Hacked Gadgets Forum

October 14, 2014

AirWick Freshmatic Teardown – Bypass Protection Method

at 4:07 am. Filed under Teardown

  AirWick Freshmatic Teardown_8361


You probably have a few of these AirWick Freshmatic room fragrance sprayers in your house. One thing I noticed on the packaging was it could only be used with AirWick refills. I was curious how they could tell the difference between Airwick and generic refill canisters. Turns out there is a Vishay TCNT2000 Reflective Optical Sensor that is at the heart of their protection scheme. It simply looks for the black bars that are printed on the neck of the spray can. As the can is sprayed the sensor is watched to ensure the black bars move past the sensor when expected. If the bars aren’t present the system immediately flashes the red light indicating. You can see in the video below that it continues to monitor the sensor for about a second after the motor is turned off to ensure the plunger eventually moves back to the correct position. The build quality is amazing for a small throw away device. When you consider the device is basically free when you purchase a set of spray cans with the sprayer it reminds me of inkjet printers which were often almost free in the hopes that you will spend hundreds on replacement inkjet cartridges. 

If you end up with a damaged neck label which prevents a can from spraying or if you have some cans that don’t have the the barcode present you can download and print the barcode here, it is basically some 2mm black and white stripes.


AirWick Freshmatic Barcode for Can




October 13, 2014

blueShift – An OpenXC LED Tachometer

at 9:53 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, DIY Hacks

blueShift - An OpenXC LED Tachometer


Inside the custom 3D printed housing Pete Mills built a LED Tachometer which gets engine data from a Open XC ODB2 module via bluetooth. It is looking for RPM and headlight status data from the module to update the user display. The headlamp status is used to dim the LED display when the headlights are automatically turned on by the car.

“An Arduino, some addressable LED’s, a bluetooth module, code and a 3D printer come together to make blueShift – An OpenXC LED Tachometer.  blueShift is so named for the Bluetooth protocol used for data communication, and the use of a tachometer to indicate when to shift your car.”


October 10, 2014

U.S. Navy Autonomous Swarm Robot Boat

at 11:25 pm. Filed under Computer Hacks, Insane Equipment

U.S. Navy Autonomous Swarm Robot Boat


The U.S. Navy is developing Autonomous Swarm Robot Boats. These boats are outfitted with Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing (CARACaS), this technology was developed by NASA for the Mars rover. 

“Navy researchers installed the system on regular 7-foot and 11-foot boats and put them through a series of exercises designed to test behaviors such as escort and swarming attack. The boats escorted a manned Navy ship before breaking off to encircle a vessel acting as a possible intruder. The five autonomous boats then formed a protective line between the intruder and the ship they were protecting.”




October 9, 2014

Robo-Dog made from Scrap Electronics

at 3:24 pm. Filed under DIY Hacks

Robo-Dog made from Scrap Electronics


At a glance this Robo Dog by  looks like something you might find in the toy section of your local department store. Check out the parts below that went into the building of it.

“I used the following materials (probably you can easily find better materials and substitutes):

  • 1 broken mouse (it doesn’t matter where you are; you can always find a broken mouse. Or you can “accidentally” break one.)
  • 1 gearbox (with motor) from a toy. I used the one from a cheap toy weapon. You can use the one from a toy car with good traction.
  • 4 black keys from an ABANDONED AND BROKEN piano. Not the one from your mother in law, not the one from the museum, not the one from the restaurant (just in case, run when you get them)
  • 2 small gears or plastic discs
  • 2 small metallic angles
  • 1 small spring (for the tail)
  • 1 switch (you can find one in a broken toy)
  • 2 plastic coathangers
  • Wires
  • Nuts, screws and iron washers
  • Extra plastic and metal trash
  • Superglue
  • Soldering tin
  • 2 AA batteries
  • 1 AA batteries holder (if you are lucky enough, your can use the one from the toy)”


October 8, 2014

Scam Electronic Teardown – Marc Vincent Surround Sound Receiver – 3D Optics HD-8500 Projector

at 11:20 am. Filed under Funny Hacks


Dave from the EEVBlog got his hands on some junk electronic that is from the typical White Van Scam. Dave got this gear from the garbage room in his building. Some other tenant obviously got scammed and just tossed it out. Rule of thumb is not to buy your high end audio and video gear from the back of a van in a parking lot. In the video we can see that the scam electronics are made to be functional but are very low quality. Funniest thing is the amp has 3 tubes on display behind a glass cover that glows blue when powered up. Turns out the only connections to the tubes are 2 wires for LED power!

You can see a video below of a guy who recorded the typical scam in progress.


October 7, 2014

Acoustic Impulse Marker

at 4:11 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Electronic Hacks

Acoustic Impulse Marker


This Acoustic Impulse Marker project by Adam Wrobel and Michael Grisanti of Cornell University uses 3 microphones to listen for sharp sounds, when a sound is detected the arrival time of the sound to each of the 3 microphones is used to determine where the sound came from. The project uses a ATmega 1284p microcontroller to process the microphone input but analog stages are used to convert a fast rising edge noise into a digital input for the microcontroller to work with easier.

“The core of our system is hardware based analog circuit, which filters, amplifies, and processes the sounds obtained from the microphones. By utilizing hardware for this, we are able to high frequency signal processing without taxing the microcontroller. Also, we remove the need to use the relatively slow ADC of the microcontroller by processing all the analog signals in hardware and converting them to binary digital pulses. However, the main tradeoff here is that the analog hardware limited our accuracy in a way that is very difficult to measure. Every stage of the circuit has real world inefficiencies and tolerances, which could accumulate in minute error. No matter how fast or thorough our software system is, it can only work with the values received from the analog hardware.”


October 5, 2014

Making of an Arduino

at 7:10 pm. Filed under Educational

Making of an Arduino


This video by designboom gives us a glimpse into the making of an Arduino PCB. Arduino boards are still produced in Italy! You can see an interesting picture (last one at the bottom) which shows an arduino in a programming and test fixture. I am quite surprised to see that they are programmed individually, I would have though there might have been either a large program and test system which would have done a panel at a time or an automated line where they were just fed in one end and came out the other end with a pass or fail indication.

“who would ever imagine that global cultural and economic revolution would spring from the tranquil fields of piedmont, italy, in tiny towns nestled against the stunning backdrop of the alps? but that’s exactly where arduino, the system of microcontrollers revolutionzing the maker movement and pioneering the concept of opensource hardware, was born in 2005 and continues to make its home today.”



Making of an Arduino_2


Making of an Arduino_3


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