Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 04:00Forget Stopping Bullets – Vest Warms You While Stopping Taser
[Bruce Wayne][Shenzhen] wanted a garment that would protect him from a jolt, while keeping him toasty in the cold weather. Well that’s not it at all, these are merely two of his projects using the same material in different ways.
We’re going to start with the infrared image on the right. This is a vest with chest and back pieces made of carbon tape totaling two meters of the material swirled on each side. Hook it to a power source and the carbon tape warms the wearer. Portability is something of an issue as each “element” takes 36 W of power (3A at 12V). Click through for advice on how to interface the tape with the power source.
Onto the main event… avoiding electrical shock when you get all up in the grill of that mall cop you’re hated for years. [Shenzhen's] jacket is really just an ordinary long-sleeved coat. But he separated the lining at the bottom seam and used fusible material to hold the carbon tape in place. The carbon tape provides a better conductor than your skin, preventing the shock from stunning you as it was intended. This really is the thing of superheroes, or former editors who should have known better.
Filed under: wearable hacks
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 01:00Remote Control Anything With A PS3 Controller
When looking for a remote control for your next project, you might want to look in your living room. Wii controllers are a hacker’s favorite, but wagging an electronic wand around isn’t the greatest for remote control planes, cars, tanks, and multicopters. What you need for this is dual analog controls, something every playstation since the 90s has included.
[Marcel] created a replacement electronics board for the Sony DualShock 3 controller for just this purpose. With this board, an XBee, and an old controller, it’s easy to add dual analog control and a whole lot of buttons to any project using an XBee receiver.
The replacement board is based on the ATMega328p uC, includes a Lipo charge circuit and power supply, and inputs for the analog sticks and all the button boards inside the DualShock controller.
Yes, we have seen an earlier version of [Marcel]‘s project before, but this time he’s added a few new features – the rumble now works and thanks to multiple people unable or unwilling to spin a few boards, [Marcel] has put up an Indiegogo campaign.
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 22:00Atomic Powered Robots and Records Played With Optics
If you were a child of the 80′s or early 90′s you probably remember Magic Mike. He went by many names, but he always said the same thing “I am the atomic powered robot. Please give my best wishes to everybody!” [Oona's] version of Mike had been malfunctioning for a few years. He’d stopped talking! She decided he needed more input, so she disassembled Mike to reveal the flesh colored plastic box in the center of his chest. This talkbox was used as a sound module in several toys. Before the days of cheap digital playback devices, sounds were recorded in a decidedly analog fashion. [Oona] found that Mike’s voice and sound effects were recorded on a tiny phonograph record in his chest. The phonograph was spun up by an electric motor, but the playback and amplification system was all mechanical, consisting of a needle coupled to a small plastic loudspeaker. The system was very similar to the early phonograph designs.
Mike’s record contained two interwoven spiral tracks. Interwoven tracks is a technique that has been used before, albeit rarely on commercial albums. One track contained Mike’s voice, the other the sound of his laser gun. The track to be played would be chosen at random depending upon where the needle and record stopped after the previous play. The record completely sidetracked [Oona's] repair work. She decided to try to read the record optically. She started with a high resolution image (image link) of the record, and wrote some Perl code to interpolate a spiral around the grooves. The result was rather noisy, and contained quite a bit of crosstalk. [Oona] tried again with laser illumination using a Lego train set. Unfortunately the Lego train / laser system wasn’t smooth enough to get a good image. In the end she used a bit of Gimp magic and was able to pull better audio from her original image. We never did find out if she put poor Mike back together though.
Filed under: toy hacks
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 19:01Hot or Not? Find Out How to Calculate Component Heat and Why You Should
How hot are your key components getting? There’s a good chance you’ve built a project and thought: “Well I guess I better slap a heat sink in there to be safe”. But when working on a more refined build you really need to calculate heat dissipation to ensure reliability. This is actually not tough at all. The numbers are right there in the datasheet. Yes, that datasheet packed with number, figures, tables, graphs, slogans, marketing statements, order numbers… you know right where to look, don’t you?
Hackaday has you covered on this one. In under 10 minutes [Bil Herd] will not only show how easy these calculations are, he’ll tell you where to look in the datasheets to get the info you need quickly.
Above, [Bil] used his bench as a whiteboard to illustrate the thermal resistance equation. In this case each resistor symbol represents part of the heat dissipation. You must consider all places where heat can be transferred: (from left to right) the component die (junction) to the component case, the component case to a heat sink, and the heat sink to ambient air. He illustrates each of these dissipation points in the video.
An example of the junction-to-case is shown to the right. This is a TO-3 case which has had the lid cut off. It’s a much simpler way to look at a chip die than trying to decap a component with a plastic case.
Make with the Math Already!
Okay, okay, we’re getting there. The math is not hard… just multiplication and addition, so hang on a minute more.
Gather the following values: maximum power you plan to use with this component, maximum heat rating of the part, maximum ambient air temperature in which this component will be used, and the theta values from the datasheets. Theta, which is a measure of degrees per watt, is often listed as a symbol: Θ Multiply theta by the max wattage and you will know how much temperature to add to your equation
Datasheets: Finding Θ and Temperature
Because [Bil] does such a great job in the video we’re giving you the quick version here. Temperature generating components will include a maximum operating temperature like the one shown below (click through for full datasheet) which is for a linear regulator:
The theta for “Juntion-to-Case” is found a bit further down the same datasheet in the Electrical Characteristics table. Datasheets will also provide a “Junction-to-Ambient” value (also shown below but not used in our calculations) used to calculate how much power you can use without any type of active or passive cooling. This answers the question of: “do I need a heat sink?”.
Finally, you want to look at values from the heat sink being used. [Bil] looks at the datasheet of a heat sink which lists a thermal resistance of 25.8Θ with the chart below on the left showing how that number may be altered with moving air (a fan). The chart to the right covers the use of interface agents like thermal grease, and a mica pad (for electrical insulation) with thermal grease. Both of those values are circled but only one will be used in the calculation.
Putting It All Together
If we assume an ambient air temperature of 38 C (100 F) and a maximum power of 2 W all of the numbers we need have been collected.
Max Temp = Junction + Mica/Grease + Heat Sink + Ambient
Max Temp = (4Θ * 2W)º + (0.4Θ * 2W)º + (25Θ * 2W)º + 38º
Max Temp = 8º + 0.8º + 50º + 38º
Max Temp = 96.8º
The maximum temperature rating for this part is 125 C, which means that this part is being properly cooled. [Bil] goes one step further in the video, showing how to calculate how much more reliable the properly cooled part will be.
- Texas Instruments LM317-N Datasheet (PDF)
- Texas Instruments App Bulletin for mounting TO-3 packages (PDF)
- AAVID THERMALLOY 7173DG heat sink example
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 16:003D Printed Zipper Saves the Day!
[Amr] recently built a 3D printer and came across his first practical application for it – his jacket’s zipper broke!
What we like about this project is [Amr] goes through the entire design process to finished product in his video. He starts by showing us the failed zipper, explaining where and why it failed, and then identifies the design features he needs to keep in order to make a functional replacement. To help accomplish this he checks out the Wikipedia article on zippers which shows an excellent animation of what happens inside of the zipper.
Now confident in his knowledge of all things zipper, he begins to model his replacement using SolidWorks, which is an industry standard among 3D CAD packages — for more information on how to use SolidWorks, we’ve been covering it in our 3D Printering articles!
Once satisfied with his 3D model, he tries to print it, but since it’s so small it pops off the bed mid-print. He adds a brim feature to the part and then it prints perfectly, in just over 30 minutes. We’re not sure if it was his first design iteration, but the zipper works on his jacket first try!
Of course we know he could have gone into town and bought a replacement zipper — but where’s the fun in that? Have you ever repaired something trivial just because? Let us know in the comments!
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 13:01Gritz: An Open Source Speed Reading Tool
Here’s a hack to help you increase your reading speed. Gritz is an open source text file reader, which reduces the need to look around the screen. Words pop up one at a time, but at a configurable pace.
[Peter Feuerer] got the idea for Gritz from Spritz, a commercial product for speed reading. The creators of Spritz took three years to develop their software, and recently released a demo. They claim people can read at 1000 WPM using this technology. Spritz is taking applications for access to their APIs, which will allow developers to integrate the software into their own applications. However, a fully open source version with no restrictions would be even better.
Using Gritz, [Peter] claims to have read a book with a 75% improvement in his reading speed. He admits it’s not perfect, and there’s still much development to do. Gritz is written in Perl, uses Gtk2 for its GUI, and comes with instructions for running on Linux, OS X, and Windows. It’s released under the GPL, so you can clone the Github repo and start playing around with accelerated reading.
Filed under: lifehacks
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 12:00Searching For Makers In Washington DC
Despite there being an inordinate amount of techies and tech companies in the Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area, there aren’t really that many hacker/makerspaces, or really anywhere else for tinkering, building, and generally futzing around with a soldering iron. [Zach] thought it was time for a change and is now organizing the second Make DC an informal get together to show off your latest projects and builds. Here’s the best part: Hackaday is coming, and we’re bringing some sweet swag.
Right now [Matt] has two talks lined up focused on bringing APIs into the physical world. There’s space for plenty more speakers, so if you have something to show off be sure to sign up.
The event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 19, 6:30 PM, half a block away from the Dupont Circle Metro station. Be there. You’ll get a sticker at least.
Filed under: news
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 10:01Hacking Dell Laptop Charger Identification
If you’ve ever had a laptop charger die, you know that they can be expensive to replace. Many laptops require you to use a ‘genuine’ charger, and refuse to boot when a knock off model is used. Genuine chargers communicate with the laptop and give information such as the power, current, and voltage ratings of the device. While this is a good safety measure, ensuring that a compatible charger is used, it also allows the manufacturers to increase the price of their chargers.
[Xuan] built a device that spoofs this identification information for Dell chargers. In the four-part series (1, 2, 3, 4), the details of reverse engineering the communications and building the spoofer are covered.
Dell uses the 1-Wire protocol to communicate with the charger, and [Xuan] sniffed the communication using a MSP430. After reading the data and verifying the CRC, it could be examined to find the fields that specify power, voltage, and current.
Next, a custom PCB was made with two Dell DC jacks and an MSP430. This passes power through the board, but uses the MSP430 to send fake data to the computer. The demo shows off a 90 W adapter pretending to run at 65 W. With this working, you could power the laptop from any supply that can meet the requirements for current and voltage.
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 07:00USB Keyboard And Mouse For The PS4
If you’d like to play BattleCallSpaceMarine on the Playstation 4 with a keyboard and mouse – and have an unfair advantage over everyone else playing on a console – you’d normally be out of luck. Sony implemented a fair bit of software to make sure only officially licensed controllers are able to talk to the console. It took a while, but [Frank Zhao] has figured out why keyboard and mouse doesn’t work on PS4, and created a device to enable these superior input devices.
Sony engineers decided – or were told – that the PS4 shouldn’t be able to connect to any old USB device. To that end, they made the console issue challenges to a DualShock controller to make sure the official controller is always connected over Bluetooth.
[Frank]‘s device solves this problem by taking the USB output from a keyboard and mouse, doing the CRC calculations, and sending them out over Bluetooth. Because the PS4 constantly issues challenges and responses of the authentication procedure, a real DualShock controller needs to be connected to the device at all times. Still, if you want a keyboard and mouse on the PS4, this is the way to do it.
All the sources and layouts are up on [Frank]‘s github where you’re free to create your own. This isn’t a finished product quite yet; [Frank] still needs to do a redesign of the circuit. Judging from the response of his earlier attempt at keyboards and mice on the PS4, though, this may be a successful product in the works.
Filed under: playstation hacks
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 04:00The Stepper Driver Driver
The Stepstick and Pololu motor drivers are the heart of just about every Reprap electronics board, but they can go bad. The usual way of testing these things is to rig up a microcontroller on a breadboard, grab some cables, and wire something up. [Ken]‘s Easy Stepper Motor Controller is a much simpler solution to the problem of testing these drivers and could, with a bit of practice, be constructed on a single-sided homebrew PCB.
The Easy Stepper Motor Controller is a very simple board with connections to a motor, a power supply, and headers for a single Pololu or Stepstick motor driver. Two buttons and a pot control the rotation of the motor with the help of an ATtiny10, and jumpers for up to 16x microstepping are right there on the board.
There’s a video after the break showing what this stepper motor driver driver can do. It’s not much, but if you’re just testing a driver, it’s all you need.
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 01:00Hackaday Links: March 3, 2014
If you’re playing along with Twitch Plays Pokemon, you might as well do it the right way: with the smallest Game Boy ever, the Game Boy Micro. [Anton] needed a battery replacement for this awesome, discontinued, and still inexplicably expensive console and found one in a rechargeable 9V Lithium battery. You get two replacement cells out of each 9V battery, and a bit more capacity as well.
Every garden needs garden lights, right? What does every garden light need? A robot, of course. These quadruped “Toro-bots” react to passersby by brightening the light or moving out of the way. It’s supposed to be for a garden that takes care of itself, but we’re struggling to figure out how lights will do that.
Flexiable 3D prints are all the rage and now resin 3D printers are joining the fray. The folks at Maker Juice have introduced SubFlex, a flexible UV-curing resin. The usual resins, while very strong, are rock solid. The new SubFlex flexible resins are very bendable in thin sections and in thicker pieces something like hard rubber. We’re thinking custom tank treads.
Have a Google Glass? Can you get us on the list? [Noé] and [Pedro] made a 3D printed Google Glass adapter for those of us with four eyes.
Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 22:00Making OLEDs In The Kitchen Sink
When [Ian] first set out to create a homebrew OLED, he found chemical suppliers that wouldn’t take his money, manufacturers that wouldn’t talk to him, and researchers that would actively discourage him. Luckily for us, he powered through all these obstructions and created his own organic LED.
Since at least one conductor in an OLED must be transparent, [Ian] settled on ITO – indium tin oxide – for the anode. This clear coating is deposited on glass, allowing it to conduct electricity and you can buy it through a few interesting suppliers. For the cathode, [Ian] is using a gallium-indium-tin eutectic, an alloy with a very low melting point that allowed him to deposit a small puddle in his OLED stack.
With the anode and cathode taken care of, the only thing left was the actual LED. For this, [Ian] had some success with MEH-PPV, a polymer that is capable of electroluminescence. On top of this is a film of PEDOT:PPS, another polymer that serves to block electrons.
The resulting yellow-green blob of an OLED actually works, and is at least as good as some of the other homebrew semiconductor illumination projects we’ve seen around here. This is only a start, though, and [Ian] plans on putting a whole lot more time into his explorations of organic LEDs.
Filed under: chemistry hacks
Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 19:00Reverse Engineering Candle Flicker LEDs, Again
Flickering candle LEDs are seemingly everywhere these days, and like all fads, someone has to take a very close look at the engineering behind them.
[cpldcpu] had earlier taken a look at the controller chip in these candle flicker LEDs by measuring the current used and developing a statistical model of how these LEDs flicker. That’s math, of course, and much more fun can be had by decapsulating one of these flicker LED controller chips. It’s not very advanced tech; the LED controller is using a 1 or 2um process and a pair of RC oscillators, but it appears there could be a hardware random number generator in the silicon of this chip.
Earlier, [Cpldcpu] had taken a look at the tiny controller in these flickering LEDs and determined they used a linear feedback shift register to generate pseudorandom LED intensities. The new teardown seems to confirm that a linear feedback shift register is being used to drive the flickering LED.
Custom chips are only one way to skin a cat, or flicker a LED, and PICatout used the the tiniest PIC microcontroller (French, translation) to create his own flickering LED. Seems like making a few custom flickering LED throwies shouldn’t be too hard.
Filed under: led hacks
Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 16:00This Desktop Air Conditioner Is Really Cool!
[Mike] works in a 50+ year old building with unreliable air conditioning. It often reaches 80°F inside during the summer, and he once measured it at 98°F. Rather than burn sick days, he became the envy of the office when he built this awesome desktop air conditioner.
The problem with knocking holes in the office walls and installing window units is that they must vent heat somewhere. [Mike] has overcome adversity and harnessed the power of the heatsink, only in reverse. His desktop a/c unit is made from two 28oz cans plus a 20oz can for the ice bucket. [Mike] used a side-vented CPU fan, which is vital to his design. He secured the heatsink to the base of one 28oz can with a self-tapping screw. This can is the upper chamber. [Mike] made a base from the other 28oz can, drilling holes for the CPU fan wires, the power cord, and a sweet light-up rocker switch. He used Gorilla Glue to affix the CPU fan to the base can.
Hot, stale office air is drawn through the ice in the 20oz can, which is nestled in aluminum foil to maximize heat transfer to the heatsink. The heat in the air gets absorbed by the heatsink, and the CPU fan kicks out cool air in 20-30 seconds.
Filed under: lifehacks
Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 13:00Software USB On The STM8
Thanks to V-USB, software-based USB is all the rage now, with a lot of uses for very small and low power microcontrollers.[ZiB] wondered if it would be possible to implement a USB controller on the STM8 microcontroller (Google translation) in software and succeeded.
The STM8 is a bit of a change from the usual 8-bit micros we see like AVRs and PICs. [ZiB] chose the STM8S103F3, although any chip in the STM8 family will work with this project when a 12MHz crystal is attached.
The code isn’t quite there yet, but [ZiB] has proven a software-based USB implementation on the STM8 is possible. All the code is available for download (comments in Russian) and a video demoing the project available below. If anyone cares to translate this project to English, we’ll post a link to your work here.
Filed under: Microcontrollers
Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 10:00Microcontroller Speech Synthesis Lets Your Project Be Heard
[Aditya] had a project that called for spoken output. He admits that he could have built a PC-based solution, but he found that adding speech by using a microcontroller was not only a cheap and portable alternative, it was also a fun and easy build.
His design uses an ATMega128. Many microcontrollers would work, but his major requirements were PWM generation and plenty of memory to store the file(s). The output is cleaned up in a simple low pass filter before going to the 8Ω speaker.
[Aditya] lays his tracks in WAV format and then compresses it to 8-bit/8kHz. He found a C++ function that converts the track data into a huge arrays and then digitizes it. He uses two timers, one to generate the waveform and second one to time the square wave. [Aditya] has a zip of samples available on his site that will speak the digits 0-9.
Filed under: Microcontrollers
Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 07:00Turning A Tiny CRT Into A Monitor
[GK] picked up a few tiny 2″ CRTs a while back and for the longest time they’ve been sitting in a box somewhere in the lab. The itch to build something with these old tubes has finally been scratched, with a beautiful circuit with Manhattan style construction.
[GK] has a bit of a fetish for old oscilloscopes, and since he’s using an old ‘scope tube, the design was rather simple for him; there aren’t any schematics here, just what he could put together off the top of his head.
Still, some of [GK]‘s earlier projects helped him along the way in turning this CRT into a monitor. The high voltage came from a variable output PSU he had originally designed for photomultiplier tubes. Since this is a monochrome display, the chrominance was discarded with an old Sony Y/C module found in a part drawer.
It’s a great piece of work that, in the words of someone we highly respect is, “worth more than a gazillion lame Hackaday posts where someone connected an Arduino to something, or left a breadboard in a supposedly “finished” project.” Love ya, [Mike].
Filed under: hardware
Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 04:00Photosphere’ing Made Easy and Cheap
Android phones have a cool function called Photo Sphere — unfortunately, unless you’re very steady and can manipulate the phone around its camera’s axis… the results aren’t that amazing. Unless you make a cheap 360 degree panorama head for your tripod that is!
[Oliver Krohn] designed this super simple adapter which you can mount on any tripod. It’s a U-shaped bent piece of aluminum, a bottle cap with a 1/4-20 nut, a thick piece of wire, and a cellphone case. The wire is bent with a notch to sit just below the camera’s lens on the cellphone — it is also placed directly above the tripods panning axis. This puts the nodal point in the perfect place, which allows for a great photo sphere every time.
To see how it works (and the amazing results!) stick around for the following video.
Looking to record video in 360 degrees? You’re going to need a second camera…
Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 01:00Hackaday Retro Edition: AppleTalk
If you do a survey of what makes and models of classic computers manage to pull off a Retro Success by loading our Web 1.0 retro site, you’ll notice a disproportionate number of classic Macintosh computers, the cute, small all-in-one boxes with a nine-inch black or white screen. Part of this is the nigh indestructible nature of these boxes, and part of this is the networking built into every classic Mac – AppleTalk.
The physical connections for AppleTalk is just a small breakout box with two Mini-DIN connectors (or RJ11 phone jacks for PhoneNet) attached to one of the serial ports on the Mac. This isn’t just a null modem connection, though. An AppleTalk network can support up to 32 nodes, file transfer, networked printers, and in later updates booting an Apple IIGS from a networked drive. Whenever you have a few classic Macs in one room, an AppleTalk network is bound to appear at some point, especially considering the limitations of an 800kB disk drive for sneakernetting and the fact the AppleTalk software is supplied with every version of the operating system.
[Chris] had an old dual disk Macintosh SE he had brought back from the dead, but his modern expectations of Internet On Every Computer meant this cute little compy was severely lacking. Yes, SCSI to Ethernet adapters exist, but they’re surprisingly expensive. Modems are right out because of landlines. How did he solve this problem? With AppleTalk, of course.
After picking up a pair of PhoneNet adapters, [Chris] plugged one into a PowerPC mac running OS 9. MacTCP, the Apple TCP/IP control panel for classic Mac operating systems, is able to encapsulate IP traffic into AppleTalk Packets. After turning the PowerPC mac into a router, [Chris] managed to get his all-in-one SE on the internet.
The only problem with this setup is the browser. NCSA Mosaic doesn’t have the ability to send traffic to a proxy server, but another classic Mac browser, MacWeb 2.0c does. This allowed him to load up our retro site using forgotten and long unsupported technologies.
If you have an old computer sitting around, try to load our retro site with it. Take a few pictures, and we’ll put it up in one of our Retro Roundups
Filed under: classic hacks
Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 22:00Pocket Dart/Spitball Gun for Wet/Dry Combat
What can you do with needles, disposable syringes, superglue, cotton swabs, and scissors? If you answered ‘get hassled by TSA agents’, you’d be right, but you could also do what [Mski] did and make a pocket dart gun!
[Mski] used a 10mL syringe and a clear BiC pen body. He glued the pen barrel to the needle adapter on the syringe to make the chamber. He made the darts by cutting cotton swabs in half and inserting glue-covered needles. If you’ve never cut a cotton swab in half, they are hollow inside. What he has there are actually straight pins, which are cheaper than needles and come in larger quantities. The good news is you can make a bandolier of darts without breaking the bank.
Load your gun by shoving spitballs and/or darts up the chamber with a thin wooden stick, like a bamboo skewer. If you use your wife’s knitting needle, we recommend putting it back where you found it.
Do you prefer flaming projectiles and find clothespins easier to come by? Are you a hemophiliac or needle-phobic? Make this mini matchstick gun instead.
Filed under: misc hacks