Hacked Gadgets Forum

April 3, 2014

Thermometer and Hygrometer with Analog Displays

at 11:48 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks

Thermometer and Hygrometer with Analog Displays


 Kerry Wong built this Thermometer and Hygrometer with Analog Displays instead of the typical digital display.

 Via: Electronics Labs and Dangerous Prototypes

 ”The circuit itself is as simple as it gets. SHT21 is mounted on a breakout board and connected to the ATMega328p board via ribbon cable. The sensor is placed at some distance away from the MCU board so that the measurement is not affected by the heat dissipated by the MCU and it’s surrounding circuitry. Because SHT21 operates at 3.3V, an MCP1700 regulator is used to provide 3.3V voltage to the sensor and the MCU. The servos I used are MG90s but you can pretty much use any servos you have on hand. The servos are powered via the pre-regulated 5V power supply and are attached to digital pin 9 and 10 on the Arduino board.”


April 2, 2014

Nixie Bargraph Clock

at 4:03 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Nixie Bargraph Clock


This is a cool Nixie Bargraph Clock that has an hour and minute tube, the heights of the plasma in each tube indicates the time. There are some wires wrapped around the tubes so you can easily see what time it is without estimating.  The electronics are tucked out of sight in a box out of sight so when you are admiring the clock you don’t see the modern electronics which adds a nice touch of class. There are full details on the build so you could build your own, please note that since there is a Nixie tube in the project high voltages in the range of 140 volts are present making it a dangerous project if you are not careful.


Nixie Bargraph Clock_2

March 26, 2014

Etch A Sketch Laser Cutter

at 2:20 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Etch A Sketch Laser Cutter


Laser machines are very useful pieces of gear. You can send a very precise file to it and it will cut or etch it perfectly and accurately as many times as you like. The entire machine is built with accuracy and repeatability in mind, so what if you want to have some analog fun with it? You would need to do some hacking just like our friend Martin Raynsford from Just Add Sharks has done with his laser cutter. Martin has converted his laser cutter into a huge etch a sketch! He has made it so that the laser is only activated when the unit is moving, high power cuts out shapes and low power etches. A few rotary encoders are read by an Arduino Pro Mini which feeds movement signals into the stepper motor controllers.

Want to see it in person hand has a go at driving it? It will be featured at some of the upcoming UK Maker Faires.


March 3, 2014

Easy Stepper Motor Tester

at 11:44 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks



 There are lots of simply boxes to test servo motors but there is a bit of a void when it comes to stepper motor testers. Kenneth Weiss has built the Easy Stepper Motor Controller to fill the need. By plugging in some power and the stepper, you will be able to start testing in seconds instead of writing some sample code, building up a driver circuit etc. When you just want to see if a stepper is up to the job or when you are junking some old printers it would be nice to be able to do a quick 5 second test to see if the motor is good or a dud. You can buy the unit here and you can see the build details of the unit here (including some prototype pictures)

 ”Just hook up whatever power supply (between 8 and 24V, AC or DC) you have lying around to the screw terminals or the barrel jack connector and whatever stepper driven device you have to the motor output pin header or screw terminal and you are ready to go.

The controls are really simple.
When the potentiometer is centered the stepper motor will stand still.
When the potentiometer is turned clockwise the stepper motor will start turning in one direction.
The further you turn the potentiometer the faster the motor turns and when you turn the potentiometer back the stepper will slow down again.
When you turn the potentiometer counterclockwise past the center the stepper motor will start turning in the other direction.
The two buttons are for fast forward and fast backwards.
With the MS1-2-3 jumpers you can set the microstep resolution on the Polulu/Stepstick.
The Use-Enable solder jumper should not be used with the standard firmware.”




February 25, 2014

Remote Flower Watering Project

at 12:55 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Remote Flower Watering Project_2


Lucy Matchett, Nicole Yi Messier, and Joselyn McDonald used Spacebrew to make this Remote Flower Watering Project. This fun little project uses a photoresistor to detect when a watering cup has been lifted off the base and sends this information to the remote unit, the remote unit then pours the water that has been prepared onto the plant using a small servo motor.The only issue is that someone on the remote side needs to full up the little cup so that it can be poured at some point, of course they could just pour it themselves at this point. I think a large vessel of water (something like a 2 liter pop bottle) that is connected with a solenoid valve would be an ideal upgrade, instead of pouring a small cup of water allow a metered dose of water to flow when activated. Of course the actual specific project is not the point, it is the building blocks that are learned by seeing the project are the useful part here!


Forget Me Not Remote Flower Watering from Joselyn Neon McDonald on Vimeo.


Remote Flower Watering Project

February 21, 2014

Inductive Loop Vehicle Present Sensor

at 11:48 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Inductive Loop Vehicle Present Sensor


When leaving a parking garage have you ever wondered how the gate knows how to close only after you have pulled out? The magic lies below the concrete, there is an inductive loop in the ground under the gate arm. It sensed the presence of your car and lets the gate close only once your car can no longer be detected. You can also see these loops used in modern intersections to control the traffic lights as efficiently as possible, for example when there are no cars in the turn lane there is no need to waste 30 seconds flashing the turn arrow while holding back the through traffic.  

Thanks to our friend Muris for creating a DIY Inductive Loop Vehicle Present Sensor and providing all the details so you can build your own or modify the design for your own needs. It has a PIC16F877A to control the show and has a ton of adjustability so it can be used for almost any situation.


  • Tuning: Automatic
  • Detection type: Presence/Pulse
  • Presence time: Adjustable in 4 steps (default: 11 min, 33 min, 55 min, infinity)
  • Pulse duration: 100 ms / 500 ms
  • Signal filtering: Adjustable in 4 steps (LOW, MED-LOW, MED-HI, HI)
  • Coil/loop inductance: 20 uH – 1000 uH
  • Frequency range: 40 kHz – 140 kHz
  • Frequency adjustment: 4 steps (LOW, MED-LOW, MED-HI, HI)
  • Sensitivity: 0.001\% – 0.5\% digital in 8 configurable steps
  • Detection speed: <10 ms (with LOW filtering stage and loop frequency of 40 kHz)
  • Startup time: ~8 sec
  • Power supply: 7-40 V DC / 5-28 V AC
  • Current consumption: ~0.035 A
  • Protection: Galvanic isolation + gas discharge tube for lightning protection”



February 20, 2014

Arduino Network Uptime Monitor via Twitter

at 8:02 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Arduino Network Uptime Monitor via Twitter


If you want to know when your network is having issues and have some Arduino gear kicking around this Uptime Monitor Project by www.hackshed.co.uk allows you to get instant Twitter updates as soon as there are problems.

Thanks to Steve for sending this in.

“It was actually surprisingly easy; we had the Twitter posting code from the previous project and we found an Arduino ICMP library so that we could test a ping to the hosts and see if it was responding or not, we added this to our task scheduling code and the rest just fell into place.”

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