Hacked Gadgets Forum

April 30, 2009

2400 Volt Soda Can Crusher

at 2:37 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment


Every time I see a microwave beside the curb I think of all the things that could be made with the MOT (microwave oven transformer). Bob Davis just finished some of his 2400 Volt Soda Can Crusher experiments that uses a MOT, some large caps and a handful of other electronics. The crushing results are a bit more dramatic in one of his last can crushing experiment which used a different crushing method but as soon as this one can cut the can in half it will be my favorite. 🙂

"The promised and much awaited 2400 volt power supply went through its first test run. It was a little disappointing it takes 4 firings to get the can into the hourglass shape. One of the capacitors might be bad. Anyway a Microwave Oven Transformer charges six 400 volt capacitors through a 500 ohm 250 watt resistor. The idea is to electronically crush the soda can into an hourglass shape."

No Battery Radio Experiments

at 10:09 am. Filed under Electronic Hacks


There are radio designs that require no batteries. Rick Crammond has been playing with a radio called the Beta Blocker Spirit Radio. Have a look at his other crazy radio experiments here.

Microcontroller Real Time Clock using system Crystal Oscillator

at 8:33 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Electronic Hacks


NerdKits demonstrates how make a Microcontroller Real Time Clock using system Crystal Oscillator by using system interrupts.

"This project demonstrates a minimal piece of code that shows how to use interrupts, as well as the ATmega168’s onboard Timer/Counter modules, to divide the 14745600 clock cycles per second down to just 100, and to keep time accurately in seconds."

April 29, 2009

CD-ROM Read Head Actuator Head Scratcher

at 6:16 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks


No this isn’t a CD-ROM drive that has been modified to scratch my head but rather a mechanical assembly in a CD-ROM drive that has me scratching my head wondering how it functions. A few weeks ago I ripped apart an old CD-ROM drive to get a DC motor for the VHS Tape Storage Drive, the circuit board was also cut up while testing the CNC machine that was just assembled (yes it was a very productive afterlife for the old drive).

Here is the question. The CD-ROM drive had 3 DC motors, one to open the drive door, one to spin the CD and one to move the read head back and forth. We normally see a small stepper or something similar that can provide accurate position moves of the read assembly. In this case the read assembly moves via a rack and pinion drive system powered directly from a DC motor. When there is a CD in the system I can imagine that the drive would be able to get accurate head position information by reading the CD tracks but how could it move with any accuracy? It has me puzzled, if anyone can fill in the blanks I would be real interested to find out what makes this tick.


Design Solar-Powered Computing Device

at 2:39 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Crazy Hacks, Electronic Hacks, What Were They Thinking


Solar power is getting more and more popular, looks like they are even showing up in sunglasses! One of our sponsors is offering a free white paper that covers new breakthroughs in Designing Solar-Powered Computing Device. Hacked Gadgets also receives a small amount for each person who signs up so it would also be a simple way of making a small contribution to Hacked Gadgets. There are also lots of other free magazines and white papers that are sure to spark some interest. I have a copy of EDN sitting on my coffee table right now, by glancing at the cover it looks like there is an article about estimating power consumption in FPGA designs, seems to be a low power trend in the industry these days.

"Going beyond useful gadgets powered by the sun, solar-powered computing devices are just over the horizon. Imagine network routers and surveillance devices soaking up the sun and running networking, video and security software. Free of power and Ethernet cables, these embedded systems can be deployed in the field quickly and cheaply.

This white paper describes different types of embedded solar-powered computing devices and provides design suggestions for Intel® Atom™ processor based platforms. It covers hardware and software practices for developing ultra-low power devices, as well as open source software available to designers."

Tesla Wireless Power Transmition Example

at 10:43 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment, What Were They Thinking


You may remember the interview we did with Roger  Smith a few years ago. This time Roger is demonstrating how power can be transmitted about 10 feet through thin air using tuned coils. Of course this would not be practical for normal power transmission since even during this demonstration Roger takes a poke from the resonator coil. 🙂 It would be interesting to see one of these scaled up about 10 times and see what it could power.

April 28, 2009

League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots – Guitar Bot

at 1:30 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment


This Guitar Bot has a real interesting sound. What would be cool is an iPhone app that would allow rea time interaction with the musical device.

"GuitarBot is an electrified slide guitar that is versatile, responsive and easy to control, with high-quality sound. Now in it’s third iteration, the instrument consists of four independent single-stringed slide guitar units controlled by a motorized belt that moves a sliding bridge. The pick mechanism consists of mounted four guitar picks that rotate on a shaft. Each unit is independently tunable and has a 2-octave range. The bridge can move from one end of the range to the other in 1/4 second and each has an electromagnetic pickup also of their design."

Robotics from charlie on Vimeo.

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