Hacked Gadgets Forum

May 23, 2014

TRS Drawbot

at 11:40 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets



This TRS Drawbot is a simple yet powerful drawing robot. The results look fantastic!

“The servos in your R/C car, plane, boat, or ‘copter are controlled by a stream of electrical pulses sent from the onboard receiver. The length of these pulses tells the servo what angle to turn to. You can connect your R/C receiver to an audio input on your stereo or computer and listen to this control signal directly. Because we have only two channels to work with, we can’t send “pen up” or “pen down” commands to TRS Drawbot, and are thus confined to single- or continuous-line artwork. In practice, this is not as much a limitation as it might seem. “




May 22, 2014

DIY CNC Pendant

at 2:43 am. Filed under DIY Hacks

DIY CNC Pendant


Our friend Bob Davis built a DIY CNC Pendant that allows him to control his CNC machine without spending big dollars on a commercial type. His version makes for a nice quick build since it uses parts that you probably already have in your junk bin. The main items you need are some switches and a 555 timer. If you have an old game controller you might want to look into hooking that up as another cheap option.


DIY CNC Pendant_2

May 20, 2014

Electric Go Cart Built from Scratch

at 9:13 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks

Electric Go Cart Built from Scratch



Ben Rothschild sent in details of his latest build, it is an Electric Go Cart Built from Scratch. It has a top speed of 22 MPH and a range of 5 miles. The power comes from 2 Turnigy brushless outrunner motors and a large LiPo battery pack. There is lots of versatile 80/20 and brackets holding things together. He designed the system plans in CAD and made a bit of a mistake which caused the first version to steer backwards. Nice to see a real inventor who not only discusses his successes but also some of the mistakes along the way.


Electric Go Cart Built from Scratch_2

May 18, 2014

Planet Power Saver Scam

at 3:07 pm. Filed under Funny Hacks, Scam


Want to save 30 to 40 percent on your power bill? Well that’s a stupid question… It is as simple as plugging in a small electronic box into your wall and your savings will be immediate! Yea right.

I got a call from the guys at Planet Power Saver trying to sell me their miracle device. These snake oil salesmen have been selling this junk for a long time and you can even see tons of them on eBay. So not only is their plug in device a pile of junk, it is way overpriced compared to the $5 or $10 that they are selling for on eBay. Funny thing is that the little box on the wall with just enough electronics to convert the wall power to 2 or 3 volts to power a power on LED will probably save the home owner some money. Not from the box but from the psychological feeling that they are in energy saving mode, lights would get turned off more often, they will probably do other things such as changing out incandescent lights for CFLs etc. 

Their web site was http://planetpowersaver.com/ but it has been shut down. You can still see most of their site text on the Wayback Machine though. You can see their technical claims below.


Working of Power Saver:

Stabilizes voltages and reduce currents, enhance power efficiency of electric equipment, avoid waste of the supplies, save electrical energy and extend the life of appliances.

The power saver can recycle the lost electrical power caused by wire loss and extra electrical power wasted by starting and running equipment, as it then releases the recycled electrical power back into the electrical circuit to reuse it to save power and to save your money eventually.

The PowerSaver also help to stabilize voltages and reduce currents in your power supplies. It improves the power factor by reducing the amount of electricity that is used from our utility company. This is accomplished by supplying electricity locally at the load by the use of specially designed capacitor. These advanced capacitor store the additional electricity needed for stabilizing electric current within an inductive load.

Therefore, the amount of electricity purchased from our utility company by a power factor optimization has been greatly reduced and resulting in power savings for our home or office.

Now, with the help of PowerSaver , there is a smart way to reduce up to 30% of your electricity consumption every month. No more high electricity bill you have to pay. Now, you can Use Power With Le$$ Cost

Extra electrical power can also be loss naturally when being transmitted (call wire loss) or at the instant of turning on the electrical appliances. Our PowerSaver does not consume electricity itself. You can on it continuously 24 hours a day all year round without its affecting your electricity costs.

PowerSaver is suitable for inductive and capacitive appliances, such as air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, stereos, fluorescent lamps, electric fans, televisions, etc. (please refer to FAQ for Electrical Products Comsumption Info).

How can I check the unit, to see if it will save energy OR not ?
It is possible, once your power saver unit arrives to run an immediate test. To do this, use an extension lead from the nearest power socket, if required, to enable you to stand in front of your electric meter.
While running this test, be sure to have an appliance such as an electric kettle or any other appliance that consumes a reasonable amount of power switched on, in the region of 1 to 2 kW. While standing in front of the meter observing the regular speed of the wheel or (the meter clock) in your meter, plug the power saver into the extension lead, you will immediately see the wheel speed reduce, this in turn is an immediate indication of future reductions in your Electric Bill.

Installation It is so easy to use, just plug the PowerSaver in any of the indoor outlets of single phase 90V – 250V/ 50 Hz ¨C 60Hz supplies. It will be more efficient if you choose a location where there are fewer appliances nearby and closest to the meter.

Technical Parameter

Rated Voltage : 90v – 250v

Rated Frequency : 50hz – 60hz

Rated Capacity : 15000w

May 17, 2014

Maker Faire 2014

at 11:59 am. Filed under Crazy Hacks

Maker Faire 2014


I will have to make it out to a Maker Faire one of these days. Looks like a blast and they keep getting bigger and bigger! Thanks to Matt Walsh, Rachel Lea Fox, Anouk Wipprecht and Brice Arnold for the cool footage.







May 16, 2014

Black and Decker Gyro Screwdriver Teardown

at 6:56 am. Filed under Teardown

Black and Decker  Gyro_7863


Thanks to Black and Decker for sending in this Gyro Screwdriver for review, you can see the review here. In this article we are going to tear into it and see what we have on the inside. Opening the unit was very simple since there are just 5 phillips screws holding the unit together, unfortunately the screws come in 2 different sizes (these go into the handle of the screwdriver). You will definitely visibly void your warranty by cracking it open since you need to cut through the sticker at the bottom of the screwdriver. The battery and circuit board are press fit into one half of the housing and all connection on the PCB have are connectorized which is quite nice. Looks like they wanted to keep it as modular as possible so they could service it easily. The microcontroller is an Atmel XMEGA16D4, it has 16K of flash and 34 IO pins. The position sensing is done with an Invernsense ISZ-650, this is a dual axis gyroscope. The 4 devices at the bottom of the rear of the board by the battery jack turned out to be 4899NF Power Mosfets, since there are 4 of them I am thinking that they are configured as an H-Bridge to run the motor.


I think this device would make for a great remote operated motor for some DIY projects like a wire winder. You could mount the motor to the winding drum and mount the drill to anything. I am thinking one of those old ship speed controls.

Click here to see the review of the Black and Decker Gyro Screwdriver. For full sized images please see them here.



May 15, 2014

Black and Decker Gyro Screwdriver Review

at 6:23 pm. Filed under Reviews

Black and Decker  Gyro_7840


When you are taking apart some electronics to start a repair a normal screwdriver will work but a battery operated one will make the job go faster. Thanks for Black and Decker for sending in this Gyro Screwdriver for review. I have used battery operated screwdrivers before but nothing with the technology that this one is packing. To operate it all you need to do is squeeze the handle of the screwdriver which will depress the large button at the base. As soon as it is squeezed that is considered the starting position, at this point the bit will not be turned, as you turn it in one direction or the other the bit will follow. The further you twist the screwdriver the faster the bit will be turned. The drill can accept any standard bit, but the unit comes with a flat blade and phillips to get you started. If you are interested to see what is on the inside be sure to checkout the Black and Decker Gyro Screwdriver Teardown.

The drill have a built in LED light that turns on when it is in use, the light also functions as an indication for conditions such as low charge and over heating. There is no charge indication though and it would have been nice to have the LED flash once ever 3 or 4 seconds to indicate that the charge cable is plugged in properly and the unit is charging.

Probably the best news here is the battery, the lithium technology will last on the shelf for months and still be ready for use. I hate grabbing a tool for use just to realize that I need to charge it for many hours before I can use it.

The screwdriver was tested by screwing a drywall screw into plywood, it performed the task but struggled a bit. This shows that the screwdriver has quite a bit of power since this task would normally have been done using a full sized drill. Fastening threaded screws was very easy for the screwdriver and I suspect it could drive these all day long.

The feel of the tool is not bad but could be contoured a bit differently to feel better in my hand. The movement based operation does take some getting used to, for someone who has always used button based tools it doesn’t feel as controllable as the manual style for me. This would probably change with more use though.


For full sized images please see them here.



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