Hacked Gadgets Forum

May 31, 2010

Linear and LDO Regulators Explained

at 11:18 am. Filed under Educational, Electronic Hacks

Dave Jones has made a great video that gives a high level overview of how different regulators work. You might be surprised to see that the classic 7805 and a new LDO regulator are actually quite similar. Dave also goes over how a switch mode power supply operates under the hood. It’s good information to have in the back of your head because you never know when it will pay off.

May 30, 2010

DIY Photo Etching PCB

at 1:46 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

It has been many years since we made an article on our Photo Etch Circuit Board Process. Next time I make some boards I will definitely use hydrogen peroxide and muriatic acid as by copper etchant. I have been using ferric chloride for many years but it is very messy and is quite expensive. In the video above Daniele Nicolucci shows a nice step by step process of making a DIY Photo Etching PCB. He uses a transparency just as we do to use as the mask when exposing the photo sensitive copper clad board but I was surprised to see that he preferred to use his inkjet printer output instead of his laser printer output. I have always got better results using my laser printer.

May 29, 2010

Nerf Gun Hack – Secure Area and Fire on Intruders – Part 2

at 4:47 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Toy Hacks


UPDATE: The project is complete have a look at everything here. Nerf Gun Hack part 1, part 2, part 3

This is part 2 of the Nerf Gun hack, you can see part 1 of the project here. Last time some wiring was done to allow us to remotely control the three internal motors. This time the control wires are connected to a simple circuit that uses two darlington transistors to spin up and fire the gun. A 16f88 PIC microcontroller is being used to monitor an IR beam and fire the unit when the beam has been broken. The IR beam consists of an Infrared LED and an Infrared Transistor. To determine when the beam is broken an analog reading is taken by the PIC when the IR LED is off and again when the IR LED is turned on. The difference is used to determine the state of the beam, if the difference is small the beam is not broken and if the value is large we know something is blocking the beam. When the beam is broken the controller turns on the first darlington transistor to spin up the rotating motors, then a short time later the second darlington is activated which fires the dart into the spinning wheels.

Name the Thing Contest – 133

at 4:46 am. Filed under Contests


Thanks to Protostack for sponsoring the contest this week. They will be providing a ATMEGA168 Development Kit and a USBASP AVR Programmer to the winner. The development kit contains everything you need to start building ATMEGA168 circuits. The AVR programmer is based on the Thomas Fischl’s USBasp design and connects to your computer’s USB port. The USB interface is achieved by using an atmega processor and the rest is done in firmware.Β  Shipping is often an issue, many companies charge more for the shipping than the parts cost. That is not the case at ProtoStack, their shipping is only $5.00 for worldwide shipping!

Thanks to Csaba for the interesting picture of the thing to guess this week. I think this will be a tough one. πŸ™‚

This contest will run for one week (May 29 – June 4, 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 June 10, 2010

The item to guess was a voltage converter of the radio of a German panzer commander vehicle

The winner is Bruce M. (there were 57 entries, this was a hard one!!)


Below are some pictures of the prize.




May 28, 2010

Flash Destroyer – Testing an EEPROM device to Death

at 11:05 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Crazy Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, What Were They Thinking


Designing a circuit requires reading lots of data sheets. The data sheets contain lots of parameters, for Flash memory one of those values is the number of times the device can be read and written to. In the case of a Microchip 24AA01-I/P 128byte I2C EEPROM the rated number off write cycles is 1 million.

Our friend Ian Lesnet from Dangerous Prototypes has designed a device he calls the Flash Destroyer, it will write and verify a piece of flash memory until there is an error. The live stream below shows the current number which is just over 2.4 million at the time of writing this article. When will it fail? That is hard to say since it is already more than double the manufactures rated number. Put your guesses in the comments below, I am thinking that it will be around 10 million.


May 27, 2010

DIY Wind Turbine

at 10:05 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Our friend Carlos Asmat documented the process of installing a DIY Wind Turbine. The build has been broken down into 3 parts, The Wind Turbine Part 1: General Idea, The Wind Turbine Part 2: Design and Materials and The Wind Turbine Part 3: Building the Generator. As you will see not everything went as planned, I don’t think you would even consider the need to remove a huge swarm of bees as a step in your Wind Turbine installation plans. πŸ™‚

“The rationale for this is that the generator should be easily reproducible by anyone. This also meant making sure the Ecuadorians could find all the materials locally so they could easily remake it, should they want to (and they should!). Finally, we are not experts and do not have access to a super advanced machine shop, so keeping it simple (stupid) was the way to go. In the end, and almost by accident, we decided to use mainly PVC and steel pipes and fittings for the entire construction.”



May 26, 2010

MegaHex – 6 Propeller RC Chopper

at 10:06 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks, Electronic Hacks

We have seen quite a few multi propeller RC choppers but the MegaHex – 6 Propeller RC Chopper takes the cake! This bad boy has enough power to soar to great heights carrying a decent payload. Watch the nice clear video to see MegaHex in action. The MegaHex weighs 2.8kg without batteries and with its 1kg of batteries it can fly for 14 minutes. I am thinking that this technology will put a big dent in helicopter rentals by movie companies.

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