Hacked Gadgets Forum

April 24, 2010

Name the Thing Contest – 128

at 11:16 am. Filed under Contests


The prize this week is a multi tool that is sure to help you MacGyver your way out of trouble. This contest will run for one week (April 24- 30, 2010) . 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 22, 2010

The item to guess was a variable capacitor

The winner is Joe C. (there were 386 entries)


Below are some pictures of the prize.



April 23, 2010

Handmade Teslacoil Toroid

at 4:05 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, DIY Hacks

Our friend Daniel Eindhoven will be selling Handmade Teslacoil Toroids along with other high voltage fun parts on his new web store.

“If you want to spin something you first need a mandrel to spin the metal sheet onto. The mandrel can be made of a variety of materials, but if you want it to last you’re best off making them of steel. I started with two steel disks (190 x 45 mm). To spin a toroid you need two different mandrels, one to spin the inner radius and one for the outer radius. The toroid consists of two spun halves, bolted together.”

April 22, 2010

DIY Standby Current Monitor

at 11:03 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


If you want to know how much current your electronic devices are drawing when they are turned off this DIY Standby Current Monitor will do just that. Back in the day when a power switch physically turned off the power to our electronics this was not a problem but these days the power button is normally just a soft input that simply turns the unit into standby mode. This is a trade-off to have things like the power button on your remote to turn on your TV.

“The current required by the electronic devices under test is monitored through a current transformer.  I made it out of a regular wall adapter: I removed the low voltage secondary winding and replaced it with 4 turn of paired 1.5 square mm insulated wire. Current flowing through the new winding produces a voltage across the untouched original 110Vac side of the transformer. The higher the current, the higher the voltage.  The untouched 110Vac primary is then connected to a filter stage, a variable gain amplifier  a full-wave rectifier, a peak detector and a threshold detector feeding a transistor and a low power relay.”


April 21, 2010

WinLIRC – Computer Remote Control Using an IR Remote

at 11:39 am. Filed under Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets


With this simple IR receiver you are able to take command of your computer from across the room using a simple IR remote control and WinLIRC. Best of all the receiver should cost you less than $15 to build.

“WinLIRC allows you to transmit and receive standard infrared remote control signals. This allows you to control your computer using almost any standard infrared remote control. It also allows your computer to control other equipment which uses these signals (stereo equipment).

WinLIRC is the Windows equivalent of LIRC, the Linux Infrared Remote Control program. WinLIRC (through version 0.6) was originally written by Jim Paris. Later releases are written and maintained on sourceforge.”

April 20, 2010

Spinning RGB LED Ball

at 10:17 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Our friend Carl who has been featured here many times in the past for his laser projects has made an improvement to his Spinning LED creation. Have a look at the new Spinning RGB LED Ball.

Unlike it’s predecessor this one has three axes. It was very challenging to build, with a total of 9 slip-contacts, not including the motors. I made it from scrap I had laying around and it took about a week to build. I use standard DC-motors controlled with pulse width modulation, the LEDs are controlled with a modified bike light with adjustable frequency.

April 19, 2010

DIY Arduino based Delta Robot

at 2:51 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks

John Park posted a cool video of a DIY Delta Robot over at Make. Juan Uberstadt created this robot around an Arduino, we have seen other DIY Delta Robots before but this is the first one that is Arduino based.

“The trajectory is generated by a Pathplanner, which considers the Dynamics of the Structure. Maximum allowable torques in joints and maximum allowable forces in Rods are never exceeded. (The robot moves at maximum possible speed, constrained by max torque and max forces in rods).”

April 18, 2010

Guitar Pickup Winder – PIC 16F887 Microcontroller Based

at 2:54 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks

Have a look at this Guitar Pickup Winder which is based on the PIC 16F887 Microcontroller that Robert Pickering built. It was created as part of his EET480 Senior Project at Old Dominion University. Have a listen to the video, the sound quality of his home made pickup is great!

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