Reverse engineering of an elevator control panel results in Clicky Goodness


We have to admit that in the world of hardware hacking, there are usually not too many opportunities to hack elevators. Well, at least not opportunities that don’t include the risk of incarceration as well. But fortune favors the daring, and when he found the remains of an elevator control panel in an abandoned Croatian resort hotel, [Davor Cihlar] undertook extensive and informative reverse engineering of the panel.

The video below highlights his efforts, which were considerable given the age and condition of the panel. This is a relay-only control panel, after all, with most of the relays missing and a nest of rat wires connecting the outlets. So [Davor] implemented its “RevIng” concept. This uses a custom PCB with a built-in microcontroller that plugs into each relay socket and probes the connections between it and all other sockets. Really smart stuff, and it presented him with the data needed to develop a scale diagram of the map, using custom software.

With the original logic in hand, [Davor] started to build a simulator for the panel. It’s a beautiful job, with buttons and lights to mimic the control panel inside the elevator car, as well as the call desks that would have adorned every lobby of the hotel. Interestingly, he found logic that prevented the elevator from being called to certain floors from anywhere except inside the car. The reason remains a mystery, but it is assumed that a hotel built by Attica editor [Bob Guccione] would be full of secrets.

We love this version’s extremely satisfying click and reverse engineering prowess on display, but we can’t find much practical use for something like it. Then again, DIY elevators are one thing.


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