Hacked Gadgets Forum

July 29, 2014

Arduino GSM Home Automation System

at 11:27 am. Filed under Computer Hacks

Arduino Home Automation System


Timofte Andrei shows us how he built his Arduino Home Automation System. The video below is in Romanian but with the English Instructable and video overview you can get a good idea of what is going on. He has went all out and built an Arduino clone for the brain of the system.

 “For this project I’ve used:

1. An Arduino clone
3. Relay module
4. 2×16 LCD Display
5. DS18B20 temperature sensor
6. Push button
7. Some Dupont wires
8. A led module (this is optional, if you have a chinese relay module with built in LEDs)
9. Some nuts and bolts to mount everything in place
10. A wooden chopping board or other kind of wooden board for propper display of the components”


May 11, 2014

Adware Driving Me Crazy

at 4:52 am. Filed under Computer Hacks



These days people who design circuits usually do so on a computer, the days of pencil and paper are almost all but gone. The issue is that your computer is probably working harder on useless background tasks than it is running your design software. We will go through some of the things to take back control of your computer so you can get some productive work done rather and hopefully avoid a few coupon popups and browser toolbars.

In the video I mentioned that I was installing a piece of software that I had ensured was genuine. Turns out that there is a bit of a twist there also, I needed a piece of software that would allow me to determine the color of any pixel displayed on my computer. My need specifically was to determine the actual color of a background of a website. I had used this type of software in the past but could not remember the name. I did a search and came up with a site that was doing some reviews of this type of software. I selected Just Color Picker by Anny Studio to try out. You can see in the screen capture below that as I scrolled down the page I accidentally clicked on a Google Ad that took me to an install page for Image Editor with the familiar download button. At the bottom of the Image Editor page you can see that they mention that there is some bundled software with their product. At this point I am still angry, at myself for not seeing that this was a Google Ad that I clicked on, at Anny Studio for placing Google Ads on the page (can’t say much with this though since I also run Google Ads), at Google for allowing deceptive ads to be run in this way and at the company behind Image Editor who is clogging up peoples computers with adware just to make a buck.

Now just because I was tricked into installing this software don’t put your guard down, this might have had the most occurrences of adware that I have ever seen but you can typically find 2 to 4 of these pieces of software being snuck into many legitimate installations of software.


If someone just clicked next on each of the items this is a list of the software that would have been conveniently installed for them.

  • My Search Dial
  • Webget
  • Find Coupons
  • Linkey
  • My PC Backup
  • RegClean Pro
  • Optimizer Pro
  • Discover PC Cleaner
  • Price Meter


So how do you see what is slowing down your computer and what can you do about it?

  • Go through the Add Remove Programs in your Windows Control Panel and uninstall everything that you will never use again and have a good look for programs that got snuck in here without your knowledge.
  • Look at all of the programs in your Windows tray, things such as Skype might not be needed to start automatically. A Windows program called Autoruns can help you determine everything that is starting up automatically so you can make the decision what you would like to launch only when you need it. Of course you can still use the tried and true MSCONFIG by typing that into the run dialog.
  • Remove useless toolbars that have been installed into your browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc)


Hopefully some of these tips ads a bit of productivity to your day and takes away from some of your slow computer frustration.





February 4, 2014

Fluke 196B Handheld ScopeMeter Repair

at 1:37 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, Electronic Hacks


Over at The Signal Path Blog  Shahriar Shahramian has a look at a Fluke 196B Handheld ScopeMeter that he purchased from an eBay seller. The meter was purchased for a few hundred dollars and was listed with a fault that is doesn’t power up. It didn’t come with probes, a back cover or the battery. Shahriar was ready for a full tear down and hopefully a repair but as it turns out the meter worked just fine! Not sure how cheap these surplus dealers get some of these test gear lots but I am guessing it is pennies on the dollar of operational value and they just sell them as non working because they can’t be bothered (or don’t have the capability) of performing any functional testing. Good thing is we get to see a full tear down of the meter along the way. At 32:40 you can see an interesting method of chip cooling and shielding that fluke has used in this unit. This thing is built very well as you would imagine for the price point and the fact that it is a Fluke.

January 19, 2014

Car Computer Build

at 6:58 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks

Car Computer Build


Even the most modern cars (except possibly ones made by Tesla) don’t provide much computing power that the user can harness. EEVBlog user Ptodorov wanted to have the power of a mini computer in his car. Only thing is a computer doesn’t interface with real world things like door switches and turn signals very well. To interface with the car hardware an Arduino and a relay module was used. Things haven’t been all smooth sailing though since the system has gone haywire while driving and the system does draw a bit too much current when off but it is a great start and inspiration.

“For the last 5-6 months everything ran fairly smoothly with a few glitches and bugs. But a few weeks ago all hell broke loose
while I was driving. Suddenly left and right blinkers started flashing, the headlights started blinking and doors kept locking and unlocking.
This kept happening for a good 30 seconds. Fortunately there were no other cars around me. Also when the winter came the arduino started draining the battery more noticeably, after leaving the car for several days it didn’t start with the first turn of the key even trough I’m putting the MCU in sleep and waking it on an interrupt from the remote control. The battery drain was 250mA and after I disconnected everything I’ve done from the car it drop down to 120mA.”


October 26, 2013

Ball-Balancing Robot

at 7:09 am. Filed under Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Ball-Balancing Robot_3


So if making a robot that can be remotely controlled wasn’t a tough enough challenge the guys over at Ufactory decided to make one that can roll around on a ball. Great looking design and it sounds like they are going to do a Kickstarter for it and release it as open source hardware to the community. I can’t wait to see a larger version that can be ridden around!

Via: Make

“The hardware may include: Gyro sensor, Accelerometer, Geomagnetic sensor, Wireless module, WIFI module, Camera, Kinect, STM32 MCU, Atmega16 MCU, Brushed DC motor (with gear box), encoder, DC motor driver, Controller power supply and motor power supply.”



September 12, 2013

Open Agitator using a CD-ROM Drive Drawer

at 12:11 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

 Open Agitator using a CD-ROM Drive Drawer_20 


 Rohit Gupta needed a way to speed up PCB etching. Heating the etchant and agitating it are both well known ways of speeding up the process. If you are on a DIY budget this normally means you will be stuck sloshing the etchant back and forth for 10 minutes or so. Rohit developed the Open Agitator which uses a CD-ROM Drive Drawer to shake a tray back and forth. A MSP430 microcontroller and an L293D H bridge motor controller are used to power the CD-ROM drive motor, recycled mouse buttons are used as end stop sensors. This is a great project since is simply adds a simple circuit to a platform that most of us have laying around in our junk bins. 

Via: Dangerous Prototypes



Open Agitator using a CD-ROM Drive Drawer_17

August 17, 2013

Raspberry Pi Cluster Web Server

at 6:40 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, Electronic Hacks

_Raspberry Pi Cluster Web Server


The raspberrywebserver.com is running on this Raspberry Pi Cluster Web Server. Visit the site to see all of the details so you can build your own. Steve figures that a 20 Raspberry Pi cluster would be equivalent to a PC server so it isn’t as powerful as a full blown server but it feels very fast and responsive when I tried it!

Via: HG Comments

“Clusters can be used as web servers. Many web sites get too much traffic to run on a single server, so several servers have to be used. Requests from web browsers are received by a node called a load balancer, which forwards requests to worker servers. The load balancer then forwards responses from servers back to the clients.

This site is now hosted on a Raspberry Pi cluster. The worker nodes are standard web servers that contain identical content. I just installed Apache on them and copied my site to each node.”

Internal Links:



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