Hacked Gadgets Forum

December 22, 2012

Name the Thing Contest – 214

at 10:47 pm. Filed under Contests



Happy holidays! The prize this week is an ultrasonic sensor, a breadboard and a breadboard power supply. This contest will run for one week (December 22 – 28, 2012). Ending time is based on central standard time. To enter, identify the item above and what it can be used for. Hint, this board is popular at this time of the year.

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 Light O-Rama control board

The winner is Christopher M. (there were 228 entries)


Below is a picture of the prize.




Solid State Relay allows DIY Projects to Safely Interface with Line Voltage

at 11:07 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


If you want to play with line voltage you need to be a lot more careful compared to working with 5 or 12 volts.  Viktor has built a nice compact system for easily interfacing line voltage powered items to his DIY projects. Instead of trying to breadboard the line voltages or make a temporary rig to switch line power he gutted an old power brick and mounted a large Solid State Relay inside. Now the AC power enters the housing using the power supplies original AC plug. The color codes in North America are different. Here the neutral line (white) and the ground (green) would be carried directly from input to output, the hot (black) would be interrupted using the SSR. While using this type of system there is no danger of having the line voltage feed back into your low voltage circuit since the control side SSR is optically isolated from the high voltage side.



December 20, 2012

Christmas Present Shake Prank

at 8:37 pm. Filed under Funny Hacks


We all know a bunch of people who shake presents to try to guess what is inside them, I might also be guilty of that sometimes. Jason Smith from DIY Hacks and How-Tos sent in this cool Christmas Present Shake Prank that uses a Radio Shack recording module to record a sound that you would like to be played when the box is shaken. Some thin magnet wire is used as a switch so that when the box is shaken the magnet wire brushes together starting the recording. The button press is stretched using a capacitor so that the multi function start/stop button isn’t “pressed” multiple times stopping the playback. Now when the box is shaken you can make it sound like broken glass, a person stuck in the box, an explosion or as seen here a cuddly kitten just waiting to be unwrapped.

These small recording modules are cheap and useful, I can think of a great Halloween hack that uses a door switch, an large audio amplifier and a big speaker to scare the heck out of anyone who dares to open your front gate.

December 19, 2012

Christmas Tree with 404 Individually Controlled LEDs via Bluetooth

at 7:55 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks



Olivier St-Martin Cormier got into the Christmas spirit this year by bringing his tree to life with LEDs that can dance to the music. He is using a stm32 microcontroller to get the job done.  You can see a video of it in action below.

“Olivier St-Martin Cormier wrote:
This is my Christmas tree, it has over 400 lights (exactly 404) that are all individually controlled by an STM32 microcontroller. The computer plays the music and processes the sync track for the lights and send the state of the tree to the stm32 over bluetooth. The pc-side controller has a web interface, so the whole tree can be controlled from any browser (pc/phone/tablet). This is still in “beta” stage (I will add more types of animations) but it still serves its purpose well.”



Free Energy Generator Head Scratcher

at 6:18 am. Filed under What Were They Thinking


Have a look at this Free Energy Generator Head Scratcher. It is obviously a hoax but how was it done? My bet is there is a battery in the meter and a battery in the motor. This way when the leads are shorted out the meter reads the internal battery voltage and when the motor leads are shorted it connects the small battery to the motor. I was thinking that if there was a large enough overhead power lines this might have some possibility but the Mythbusters did there experiments on this and based on their results this coil would not do anything… Any thoughts?

December 18, 2012

Jingle Bells playing Christmas Tree

at 5:13 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Jewi from Germany built this Jingle Bells playing Christmas Tree that will actually teach you how to play Jingle Bells. It uses an ATmega to play the song on a speaker and at the same time it lights appropriate LEDs on a keyboard display. You can see on the project page that Jewi used a bunch of SMD parts in the project where some large parts with some large leads might have made construction a bit simpler. The code is available here if you want to make your own.

 Via: HG Forum

 “We have 9 control lines for the LEDs and 1 line for the speaker signal. We want the device to start playing if a push button is pressed and when done playing the device shall be switch off automatically. For this, we use a pushbutton in parallel to a relay switch which is controller by the ATmega. If someone presses the push button then the ATmega starts running and holds the relay closed.”



December 17, 2012

Dual Computer Custom Desk

at 4:12 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks



Most of you have probably seen server rooms with blade servers, it is basically a rack where you can slide in some servers. Paul Ruby Jr. sent in his Dual Computer Custom Desk build where he has two slide in computers except they are drawer size. This desk as everything you need for your personal computing needs including a hidden UPS. The only thing I can think that would improve the system is to use Synergy so that a single keyboard and mouse can be used to control both systems.

“The desk is made out of stained Hickory wood.  The top of the desk is a sheet of Formica that matches my work counters.  In the picture of the front of the desk, you can see the wooden (oak) exhaust fan grills.  I put a 120mm lighted (blue) exhaust fan for each computer drawer compartment.  This is more than enough to keep each computer from overheating.”


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