Hacked Gadgets Forum

August 31, 2014

Name the Thing Contest – 258

at 1:49 pm. Filed under Contests



The prize this week is an SD Card Reader. This contest will run for one week (August 31 – September 5, 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 November 12, 2014

The item to guess was an morse/telegraph key.

The winner is Olaf.  (there were 161 entries)


Below is a picture of the prize.


3D Print with Wood

at 10:47 am. Filed under Crazy Hacks

3D Print with Wood


Most hobby 3D printers use melted plastic but it looks like we can now print using wood! It gets extruded at 200 degrees celsius. If I were to guess I would think it would be a material similar to MDF which is mainly sawdust and glue, of course the glue needs to be one that can be made soft again by reheating.

“A Thingiverse member going by the nom de printer “Kaipa” recently uploaded pictures of 3D-printed parts that weren’t made of extruded plastic, but a wood/plastic mixture he created on his own. The maker wouldn’t share the process for making the material, or even what the ingredients were, but he did offer to send sample spools of his experimental filament to interested hackers.”



August 28, 2014

Creative Sound Blaster Roar Review

at 4:17 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Reviews

 Creative Sound Blaster Roar Review


Thanks to Creative for sending in the Sound Blaster Roar for review. Right out of the box the quality of construction is evident. The feel of the buttons and switches is top notch, it should provide years of trouble free use. It is easy to pair it to your bluetooth compatible phone and get your tunes cranking on the Roar. If you don’t want to play music through your phone you can select one of the many other methods of playback. Pop in a micro SD card with some music will allow you to keep it standalone and play all of your favorite music. If you have a device that just has a headphone jack out like an old iPod that will work using the Aux in jack. The micro USB port can be used to play music from your computer.

The system has 3 active drivers, one is a long through woofer for surprisingly deep base. There are also 2 forward facing speakers for right and left audio, 2 additional passive radiating drivers fire music out of the side grills.

If you have a cell phone that needs a quick charge you can plug it into the full size USB port. The port has a 1 amp rating so it will also charge most tablets.

Need a conference room speaker? The Roar actually does a good job of transmitting the sound from your cell phone to the speaker and transmits the room audio using the built in room mic. The system is obviously doing a good job of canceling out the sound that it is producing in this mode since there is no feedback.

If you are feeling a bit uneasy in your surroundings you can arm the alarm and press the siren button to grab the attention of everyone around.


The Good

  • Great sound quality and bass
  • Build quality is fantastic
  • Feel of the controls is very good
  • Battery life is good at around 8 hours
  • Good range on the built in bluetooth receiver
  • Built in NFC for easy paring with new devices
  • Flexible methods of music connectivity
  • Conference room speakerphone that works well
  • Aux USB charging capability
  • Easy to switch privacy modes to share access to the device


The Bad

  • The rear controls are cumbersome to access without flipping the device on end, this could scratch the front of the system
  • Although the micro SD card allows tons of music storage capability it is not possible to select a playlist or specific song to be played. A cell phone app would be a great addition to allow control over the SD card audio
  • The case makes it hard to read the button labels
  • Battery is not user replaceable


You can see that there are good and bad qualities to this device. That being said the good far outweigh the bad. If you are looking for a kick ass portable audio player to fill a room with booming sound this device is for you!



Creative Sound Blaster Roar Review_4


Creative Sound Blaster Roar Review_2


Creative Sound Blaster Roar Review_3

August 27, 2014

Spray Chalk Machine

at 9:38 pm. Filed under Crazy Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Spray Chalk Machine


Wanting to make an impact on the sidewalk quickly? This Spray Chalk Machine is sure to get that done.

“This device is controlled by two Arduino Duemilanove boards, which apparently base the chalk “dot” timing on encoders sensing movement in the two wheels that the cart rides on. ”


Opus BT-C3100 V2.0 Intelligent Battery Charger Review and Teardown

at 1:05 am. Filed under Reviews

Opus BT-C3100 V2.0 Intelligent Battery Charger Review and Teardown_8214 


Thanks to GearBest for sending in this Opus BT-C3100 V2.0 Intelligent Battery Charger for review. at a quick glance this charger might look like any other charger that you see at the grocery store.  Your generic store bought brand probably also has 4 charging bays for AA and AAA batteries, it probably has 2 charging circuits which places 2 cells in series to charge them, it most likely has 2 charging lights which just turns off when charging is done. If you leave the batteries in your generic charger you will most likely have batteries that have been overcharging or running down. Also your generic charger can probably just charge one chemistry of battery.

When you have a closer look at the Opus BT-C3100 V2.0 Intelligent Battery Charger you can see how this system differs from your every day generic battery charger. It can auto detect and charge NiCd, NiMH and Li-ion batteries. It charges each cell independently preventing bad cells from interfering from other cells from charging properly. Forget charging lights, this has a full LCD display that provides tons of status. It will monitor batteries that are left in the charger and keep them topped up and ready to go. From here the features go on and on. Don’t let the small package fool you, there is a ton of smarts and features built into this small package.

Have a look at the pictures below and in the video for a look inside the charger. The construction is a dual sided SMD load, the construction looks very professional. The battery contact spring tensioners work well and the connection to the PCB has been beefed up with a thick metal bar. The heat management in the unit is great, there are no hot spots when operating and if there was a problem one of the 6 thermal sensors would be sure to catch it. The processing and display is done using a chip on board which can be seen under the epoxy blob in the pictures. 

The case is well built and feels nice in the hand, the buttons and battery sliders feel like they will last. The plug in power supply came with an adapter which changed it from a European plug to a North American style but this caused the plug stack to be quite long and might cause a problem if it was to be plugged into a wall plug. I was using a bench mounted power supply so I didn’t have any issues but this could be a concern.

The price of this unit is a bit higher than your grocery store version but don’t be fooled, this unit is worth it.  Best of all GearBest is offering all Hacked Gadgets readers an 8% discount using the coupon code Anna08.



There is a fantastic display screen on this unit. The LCD screen is backlit when you are pressing buttons and is clear and easy to read. The screen is divided into 4 equal sections, one for each battery in the unit.The upper unit of the display tells you what function is being performed, the lower section is for data such as cell voltage, charging current, discharge current, etc.


Cell Selection

You can use the slot button to select each of the 4 battery bays to adjust what operation is to be performed on that bay. This adds flexibility since now you can perform any task you like in any of the positions. For example you could charge cell 1 at 500mA, charge cell 2 at 1A, discharge cell 3 to put it into storage and do a discharge refresh on cell 4. You can also easily opt to perform the same function on all slots with the press of a button.



In charge mode you simply pop in a battery, you will be shown the initial battery voltage before the charge starts. You can then select the current you wish to charge the cell at.

In Discharge mode you can discharge the inserted battery to a preset level. You will also be shown how many energy was discharged from the cell after the discharge is done. It is then trickle charged to prevent it discharging any further.

In Refresh mode the charger will discharge and charge the battery 3 times to allow old batteries that have not been used in a long time to restore some of their capacity. After the 3 cycles are complete you will be able to see the total mAH of the cell. This lets you track the health of the battery over time if you like.

Test mode checks the capacity of the battery by immediately discharging the battery after it is charged.

Quick Test allows for a check of the internal resistance of the battery. This test is quick (under 10 seconds) and will show you if the battery is a good contender for high current applications. You can test batteries with other chemistries using this function such as alkaline and any other 1.5 volt battery.


To see the full size hi-res pictures please click here.



Opus BT-C3100 V2.0 Intelligent Battery Charger Review and Teardown_8186



ABB Robot made of LEGO

at 1:01 am. Filed under Crazy Hacks, What Were They Thinking

ABB Robot made of LEGO


Computer engineer Lassee Laussen and software engineer Ken Madsen built this ABB Robot made of LEGO bricks. It was an 8 month build to recreate the complex 6 axis machine. If you are interested in seeing some other interesting projects from Lassee and Ken have a look at Brick It.

“The LEGO version of the IRB 120 is so accurate that it mimics every shape and curve. It also has all 6 axes for the same freedom of movement that the real thing has. Sure, it won’t be moving as quickly as the original or carry the same payloads, but nonetheless it is a pretty spectacular recreation of an industrial robot that finds itself in assembly and pick-and-place operations in factories all over the world.”



August 26, 2014

Automated Surf Notifier

at 7:30 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets

 Automated Surf Notifier


Our friend Colin Karpfinger from Punchthrough.com has just completed his latest project. You might remember his last project, it was the LightBlue Bean. The Automated Surf Notifier uses a LightBlue Bean at the heart and interfaces with some colorful LEDs to indicate where the ideal surf waves are located. Using some daisy chainable LEDs mounted behind a poster of the coast make for a great indication method.

“I enjoy seeing technology added to things in a subtle way. With this surf map, when the LEDs are off, you’d never know they are there. This surf map displays the report for the upcoming week, along with tide times, by use of LEDs behind the canvas. The report is pulled from the web by a Python script on my computer, then sent to the artwork over BLE using the Bean’s virtual serial port. Finally the Bean parses the report and displays the LEDs accordingly.”


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