Hacked Gadgets Forum

January 4, 2009

Make Television is On the Air (and the Net)

at 3:20 am. Filed under DIY Hacks


This is a great day for the hackers and maker around the world. Make Television is On the Air! This is a big step in legitimizing the DIY area that we are all so interested in. Have a look at the videos and let me know what you think. I think my favorite is the VCR project but I would have liked to see a bit more details, something like a time lapse build would have made for a great addition.

"Make: is the DIY series for a new generation! It celebrates "Makers" – the inventors, artists, geeks and just plain everyday folks who mix new and old technology to create new-fangled marvels. The series encourages everyone to invent, revent, recycle, upcycle, and act up. Based on the popular Make magazine, each half-hour episode inspires millions to think, create, and, well, make. "


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9 Responses to “Make Television is On the Air (and the Net)”

  1. Almost_There Says:

    My girlfriend got me a subscription to Make Magazine for my Birthday last year; the only thing I tried to make was “The Amazing Seebeck Generator” (http://makezine.com/15/seebeck/), which claimed you could get 5 volts at 1 amp from a single small Peltier device over a single candle.

    I spent time and money building it, but it didn’t work anywhere near as well as claimed. Then I did more research and found out that there was no way in hell anybody was *ever* going to get anywhere near the output claimed. Maybe 0.5V @ 1A with a blowtorch (not a candle) on it… maybe!

    Even at that, you are pushing the device *WAY* beyond it ratings, so it will only do it for a short while; then will it become weaker and weaker the longer you push it that hard.

    At best they got 5V open circuit (with a blowtorch) and 1A short circuit, and then claimed you could get 5V @ 1A (i.e. into a 5 ohm load.)

    In summary: Make is cool for creative ideas, but don’t blindly trust their claims.

  2. pt Says:

    @almost_there – you have posted this comment around the web in many places wherever someone has written about our Make: television show. at this point it’s pretty clear you have some axe to grind with MAKE, the author of the article or someone on the team, here is the response to your comment again and for everyone else to see.

    if you look at the feedback on the article page which you linked to and all the folks who *did* get it to work i would say that it’s likely you didn’t build it correctly or gave up too soon without checking out the tips and hacks. you could email us, post in the forums, talked with other makers or documented your project. but it seems posting about this on our tv debut post is all we’ll get.

    if you only built “one thing” it’s possible that you’re not an expert in making things like this. part of making is trial and error, not every project will work on first try. we don’t expect anyone to “blindly trust” claims, but i don’t think you gave this project a chance. if you’re interested in getting the project working join in the discussion on the page.

    i think that if you spent this much time posting or getting help for your project as opposed to saying these things about MAKE when we debuted our TV show your project would have worked.

  3. Almost_There Says:

    Several people have run these up to 400F, which is *WAY* over the maximum rating, so they will deteriorate over time. No one came even close to 5V @ 1A with a single candle (not even with a hacked candle.) You might want to read what Don Lancaster has to say about the efficiency of these things at http://www.tinaja.com/glib/hack68.pdf

    Some select comments from the page where you said people got it to work…

    >it was able to output just over 8 volts no load, and 2.5 amps at .1 v. Again at over 400 degrees f.

    >I supported the test rig over a heat gun and was able to get the hot side up to over 400 degrees f. ( I agree this is way too hot), however I wanted to see what the absolute highest output voltage I could get from them.

    >As I said I tested at temperatures too high for regular use

    >I think the 136 watt coolers I used will be useless at candle energy levels

    >I got up to a 4V, 200mA output by hacking the candle

    >I have done a little research and it appears that the TEC modules have an upper end of about 180 degrees C.

    >interesting idea, but I think the TEC modules are the weak link.

  4. pt Says:

    @Almost_There – again, have you posted on the magazine page besides saying “it doesn’t work” or have you contact MAKE or the author? this news story is about Make: television, it’s seems odd to be discussing it here without any way to actually get help with your project.

  5. Almost_There Says:

    No one came even close to 5V @ 1A with a candle (not even with a hacked candle.)

  6. Graham Says:

    I have a subscription to make and i was really looking forward to watching this on my television but it turns out its not offered in detroit yet. looks like Ill have to find some time to watch it online…

  7. pt Says:

    @Almost_There – again, it’s puzzling that you do not post on the MAKE article page, contact the author or the MAKE team.

    others have got this project working, you said specifically that you’ve only made one project, i think it’s very unlikely that you could get it to work first try, please post on MAKE, contact the author or email us – i’m not sure why you keep posting this around the web in multiple locations.

  8. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Graham,

    I am in the same boat, up here in Canada there are lots of things that we don’t get. I am so glad that they decided to release it on the Web.

  9. Alan Parekh Says:

    OK Almost_There and Phil,

    Lets just consider this back and forth over. 🙂
    Smile and have some holiday leftovers. 😉

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