Hacked Gadgets Forum

September 19, 2014

DIY RFID Card Lock System

at 11:06 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks

DIY RFID Card Lock System


Shawn McCombs built a DIY RFID Card Lock System for his office. The wiring is a bit quick and dirty but sometimes you just need to get things done. It is based around an ATMega 328 microcontroller and is coded using an Arduino sketch but the controller id hand wired on a breadboard to allow for some customization. Shawn is using the Parallax RFID controller that was designed by Joe Grand (kingpin). Looks like there is a good separation between RFID reader and door control, this is important since with many inexpensive all in one systems the activation relay is built into the reader module. In this case all you would need to do is crack open the reader on the wall and short out the N/O contact to buzz the door strike. If the lock is a fail safe style like a mag lock it is even worse, just knock it off the wall and chop all the wires going to the all in one reader. This will open the N/C contact that is keeping the mag lock energized and unlock the door.


September 18, 2014

Inside the Commodore PET

at 1:28 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks


David Watts got his hands on a Commodore Pet computer. I have never seen under the hood before, and it is quite funny that the case actually opens like a hood on a car including the prop stick to keep it open. David will be attempting to restore the PET so that it works properly again, it looks like the keyboard didn’t stand the test of time very well, there are now more keys not working than working. I am curious what will be needed to bring it back to a fully functional state. I am thinking the caps are long dried out and not doing much smoothing anymore.


MIT Cheetah Robot

at 6:20 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Insane Equipment

MIT Cheetah Robot_4


The MIT Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory has been working hard on the MIT Cheetah Robot. Deborah Ajilo, Negin Abdolrahim Poorheravi,John Patrick Mayo,Justin Cheung, Sangbae Kim, Shinsuk Park, Kathryn L. Evans, Matt Angle, Will Bosworth, Joao Luiz Almeida Souza Ramos, Sehyuk Yim, Albert Wang, Meng Yee Chuah, and Hae Won Park are members of the huge development team. Why so many team members? This is not a simply problem to tackle, as you read through their post you will see that there were a number of challenges that they needed to overcome in the development of the system.

Via: Evan Ackerman at IEEE Spectrum

“Now MIT researchers have developed an algorithm for bounding that they’ve successfully implemented in a robotic cheetah — a sleek, four-legged assemblage of gears, batteries, and electric motors that weighs about as much as its feline counterpart. The team recently took the robot for a test run on MIT’s Killian Court, where it bounded across the grass at a steady clip.

In experiments on an indoor track, the robot sprinted up to 10 mph, even continuing to run after clearing a hurdle. The MIT researchers estimate that the current version of the robot may eventually reach speeds of up to 30 mph.

The key to the bounding algorithm is in programming each of the robot’s legs to exert a certain amount of force in the split second during which it hits the ground, in order to maintain a given speed: In general, the faster the desired speed, the more force must be applied to propel the robot forward. Sangbae Kim, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, hypothesizes that this force-control approach to robotic running is similar, in principle, to the way world-class sprinters race.”


MIT Cheetah Robot_1


MIT Cheetah Robot_2


MIT Cheetah Robot_3



September 17, 2014

RC Plane delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers a stick of gum!

at 10:07 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets

 RC Plane delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers a stick of gum!_4


The guys over at Flight Test were thinking about the drone delivery systems that we might see in the near future. They wanted to see how far they could push it. They strapped the stack of quad copters onto their Kraken plane, which had an Electrohub quad on it, which had a QAV250 Lumenier on it, which had a Proto X on it which was set to deliver a piece of gum! Of course everything is outfitted with cameras so we can get a really close look at everything unfold.



RC Plane delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers a stick of gum!_2


RC Plane delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers a stick of gum!


RC Plane delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers Quadcopter Drone which delivers a stick of gum!_3

September 16, 2014

DIY Bluetooth Door Lock

at 6:41 am. Filed under DIY Hacks

Bluetooth Door Lock


Want to make your own Bluetooth Door Lock? Just yank out the stock electronics and toss in some custom electronics along with some code (that you can modify) and you are off to the races.

 “To open the lock, we will use the app LightBlue. It has a section called the Sandbox, that lets you control the LightBlue Bean without having to program your own iOS app. When the LightBlue Bean receives a serial message, it checks the bytes received against the keycode saved inside the sketch. If the keycode matches the buttons pressed in the sandbox, the Bean Lock will unlock or lock. Get the code from GitHub.

Also, remember to add a pincode to your Bean to prevent other people from reprogramming it.”


Bluetooth Door Lock_2


Bluetooth Door Lock_3

September 15, 2014

Thermostat Remote Temperature Sensor Hack

at 8:44 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

 Thermostat Remote Temperature Sensor Hack_8399


We all have thermostats in our houses but how often are they in a horrible place? You often want to place the temperature sensor in a different location than the control and display unit. There are lots of models that have remote sensor capability but they come with a high price. If you already have a thermostat and just need the temperature sensing to be disconnected from the control unit you might be able to simply remove the sensor and mount it remote to the unit and connect it with a few wires.

That was the ideal solution to my dilemma. I recently acquired a building which has a central hot water boiler system, this means that the boiler is either firing and pumping hot water through all of the rads in the building or it’s off. There was one thermostat in a single suite to regulate the heat in the entire building. This normally works fine since most suites will have similar heating requirements as long as the radiator placement is well laid out. Big issue with this setup is that you need to provide 24 hours notice to adjust the temperature. I wanted to continue to monitor the temperature from the same location the thermostat was but I wanted the control to be in the mechanical room. I used the same thermostat wire to go from the thermostat to the temperature sensor and used a new wire from the thermostat to the boiler. The boiler control is a simple N/O (normally open) contact that closes to call for heat. So far the system is working great! I have tweaked the temperature once with no bothering of the tenants.

The model of the thermostat is a White Rodgers Model 1F178 NON_PRGM, this one is the non programmable style. As you can see from the board inside the unit and the LCD the programmable version is identical except for some magic that must happen in the factory to “make” one version programmable. I am sure the thermistor in both units will be identical so upgrading to the programmable version might be something that will happen soon. 

The future goal for the system is to mount digital temperature sensors in each suite and other various rooms such as the laundry room and mechanical room. These sensors would come back to a microcontroller based device to make heating decisions. This would allow for a nice average of suite temperatures to be used and also monitor rooms like the laundry room for freeze danger. The stretch goal would be to push some data from the system onto the internet with no internet connection on-site.

If you are interesting in having a look at some hi-res pictures from this project, you can see them here.



Thermostat Remote Temperature Sensor Hack_8391



September 14, 2014

Cassette Tape with Hidden MP3 Player

at 9:38 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks

 Cassette Tape with Hidden MP3 Player_4


Remember cassette tapes? These were small devices that held a spool of plastic covered in rust and allowed us to record audio onto,  if you were brave you would even store your Commodore 64 programs onto them. This Cassette Tape with Hidden MP3 Player project looks just like a Cassette Tape but has a Hidden MP3 Player inside to allow you to hold a full case full of tapes worth of music. The user interface is interesting since it uses the reels to interface with the internal player.


Cassette Tape with Hidden MP3 Player


Cassette Tape with Hidden MP3 Player_3

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