Thanks to Creative for sending in the Sound Blaster Roar for review. Right out of the box the quality of construction is evident. The feel of the buttons and switches is top notch, it should provide years of trouble free use. It is easy to pair it to your bluetooth compatible phone and get your tunes cranking on the Roar. If you don’t want to play music through your phone you can select one of the many other methods of playback. Pop in a micro SD card with some music will allow you to keep it standalone and play all of your favorite music. If you have a device that just has a headphone jack out like an old iPod that will work using the Aux in jack. The micro USB port can be used to play music from your computer.
The system has 3 active drivers, one is a long through woofer for surprisingly deep base. There are also 2 forward facing speakers for right and left audio, 2 additional passive radiating drivers fire music out of the side grills.
If you have a cell phone that needs a quick charge you can plug it into the full size USB port. The port has a 1 amp rating so it will also charge most tablets.
Need a conference room speaker? The Roar actually does a good job of transmitting the sound from your cell phone to the speaker and transmits the room audio using the built in room mic. The system is obviously doing a good job of canceling out the sound that it is producing in this mode since there is no feedback.
If you are feeling a bit uneasy in your surroundings you can arm the alarm and press the siren button to grab the attention of everyone around.
You can see that there are good and bad qualities to this device. That being said the good far outweigh the bad. If you are looking for a kick ass portable audio player to fill a room with booming sound this device is for you!
Wanting to make an impact on the sidewalk quickly? This Spray Chalk Machine is sure to get that done.
“This device is controlled by two Arduino Duemilanove boards, which apparently base the chalk “dot” timing on encoders sensing movement in the two wheels that the cart rides on. ”
Thanks to GearBest for sending in this Opus BT-C3100 V2.0 Intelligent Battery Charger for review. at a quick glance this charger might look like any other charger that you see at the grocery store. Your generic store bought brand probably also has 4 charging bays for AA and AAA batteries, it probably has 2 charging circuits which places 2 cells in series to charge them, it most likely has 2 charging lights which just turns off when charging is done. If you leave the batteries in your generic charger you will most likely have batteries that have been overcharging or running down. Also your generic charger can probably just charge one chemistry of battery.
When you have a closer look at the Opus BT-C3100 V2.0 Intelligent Battery Charger you can see how this system differs from your every day generic battery charger. It can auto detect and charge NiCd, NiMH and Li-ion batteries. It charges each cell independently preventing bad cells from interfering from other cells from charging properly. Forget charging lights, this has a full LCD display that provides tons of status. It will monitor batteries that are left in the charger and keep them topped up and ready to go. From here the features go on and on. Don’t let the small package fool you, there is a ton of smarts and features built into this small package.
Have a look at the pictures below and in the video for a look inside the charger. The construction is a dual sided SMD load, the construction looks very professional. The battery contact spring tensioners work well and the connection to the PCB has been beefed up with a thick metal bar. The heat management in the unit is great, there are no hot spots when operating and if there was a problem one of the 6 thermal sensors would be sure to catch it. The processing and display is done using a chip on board which can be seen under the epoxy blob in the pictures.
The case is well built and feels nice in the hand, the buttons and battery sliders feel like they will last. The plug in power supply came with an adapter which changed it from a European plug to a North American style but this caused the plug stack to be quite long and might cause a problem if it was to be plugged into a wall plug. I was using a bench mounted power supply so I didn’t have any issues but this could be a concern.
The price of this unit is a bit higher than your grocery store version but don’t be fooled, this unit is worth it. Best of all GearBest is offering all Hacked Gadgets readers an 8% discount using the coupon code Anna08.
There is a fantastic display screen on this unit. The LCD screen is backlit when you are pressing buttons and is clear and easy to read. The screen is divided into 4 equal sections, one for each battery in the unit.The upper unit of the display tells you what function is being performed, the lower section is for data such as cell voltage, charging current, discharge current, etc.
You can use the slot button to select each of the 4 battery bays to adjust what operation is to be performed on that bay. This adds flexibility since now you can perform any task you like in any of the positions. For example you could charge cell 1 at 500mA, charge cell 2 at 1A, discharge cell 3 to put it into storage and do a discharge refresh on cell 4. You can also easily opt to perform the same function on all slots with the press of a button.
In charge mode you simply pop in a battery, you will be shown the initial battery voltage before the charge starts. You can then select the current you wish to charge the cell at.
In Discharge mode you can discharge the inserted battery to a preset level. You will also be shown how many energy was discharged from the cell after the discharge is done. It is then trickle charged to prevent it discharging any further.
In Refresh mode the charger will discharge and charge the battery 3 times to allow old batteries that have not been used in a long time to restore some of their capacity. After the 3 cycles are complete you will be able to see the total mAH of the cell. This lets you track the health of the battery over time if you like.
Test mode checks the capacity of the battery by immediately discharging the battery after it is charged.
Quick Test allows for a check of the internal resistance of the battery. This test is quick (under 10 seconds) and will show you if the battery is a good contender for high current applications. You can test batteries with other chemistries using this function such as alkaline and any other 1.5 volt battery.
Computer engineer Lassee Laussen and software engineer Ken Madsen built this ABB Robot made of LEGO bricks. It was an 8 month build to recreate the complex 6 axis machine. If you are interested in seeing some other interesting projects from Lassee and Ken have a look at Brick It.
“The LEGO version of the IRB 120 is so accurate that it mimics every shape and curve. It also has all 6 axes for the same freedom of movement that the real thing has. Sure, it won’t be moving as quickly as the original or carry the same payloads, but nonetheless it is a pretty spectacular recreation of an industrial robot that finds itself in assembly and pick-and-place operations in factories all over the world.”
Our friend Colin Karpfinger from Punchthrough.com has just completed his latest project. You might remember his last project, it was the LightBlue Bean. The Automated Surf Notifier uses a LightBlue Bean at the heart and interfaces with some colorful LEDs to indicate where the ideal surf waves are located. Using some daisy chainable LEDs mounted behind a poster of the coast make for a great indication method.
“I enjoy seeing technology added to things in a subtle way. With this surf map, when the LEDs are off, you’d never know they are there. This surf map displays the report for the upcoming week, along with tide times, by use of LEDs behind the canvas. The report is pulled from the web by a Python script on my computer, then sent to the artwork over BLE using the Bean’s virtual serial port. Finally the Bean parses the report and displays the LEDs accordingly.”
The prize this week is an SD Card Reader. This contest will run for one week (August 24 – 29, 2014). Ending time is based on central standard time. To enter, identify the item above and what it can be used for. Please note the image above is a side view of the thing.
Please do not give the answer in the comments.
Send an email to contest @ hackedgadgets.com with “Name the Thing Contest” as the subject, and the message body consisting of:
The winner will be chosen at random from all of the correct entries.
Below is a picture of the prize.
Our friends over at Electro Labs have a DIY Adjustable Electrical Load project posted. There are lots of adjustable load projects out there, they can come in handy when developing your next project so you should consider building one. The heart of this one is a IRF3710 MOSFET, it simply dumps the required energy into the large board mounted heatsink.
“Since the MOSFET works as a resistive element, it dissipates heat depending on the current flowing through it. The simple equation P = VI gives us the amount of heat which will be generated on the MOSFET. To extend the power range of the load, we need to attach a heatsink to the MOSFET case.”