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Retrotechtacular: The First Atlas Launch

2 hours 51 minก่อน

As the Cold War conflict expanded in the 1950s, the Soviet Union dry-tested a hydrogen bomb and defense tactics became a top priority for the United States. Seeking to create a long-range nuclear missile option, the Air Force contracted Convair Astronautics to deliver SM-65 Atlas, the first in series of ICBMs. In the spotlight this week is a sort of video progress report which shows the first launch from Cape Canaveral’s LC-14 on June 11, 1957.

After the angle of attack probe is unsheathed, everyone moves out of the way. The launch is being monitored by base central control, but the swingin’ spot to spectate is the blockhouse. They have a periscope and everything. As the countdown continues, liquid oxygen pipelines whistle and wail into the idyllic Florida afternoon with the urgency of a thousand teakettles. Cameras and tracking equipment are readied, and the blockhouse’s blast door is sealed up tight.

Around T-3 minutes, it’s time to run down the go/no-go checklist in the blockhouse. It is at this point that we find out this launch was under a 10-hour countdown, which has gone exactly as planned. Some top-secret things are bleeped out on the soundtrack, but we are allowed to know the objectives of this test, which are to prove the basic elements. These include the durability of the airframe, the launching mechanics, autopilot fallback, propulsion, and overall flight stability. There’s another checklist at the two-minute warning, and the angle is set to [redacted]. At long last, it’s time to launch the [redacted] thing.

Atlas launched successfully and was stable for a little while. Shortly after launch, one engine failed and then another. Because of this, the Range Safety Officer remotely destroyed it. Debris fell all over the base and in the sea, but most of the major components were recovered for their precious data. All in all, many things went well or at least satisfactorily, and the Convair Astronautics division of General Dynamics didn’t lose their contract.

Atlas models were only in the ICBM business for a short time. Most notably, they launched the first American astronauts into orbit and enjoyed a long, illustrious career launching satellites.

Retrotechtacular is a weekly column featuring hacks, technology, and kitsch from ages of yore. Help keep it fresh by sending in your ideas for future installments.

[Thanks for sending this in, James. Happy Space Week!]


Filed under: Retrotechtacular

Atmel and Arduino Announce Wi-Fi Shield 101 at World Maker Faire

อังคาร, 09/30/2014 - 21:00

Atmel and Arduino teamed up at World Maker Faire to introduce the Wi-Fi shield 101. [Gary] from Atmel gave us the lowdown on this new shield and its components. The shield is a rather spartan affair, carrying only devices of note: an Atmel WINC1500 WiFi module, and an ATECC108 crypto chip.

The WINC1500 is a nifty little WiFi module in its own right. WINC handles IEEE 802.11 b/g/n at up to 72 Mbps. 72Mbps may not sound like much by today’s standards, but it’s plenty fast for most embedded applications. WINC handles all the heavy lifting of the wireless connection. Connectivity is through SPI, UART or I2C, though on the Arduino shield it will be running in SPI mode.

The ATECC108 is a member of Atmel’s “CryptoAuthentication” family. It comes packaged in an 8-pin SOIC, and is compatible with serial I2C EEPROM specifications. Internally the similarities to serial EEPROMs end. The ‘108 has a 256-bit SHA engine in hardware, as well as a Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) level random number generator. Atmel sees this chip as being at the core of secure embedded systems. We think it’s pretty darn good, so long as we don’t hear about it at the next DEFCON.

The Wi-Fi shield 101 and associated libraries should be out in January 2015. We can’t wait to see all the new projects (and new ways to blink an LED) the shield will enable.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, wireless hacks

3D Printing of Parameterized Speaker Enclosures

อังคาร, 09/30/2014 - 18:00

Despite what you would gather from looking at a mess of wires, carpet, and MDF in the back of a Honda Civic hatchback, building speaker enclosures is a pretty complex business. To get the right frequency response, you’ll need to take into account the driver’s resonant frequency, the volume of any internal components, and how well the speaker works when it reaches the resonant frequency. Heady stuff, but when [Rich] at NothingLabs started 3D printing his own speaker enclosures, he realized he could calculate an ideal enclosure automatically. Ah, the joys of OpenSCAD.

[Rich] wrote a bit of OpenSCAD and put it up on the Thingiverse Customizer, allowing anyone to manually enter a box volume, height and width ratio, size for a speaker hole, and even bass ports.

There are a few really cool features for this way of constructing speaker enclosures; assembly is a snap, and it’s most likely air tight right out of the printer. [Rich] printed an enclosure for a 3″ driver that has a frequency response down to 66Hz – an extremely impressive piece of work. Video below.


Filed under: 3d Printer hacks

Finding a Shell in a Bose SoundTouch

อังคาร, 09/30/2014 - 15:00

Bose, every salesperson’s favorite stereo manufacturer, has a line of WiFi connected systems available. It’s an impressively innovative product, able to connect to Internet Radio, Pandora, music libraries stored elsewhere on the network. A really great idea, and since this connects to a bunch of web services, you just know there’s a Linux shell in there somewhere. [Michael] found it.

The SoundTouch is actually rather easy to get into. The only real work to be done is connecting to port 17000, turning remote services on, and then connecting with telnet. The username is root.

The telnet service on port 17000 is actually pretty interesting, and we’re guessing this is what the SoundTouch iOS app uses for all its wizardry. [Michael] put a listing of the ‘help’ command up on pastebin, and it looks like there are commands for toggling GPIOs, futzing around with Pandora, and references to a Bluetooth module.

Interestingly, when [Michael] first suspected there could be Linux inside this box, he contacted Bose support for any information. He figured out how to get in on his own, before Bose emailed him back saying the information is proprietary in nature.


Filed under: digital audio hacks, linux hacks

Multi Input IR Remote Control Repeater

อังคาร, 09/30/2014 - 12:00

[Peter]‘s folks’ cable company is terrible – such a surprise for a cable TV provider – and the digital part of their cable subscription will only work with the company’s cable boxes. The cable company only rents the boxes with no option to buy them, and [Peter]‘s folks would need five of them for all the TVs in the house, even though they would only ever use two at the same time. Not wanting to waste money, [Peter] used coax splitters can take care of sending the output of one cable box to multiple TVs, but what about the remotes? For that, he developed an IR remote control multidrop extender. With a few small boards, he can run a receiver to any room in the house and send that back to a cable box, giving every TV in the house digital cable while still only renting a single cable box.

The receiver module uses the same type of IR module found in the cable box to decode the signals from the remote. With a few MOSFETs, this signal is fed over a three-position screw terminal to the transmitter module stationed right next to the cable box. This module uses a PIC12F microcontroller to take the signal input and translate it back into infrared.

[Peter]‘s system can be set up as a single receiver, and single transmitter, single receiver and multiple transmitter, many receivers to multiple transmitters, or just about any configuration you could imagine. The setup does require running a few wires through the walls of the house, but even that is much easier than whipping out the checkbook every month for the cable company.

Video below.


Filed under: home entertainment hacks

Internet of Things Refrigerator Alarm

อังคาร, 09/30/2014 - 09:00

For anyone who gets a late-night craving for anything out of the refrigerator and needs some help in the willpower department, [Claudio] may have the project for you. He has just finished work on a project that sends out an alarm when the refrigerator door opens, alerting others that you’re on the prowl for munchies.

The device uses a light sensor connected to an OpenPicus IoT kit that contains a FlyportPRO Wi-Fi module. When the refrigerator door is opened, the device sends out an email message via a web server, which can be sent to whomever you choose. All of the project’s code and instructions are available on the project site as well.

The project is pretty clever in that no actual interfacing with the refrigerator is required, beyond running a power cable through the seal of the door (although [Claudio] notes that the device will run on a lithium battery as an option). The web server itself can be set up to send out alarms during any timeframe as well, allowing a user to customize his or her nighttime snacking window. If you’re looking for a less subtle approach, we’d recommend the fridge speakers with a volume setting of 11.


Filed under: home hacks

Mining Bitcoins with Pencil and Paper

อังคาร, 09/30/2014 - 06:00

Right now there are thousands of computers connected to the Internet, dutifully calculating SHA-256 hashes and sending their results to other peers on the Bitcoin network. There’s a tremendous amount of computing power in this network, but [Ken] is doing it with a pencil and paper. Doing the math by hand isn’t exactly hard, but it does take an extraordinary amount of time; [Ken] can calculate about two-thirds of a hash per day.

The SHA-256 hash function used for Bitcoin isn’t really that hard to work out by hand. The problem, though, is that it takes a 64 byte value, sends it through an algorithm, and repeats that sixty-four times. There are a few 32-bit additions, but the rest of the work is just choosing the majority value in a set of three bits, rotating bits, and performing a mod 2.

Completing one round of a SHA-256 hash took [Ken] sixteen minutes and forty-five seconds. There are sixty-four steps in calculating the hash, this means a single hash would take about 18 hours to complete. Since Bitcoin uses a double SHA-256 algorithm, doing the calculations on a complete bitcoin block and submitting them to the network manually would take the better part of two days. If you’re only doing this as your daily 9-5, this is an entire weeks worth of work.

Just for fun, [Ken] tried to figure out how energy-efficient the bitcoin mining rig stored in his skull is. He can’t live on electricity, but donuts are a cheap source of calories, at about $0.23 per 200 kcalories. Assuming a metabolic rate of 1500 kcal/day, this means his energy cost is about 67 quadrillion times that of an ASIC miner.

Video below.


Filed under: misc hacks

Very Dumb Security For a WiFi Thermostat

อังคาร, 09/30/2014 - 03:00

We have finally figured out what the Internet of Things actually is. It turns out, it’s just connecting a relay to the Internet. Not a bad idea if you’re building a smart, Internet-connected thermostat, but you have no idea how bad the security can be for some of these devices. The Heatmiser WiFi thermostat is probably the worst of the current round of smart home devices, allowing anyone with even a tiny amount of skill to control one of these thermostats over the Internet.

The Heatmiser is a fairly standard thermostat, able to connect to an 802.11b network and controllable through iOS, Android, and browser apps. Setting this up on your home network requires you to forward port 80 (for browser access) and port 8068 (for iOS/Android access). A username, password, and PIN is required to change the settings on the device, but the default credentials of user: admin, password: admin, and PIN: 1234 are allowed. If you’re on the same network as one of these devices, these credentials can be seen by looking at the source of the webpage hosted on the thermostat.

if you connect to this thermostat with a browser, you’re vulnerable to cross-site request forgery. If you use the Android or iOS apps to access the device with the custom protocol on port 8068, things are even worse: there is no rate limiting for the PIN, and with only four digits and no username required, it’s possible to unlock this thermostat by trying all 10,000 possible PINs in about an hour.

There are about a half-dozen more ways to bypass the security on the Heatmiser thermostat, but the most damning is the fact there is no way to update the firmware without renting a programmer from Heatmiser and taking the device apart. Combine this fact with the huge amount security holes, and you have tens of thousands of installed devices that will remain unpatched. Absolutely astonishing, but a great example of how not to build an Internet connected device.


Filed under: security hacks

Content Centric Networking and a tour of (Xerox) PARC

อังคาร, 09/30/2014 - 00:01

You may be used to seeing rack mounted equipment with wires going everywhere. But there’s nothing ordinary about what’s going on here. [Elecia White] and [Dick Sillman] are posing with the backbone servers they’ve been designing to take networking into the era that surpasses IPv6. That’s right, this is the stuff of the future, a concept called Content Centric Networking.

Join me after the break for more about CCN, and also a recap of my tour of PARC. This is the legendary Palo Alto Research Company campus where a multitude of inventions (like the computer mouse, Ethernet, you know… small stuff) sprang into being.

I’m going to get back to CCN in a minute but let’s go in chronological order:

The Museum

[Elecia White] — embedded engineer, host of Embedded.fm, and Hackaday Prize Judge — was kind enough to offer me a tour. We started in the museum room of the building where we were met by [Dick Sillman]. He has quite a CV himself, including Director of Engineering at Apple and CTO of Sun Microsystems. It’s no surprise these two are working on something to reshape the technological horizon.

The story I was told while in the museum is that PARC was founded as a free-thinking research arm of the Xerox corporation. The gamble paid off because there were a multitude of innovations that are still around today. I saw the “Notetaker” portable computer, the Alto with its portrait-form-factor CRT monitor, and the original laser printer.

The original thinkers at PARC

One of the most enjoyable parts of this room is a wall plastered with a photograph from the early days. Note the lack of furniture and the comfort of bean-bag-chairs. The only thing differentiating this photo from today’s start-ups is the indoor smoking (and maybe the lack of laptops and smartphones).

The little machine shop

I wasn’t able to take photos of everything, but this machine shop was a fun stop. You walk in and see all the equipment and just know that there’s awesome stuff being prototyped here.

What is surprising is that you walk to the threshold of the next door and if you’re lucky you can peek inside. That’s where the “real” machine shop is and if you’re not an on-duty machinist the threshold is as far as you go. The idea is that you use the small shop to make an example of what you need, then take it to the real shop and they will fabricate however many you need.

To keep the machinist from losing their minds there is a computer monitor next to the door that shows the production state of each job… nobody pesters the machinists!

Lots of rooms with warning signs

Here are just two shots of some of the warning signs you’ll find throughout the building. I somehow missed taking a picture of the biohazard warning. If it’s a piece of equipment useful for research I bet that they have it here.

The building itself feels like a secret fort. Maybe that’s not the best of descriptions, but it’s built in a series of pods placed one after another and all of them have the exact same layout. There are a few different floors in each pod, and sometimes the stairwells simply dead-end despite there being more levels above and below. It would have been a real challenge to find my way back to the front without a guide!

Parts on hand

If you just need that one component to finish the project, there’s a room for that. I found it amusing that [Elecia] and [Dick] were just as interested in poking around to see what is on hand as I was. I suspect they’re usually busy enough that they know exactly what they want before heading to the stock. On the way out I asked if I should shut the door, but this one just stays open, beckoning to every unsuspecting engineer who passes by.

The Future of the Internet

Back to the story at hand: Content Centric Networking. I’ve already mentioned that this is an alternative to IPv6. There are so many addresses available with v6, when are we ever going to run out and need to replace it? That’s not really the point.

CCN looks at a better way to address the transfer of data. Right now everything is based on IP addresses; one specific address maps to one specific location. But our devices aren’t exactly stationary any longer and that trend is going to continue. CCN focuses on the data itself and the device it’s intended for — agnostic of the location — by using names instead of addresses for routing.

There’s a lot to consider with this, like security. I was a bit shocked to find that the system signs every single packet. It doesn’t really matter how the data gets somewhere, or if it falls into the wrong hands. Man in the middle, spoofed addresses, and a slew of other issues can be solved this way. But back to my shock: how can you sign every single packet without a huge speed hit compared to what we have today? And how can you figure out where content is going if there’s no address to send it to?

The answer to speed is the hardware that [Elecia] and [Dick] are working on. They showed me one of their dinner-tray-sized 26-layer router PCBs that gets slotted into the racks in their work area. Impressive to say the least.

The answer to the rest is not completely clear in my mind. But I think that’s about par for the course. Even demonstrations are a bit tough to put together. Above are a few pictures of the test rig for the concept. Each node in the network is named (alpha, bravo, charlie, etc.). They are all connected to each other and all have the credentials to view the data packets created by others. This builds something of a “dropbox” of networked data. Each unit snaps its own images, but all images are displayed on the slideshow of every unit.

To truly grasp CCN you’re going to need a lot more reading. I’ll add some resources below. But before I do I’d like to thank [Elecia], [Dick], and PARC for an exciting and fun morning! I’d also like to mention that I was a guest on embedded.fm this week, talking about all things Hackaday and The Hackaday Prize.

Additional learning resources:
Filed under: Featured, internet hacks, Interviews

A Nixie Clock with Neon Bulb Logic

จันทร์, 09/29/2014 - 21:00

This is an oldie, but oh, man is this ever good. It’s a Nixie clock made without a microcontroller. In fact, there aren’t any logic chips in this circuit, either. As far as we can tell, the logic in this clock is made with resistors, diodes, caps, and neon tubes.

The design of this is covered in the creator’s webpage. This clock was inspired by a few circuits found in a 1967 book Electronic Counting Circuits by J.B. Dance. The theory of these circuits rely on the different voltages required to light a neon lamp (the striking voltage) versus the voltage required to stay lit (the maintaining voltage). If you’re exceptionally clever with some diodes and resistors, you can create a counting circuit with these lamps, and since it’s pretty easy to get the mains frequency, a neon logic clock starts looking like a relatively easy project.

This clock, like a lot of the author’s other work, is built dead bug style, and everything looks phenomenal. It looks like this clock is mounted to a plastic plate; a good thing, because something of this size would be very, very fragile.

Video below, thanks [jp] for sending this one in.


Filed under: classic hacks

Adding a Digital Back to a Sweet Old Camera

จันทร์, 09/29/2014 - 18:01

[Eugene] wanted to use his vintage Leica M4 as a digital camera, and he had a Canon EOS 350D digital camera sitting around unused. So he Frankensteined them together and added a digital back to the Leica’s optical frontend.

It sounds simple, right? All you’d need to do is chop off the back from the EOS 350D, grind the digital sensor unit down to fit into exactly the right spot on the film plane, glue it onto an extra Leica M4 back door, and you’re set. Just a little bit of extremely precise hackery. But it’s not even that simple.

Along the way [Eugene] reverse-engineered the EOS 350D’s shutter and mirror box signals (using a Salae Logic probe), and then replicated these signals when the Leica shutter was tripped by wedging an Arduino MiniPro into an old Leica motor-winder case. The Arduino listens for the Leica’s bulb-flash signal to tell when the camera fires, and then sends along the right codes to the EOS back. Sweet.

There are still a few outstanding details. The shutter speed is limited by the latency in getting the signal from the Leica to the 350D back, so he’s stuck at shutter speeds longer than 1/8th of a second. Additionally, the Canon’s anti-IR filter didn’t fit, but he has a new one ordered. These quibbles aside, it’s a beautiful hack so far.

What makes a beautiful piece of work even more beautiful? Sharing the source code and schematics. They’re both available at his Github.

Of course, if you don’t mind completely gutting the camera, you could always convert your old Leica into a point and shoot.


Filed under: digital cameras hacks

The LPT DAC

จันทร์, 09/29/2014 - 15:00

About 30 years ago, before every computer had CD quality audio built in, audio cards and chips were technological marvels. MIDI chips, FM synthesis, and synths on a chip reigned supreme but one little device – just a handful of resistors – sounded fantastic. it was the Covox Speech Thing, a simple resistor ladder wired up to the parallel port of a computer that would output 8-bit audio to an external amplifier. [FK] recently built his own Covox (Czech, Google translatrix) with just 18 resistors, and the results sound fantastic.

Instead of fancy chips, the original Covox Speech Thing used the 8 bit parallel port on a PC. Back in the olden days, this was the fastest way to get digital data out of a computer, but since it was digital only, a DAC was required to turn this into audio. A simple resistor ladder was sufficient, and this hardware was eventually supported by the old DOS games from Sierra and Id.

[FK] has a demo of this LPT DAC available here, but we’re not thinking that link will last long. If anyone has a better link, leave a note in the comments and we’ll update this post. Thanks [beavel] for sending this in.


Filed under: classic hacks, digital audio hacks

Sound Isolation Box Makes Living Room Based CNC Routing Tolerable

จันทร์, 09/29/2014 - 12:00

CNC Machines can be loud, especially if they are equipped with a high-speed router spindle. Unfortunately, such a loud racket could be a problem for the apartment dwellers out there. Fear Not! [Petteri] has come up with a solution. It’s a sound isolation enclosure for his mini CNC Router that doubles as furniture. It keeps the sound and dust in while pumping out some cool parts….. in his living room.

What may just look like a box with an upholstered top actually had a lot of thought put into the design. The front MDF panel folds down to lay flat on the floor so that the user can kneel on it to access the machine without putting unnecessary stress on the door hinges. The top also is hinged to allow some top-down access or permit a quick peek on the status of a job. All of the internal corners of the box were caulked to be air tight, even a little air passageway would allow sound and dust to escape. Two-centimeter thick sound insulation lines the entire interior of the box and the two access lids have rubber sealing strips to ensure an air tight seal when closed.

With stepper motors, the spindle motor and control electronics all running inside an enclosed box, there is some concern over heat build up. [Petteri] hasn’t had any problems with that so far but he still installed an over-temp power cutoff made from a GFCI outlet and a thermostat temperature switch. This unit will cut the mains power if the temperature gets over 50º C by intentionally tripping the GFCI outlet. None of the internal parts will ignite under 300º C, so there is quite a safety buffer.

Although the isolation box came out pretty good, [Petteri] admits there is room for improvement; when cutting wood or aluminum, the noise level is kind of annoying. If he had to do it again, he would use thicker MDF, 20mm instead of 5mm. However, during general use while cutting plastic, the router is still quieter than his dishwasher.

Video below.


Filed under: cnc hacks

THP Semifinalist: OSHWatch

จันทร์, 09/29/2014 - 09:00

No, it’s not a finely crafted wrist accessory from Cupertino, but [Jared]‘s OSHWatch, but you’re actually able to build this watch thanks to an open design and reasonable, hand-solderable layout.

Built around a case found on DealExtreme that looks suspiciously similar to enclosures meant to hold an iPod Nano, [Jared]‘s smartwatch includes a 128×128 RGB OLED display, magnetometer, accelerometer, Bluetooth 4.0 transceiver, and a lithium-ion charger and regulator circuit. Everything is controlled with a PIC24, which should mean this watch has enough processing power to handle anything a watch should handle.

As for the UI and what this watch actually does [Jared] is repurposing a few Android graphics for this watch. Right now, the watch can display the time (natch), upcoming appointments on his schedule, accelerometer and magnetometer data, and debug data from the CPU. It’s very, very well put together, and repurposing an existing watch enclosure is a really slick idea. Videos below.

The project featured in this post is a quarterfinalist in The Hackaday Prize.


Filed under: The Hackaday Prize

Hackaday Links: September 28, 2014

จันทร์, 09/29/2014 - 06:00

Kyocera is vastly expanding their product lineup with the Shop Sink 3530. The perfect addition to your copiers, fax machines, and laser printers.

About a year and a half ago and with objections from the editorial staff, we did a Top 10 hacking fails in movies and TV post. The number one fail is, “Stupid crime shows like NCIS, CSI, and Bones.” A new show on CBS just topped this list. It’s named Scorpion, and wow. Dropping a Cat5 cable from an airplane doing an almost-touch-and-go because something is wrong with the computers in the tower. Four million adults age 18-49 watched this.

[Derek] found something that really looks like the Hackaday logo in a spacer of some kind. It’s been sitting on his shelf for a few months, and is only now sending it in. He picked it up in a pile of scrap metal, and he (and we) really have no idea what this thing is. Any guesses?

[Sheldon] has a teardown of a vintage voltage and current standard. Just look at those hand drawn traces on a single sided board. Beautiful.

[Art] has another, ‘what is this thing’. He has two of them, and he’s pretty sure it’s some sort of differential, but other than that he’s got nothing. The only real clue is that [Art] lives near a harbor on the N. Cali coast. Maybe from a navigation system, or a governor from a weird diesel?

So you have a Kinect sitting on a shelf somewhere. That’s fine, we completely understand that. Here’s something: freeze yourself in carbonite. Yeah, it turns out having a depth sensor is exactly what you need to make a carbonite copy of yourself.


Filed under: Hackaday links

Ardubracelet Lets you Play Tetris on your Wrist!

จันทร์, 09/29/2014 - 03:00

Making your own Tetris game is almost a rite of passage for hackers — [Kevin] has stepped up the game a little by making this awesome-flexible-triple-displayed-Tetris-watch dubbed the Ardubracelet.

At the recent Maker Faire SF our head editor [Mike] got a chance to meet with [Kevin] from Arduboy who told us about some of his upcoming projects — this wearable was one of them!

It features three super bright OLED screens on a flexible circuit board with conductive touch buttons to continue with the minimalist design. Instead of a wrist strap he’s actually made the ends magnetic to hold it in place — did we mention the battery also lasts for over 10 hours?

At the heart of the flexible circuit board is an Atmega328p, which is the same chip used in the Arduboy (a credit card sized GameBoy). This is just the first prototype but he’s planning on making it even better in the future complete with Bluetooth and some 3D printed parts to make it look a bit nicer.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks

Arduino Translates Signals Between Steering Wheel Buttons and Aftermarket Head Unit

จันทร์, 09/29/2014 - 00:00

There is no question that steering wheel mounted controls are super convenient. Reaching all the way over to the dashboard to change a radio station is so 1990’s. An ever-increasing percentage of new cars are coming equipped with steering wheel controls for the stereo, however, you’ll lose the button control if you change out the stock head unit to something a little higher in quality. Sure, there may be an adapter readily available for your car/stereo combination, but there also may not be. [Ronnied] took the DIY road and made his own adapter.

The first obstacle for [Ronnied] was to figure out the wiring on the steering wheel controls. After some poking around he found that there were only two wires used for all of the control buttons, each button only changing the resistance between the two wires. The button states could easily be read by using an Arduino’s analog input. A Pro Mini model was chosen for its small size as it could be housed in the radio compartment of the dash.

The next step was getting the Arduino to control the aftermarket head unit. [Ronnied] did some research regarding JVC’s Stalk digital control interface but came to the conclusion that it would be easier to direct wiring the Arduino outputs to the appropriate spot on the head unit’s circuit board. To do this the button for each function that would also be represented on the steering wheel was traced out to find a common point on the circuit board. Jumper wires soldered to the circuit board simply allow the Arduino to emulate button pushes. To ensure that the head unit buttons still work in conjunction with the steering wheel buttons, the Arduino would have to keep the pins as inputs until a steering wheel button was pushed, the pin changed to an output, the signal sent and the pin changed back to an input. This feature was easily created in the Arduino sketch.

Video below.


Filed under: radio hacks

Digital Decade Resistance Box on the Cheap

อาทิตย์, 09/28/2014 - 21:00

[Stynus] has finished a unique decade resistance box which doesn’t use conventional rotary switches to select the appropriate resistors. These switches are old fashioned and expensive, so [Stynus] built this decade resistance box that uses a microcontroller and a series of relays to switch the resistors.

Simply selecting a resistance on the screen tells the microcontrollers which resistors need to be switched in order to provide the proper resistance. The box uses relays to do switching instead of transistors because the transistors don’t handle high frequency AC as well as the relays. The device is powered by an 18V transformer and rectifier and, as a bonus, [Stynus] got all of his parts on the cheap which made this a great solution to the expensive resistance decade box problem.

This is a very well-polished piece of test equipment. We’ve featured other decade resistance boxes but never one that was controlled by a microcontroller. All of the PCB layouts and the code for microcontroller are available on the project site if you have a desire to make your own.


Filed under: tool hacks

Prototype LED Light Suit runs off of a NES Power Glove

อาทิตย์, 09/28/2014 - 18:00

[Greg's] been playing around with wearable hacks for quite some time now, and he’s decided to add a new twist for his latest LED light suit (Mk 4) — An ancient NES Power Glove to control it.

He was inspired by the band Hypercrush who had a music video where one of the guys was wearing a laser-shooting power glove — awesome. Having already made light suits before, he thought it’d be fun to do something similar.

The suit is controlled by an Arduino Pro Mini which has been hacked into the Power Glove for ultimate button pushing capabilities. He’s using 5 meter LED strips of the classic WS2812  RGB variety, which allow for individual LEDs to be addressed using a single pin. It’s powered by a 5V 2A USB battery pack, and he’s made all the components very modular, you could even say it’s “plug and play”!

Power Gloves make a great starting point for some really cool projects — someone converted one to a WiiMote once, and in celebration of its 20th anniversary, someone brought one up to speed technologically.

[Thanks Andrew!]


Filed under: led hacks, wearable hacks

THP Semifinalist: Solar Energy System

อาทิตย์, 09/28/2014 - 15:00

Building a solar power installation isn’t as simple as buying a few panels, wiring them up to a battery, and putting an inverter in the mix. To get the most out of your pricey panels, you’ll want to look at something called Maximum Power Point tracking. Solar panels have an IV curve, and this changes with how much sunlight they’re getting. To get the most out of a set of cells, you need make sure you’re drawing the maximum amount of power out of your cells.

[Nathaniel]‘s Solar Energy Generator does just that. It can handle up to 500 Watts, sucks power down from a bank of solar cells and spits that out to a battery. That’s not everything; the project also has a microcontroller for measuring and displaying all the pertinent info, and some terminals to plug in a few DC loads.

While the Solar Energy Generator is designed for off the grid applications, this could easily augment a home installation on the cheap. If you want more than 500 Watts or so, you’ll want to look at a larger controller, but for anything under that, [Nathan] has you covered.

Videos below.

The project featured in this post is a quarterfinalist in The Hackaday Prize.


Filed under: solar hacks, The Hackaday Prize

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