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Digital Photo Frame Hack Guide

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 10/13/2010

When you hack something, it means that you are trying to add something to a system or change it. While most people think of hacking a computer, you can hack digital photo frames as well. Here's your digital photo frame hack guide.

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    Hacking Overview

    If you want your digital photo frame to do more than simply show pictures, then you can open it up and try manipulating it. But, if you choose to do this, you should know that there’s a chance that you’ll break your photo frame. If you are, however, going to take this chance, you need to know what you are looking at on the inside. So, here’s your digital photo frame hack guide.

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    Hacking Tools

    If you have never tried to hack a digital photo frame before, you should definitely start out with a cheap digital photo frame. This way, if you do mess it up, you won’t be out a lot of money. Next, you’ll need some repair tools. You should get some type of pry tool and a screwdriver. You’ll have to look at the back of your frame to determine whether or not you need a Phillips or a flathead screwdriver.

    The pry tool allows you to gently open up your digital photo frame. If you use a knife of a flathead screwdriver, you could crack your frame. Pry tools are little gentler on hardware.

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    Digital Photo Frame Components

    Now, you’ll be able to see the innards of your digital photo frame. While each photo frame is going to be different, there are some parts in common. These include the following:

    1. USB (universal serial bus) interface – This is where you plug in your USB cord.

    2. Switches – These are either for voltage or LCD backlights.

    3. LCD interfacing components.

    4. SD card interface.

    5. Chips – Depending on your unit, these can be your flash or SDRAM chips.

    These components are part of your PCB (printed circuit board), which control the functioning on your digital photo frame.

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    Hacking Your Photo Frame

    When you have your frame open, you’ll notice that the components are very simple in nature. Your digital photo frame was designed to only do a handful of functions. It’s actually more like an embedded computer (designed to do one or a few tasks) than a standard computer system.

    But, you can add components to your system. To do this, you will need to know something about PCBs, how to solder and the location where items need to go.

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    Digital Photo Frame Software Hack

    You can, however, update the software via either your USB or memory card. This will allow you to add games, videos and similar media. You will have to create a special file name on your computer, and then load it onto the device. The device should read this as a firmware update and accept the additional software programs.

    In fact, if you search for firmware updates that correspond to your digital photo frame, you can name your file the same name as that firmware update. This will fool your photo frame into believing that it’s a legitimate update.

    Another use for your digital photo frame is to use the parts for other items. You can keep the original parts, but change it to a video screen as opposed to just a photo frame.