Hacked Gadgets Forum

December 30, 2012

Name the Thing Contest – 215

at 9:46 am. Filed under Contests


The prize this week is a breadboard power supply. This contest will run for one week (December 30 2012 – January 4, 2013). Ending time is based on central standard time. To enter, identify the item above and what it can be used for.

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 13, 2013

The item to guess was a Bluetooth Headset

The winner is Michael D. (there were 263 entries)


Below is a picture of the prize.



Electric Imp Cat Door Project

at 9:26 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


This Tweeting Cat Door Project uses the new Electric Imp controller. If you haven’t heard about the Electric Imp before watch the video that Engadget recorded at Maker Fair at their booth. The Electric Imp is a neat idea, the form factor is an SD card but that was just chosen since there are lots of cheap SD card connectors available. The Imp has been designed so that if it is accidentally plugged into something like a camera the camera won’t be damaged. Inside the device is a Cortex-M3 processor with WiFi, there are also some internal status LEDs that are visible through the plastic case so you can see the status at a glance. One of the coolest things is how you program the WiFi settings so that it can connect to your network. A Smart Phone is used to blast the information to it using flashes on the screen which is monitored using a light sensor. I can see lots of cool projects (and products) using this system in the near future.

“The physical I/O for the project is pretty straight forward.  All that is needed is a magnetic reed switch to sense if the cat door flap has opened.  A blue LED is used as a visual clue for ON/OFF and switch detection.”


December 29, 2012

Samsung Syncmaster 204B Monitor Repair

at 7:41 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Dave from the EEVblog did a video a few months back that I somehow missed. His new shop is in a building where they seem to through out a ton of stuff. So much that he regularly does some dumpster diving to see what interesting things he can find. This time around he was able to get his hands on two Samsung Syncmaster 204 Monitors. Samsung has a good reputation for quality these days (not so much in years past though) but when Dave cracks into the monitor you can see that they have the cheapest quality caps available. It is really a shame that there are probably 10s of thousands of these monitors in the landfill because someone selected capacitors that were probably reduced the manufacturing price of the monitor by 10 or 15 cents. You can see by the screen shot of the Google search that there are a ton of people searching out problems with this brand of cap. You know there’s a big problem when you have eBay sellers specializing in capacitor repair kits for specific monitor models. I guess on the bright side there are some hobbyists that can get some great monitors working for a few dollars and 10 minutes of work.


December 27, 2012

Portable CNC in a Box

at 7:41 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, DIY Hacks



Check out this Portable CNC in a Box (translated into English). If you ever wanted to setup a CNC machine in a mall on the weekend at a small booth this would be the ideal machine for that. Just think of all the custom trinkets you could make with it. Best of all the steam punk controller which reminds me of the Wiimote remote would make it look like you were doing more work than just jogging the bit into the start position. At a quick glance it may look like a simple plywood box that holds a milling machine. With a closer look you can see that there is a monitor built into one of the sides, all of the motor controls are built into another section and finally all of the computer electronics are also crammed into the case.


December 26, 2012

Laser Cut Hand Crank Marble Machine

at 11:00 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets


If you have a laser machine collecting dust because you have nothing inspirational to cut you are in luck. This Laser Cut Hand Crank Marble Machine by Martin Raynsford is the final version after a ton of experimentation. It looks like it is lots of fun and would be simple to stick a motor on the shaft that is normally turned by hand.

“The main feature of this marble machine is the ring lift. Three stacked pieces of wood mean that the holes the balls are sat in are actually sloped. When the ball enters at the bottom it wants to stay inside the ring, as the ring is flipped upside down the slope is reversed and it wants to push the ball out of the ring. The balls then run down a 5 loop spiral and back into the bottom of the machine ready to go again. The machine holds 6 balls comfortably but a few more could be held in the lift at any given moment.”


December 24, 2012

$3657 High Speed Automatic Pick and Place Machine

at 8:11 pm. Filed under Insane Equipment


If you haven’t listened to the latest Amp Hour (episode #126) you may not have heard about this $269 High Speed Automatic Pick and Place Machine. I have very little information on it since I can’t read Chinese, the videos demo the system quite well though. For such a small machine it sure looks impressive, the tiny screen looks to have a ton of very usable information although most of it looks to be Chinese. I did see a language switch so there might be an English version available. The price on this system sounds to good to be true though, I would love to hear from someone that can read Chinese if there are any hidden charges that bring this price up significantly.

UPDATE: The title has been updated to reflect the actual USD price. For those who saw the original price listed, sorry about that. I did a quick Google conversion which converted it from the Japanese Yen. I didn’t realize until now that the Chinese and Japanese use the same currency symbol. Thanks to the commenters below for catching this pricing error. So the price isn’t as jaw dropping as I thought but it is still quite tempting, I can see this as a way for a basement hobbyist to start cranking out some production type quantities in no time. A solder paste station, a skillet or converted toaster oven along with this pick and place could get some boards cranking with just one person! 

 The pictures look impressive but make sure you have a look at some of the videos.

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4




Open Source Hardware Bagpipes

at 1:28 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks


Some people love the sound of Bagpipes, others need to acquire a taste for the sound. If you want to practice your Bagpipe fingering without purchasing a set of pipes now you can use the Open Source Hardware Bagpipes to help you out.

“OpenPipe MIDI-USB Shield can be connected to Mac, Linux and Windows without installing additional drivers. It can also be connected to iPad/iPhone using Camera Connector Kit (iPhone requires jailbreak) and Android devices with USB host capabilities.”

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