Hacked Gadgets Forum

July 23, 2014

Squink – PCB Printer

at 12:39 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets

 Squink - PCB Printer


When you are making a new PCB design don’t you wish you could just print out the design instead of sending your Gerbers out for manufacture? BotFactory has created a PCB Printer called Squink, it prints using conductive ink and places dots of conductive adhesive where each SMD part will be placed. Best of all the machine then does a pick and place of all the parts onto the design. The entire process takes about 15 to 30 minutes depending if you want the optional heat curing to be performed. Just think of the ability to spin your board design a few times in a day. Of course this might not be right for everyone. I am not sure what the work around is to incorporate some through hole parts and vias for double sided designs. These days a double sided board is about the same cost as a single sided board but gives you much more flexible trace options without using jumpers.

If you are interesting in playing with this technology you can jump on the KickStarter for $2,999 (only a handful left at this price)

Via: Technabob



Squink - PCB Printer_2

July 14, 2014

PIC32 Oscilloscope

at 6:03 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks

 PIC32 Oscilloscope


Bruce Land sent in a tip that can help you save ADC data from a PIC 32 really fast. This can come in handy when you are doing things like reading in analog data for something like an Oscilloscope.

“Bruce Land wrote:

Turns out that the DMA channels on a PIC32 can move data from the ADC using the ADC done interrupt flag, but without wasting time in an ISR. The ADC can be triggered by a timer interrupt flag, again without software intervention. Doing this means that you can blast ADC into memory at just under a Megasample/sec with NO software overhead!

Using another DMA channel to feed memory to a buffered SPI port means that video data can be streamed to a TV with less than 7% software overhead, sustaining a 5 megabit/sec pixel rate. Most of the video overhead is in the SYNC generator state machine ISR. But the rigid NTSC time requirements are easy to meet because all the actual SYNC generation and video timing are also done completely in hardware with no software intervention. One timer triggers two output pulse generators, one to generate SYNC, one to time the video “backporch”.

When the backporch pulse gen times out, it triggers the video DMA burst from the frame buffer in memory to the SPI port.

A simple 3 resistor DAC combines the SYNC and video stream. Resolution is 256×200. There is plenty of CPU left for FFT or game generation.”


July 3, 2014

Arduino Home automation

at 2:04 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks


SuperHouse shows us how to control various items around your house using your arduino microcontroller as the brain. This system uses an etherten arduino to allow it to be controlled from the internet. Some stacked relay modules that talk via I2C are used to control external devices. Once mounted in the custom case the module looks great.  Sample code is provided that allows the system to work as a simple webserver that has a button interface to allow you to turn the relays on and off via the web.

“This episode shows the construction sequence of a controller that combines an Arduino-compatible board, Power-over-Ethernet, and relay driver shields to create a self-contained controller that can serve up its own web interface so you can click buttons in your browser to turn devices on and off.”


June 25, 2014

Sparkfun’s 6th Annual Autonomous Vehicle Competition

at 7:48 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks, DIY Hacks


Sparkfun organized a day of Autonomous Vehicle fun at their Annual Autonomous Vehicle Competition.

Via: Hackaday

Ground Vehicle Classes

Each entrant will be classified by the judges as one of the following robot classes for their ground vehicle:

  • Micro/PBR – Less than $350 total spent, or small enough to fit into box that’s 10″x6″x4″
  • Doping Class – Bring the biggest, baddest and most expensive vehicle you can make ($1k+ or 25lbs+)
  • Non-Traditional Locomotion – Have a walker? A modified autonomous self-balancing pogostick, motorized hamster ball? This designation is for you.
  • Peloton – All remaining vehicles that don’t fit into any other class


Aerial Vehicle Classes

Your entry will fall into one of two categories for the aerial portion of the competition:

  • Fixed Wing – All traditional airplanes, or any vehicle with a fixed wing setup.
  • Rotating Wing – Quadcopters, helicopters, and other contraptions with rotating wings.”


June 24, 2014

Bipedal Walking Sentinel Project

at 11:03 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks

Bipedal Walking Sentinel Project


This is a work in progress by Ye Guan, his Bipedal Walking Sentinel Project is a work in progress but the goal is challenging and Ye is making good strides towards a functional walking robot so far. What he is going for is a robot that looks something like the sentinel walker from Warhammer 40k and the two legged walker from Star Wars.

” The robot will have a complete compliment of sensors to help it understand its surrounding and its own condition. The current design uses a total of seven sensors.  For external obstacle avoidance there is a sonar sensor to detect long range surroundings, and an inferred distance sensor pointed down to detect the surface conditions for the robot’s next step. The sonar will allow the robot to detect and walk around large obstacles while the inferred sensor allows the robot to accommodate for changing road conditions, such as stairs. Two pressure sensors will be built into each foot to detect when the foot is on the ground. A gyroscope/accelerometer will be mounted in the head of the robot to inform the robot changes in its orientation and balance so it can adjust itself before falling. A photo detectors will tell the robot to turn on its head lights when there is a lack of ambient lighting. Finally temperature sensors will be added to make sure the system do not overheat, especially with the batteries and microcontrollers in such close proximity due to the space constraints. The entire system will be controlled through a Arduino Mega 2560 microcontroller mounted in the robot’s head.”



Bipedal Walking Sentinel Project_2

June 19, 2014

Arduino tracks Near Space Launch

at 11:18 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

 Arduino tracks Near Space Launch_3


  send this box of electronics 124,000 feet in the air. The view sure looks great from that height! To track the balloon he used the Space Near Us tracking system, a custom PCB was created to keep the circuit as robust and compact as possible. 

“Radio – in the UK there are only a few narrow frequencies you can use from the air and even then you are only allowed 10mW. The NTX2 is one of the few viable options for radio modules.

GPS – layout of a GPS module can be difficult and ideally you would keep it away from everything else. I opted for a pre-made module that could be soldered above and off to the side from the main board. It’s important to note also that many GPSs don’t operate above 14km height. Ublox GPSs have a flight mode that does work. For any others you will need to do your research before you buy/use.

Microcontroller – the ATMega 328 is a great option because it can be programmed from the very easy Arduino IDE. It will also run on 3v3 but only a 8MHz. However that’s plenty of processing power for reading a GPS and running a low baud-rate radio.

Temperature – a temperature sensor provides interesting data but many are not rated down to the -50′C that we could encounter at the tropopause. The DS18B20 is a good option because they are pretty cheap and are rated to low temperatures. You can get “external” ones which are sealed in a stainless tube for added protection. We’ll use one board-mounted one and one external.

Pressure – there are not too many “absolute” pressure sensors that I have found. The Honeywell HSCDANN001BA2A3 supposedly goes down to “0″ mBar and in practice performed well down to 8mBar on the flight. Its i2c interface is pretty easy to handle. Honeywell make about a zillion variants but many are “relative” sensors – they measure the difference between a certain pressure and atmospheric. You need an “absolute” pressures sensor because it’s atmospheric pressure we are measuring.

SD card – you could potentially surface-mount your own SD card holder but that’s pretty fiddly and I didn’t have enough board area anyway. SD-card breakouts are cheap and easily available so I elected to solder one underneath the main board to be compact and easy. A lighter approach would be to solder wires to the pads of a micro-SD adaptor and use it as a socket for a micro-SD card.”



Arduino tracks Near Space Launch_2


Arduino tracks Near Space Launch_5


June 16, 2014

Northrop Grumman X-47B RC Plane Build

at 8:42 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks

 Northrop Grumman X-47B RC Plane Build_9


Check out this Northrop Grumman X-47B RC Plane Build by Eric Maglio.

“The internal structural parts were cut by laser from some 1/8″ plywood. They were assembled first, then glued inside the skins during the joining process. Much clamping ensured a tight fit. It was easiest to install the landing gear and doors next, while the model could still be rested inside the molds. All of the hinges are laser cut plywood, and no two are identical. This is because the many complex curves mean that the hinge geometry must be precisly controlled. Each gear door has it’s own small servo, and an Arduino controls the sequence of motions.”




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