Hacked Gadgets Forum

December 31, 2010

New Year Countdown Project

at 5:04 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Brian Dougherty has made this cool New Year Countdown Project for one reason. That is to let us ring in the new year with style! He will be broadcasting the results of the project for the world to see on his Ustream page (also embedded below for your viewing pleasure). Us in the electronic field love to use segmented displays to display numbers and Brian is the same, only thing is he has scaled up the display to 40 feet! It will be synchronized to music and fireworks. I can imagine that the neighbors either love it or hate it. 🙂

Happy New Year to everyone from Hacked Gadgets!

Update: See the New Year Countdown on Video Here.

Parts List

Vixen – DMX Sequencing Software
16 Channel Light-o-Rama Controller
20′ Strands of White Christmas Lights (14 strands)
300′ of 250lbs nylon rope
Smooth metal rings (2 Rings)
Industrial Zip Ties (4 Ties)
200′ Lamp Cord
10 Plug ends”

December 30, 2010

Expressive Machines Musical Instruments needs a Kick

at 8:04 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment, What Were They Thinking

We love the weird and crazy around here. If there is a healthy dose of tech that is even better. You might remember the Multi Mallet Automatic Drumming Instrument that we featured last year. They are adding robots and lots of smarts to the musical system they are making. The music sounds great and Expressive Machines Musical Instruments are going to open source the creations.

Check out the Kickstarter page for MARIE: a virtuosic band of robots made by and for musicians. They are so close to getting their goal so why not give them a small boost. Yes, I even had to pull my wallet out to help this one out!

Via: HG Forum

MARIE is a new type of music robot. It is conceived as what we’re terming a Modular Electro-Acoustic Robotic Instrument System (MEARIS). Godfried-Willem Raes at the Logos Foundation) laid the groundwork for such an idea with instruments such as , an automated Helicon which is both an (electro-)acoustic sound generator and an automatically tunable acoustic filter. With MARIE, EMMI takes this a step further, allowing multiple robotic instrument modules to combine and form larger, reconfigurable instrument systems.

December 29, 2010

AVR Based Power Usage Logger

at 5:44 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Dan Stahlke has built this AVR Based Power Usage Logger which uses an SD card to store the power usage data. It is similar to the DIY Power Consumption Monitoring System we saw last week. After seeing some of the charts I really want one, Dan shows where you can see the hot water tank cycling on and off and a bunch of laundry loads. I think once you see what impacts your energy usage some bad habits like leaving the fridge open too long may change. Dan provides all of the schematics so you can make your own.

Via: Embedds

“The current is measured using a pair of current transformers installed in the fusebox. The transformers are made from old TV flyback cores with 100 turns of magnet wire. A 0.2 ohm current sense resistor is connected to the coil and the whole thing is wrapped in electrical tape for safety. USB cables connect the sensors to the main unit, although shielded audio cables would work just as well.”


December 26, 2010

Guess what this isn’t Contest – 8

at 3:46 am. Filed under Contests


This week we are doing another fun guess what this isn’t contest. The prize is a cool transformer knife to take camping and a hard drive enclosure. Simply reply in the comments what the device pictured above isn’t. Come up with something that is remotely plausible but not what it really is and sell us on it. Make your entry funny, crazy, weird… Just use your imagination. You can enter more than once if you come up with more than one thought. With a short vote the best comment will win the prize.

Have a look at my first comment for an example entry.

This contest will run for one week (December 26, 2010 – December 31, 2010) . Ending time is based on central standard time.


Added January 29, 2011

Not that is matter but the thing above was an Audi electrical block, holding relays and fuses.

Wow there were so many great entries, I still have wattery eyes from laughing so much! Thanks for all the great entries, I wish there could be more than one winner.

The winner is redleader36. (Comment 27 entries)

“This was a device created by Thomas Edison in the late 1870s. This was the very first incarnation of the Arduino, fully programmable by a combination of shorting out the appropriate pins and reciting Gregorian chants. Edison used this device to test the endurance and longevity of his filaments by programming this Arduino to flash at custom intervals. Because of this ground-breaking research and rigorous testing, we can turn our present-day house lights on and off repeatedly without worry.”


Below is a pictures of the prizes.



December 24, 2010

LED Christmas Tree

at 12:43 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks


Merry Christmas everyone! I hope this holiday season finds you in good health and in the company of friends and family.

Mauricio Martins has the Christmas spirit. He took a plain old acrylic tree and added some bling to it with some LEDs and a simple circuit.

“For this hack, I used the following components that you can buy for less than 8 euros.

MUJI Red Acrylic Christmas Tree
Resistors: 10k, 470k
Capacitor: 0.1µF
Integrated Circuit: 4060B
LEDs × 18, 3mm diameter, any mix of colours: red, orange, amber, yellow or green
Battery clip for 9V”


Hacking MUJI Christmas Tree from Mauricio Martins on Vimeo.

December 23, 2010

micro Drum – Arduino Based MIDI Drum System

at 9:23 am. Filed under Computer Hacks, Electronic Hacks


If you play with MIDI instruments and have an Arduino kicking around, the micro Drum which is an Arduino Based MIDI Drum System might be of interest to you. It is currently under development and should be available soon. If you want to help out in the development of the device you are not too late since it is still evolving. Check out the gallery for more images of the system.

Via: HG Forum.

“New features:

  • Supported most types of switch or variable HiHat controllers with CC position or dedicated notes on all zones for 6 levels of intermediate levels of the pedal positions.
  • Save all setting on Arduino EEPROM. Automatic load on startup.
  • Initial SFZ support. You can play without using VST software!
  • Burn Mode”

December 22, 2010

DIY Power Consumption Monitoring System

at 8:20 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Monitoring how much power we use is getting quite popular, most of us have seen the Kill a Watt device before and there are also whole house versions of the Kill a Watt. If I ever get around to it I would like to build a whole house monitoring system that can show me some simple stats of power use, something like how much power was used today and in the last hour. I would also like to have a way to enter the cost of electricity so it can chime every time I have used a dollar of power.

Bill Porter has designed and built a DIY Power Consumption Monitoring System which uses an ATtiny 85 microcontroller to keep track of power usage in his house. He is using two current clamps that feed into his circuit. He has made it wireless so you could use this data anywhere in the house. He has even made a cool LED sign that is being used as a display output from the system. If you would like to build one of your own Bill has provided everything you should need on his site.

“The ATtiny85 will repeatedly sample the volts ADC pin for over a full period of the 60Hz sine wave. The peak value of the samples is remembered. Repeat for both current clamp ADC pins. After the max values are captured, the ADC clock is increased for faster sampling, with higher errors. To measure frequency and power factor, I used a 8 bit timer that  I extended to 16 bit in software. Using the timer, I measure the difference in time between two peak values of the voltage waveform. Then, I measure the difference in time between a peak value of the volts waveform, and a peak value of the current clamp waveform. “

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