2013 A Summary

With 2014 fast approaching I thought it best time to post a "2013 year in review" for Lightbox Lab. We are now in our second year in existence and we are almost a year in our current space at Millmount RDC in Drogheda. Everything we hoped to achieve in 2013 has been done. Our club bank account was created, Millmount RDC have given us the a space we need for members to work and storage of equipment and membership payment is in place.


We have also built up a steady stream of funding from membership payments, non-member donations and from various workshops we ran over the year. This allows us to continue to use our current residence and also to put aside some funding for equipment in 2014.

This year also saw Lightbox Lab become involved with other events that took place such as Coder Dojo's DojoCon 2013 in Slane Castle and the Dundalk Youth Arts festival. We also attended Gaelhack in Waterford, a new event organised by Irelands hackerspace community which we will be more involved with next year.

Plenty of interesting projects were worked on in the space during the year by members, some of which have been documented on this site. Our weekly FREE! open night on Tuesday continues to allow anyone, members and non-members alike to come in and work on their own projects or a group project, use some of the equipment or to just bounce ideas or questions off like-minded people in the space.

Our members and our regular non-members at the open night have a range of interests. From electronics, hacking and gaming to music and other creative uses of technology. In 2014 we hope to hold even more workshops and to hopefully hold more regular events during the week.

We are always interested in hearing more from people in the Louth/Meath area and beyond who would like to get involved or who are just curious about what we do. You don't have to be an expert or even know what you are doing! just a sense of wanting to learn and/or get creative in something you are interested in within an easy-going environment is all that is required.

So if you are interested in knowing more send a mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and you can also follow us on twitter/facebook above. Lastly we are planning on having another social meetup night out on 28th Dec @Clarkes pub in Drogheda from 8:10 onwards. So we might see some of you there!

Picking up ADS-B Flight messages on a €40 Raspberry Pi

Picking up ADS-B Flight messages ON a €40 Raspberry Pi



After listening to a talk by RenderMan DEFCON 20: RenderMan on ADS-B (Interesting talk) I came accross a few threads on how it was possible to recieve these ADS-B broadcasts using no more than a Raspberry Pi and a €8 DVB-T digital tv usb dongle.



As I had a Raspberry Pi spare I decided to see if I could get this working on my Pi. After doing a bit of research on a compatible usb dongle it transpired that I needed one that could tune into the 1090 MHz range to pick up ADS-B broadcasts. This led me to the RTL2832U/E4000 or a newer RTL2832U/R820T chip/tuner combination that tune into 1090 MHz and there are plenty of these out there on eBay. Please do double check the specifications before purchasing from the link. The one I purchased was this one.




I found a great How To guide online from a guy called David Taylor http://www.satsignal.eu/raspberry-pi/dump1090.html explaining the complete setup and following the guide worked to the letter. He explains it all fully and there are plenty of other links with further information on his site. It is recomended to use a powered usb hub but for me anyway it worked fine from one of the usb ports on the Raspberry Pi. Even using the dedicated mini areil that came with the dongle I was  soon able to pick up plenty of aircraft traffic within a range of around 150 km. Impressive for €8 :) I intend to make a cheap homemade antenae when I've some time. 


Software and Networking Night

Want to start your own app/game development project?

Want to learn TCP/IP, UDP, or what "packet sniffing" is all about?

Want to start learning python / perl or another laguage?

From 22nd January we will be running a software and networking group nights for anyone interested in these topics.    The space will be open from 7:15-21:45 for these nights. Every two weeks the space will be open for coding projects along with being able to improve upon your networking skills and to perhaps start your own open-source project with other people in the group.   Much like the HW and Electronics group night it promises to bring together various skillsets and levels and have fun putting your plans that you've had on the backburner for too long in motion!      If you want to get involved please send a mail to   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for contact details and questions.  Spread the word!

Last hack before Christmas!

 Its really been a great year for us.   This time last year the maker and hacker community from the Louth,  Meath and North County Dublin areas were yet to come together and put the gears in motion to start a space here in Drogheda.  The first meeting was held at the D Hotel in the town in early February 2012 where initial discussion was started about how feasible it would be to start a space in the area.    The meetings were held every two weeks where a few of us would continue to plan what would be required in order for it to be successful.   Soon talk began about holding some workshops that would help spread the word and to start bringing people together.  Early in May of this year Millmount RDC provided us with a room to hold a number of these workshop sessions ranging from introduction to python programming to arduino programming to retro computing events.  Events and meetups to date have been mostly quite small but focussed gatherings which have proven to be a great way to transfer knowledge and to generally have some fun learning something new.      As the community started to grow during the year  (with help from the workshops, the larger irish hackerpsace community and through this website) we began to look for a permanent space to call home.    Thankfully  we didnt have to look too far as the managers of Millmount RDC gave us the opportunity to use the two rooms for continued use and to store our equipment.   This support both locally and further afield will hopefully continue well into the new year and with some formalities now almost in  place including an elected board, the constitution and club bank account and now a very reasonable rent to pay we have high hopes for the space in 2013.    We are also in the position to begin sharing equipment and to hold classes for anyone interested in getting more involved in the space.    

So in light of all of this next Saturday (15/12/12 from 11-4) will be the last real chance to get yourself down to Lightbox Lab before we switch of the light and close the old shutters on the window looking up at Millmount tower for the last time this year.  However rest assured  we will be back in January with regular weekly meetups on Saturday and on selected weekdays.   Also next Saturday we are planning on going for a few drinks (possibly W.M Cairnes)  afterwards to celebrate a great year for the hacking and making community in the area.  Please join us at Millmount for some festive hacking and making or afterwards at the bar to help us celebrate!