Hacked Gadgets Forum

April 30, 2008

Windbelt Micro Power Generator built from Hard Drive Voice Coil

at 5:53 am. Filed under Electronic Hacks


Tool Using Animal has built a few interesting Windbelt Micro Power Generators that use a Hard Drive Voice Coil as the generating coil. His first version can also be found here. I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across the fact that our LEDs were used in the project! The unit is based on Shawn Frayne’s work.

"The video shows it in operation, careful tuning of the belt tension causes the the voice coil to resonate, that’s a good thing. Measured power output is 1.5 Volts AC with a short circuit current of 20 ma. The leads from the coil are attached to two LEDs wired in parallel with reverse polarities."



April 29, 2008

Automated White Board

at 10:48 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment


Sprites Mods has done it again! Their latest hack is this Automated White Board that can take text input from the internet and plot it onto a white board for the world to see (there is a web cam looking at the board).

"The idea is that if I want the pen to be off the whiteboard, the electromagnet gets released and the spring will push a perspex rod on the whiteboard, thereby pushing the whole carriage, including the tip of the pen, away from the surface. If the pen needs to be ‘down’, the electromagnet will actuate and gravity will push the tip of the pen down to the surface of the whiteboard again. The electronics aren’t that complex: the main task is to make the stepper motors and the solenoid controllable by a PC, and in theory, not much more than a couple of driver ICs or mosfets or something like that are needed for such a task. I opted for a slightly more complex approach: the driver-ICs are controlled by a microcontroller, which accepts the amount of steps the motors need to be moved on a serial port. It then moves the steppers in such a way that they start and stop at the same time, varying the velocity accordingly. For short distances, that gives a neat straight line on the whiteboard. This way, the PC can be relieved of a bit of work. I used an FT232-board I had lying around for for the interfacing: the computer I was planning on connecting it to didn’t have a serial port to spare."

Via: Hackaday

Freezer Failure Alarm based on the PIC Microcontroller

at 5:17 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Gadget Freak has a cool Freezer Failure Alarm project that is based on the PIC Microcontroller. Most projects have no important purpose but this one sure does. It could save you hundreds of dollars if you have a freezer full of meat! Looks like a nice simple yet effective design. See this document for full build details.

"The gadget is built around a small controller, an alarm and a temperature sensor. While temperature monitors are common, Grill’s device remembers temperature variance and displays the length of time the freezer rises above the set temp. The gadget is relatively small and costs less than a couple of steaks bought on sale and stored in the freezer."

Via: Electronics Lab, Embedded Projects

April 28, 2008

VentureOne – Three Wheel Motorcycle

at 5:18 am. Filed under What Were They Thinking


This VentureOne Three Wheel Motorcycle by Venture Vehicles looks like lots of fun. I like the fact that it is fully enclosed allowing for comfortable driving in bad weather. I think small safe vehicles like this one will be very popular in the next 4 or 5 years since they will be a pleasure to drive and just sip fuel or in this case even just operate on a charge of the batteries! This T-Rex is similar but I would be soaked if I drove it in the rain…

"Carver Engineering was faced with the challenge of designing a slender vehicle that would not fall over, as most slim vehicles were prone. Their solution was to make the vehicle do what two-wheeled vehicles did, tilt when cornering. However, due to the size and weight required to make the vehicle enclosed, the tilting operation could not be left to the driver’s control. Therefore, an automatic system that takes over the balance control was required in order to maintain the ideal tilting angles under all imaginable driving conditions, such as at all speeds and accelerations and during rapid emergency maneuvers, and also on slippery or slanting road surfaces. The result was DVC technology, a hydro-mechanical system that splits the steering input from the driver into a front-wheel steering angle and a tilting angle of the chassis."




April 27, 2008

DIY Car G-Force Meter

at 9:10 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Electronic Hacks


If the race car driver in you would like to know how many G’s you are pulling this DIY Car G-Force Meter would give you some ideas. Use caution when testing to prevent rear end collisions. 🙂 In the video the back seat driver in me wants to look in the rear view mirror and make sure no one is behind us… Detailed build instructions are provided so that you can easily build your own!

"The purpose of this project is to build a device that measures acceleration/tilt on one axis (backward/fordward) capable of fitting onto the dashboard or hanging onto the window of a standard car. The device will have 3 7-Segment LED Displays to show the instantaneous acceleration measurement to 2 decimal accuracy."

April 26, 2008

Slashbot – Guitar Hero Robot by Texas A&M Electrical Engineering

at 5:06 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks, DIY Hacks, Game Hacks, Insane Equipment


I know, we have featured a few of these Guitar Hero robots here in the last while… But they are so interesting, this Slashbot Guitar Hero Robot by Texas A&M Electrical Engineering uses similar principals as Auto Guitar Hero did. The main difference is that Slashbot actually presses the keys as it plays. Video after the jump.

"Slashbot is especially cool because it literally plays the guitar controller using mechanical actuators.  The robot implements a National Instrument PXI box to digitize the composite video signal.  Then, using NI LabVIEW, the luminance of specific pixels are monitored to detect "notes" on the screen.  This information is then passed to the robotic actuators through a reconfigurable I/O FPGA in the NI PXI box.

Currently, Slashbot is able to average very close to 100% accuracy in Expert mode.  It is also possible for a human player to challenge the robot in multi-player mode.  So far, the robot has always been more accurate!

This system was created by four Texas A&M University undergrads: David Buckner, Mitchell Jefferis, Vinny LaPenna, and Michael Voth.  The project was developed over the past three months for their Electrical Engineering Senior Design class."



April 25, 2008

Name the Thing Contest – 47

at 11:15 pm. Filed under Contests


Congratulations to the last contest winner.
The mini helicopter prize this week will help with your hand eye coordination.
This contest will run for one week (April 26 – May 1, 2008) . Ending time is based on central standard time. To enter, identify the item pictured above and give an example of what can be done with it. 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 name of the item in the above picture
  • An example of what the item pictured above can be used for

The winner will be chosen at random from all of the correct entries.


Added May 2, 2008 

The item to guess was a Solenoid Stepper Switch

"A 10 pole 27 throw (10P27T) rotary switch which can be incremented one step at a time by driving a solenoid. This is the kind of switch that was used extensively in telephone switching before the arrival of solid state circuitry."

The winner is Jonathan P.

Thanks to all who entered.


Below is a picture of the prize.


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