Hacked Gadgets Forum

February 2, 2016

Nixie Alarm Clock With Time Updated via GPS

at 2:31 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

Nixie Alarm Clock With Time Updated via GPS


This Nixie Alarm Clock project gets the Time Updated via GPS. Not only is there GPS to get an accurate time, this clock also has an SD card that is used to play audio files.

“The firmware for the clock is written in C using Eclipse C/C++ with the AVR Eclipse plugin with avr-gcc and avr-libc 1.8.1

Since the GPS module provides the time in UTC, I need to handle time zone and DST in software. This is actually quite easy since the standard time.h functionality has been implemented in avr-libc 1.8.1. But as I started the development on Linux using 1.8.0 it took me a while to discover the newer avr-libc since there are still no official binary packages for avr-libc 1.8.1 even though it was released more than a year ago.”

January 31, 2016

ESP8266 Brodcasting Analog TV while running a Web Server

at 7:13 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks



CNLohr has been playing with the inexpensive IOT device for quite a while. Check out the ESP8266 Brodcasting Analog TV while running a Web Server. Hard to believe that this small chip is only a few dollars in small quantities. If this chip is in a IOT light bulb or doorbell this thing would be seriously be underused. That would be just like using your brand new android phone to just make phone calls. I look forward in seeing what projects this device finds itself into since it has power and price making it very appealing.

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).”


January 3, 2016

FPGA RGB LED Matrix Driver Project

at 10:22 pm. Filed under Complex Hacks, DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


If you are looking for an interesting FPGA project this FPGA RGB LED Matrix Driver Project looks interesting. There is a great overview of how the project was designed. Interfacing to the large display is quite complex but by doing it using a FPGA they have control over every aspect of what the hardware is doing. The current design uses the display as dumb output which gets what is to be displayed from a bluetooth connected computer.

“The various components of the overall system (PLL, UART, and Display Controller) are shown along with the simulation data. The outputs of the Spartan-6 FPGA board are then measured using a Keysight S-Series oscilloscope. The design of the RGB matrix is also demonstrated using a custom clock interface sent wirelessly to the unit via Bluetooth.”


December 25, 2015

Arduino Christmas Tree

at 4:23 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks


idogendel.com used an Arduino and some shift registers to create this nice looking Christmas Tree Ornament. The LEDs shine through the holes in the box and are diffused using the paper front.

“I built this little Xmas-tree DIY Arduino project to demonstrate the use of the 595 Shift Register ICs (see link below) as output port expanders: 12 bi-color LEDs are handled using three 595’s and just three Arduino pins. “

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.”


December 6, 2015

How Anti-Theft Tags work

at 4:24 pm. Filed under Educational, Electronic Hacks

We have all seen these small tags on items in stores that have high cost and are easy to conceal and walk out of the store with. Since these items are left on the items sold the cost must be small and they need to be simple to de-activate by the cashier when the item have been purchased. The technology turns out be be very clever and extremely low cost. I had always thought the tag was getting energized by a low frequency field and then transmitting. Quite surprising that this technology works as well as it does since these transmit and receive pairs are usually 4 or 5 feet apart in practice. I guess a closed foil lined bag or pocket is all you need to defeat an active tag.


“Anti-theft tags contain a tiny mechanical oscillator that is activated by a magnetic field. The detectors at a shop’s doorway can detect the oscillation magnetically. The tag can be activated and deactivated by magnetizing or demagnetizing it, respectively.”

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