When you need a toroid the easiest source is often to wind it yourself. The problem being that placing a few hundred windings around a ferrite ring is a real drag, especially if you have to make several of them. This cheat developed by [Jim W.] will save a lot of time. He cuts the ring in half for the winding and reassembles it afterward.
Here you can see that he has half of the core mounted in a drill chuck. To get to this point he scored the ferrite before clamping half in a vice and whacking the extruding half with a block of wood and a hammer. He hasn’t found a perfect solution for scoring the material (a utility knife or a triangular file both work but have drawbacks). Leave a comment if you’ve got any bright ideas.
Once the core is in two pieces he used some copper pipe with one end flattened and bent to the shape of the ring segment. With it hot glued in place he takes it for a spin (shown in the clip after the break). Once the windings are done a bit of super glue recombines the halves. This sort of thing is great for monitoring power use.
[Thanks Ted via Workshop88 blog]
Filed under: tool hacks
It’s not too late to hack your own Valentine’s day gifts. Here’s four projects to get you headed in the right direction.
[Ian] built what he calls the Valentine’s gift bomb. It’s a cigar box with this LED heart on the top. A servo motor latches the lid from the inside and won’t open until the thing goes off on the big day. (sorry, no link to this one as he just sent us the pictures found after the break).
A Blinky Bouquet
[Ryan] shows us how to make a felt bouquet and then light things up with some LEDs.
Pictures in a bottle
Reuse that old incandescent bulb by adding LEDs and heart-shaped pictures inside the glass enclosure.
This cocoa container turned robot cat calls, raises its eyebrows, and blinks the LEDs eyes when she presses the button on top.
Filed under: Hackaday links, Holiday Hacks
If you’ve ever worried about your car getting stolen this hack can help give you some piece of mind. It’s a cellular enabled geolocation device. These things have been in use for some time, the most common brand we know of is the LoJack. That company gives you a little box to install on the vehicle and if it ever goes missing they can grab the coordinates and forward them to the authorities. This custom version builds a lot into an addon board for an EFM32 board.
The image above shows the main components of the add-on: the GPS module and the GSM modem. Along the top edge of the board is the voltage regulator circuits which aim to keep the standby power to the slightest of trickles so as not to drain the car’s battery. What you can’t see is the SIM card slot which is located on the underside.
You can find the Eagle files for the design at the link above. We’ve embedded the video description of the project after the break.
Filed under: gps hacks
This custom circuit board picks up some of the pieces from a wall wart to drive a high-power LED. The basic concept is to keep the high-voltage components and swap out the low voltage ones for parts that will be able to drive the 10W load.
The PCB is custom designed, but you can see that it was shaped to match the wall wort’s original board. To the right is the original 500mA transformer. The low-voltage side uses an LM393 because of its dual-comparators. This provides feedback for both current and voltage and is a perfect compliment for the TOP242. We haven’t seen that part before, but [Mincior] says that it’s nice for this application as it has safety features that lock down the chip if power or temperature are above spec. Once the replacement is nestled inside of the plastic case it looks stock and makes sure that your custom LED fixtures will stand the test of time safely.
Filed under: led hacks
It’s a bit difficult to estimate the size of the Tesla coil from this picture, but look closely at the hand rail on the red-orange wall to the left and that helps. The 10-foot tall musical Tesla Coil project has been on-going for about two years. But the team at X-Labs — a hackerspace affiliated with the University of South Florida — finished it just in time for the University’s engineering expo later in the month. There’s some information about it to be found in the recent student newspaper article on the project. A lot more build details are found on the groups website, although that post is quite old.
You can’t call it a musical coil unless there’s a demo video, and that can be seen after the jump. What better to test the thing than by playing the Super Mario Bros. theme? We’re actually more partial to the Imperial March (it’s also fun to hear played on stepper motors).
Filed under: High Voltage Hacks
Here’s a home made vaporizer we can really get behind.
Lets just take a second to be completely honest here. There’s no point in suggesting that this is possibly for smoking tobacco. Medical marijuana is legal (well, not federally), in several states, and we’re sure there are hackers there that would really enjoy making something of their own instead of just buying something.
They are right to do so. There are a multitude of possible bad things that could exist on that soldering iron, or the adhesive you use to fasten things to it, that you probably shouldn’t breathe. That soldering iron is what drew us to the project in the first place though! It’s a hack! Shame on us (maybe we’ll tackle pressure rated PVC next). It is like drinking beer through a lead pipe.
So, why would someone want to use a vaporizer? It is slightly healthier. You’re not burning all the plant material and inhaling it, you’re heating it to the point that the thc and magic goo inside boils and makes vapor, which you breathe. We don’t know exactly how much healthier it is, but it has to be at least marginally better than burning things and inhaling it.
A very popular device for this is the Magic Flying Lunch Box or MFLB, a portable vaporizer that retails for around $100. People have figured out that the thing is quite simple. A wire mesh is heated to roughly 360F (180C) degrees or more by shorting out a battery. That’s it. You might be thinking , couldn’t I use an E cigarette? Well, probably not, they don’t get hot enough. It would be a cool hack though.
When building something like this, you need to do a little research and make absolutely sure the materials you are using aren’t going to kill you. Some wire meshes are coated in zinc or other chemicals. Solder obviously needs to be considered as well. You weren’t seriously going to use treated lumber for this were you? What are you, stoned?
Filed under: Marijuana Hacks, Medical hacks
We’ve seen scores of floppy drives play music, but never before have we seen a project as clean as [Rupert]‘s Moppyduino. It’s an Arduino-based board that controls the stepper motors in six separate floppy drives, coaxing them in to playing music from a MIDI file.
The Moppyduino is more than just a convenient way to control the stepper motors in six floppy drives. It’s also a great example of what can be done with home PCB fabrication; the entire project was designed and constructed in [Rupert]‘s workshop.
After designing the circuit, [Rupert] printed it out on a laser printer onto a plastic transparency sheet. This was transferred over to a copper clad board, etched, and drilled. After assembly, [Rupert] attached a USB FTDI controller to receive data converted from MIDI data with a Java app.
The end result – housed in a custom Corian enclosure – is one of the best looking floppy drive synths we’ve ever seen. You can check out the process of building this awesome instrument after the break.
Filed under: classic hacks
While playing chiptunes, creating lightning, and illuminating fluorescent tubes with a homebrew Tesla coil is awesome, they’re not exactly the safest electrical devices around, and certainly aren’t easy or cheap to build. There’s another option open if you’d like to play with strong electromagnetic fields; it’s called the Slayer exciter and is simple enough to light a few fluorescent bulbs wirelessly off a pair of 9 Volt batteries.
The circuit for the Slayer exciter is extremely simple – just a single power transistor, a few diodes, and a couple of resistors. The real power for this build comes from the custom-wound transformer made from more than 100 feet of magnet wire. After plugging the driver circuit into the transformer’s primary winding and connecting a metal ball (in this case a wooden ball covered in aluminum foil), it’s possible to light up a four Watt fluorescent tube with a pair of 9 Volts.
You can check out a video of the Slayer exciter after the break.
Filed under: wireless hacks
Running a data center takes a lot of work, and even making sure the ambient temperature for hundreds of boxes is in the proper range is an arduous task. When faced with the prospect of installing hundreds of temperature sensors in an EMC data center, [Vivek] had a better idea: put just a few sensors on a robot and drive around the racks. With the right software, it’s a breeze to automate the process and build a near real-time temperature monitoring solution for a huge data center.
The data center robot is based on a iRobot Create, basically a Roomba without a vacuum. Attached to the robot is a netbook, Arduino, and a PVC mast housing three temperature sensors and a USB webcam.
Using the floor of the data center for navigation, the robot canvasses the racks sending temperature data back to a server via WiFi. From there, the temperatures can be graphed to make sure the racks aren’t too hot or too cold.
You can check out a video of the robot in action after the break.
Filed under: robots hacks
Steampunker extraordinaire [Jake von Slatt] loves the idea of solar-powered garden lights soaking up the sun’s rays during the day and powering a LED in the evening. Commercially available solar lanterns, as [Jake], you, me, and everyone else on the planet have discovered, are universally terrible and either don’t have solar panels large enough to charge a battery, or only last a year or so. [Jake]‘s solution was to make his own solar lanterns and in the process he came up with a great way of cutting his own solar panels.
[Jake] turned to ebay to source 100 3″ x 6″ solar panels for about $30. These are broken panels, factory rejects, but still are able to produce the 0.5 Volts they should. Since these are rather large panels for a solar lantern, [Jake] needed a way to cut these panels into manageable sizes.
To cut the panels, [Jake] made a box to fit a Dremel with a right angle attachment and a port for a vacuum cleaner. There’s a sled for the panels with markings at 40, 80, 75, and 150 mm so the panels can be quickly cut to size with a diamond cutting wheel.
After the boards are cut, [Jake] checks them out with a multimeter to be sure they’re producing the half volt they should. After that, it’s a simple matter of soldering them together and adding them to his solar lanterns.
Filed under: solar hacks, tool hacks
[Robert] does a fair bit of metal casting, and of course that means carrying around hundreds of pounds of sand, scrap, and other materials. He came up with a great solution to the inevitable back pain: a small, workshop-sized forklift able to carry around a half ton pallet.
In the actual build thread for this forklift, [Robert] goes over the design. The lift is designed to fit inside a 30″ x 7′ door frame, but is more than capable of hoisting hundreds of pounds over the operator’s head. It’s driven by two electric wheelchair motors with power provided by two car batteries. There’s also a clever bit of engineering that went into tipping the forks: instead of a hinge on the mast, [Robert] used a linear actuator on the rear wheels to put the forks at an angle.
It’s a great build, and since [Robert] does metal casting, there’s a whole bunch of custom metalwork that really adds to the build. After the break you can see a video of [Robert]‘s forklift transferring a pallet weighed down with 5 gallon buckets from one really high shelf to another. The job doesn’t take long and doesn’t require any lifting, so we’ve got to hand it to [Robert] for this build.
Filed under: tool hacks
Inspired by the maddening timepiece from Discworld, this clock keeps time, but anyone watching the seconds tick by may be mentally unstable for it. [Renaud Schleck] built the stuttering clock using very few components. He undertook the build after being inspired by the version which [Simon Inns] built.
The clock itself is a run-of-the-mill item which uses one battery to keep time. We’re always impressed by how these dirt-cheap things remain so accurate over the long haul — but we digress. The method of attack uses coil injection to drive the hands. [Renaud] used one of the microcontrollers from the MSP430 Launchpad, along with the clock crystal which also shipped with the kit, to gain control of the mechanism. The crystal triggers an interrupt which does the actual time-keeping. The seconds hand is driven rather sporadically based on an algorithm explained in his write-up.
You can watch the uneven ticking in the video after the break. Despite that visually disturbing functionality, the short and long ticks balance each other and the correct time continues to be displayed.
Filed under: clock hacks