sharon went and cut another slightly bigger piece of scrap and glued it to the bottom of bugs. Now not only does it work, it looks nice too.

All in all this was a fun afternoon project. I was very pleasantly supprised when it worked the first time I tried. There are a few improvements that need to be made. Our solder job looks like a one arm drunk 3rd grader did it, and has proven to be slightly unreliable. One of these days I'll redo it. Also, bugs sits about 1 candy width too high, which can be fixed or ignored. I'd like to thank hackaday & the other bored people who've butchered their pez despensers for the inspiration for this project.

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Anonymous Lawrence Tureaud said...

Holy shit man, it sounds like you're pretty dangerous with power tools... out of control...

7/09/2005 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger flyashi said...

Good job. Great idea, good work - i might actually do this, too, considering it's dual-functional, albeit with reduced candy capacity, but having your favorite Loony Tunes charachter read MS/SD/MMC more than makes up for it! (Retractable USB cable would also be cool.)

7/10/2005 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger ThePete said...

Sweet work--nicely done! An inspiring story to be sure. I'm now eyeing my electric toothbrush with similar plans... ;)

7/11/2005 09:14:00 PM  

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