Hacked Gadgets Forum

July 31, 2010

Name the Thing Contest – 142

at 6:41 pm. Filed under Contests


The prize this week is a MSP430 Launch Pad that we featured last month, I got the one I ordered last week and it looks great. I haven’t had any time to check it out yet but I have a few project ideas for it. This contest will run for one week (July 31 – August 6, 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 August 8, 2010

The item to guess was a Peltier Thermoelectric Device

The winner is John C. (there were 143 entries)


Below is a picture of the prize.


How to Replace a Capacitor

at 6:37 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Afrotech has put together a great video that demonstrates the basics of replacing a capacitor. This is normally only important when repairing old electronics, however recently there have been many cases where faulty capacitors fail after only a few years (or less) and need to be replaced to keep the device operational. Dell is one of the computer manufacturers who had a bad issue with defective capacitors. In this case replacing a dollars worth of capacitors could bring your dead computer back to life. The one piece of good news is that the capacitors we are talking about here are the large electrolytic type which are almost always through hole soldered so they are simple to replace with minimal tools and experience.

We have featured the work of Afrotech here before, remember those cool hard drive speakers? His speakers were a big inspiration for the Hard Drive Oscilloscope that I built back in 2006. Once you are done watching the above instructional video be sure to watch the video of magic smoke being let out of lots of capacitors and other components.

July 30, 2010

Exploding Watermelons

at 9:43 pm. Filed under Crazy Hacks, What Were They Thinking

This is just a fun video of some exploding watermelons, the fun starts at around the 50 second mark. Check out more electrifying elexperiments on his Youtube channel.

Via: Make

July 29, 2010

3-Phase Brushless DC Motor Project

at 8:54 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks

Dave has documented his ongoing 3-Phase Brushless DC Motor Project build on his David’s Electronics Test Tube Youtube Chanel. Why buy the controller when you can make it!

“The final board layouts will use 28-pin DIP chips. One is programmed to control the motor speed and the other is a dashboard display of sorts. The motor controller will be completely programmable from the dashboard. It monitors the battery voltage and the motor current to keep things under constant control. I have added a current monitor that will detect discharge and charge current consumed from the battery. Also a slow speed reverse function that will only engage it the vehicle is still, throttle is off and a button is pressed and held in. The dashboard like display unit has a 2 line x 16 char display area that is back-lit with RGB LED’s.”

July 28, 2010

Cornell’s Ranger Robot Walks 23 km

at 2:47 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Remember Big Dog? Well there is a new walking robot king in town. Cornell’s Ranger Robot has just broken the record for distance for a bipedal robot. It took over 65 thousand steps before the battery died!

Thanks for the tip Paul.

“It took 65,185 steps for Cornell’s 4-legged bipedal robot to walk 108.5 laps on Barton Hall’s 1/8-mile indoor track, setting a new world record for non-stop distance walked by an untethered legged robot – more than a half a marathon. The previous legged robot distance record was 12.8 miles, held by BigDog, Boston Dynamics’ robust and capable quadraped robot. “

July 27, 2010

LEGO Drum Machine

at 1:17 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

After 3 months of work Peter Cocteau has completed his LEGO Drum Machine. It is based on the LEGO NXT computer. It goes to show how much can be done with the NXT.

July 26, 2010

RGB LED VU Meter using TLC5940 LED Driver Chips

at 6:10 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


If you like to listen to music here is a way to jazz up the experience. We have all seen the boring analog VU meters on either old or high end audio equipment. Simon Inns from Waiting of Friday has rigged up a cool RGB LED VU Meter circuit that uses 3 TLC5940 LED driver chips that are bring controlled by a PIC18F2550 microcontroller.

“This project creates a RGB LED VU Meter which is controlled via USB by a Windows 7 or Vista host machine. The demonstration board consists of a 5V regulator (switching), a PIC18F2550 with the required USB components, 3xTLC5940 16 channel serial LED drivers with PWM and 16 high intensity RGB LEDs.”

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