DC Entries: Last Batch


Here’s the final batch of entries we received and considered for the Design Challenge.

[Chris] sent in a stereo amplifier (watch out for pop-ups) designed for iPods (or similar) using LM386 amps and a minimal parts count.

[Fabian] submitted this excellent tube amp. It’s based on the ECC83/12AX7 tube, and runs off a mere 12-14VAC.

[Edgar] sent in this combination PIC/AVR programmer.

Finally, we’ve got a simple PIC/EEPROM programmer by [Ian]. (view the unzipped version here)

Adding 802.11n into your macbook


According to Apple, all of their current machines are compatible with their new 802.11n wireless hardware. The guys at MacBidouille wanted to know if they could get it functioning in their early rev macbook core duo. They ganged a new card from a MacPro and got busy.Things came out ridiculously easily, with a simple hardware swap. Considering that the pci connector is the same, I wonder if any portable with an airport extreme card could be upgraded (with an additional antenna)

DC Entries: Almost done


We finally came to a decision about the winner of the Design Challenge! (But I’m not telling you until Friday.) Before the winner is announced, there are some more entries that deserve attention.

First, there’s [Henk]‘s g-force meter. It’s based on an ATiny26 micro-controller, 30 LEDs to display the force and the ADXL103 accelerometer.

There’s an adaptation of the no parts pic programmer, by [Patrick].

[Evan] sent in his PIC prototyping board using the monster PIC18F4550.

I’ll have one more batch of entries later this week, and the winner will be announced on Friday. Yes really. I’m going to give it a few days just to make sure that all of our DNS issues have cleared up.

Robotic beer launching fridge


This robotic beer launching fridge is one of those ultimate projects that you are guaranteed to see posted all over the internet today. Robots, beer, the possibility of maiming innocent bystanders… what’s not to love? I’d be lying if I said my mechanical engineering friends and I weren’t contemplating this at many points during college. Kudos to John W. Cornwell of Duke for actually pulling it off. The mini-fridge has three servos: one to elevate beer from the 10 can magazine, one to rotate the turntable, and one for cocking. Spring power is used to catapult the beer across the room. The brains of the system is an ATMega8535 and 3 intelligent H-bridges. It’s controlled by an adapted key-less entry system. It looks like they’ve wisely placed it pointing away from the tv, but I don’t know if referring to your apartment as the “man-pit” is nearly as smart. Check out some of John’s other projects: the Mentos booby-trap and the touch activated paintball gun.

[via Dirk]

Solar GPS logger


We don’t normally chase after commercial products, but when I ran across this guys work, I was impressed. My favorite has to be this solar powered GPS logger. It logs your trek to a SD card and it’s oh so tiny. Other notable projects include a li-poly battery backpack for charging USB devices. (Li-Poly batteries require some specialized charging)

DIY fiber backlit keyboard


In honor of the 17 inch aircraft carrier of a laptop I ordered, I started looking for a backlit keyboard mod that might come close to the one on my powerbook. I found this mod that used fiber optic cable, a single 10,000mcd white LED, some epoxy and simple current regulation to light it up. The original write up is here, and a great looking blue version as well. I’d like to see it this with a control circuit like this one.