Hacked Gadgets Forum

September 1, 2015

POV Hard Disk Drive Clock

at 3:44 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks


Using an old hard drive, some 1 watt LEDs, a complete redesign of the hard drive motor drive circuit and an Arduino Marcin Gosiewski (damago1) has built a great looking clock. The display is nice and compact since he is using a 3.5 inch hard drive as his base.

“The project involves controlling HDD motor (3 wire brushless dc electric type BLDC) using open loop control without feedback, and using back electric motor force feedback to synchronize engine pulses with optimal point in time for them. Digits are displayed by flashing 1W power LED-s behind rotating disc with painted digits. Each flash is circa 150 microseconds. Due to POV (persistence of vision) effect the digits look very stable for the user. I am not using any special controller. Only Arduino, H-bridges for driving motor coils, and circuit for obtaining BEMF (back elecric motor force) from each coil and converting it to digital (high/low) signal to drive Arduino interrupt. I have designed my own custom board which is a modified Arduino (something between UNO and PRO NANO) + added additional parts including real time clock. It is designed to fit on the back of a standard 3,5″ HDD. Software is very dependent on interrupts. I am using not only officially available interrupts (attachInterrupt) but also additional libraries to use all available timers and interrupts.”

August 5, 2015

FPGA-Based Rubik’s Cube Solver

at 2:00 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks

FPGA-Based Rubik's Cube Solver


Alex Whiteway, Sungjoon Park and Rameez Qurashi built a great FPGA-Based Rubik’s Cube Solver. The system uses 3 robotic grippers to manipulate the cube, a camera to “see” what state the cube is in at the beginning and an Altera Nios II FPGA computes how to solve the cube. There are lots of algorithms available, the team looks at many of them and decided to roll their own solution. It isn’t as optimized as some solutions but was one they could code in the time available. The solution the system takes is the 5 step process seen here

“The software consists of code for cube scanning and solving. The cube scanning works by reading in the raw YUV 444 data from a pixel buffer that the Altera IP video cores use to store data our camera and output it to a VGA screen. The scanning code creates 9 lowpass filter kernels at uniform locations corresponding to the expected location of cubies on each face of the cube. We use these filters on each channel of the YUV data. We chose to do this lowpass filtering to mitigate the effect of noise in individual pixels. We then created threshold values to assign a color value to each cubie based on the result of the lowpass filter of each channel. In order to reduce color misidentifications, we take 25 samples of each kernel and use the mode as the final result. For further error-checking, we compare the total amount of color values for each cubie and check it against the total number of colors of each cubie for a normal Rubik’s cube (9/color) and we rescan the cube if these numbers do not match. Because of limitations with our three arm setup only allowing us to scan 4 faces we have to use the arms to creatively rotate certain faces to present all of the cubies to the scanner, slightly scrambling the original cube orientation more in the process. This method will not allow us to present the left and right center cubies, but these are inferred in software. After the cube is finished scanning, it sends the color values of the faces to the cube solving code.”



FPGA-Based Rubik's Cube Solver_2 

May 12, 2015

Raspberry Pi Weather Station

at 11:19 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Raspberry Pi Weather Station


Yes you can purchase weather stations that are ready to go but where is the fun in that? The Raspberry Pi Weather Station is designed for people who like to take control of their technology. 

 “WeatherPi is a solar powered Raspberry Pi WiFi connected weather station designed for Makers by SwitchDoc Labs. This is a great system to build and tinker with. All of it is modifiable and all source code is included. The most important functions are:

  • Senses 20 different environmental values
  • Completely Solar Powered
  • Has a full database containing history of the environment (MySQL)
  • Monitors and reports lots of data on the solar powered system – great for education!
  • Self contained and monitored for brownouts and power issues
  • Can be modified remotely
  • Download your data to crunch it on your PC
  • Can be modified to do SMS (Text) messaging, Twitters, webpages and more
  • Has an iPad Based Control Panel”


Raspberry Pi Weather Station_2

December 27, 2014

Airship Captain MK-I – Steampunk Keyboard

at 6:42 am. Filed under Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets

Airship Captain MK-I - Steampunk Keyboard


If your computer keyboard looks a bit plain why not kick it up a notch? built this Airship Captain MK-I – Steampunk Keyboard that was built around an every day keyboard and by spending a bit of time and a few extra pieces you get an amazing data entry device.

“Tools used:

scissors and x-acto knives also used heavy duty cutter for cutting the plastic keys



a keyboard

glue(any kind will do, i used r21 and wood glue)

nail polish or any kind of polish will do(wood polish)

brass buttons – i used two sizes for emphasizing some keys like the ctrl and shift etc..

vintage ish looking paper(looks a bit like a scroll paper)

guitar strap pins

fabric of your choice

friction lid support – which is basicly a window hardware, but you can also use other hardware parts or make something similar your own, which is what i would have done if i would redo this.”

December 13, 2014

Internet Controlled Robots

at 2:34 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks

 Internet Controlled Robots_2


These Internet Controlled Robots are not available to play with all the time but if you keep an eye on the Twitter channel you will have a chance to have a look and give them a try when they are online next.

“I only put together one robot kit previously, then these two robots both started as Activity Bots.
I hooked up a Raspberry Pi with an HD camera, went through a few wifi options, and got the robot to stream video to twitch.tv and take commands from users via their chat. Later i added the Aruduino for using neopixels and some other future features. We’ve also been making dungeons around the house, made out of cardboard, making quests, and other things for people to do and explore.”


Internet Controlled Robots

November 22, 2014

Electron Microscope Image Capture with an Oscilloscope

at 2:06 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, Insane Equipment


What to do after you get your hands on a discarded scanning electron microscope. Ben Krasnow from Applied Science took the signal directly out of the device and fed it into a DSO. He was then able to capture it at a much higher resolution than is displayed on the original CRT that came with the unit. The results are incredible.


November 6, 2014

EWaste 3DPrinter

at 10:53 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Computer Hacks, Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks

EWaste 3DPrinter


If you think the price of 3D printers is hitting the floor check out what built for $60. About 80% of this EWaste 3DPrinter is recycled computer parts which is abundant and readily available.

“First of all, we learn how a generic CNC system works (by assembling and calibrating bearings, guides and threads) and then teach the machine to respond to g-code instructions. After that, we add a small plastic extruder and give an overview on plastic extrusion calibration, driver power tuning and other few operations that will bring the printer to life. Following this instructions you will get a small footprint 3D Printer that is built with about an 80% of recycled components, which gives it a great potential and helps to reduce the cost significantly.”


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