Hacked Gadgets Forum

January 27, 2011

DIY PIC Microcontroller Based Digital Tachometer Project

at 12:39 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Have you ever wanted to determine how fast something was turning? With a few parts and a microcontroller, monitoring something spinning is a simple task, you just need a way to get an input into the microcontroller so it can count pulses. In this case Chris from Pyro Electric used an infrared beam to monitor a spinning fan, as the fan blades turn they interrupt the IR beam made using a IR LED and a IR transistor.

Read about the DIY PIC Microcontroller Based Digital Tachometer Project.

“The IR circuit will output pulses whenever it is interrupted (this type of IR circuit is also known as a ‘photo-interrupter’ circuit). The PIC microcontroller will stand by waiting to see the rising edge of one of these pulses. Anytime a rising edge is detected the PIC will interrupt the current software and run a special subroutine to take note that the change on the signal occurred. Now, if we keep track of how often that change occurs using a timer, we can estimate the instantaneous RPMs, making a digital tachometer!”


January 26, 2011

Reverse GeoCaching Project

at 1:43 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Looks like these Reverse GeoCaching projects are getting more and more popular. We have seen this type of project before but this one is much more of a cool hack than the others. In this project a GPS receiver with a SkyTraq Venus chipset was used but apparently was not that easy to work with. Full schematics are provided if you are interested in making your own.

Thanks to our friend Muris for sending this one in.

“The hardware consists of:

– graphic display from Nokia 3310 (or 5110…) phone with backlight (or any other similar LCD based on PCD8544 driver)
– Li-Ion BL-5C battery from Nokia phone (or similar)
– MAX1811 Li-Ion charger IC
– PC USB GPS receiver from DealExtreme, that also has internal FLASH memory to record the trip and has USB-UART(TTL) converter on board that is hacked and used to interface the entire device to PC. Another bonus is the car-charger that comes with this GPS device which is useful while playing the game and driving around!
– ATmega328P (ATmega168 can be used with optimized code)
– “Mini Servo” from DealExtreme
– everything is powered by 3.7V battery, even the servo motor
– other misc. parts”

January 25, 2011

SARTRE – Self-Driving Auto Train

at 1:32 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks


This is the car I want, reading a paper and drinking a coffee is my idea of a commute! I just hope the driver in the front who is leading the train of autonomous vehicles doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel, have a heart attack or have a drinking problem.

Via: Gadget Blog and Geekologie

“SARTRE has been researching and developing a new system that enables a convoy of cars to be autonomously led behind a vehicle manned by a professional driver. The lead vehicle of the “train” isn’t anything special – just a cargo truck – but the Volvo S60 on his six is outfitted with a range of sensors, monitors and motors which allow it to follow in its path. A network of these vehicles could tuck in behind each other and allow the drivers to sit back, enjoy a cup of coffee and get through the morning paper on their way to work.”

Get the loudest train horns available at trainhorn.org – Wholesale prices on train horn kits

Make your Acura NSX look like a Ferrari F50

at 6:50 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks, DIY Hacks


If you have a Acura NSX in your driveway and are getting a bit bored with its lines. Why not not make it into a $550,000 Farrari F50? Not sure if this was a conversion by owner or if the owner hired a shop to make the changes. I could just imagine the reaction the owner would have had if he showed up mid way through the project and saw his car in that state! The end result looks fantastic but I wonder how strong and reliable the new body is.

Via: TechEBlog

January 24, 2011

555 Timer Contest

at 5:30 am. Filed under Educational, Electronic Hacks


Once you are finished entering the weekly Hacked Gadgets contest you will want to have a look at this one. Remember the contest we ran back in October last year? No matter if you were one of the people who figured out that it was a 555 timer or if you needed to work on it for a bit. Now is your change to put that chip to some good use and design something. There is a new contest aptly named the 555 Contest being put on by Chris Gammell and Jeri Ellsworth in which there are four categories to enter, art, complex/extreme minimalistic and utility. Have a look at who wrote comment number one in this blog entry. You got it, that is none other than the Forrest M. Mims III who I remember from the legendary Radio Shack Engineer’s Mini-Notebook line.

Via: Make

January 23, 2011

DIY Ultrasonic Range Sensor

at 6:20 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Kerry Wong needed a way to determine distance in a project. A popular way to do this is to use ultrasound.  Kerry is sharing his experience of building his DIY Ultrasonic Range Sensor so that the rest of us can learn from what he built. Parallax has a product called PING which is a popular way to allow your project use ultrasound to measure distance also.  Only problem is when you purchase the module you pay more than if your built it from scratch and you don’t learn anything from the experience. This is only an argument for a hobbyist who is interested in learning from their projects as opposed to a system designer building a single project for a customer who just needs to glue some parts together and make it work reliably. Starting with a system that has been proven to be rock solid and building from it is the best way to succeed in making a robust product but there isn’t much learning that goes on. Kerry has provided code and schematics for anyone who is interested in building their own Ultrasonic Range Sensor.

“The theory behind ultrasonic ranging is quite simple. Typically a short ultrasonic burst is transmitted from the transmitter. When there is an object in the path of the ultrasonic pulse, some portion of the transmitted ultrasonic wave is reflected and the ultrasonic receiver can detect such echo. By measuring the elapsed time between the sending and the receiving of the signal along with the knowledge of the speed of sound in the medium, the distance between the receiver and the object can be calculated.”

January 22, 2011

Name the Thing Contest – 164

at 6:09 pm. Filed under Contests


Thanks to OpenPicus for sponsoring the contest this week. They will be providing a FlyPort Wi-Fi Picus module and USB StarterKit Nest that we just featured to the winner.

FlyPort WIFI module has enough processing power and memory space to let you:

  • Manage sensors
  • Manage actuators
  • Create micro webservers
  • Create complex network of sensors/actuators based on the existing WIFI networks”

This contest will run for one week (January 22 – January 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 January 29, 2011

The item to guess was 74LS21 electronic circuit schematic

The winner is Dan C. (there were 148 entries)


Below is a picture of the prize.


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