Hacked Gadgets Forum

October 3, 2016

PID Motor Speed Controller Example

at 10:24 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Educational, Electronic Hacks


SomethingUnreal has built a simple system to demonstrate how a PID Motor Speed Controller works. The system is spinning a piece of cardboard on a toy DC motor. The motor is powered by an H Bridge. An optical sensor provides feedback to the system so that it can see the actual speed and adjust the H Bridge accordingly. The software running on the PC is very nice as it allows for lots of variable playing and graphical output so you can see what the system is doing.



June 7, 2016

Introduction to Analog to Digital Conversion (ADC)

at 2:01 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Educational


Bil Herd goes through a great Introduction to Analog to Digital Conversion. These days it is very simple to grab an analog reading and use it with a microcontroller with ease. This is because modern microcontrollers often have one or many ADC built in. Not that long ago a  would have been needed, this is still the case if a special ADC is needed for things such as high precision or very fast acquisition. Below you can see some items from the Microchip PIC 16 line of microcontrollers. This is just showing about a 5th of the available chips that can do ADC and it is sorted from cheapest to most expensive. Doesn’t take long looking at this chart to see that you can really get some big bang for the buck here. In volume the PIC 16F18323 will cost about $0.57 and this 14 pin count chip will give you 11 ADC inputs at a max resolution of 10 bits.








May 28, 2016

IOT Long Runtime

at 6:18 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Educational, Electronic Hacks



With the adoption of IOT long runtime on battery power is something that is a huge concern. We don’t mind charging our smartphones daily but if we have a dozen IOT devices in our home we would like them to be invisible and just operate for as long as possible without needing attention. Andreas Spiess has done some research using the popular ESP8266 and a variety of batteries. In his test he was sending data to an IOT database every 2 minutes but for many cases you may only need the device to wake and transmit once per hour, this would greatly extend the battery life.





May 22, 2016

Spring 2016 Cornell University ECE 5760 Advanced Microcontrollers Final Projects

at 8:09 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Educational, Electronic Hacks



It is that time again! There is a new batch of Cornell University ECE 5760 Advanced Microcontrollers Final Projects. If you have done any PID work in the past the FPGA controlled Magnetic Levitation by Gautham Ponnu, Ryan Land, Nathan Spallone should be of interest. They are using a Altera DE2-115 FPGA board to monitor and control a steel ball about 1mm above the position sensor with great accuracy.
“The LDC1000 inductive sensor from Texas Instruments. This device acts as a mini “metal detector” and tells us, albeit in a nonlinear fashion, the height of the ball. The output is nonlinear because it is measuring the presence of metal through inductance, not the direct elevation of the ball from the sensor.”




February 15, 2016

Microchip MPLAB Xpress Cloud-based IDE

at 5:04 pm. Filed under Educational



If you have ever installed MPLAB on your development machine you know how heavy this software is. Microchip has now given you a nice light weight option. MPLAB Xpress Cloud-based IDE is now available and will let you get up and running in no time.

Thanks for the tip James.

“MPLAB Xpress is a perfect starting point for new users of PIC Microcontrollers – no downloads, no machine configuration, and no waiting to get started on your system development.

MPLAB Xpress incorporates the latest version of MPLAB Code Configurator, which enables users to automatically generate initialization and application C code for 8-bit Microcontrollers using a graphical interface and pin map.

With massive amounts of storage available to users, you can store your current projects in the Cloud. The Community feature allows you to share your ideas with others, or gain inspiration from the shared code repository.

Best of all, MPLAB Xpress IDE is FREE, and can be accessed from any Internet-connected PC or Mac, anywhere in the world.”

January 26, 2016

How Brushless DC Motor and Electronic Speed Controllers work

at 9:49 pm. Filed under Educational, Electronic Hacks


GreatScott! has created a great video showing how Brushless DC Motor and Electronic Speed Controllers work. We see lots of these in quadcopters these days. The basic DC motor is popular and simple to control but as more things are using brushless motors it is nice to know how they work.

“Brushless DC electric motor (BLDC motors, BL motors) also known as electronically commutated motors (ECMs, EC motors) are synchronous motors that are powered by a DC electric source via an integrated inverter/switching power supply, which produces an AC electric signal to drive the motor. In this context, AC, alternating current, does not imply a sinusoidal waveform, but rather a bi-directional current with no restriction on waveform. Additional sensors and electronics control the inverter output amplitude and waveform (and therefore percent of DC bus usage/efficiency) and frequency (i.e. rotor speed).”


December 13, 2015

IR Shooting Game Project – Laser Duel

at 11:10 pm. Filed under Educational, Electronic Hacks, Game Hacks


Laser Duel is a project made by XiaoXing Zhao, Fred Kummer and Douglas Katz for their ECE 4760  Final Project. The two guns use Nordic nRF24L01 radio transceivers to talk back to a base station which monitors the game play and keeps score. Each gun has some visual indications so the players can see what the health is and there is also a speaker for some audible indications for things such game over.

“Each gun has an infrared emitter for shooting and an infrared detector that detects if the player using the gun was shot. We designed the shooting mechanism such that when the player presses a trigger on the gun a 38 kHz infrared wave will be emitted. If such IR radiation is detected by another gun, then the shot registers as a hit and the player being hit will lose one point of health. Each player starts off with 8 health and the game will end once a player reaches 0 lives, or if someone operating the basestation signals to end the game early. We equipped the guns with a ultra low power radio that sends vital statistics about the player such as player health and player identification to the base station.”


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