Hacked Gadgets Forum

May 25, 2010

Arc Attack at the Maker Faire

at 7:02 am. Filed under Insane Equipment, What Were They Thinking


Huge Tesla Coils are really cool but when you add a bit of art and danger into the mix that just makes it all that much better. Have a look at the video of the show that Arc Attack performed at the Maker Faire. If you got to see this live I am very jealous! Keep your eye on the Arc Attack show page to see them when they are performing in your area.

“Creators of the original Singing Tesla Coils, the crew of ArcAttack uses their high tech wizardry to generate a truly ‘electrifying’ performance. Two custom engineered hand built Tesla Coils throw out electrical arcs up to twelve feet long, each one acting as an instrument with a sound reminiscent of the early days of the synthesizer. A robotic drum set accompanies the spectacle, it’s high power LED’s flashing bright colors with the stroke of each mechanically actuated stick, while ArcAttack’s six members churn out rhythmic instrumental melodies.”

May 24, 2010

DIY Automatic Medication Dispenser

at 1:11 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


If you have lots of medications that you take this DIY Automatic Medication Dispenser by Jan Wante. There are enough compartments that you would not need to stock it very often. You would probably need to contact Jan for the code and a larger schematic since I don’t think either are posted in his article.

UPDATE: Thanks to Jan for sending in a full size schematic, it has been added below.

“The ‘machine’ has seven drums (one for each day of the week) with 4 compartments that you can fill with your medication. When filled, you put them back in the machine and connect them to it. On the front of the machine is a lcd-screen and 2 buttons. There you can set the time and date and program when you need the medication. When it is time for your medication, the machine drops the correct pills and sounds an alarm until you take the pills and push a button. After that it goes back to “sleep” until the next alarm.”


May 23, 2010

Human Tetris Video Game

at 6:28 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks, Educational, Electronic Hacks, Game Hacks, Human Hacks


If you like video games and DIY electronics have a look at this cool version of Tetris that Adam Papamarcos and Kerran Flanagan made. It’s called Human Tetris since you need to use your body to simulate the puzzle shapes to play the game. This is another great project from the Cornell ECE 4760 Course. Unlike most of the 4760 projects this team went to the extra trouble of having a custom circuit board designed.

“The system is based off of an ATmega644 microcontroller with two peripherals: a high-speed flash analog-to-digital converter, and an onscreen display device for video overlay. With just 4 kilobytes of RAM and a 20MHz clock speed, the MCU needs these peripherals to take some of the load off of its processing capabilities. Since we wanted to provide a real-time camera feed on the display (like a “mirror” for the player), and since the ATmega644 is not fast enough to generate a full color NTSC signal, we decided early on that we would use a color video camera module which outputs an NTSC signal directly.”

May 22, 2010

Name the Thing Contest – 132

at 10:00 am. Filed under Contests


The prize this week is a loupe magnifier, this will let you get a close look at whatever you are working on. This contest will run for one week (May 22 – May 28, 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 Apple IIe

The winner is Justin S. (there were 141 entries)


Below is a picture of the prize.

Hard Disk Drive Oscilloscope

at 6:04 am. Filed under Computer Hacks, Electronic Hacks

WA5ZNU has made a cool version of the Hard Disk Drive Laser Oscilloscope. For all of those going to the Bay Area Maker Faire look out for it since it will be on display!

Via: HG Forum

A local ham club is privileged to have a table at the SF Bay Area Maker Faire next weekend, and one of the demonstrations we’re doing is oscilloscopes. I’ve built this to help people see mechanically how a scope works. I’m also showing one I’ve built out of chart paper and a ruler.

DIY Temperature controlled Soldering Station

at 5:52 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


A good soldering station can be a big investment. The biggest drawback from a $20 soldering iron is that the tip temperature is not regulated. An inexpensive iron is simply a heating element that is connected to power, the issue with this is that you ideally would like to solder different types of components at different temperatures, and those temperatures should stay consistent. Many people hook up their cheap irons to a light dimmer to get a bit of control over the device, and this is fine but if you are soldering something that wicks lots of heat away from your tip the dip in temperature and recovery time might be unacceptable. To combat this issue proper temperature controlled soldering irons have temperature sensors that measure the temperature and vary the power applied to the heating element to keep a constant temperature.

Giorgos Lazaridis from PCB Heaven has made a nice DIY Temperature controlled Soldering Station, the unit was built nice and inexpensively and it uses some recycled parts in the construction which is always nice to see.

“The idea was simple, yet the implementation according to the standards that i had set was much harder to follow as i originally thought. I will use a 30 Watt soldering iron for the job. Somehow, i will measure the temperature as close to the tip as possible. For temperature sensor, i will use a K-type thermocouple pair. I have a complete theory for thermocouples that you may be interested to read. A controller circuit will read the temperature. A potentiometer will be used to set the requested temperature, according to which the controller will turn on or off the soldering iron heater.”


May 20, 2010

Nerf Gun Hack – Secure Area and Fire on Intruders – Part 1

at 9:03 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 1 of a multiple part build of a Nerf Gun Hack which will monitor an area using a infrared beam and fire on anyone who walks through the beam. The goal which is just a loose guideline at this point is to have a microcontroller monitor an IR beam. When the beam is broken by someone walking through it the Nerf Gun will fire a dart (or several darts) in the location of the beam. I think there will only be one beam and the gun will be in a fixed position pointing at the area the person would be when the beam is broken, this could change along the way though. To fire the gun the microcontroller will need to simulate the same sequence as the operator pulling the trigger.

See lots of pictures and some videos below.

Selecting the Weapon

The gun needs to be automatic so that it can be electrically controlled, this rules out many of the low cost units since most of them need the user to cock the gun (compressing the spring which propels the foam dart). There are a few manufactures who make foam dart guns, Nerf is the most popular and also the most expensive. I want this project to remain fairly inexpensive so the Automatic Tommy 20 by Buzz Bee Toys was selected.

nerf-gun-hack-secure-area-and-fire-on-intruders_038 nerf-gun-hack-secure-area-and-fire-on-intruders_045 nerf-gun-hack-secure-area-and-fire-on-intruders_048

nerf-gun-hack-secure-area-and-fire-on-intruders_050 nerf-gun-hack-secure-area-and-fire-on-intruders_051

Operation of the stock Automatic Tommy 20  Gun

The gun takes 3 AA batteries which are in series to provide a 4.5 volt gun power supply. The gun fires a dart by spinning 2 ribbed wheels which are located in the front section of the gun directly in front of the darts. A dart is pushed between the spinning wheels which propels the dart out of the barrel.

There are two trigger positions to allow the gun to function. Squeezing the trigger half way spins up the two motors in the front section, it takes about a second for the motors to attain full speed. To fire a dart the trigger is pulled all the way back, this ratchets the rotary dart holder by one location and then pushes the dart into the spinning wheels to fire it. If the trigger remains pulled all the way back the cycle continues until the user releases the trigger.

nerf-gun-hack-secure-area-and-fire-on-intruders_057 nerf-gun-hack-secure-area-and-fire-on-intruders_049


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