Hacked Gadgets Forum

May 31, 2014

Name the Thing Contest – 252

at 7:09 pm. Filed under Contests



The prize this week is an Arduino Pro Mini. This contest will run for one week (May 31 – June 6, 2014). Ending time is based on central standard time. To enter, identify the item above and what it can be used for. Please note the image above is a side view of the thing.

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 July 26, 2014

The item to guess was an electric guitar bridge.

The winner is Jeff M. (there were 361 entries)


Below is a picture of the prize.


Arduino Bullet Casing Sorting Machine

at 7:03 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks

Arduino Bullet Casing Sorting Machine


Having your technology save you time is great. NYC CNC doesn’t have to sort his spent bullet casings any more since he has built this Arduino Sorting Machine. It has an automatic feeder which drops the casings onto a roller, the roller opening is slowly enlarged until the casing falls through. The system then sorts it based on the size.


May 30, 2014

Automatic Fire Fighting Foam Solutions

at 10:06 pm. Filed under Insane Equipment


Aircraft hangers are usually very large simple buildings that house millions of dollars worth of airplanes. A small fire can quickly damage the contents of the building. Fuel storage containers are pretty scary when they burn out of control. The key is to have a fast reaction to fire and hit it with an effective suppression material. These videos are interesting due to the large scale. I think they could rent out some of these hangers out as after hours foam rave clubs. 🙂




May 29, 2014

Electromagnetic Boots for Walking on the Ceiling

at 12:49 pm. Filed under Crazy Hacks

Electromagnetic Boots for Walking on the Ceiling


There will come a time when you have too much electronic junk laying about ready to take apart such that you can’t easily walk around. The obvious solution is to make some Electromagnetic Boots for Walking on the Ceiling.

Via:  Hackaday

“The magnet shoes themselves are easy to make and i can see people trying this. The tricky part is walking upside down, the ropes which have switches on to release the foot you need to step with also provide a way of reaching your leg back up because unlike walking normally your feet are trying to go over your head and not onto the surface in front of you. I tried to not have these but as soon as you release one foot you pivot?swing backwards on the fixed shoe as your centre of gravity shifts, once this has happened your other leg is no longer long enough to step back down so you have to pull you whole body weight up on the one leg which is VERY HARD.”



May 27, 2014

Etching a PCB using Different Methods

at 12:40 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks


Ben Heck attempts three different methods for making a prototype PCB. The methods are the toner transfer method, the laser etch method and the good old hand drawn method. I was surprised that Ben didn’t use his CNC machine as a fourth method. 

“He’s designed PCBs in Eagle and sent them off for production at a board house, but this doesn’t help when he wants a PCB the same day. In this episode, Ben experiments with three methods of PCB etching and shares the results.”

May 26, 2014

Mechanical Ball Clock

at 1:20 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets


Turnvater Janosch has created a fun looking Mechanical Ball Clock. No controller here, this thing is powered by a falling weight.

Via: Laughing Squid

“The clock runs for 12 hours, driven by a weight of 2.5 kg sinking approx. 1 meter during that time..Every minute a marble is lifted up and goes down a marble run with three flipping traps that count marbles for minutes, five-minute-steps and hours.
The timekeeping element is a second-pendulum with a pinwheel escapement.”

May 24, 2014

Non Contact Voltage Test Pen Teardown

at 9:11 am. Filed under Teardown



If you are doing any electrical work, one of these Non Contact Voltage Test Pens can be quite handy. Just touch the wire that you want to make sure isn’t live and check that the tester doesn’t beep and start flashing. This test pen is on all the time monitoring for AC between 90V and 1000 V. I would have preferred the device to have an on/off switch which would allow the battery to last even longer but I guess they figured that the 1.5 year life that they rate this for when in standby was good enough. This impressive life is because they got the current draw down to under 10 micro amps! Even when operating it only draws a handful of milli amps.

The board is quite thin at 0.8mm, this is half the typical generic PCB thickness which is 1.6mm. In large quantities the thinner board might be cheaper but typically anything thinner or thicker than 1.6mm is a premium price at most board houses that I know about.

The main component of the board is a 74HC14D hex inverting buffer the data sheet (PDF) shows a maximum supply current to the chip of 2 micro amps which makes sense based on our current readings. You can see a schematic below that Warren Young reverse engineered from a similar device (not the same but very similar operation).

You can see full sized tear down images here.






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