Hacked Gadgets Forum

November 12, 2015

Teardown of an Arduino based Industrial PLC

at 9:05 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks, Insane Equipment, Teardown


Peter Oakes goes over a Arduino based Industrial PLC system called Industrial Shields. If you are an Arduino programmer and are looking to incorporate your design into something that is a bit more robust this might be for you. I was thinking the system would just use some of the standard Atmel chips that are common in Arduino systems and just use the IDE for programming but it actually incorporates the real Arduino boards. Of course there is not much protection on the normal Arduino boards since that would add a lot of expense and for a quick and dirty project would not normally be needed.

The system comes with a modular DIN rail system which allows for module replacement and addition flexibility. The parts that are used in the system is high quality and looks to be built very robustly. Looks like everything is opto isolated to prevent an external fault from taking out your entire control system. Much of the terminal blocks are pluggable which also aids in fast module replacements. Only thing that looks a bit janky is the wiring harness that can be seen at 41:30 which seems like it could have been better designed.

“The brand is “Industrial Shield” and they are from a company in Barcelona, Spain called “Boot and Work S.L.”
One of the really cool things about these PLCs is that they are based on Open Source Hardware in the form of an Arduino Leonardo or the Arduino MEGA2560… yes the real thing, no modifications aside from providing an industrial strength interfacing circuits around them, wrapped up in a nice industrial DIN rail mountable package including full 24V operation, 0-10V analog in and out as well as isolated relay outputs and OPTO isolated digital inputs and outputs”


October 8, 2015

Solar Security Light Teardown

at 7:56 pm. Filed under Electronic Hacks, Teardown


John Schuch does a Solar Security Light Teardown, the device is to be used in his HackaDay Prize Entry. It often makes sense hacking an off the shelf product instead of designing and building your own especially when the device needs to last in the outdoor elements. John has seen first hand what happens to unprotected powered electronics when exposed even for a short time to the elements on his project page.  

“Rather than spending a whole lot of time finding domestic suppliers of small photovoltaic panels and trying to spec a nicad or nimh battery pack, I decided to buy a “60 LED Solar Security Light” from Harbor Freight just a few miles from here.”


October 4, 2015

Solar Dancing Pumpkin Teardown

at 11:40 pm. Filed under Teardown



Ever see a little solar dancing flowers on someones desk? This Dancing Pumpkin is the Halloween version of that little decoration. I spotted it in a store for around a dollar and it was wondering how they could make it this cheap. Watch the video to see what’s inside, not knowing their was a coil glued to the base I almost destroyed the coil while with my screwdriver while trying to pry the bottom off. Like all other mass produced items like digital watches and cheap calculators there is a mystery IC bonded directly to the tiny PCB and covered by a blob of epoxy. The construction is very simple it consists of a solar cell, a capacitor, the magic IC, a coil and a magnet.

The pumpkin dances when the pendulum with the magnet is swung back and forth. The position of the coil is slightly off center of the magnet which allows the coil to gently start pulling the magnet towards the coil with small pulses. After 5 or 6 pulses it has enough momentum to continue with a large swing. The unit works fine with as little as 500 lux and draws only 85 micro amps when in constant operation. I am very impressed that this cheaply mass produced item can swing with sufficiently low resistance to operate reliably.



September 26, 2015

A Look inside a Daisy Wheel Typewriter

at 11:20 pm. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Teardown


This teardown that thegeekgroup did reminds me of technology gone by. There are lots of variations of this. The one I used had a different type of ink ribbon cartridge it was a ink impregnated cloth that would auto recycle so your text would just get fainter and fainter over time. If you want to change the font you just replace the font wheel. I am surprised that there is no sensor to prevent it from typing if there is no font wheel or ribbon cartridge. Interesting that there was no cover on the EPROM. I am thinking it must have been replaced by a field tech since I am sure it would have been covered out of the factory. One thing you can see is the construction and drive train was designed with serviceability and longevity in mind. I would like to see what it would look like if it were built today. It would weigh about 5 pounds and last about a year printing a few pages a day. With a bit of work 2 of these printers would make a nice small CNC machine. 



August 9, 2015

Sound Activated Touchlight Teardown

at 11:04 pm. Filed under Teardown


A look inside an inexpensive Sound Activated Touchlight. This product was purchased from Princess Auto in the surplus section. There are just a handful of components that makes it work since this was probably a 4 or 5 dollar product when it was in a regular retail store. I purchased it for about a dollar. In touch mode the push dome simply presses a push on/push off button. In the sound mode it takes the output of the microphone which is AC coupled to a single transistor amplifier. This mic signal charges a large electrolytic capacitor which slowly discharges, while it is greater than 1.1 volts the lamp lights. A photocell prevents the automatic sound operation from operating when there is sufficient ambient light. I was surprised to see a lamp in this thing but I guess it could be 10 years old when lamps were still common in battery operated lights. The current draw is quite significant when lighting at more than 1/2 and amp at 6 volts. To bring things a bit more up to date a few under driven 1 watt LEDs were installed to allow this device to operate for much longer than it would with the light bulb.

January 8, 2015

Wavetek 1045 RF Power Meter Teardown – A Look into 80 Tech Gear

at 8:04 pm. Filed under Teardown

Wavetek 1045 RF Power Meter Teardown - A Look into 80 Tech Gear


Easiest way to take a step back in time is to crack open the top of some old tech gear. Kerry Wong got a Wavetek 1045 RF Power Meter from eBay and cracked it open. It was built in the 80’s. I love how far everything is spaced out and that it looks to be built with serviceability in mind. 

Via: Dangerous Prototypes

“All boards are double sided and components are mounted on a single side only (common practice for through hole components placement). After removing the side panel, each board can be taken out by pulling the two tabs on the board. The two boards that are visible from the top are the control board (A1) and the IEEE interface board (A11).”

December 2, 2014

100 Amp Double Pole Breaker Teardown

at 7:59 pm. Filed under Teardown

100 Amp Double Pole Breaker Teardown _8787


I had one of these Siemens 100 Amp Double Pole Breakers go bad I was curious what went wrong. The failure mode was one phase was good under a load of 20 or 30 amps but the second phase dropped to around 60 or 70 VAC under load. You can see in the video that the copper braided cable had a weld that failed. I make some wrong assumptions along the way, I had always thought that double pole breakers were simply 2 single pole breakers bolted together as one unit and didn’t have any interaction other than the linking bar. As you will see in the video they have a mechanism of tripping each other. The trip mechanism is quite simple, it was tested with a direct application of heat rather than enough current to actually trip it since I am thinking it would take a sustained 120 or 130 amps to make it trip and I don’t have anything that can supply that kind of current.

To see the pictures of the breaker in Hi Res click here.




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