Solar powered lawnmower


Our post about what it takes to convert your home to solar power probably put you in a green mood, but if you want to start with something smaller, check out this guide on how to add a solar panel to your lawnmower.

You will need a battery-powered lawnmower for this, as well as a 12-volt solar charger with a car lighter jack. This easy hack mainly involves a small amount of work with the wiring; the car lighter jack must be removed from the solar panel so that the wires can be attached to the batteries. Yeah, that’s it. We’d love to see a more elegant solution since the way it is now you have switch the wiring from parallel to series everytime you want to mow.

For a more complete lawnmower hack, check out this remote control lawnmower.

How-To: Super simple serial terminal

This hack shows how to make a dumb terminal out of a keyboard, LCD screen, and an 8-bit microcontroller. From time to time, a portable dumb terminal can be handy for when you have to rescue a headless server that’s acting up or if you are building a minicomputer out of a WRT, or if you just want to learn how to run a keyboard and LCD screen with a microcontroller. This super simple serial terminal will use RS-232 to control a headless linux system. Additionally, you might want to check into some of the command line interface programs that allow web browsing, AIM and IRC chatting and more directly from the terminal, but nothing beats being able to track your pizzas with this device.

The Linux system in question here will be Linux Mint. It’s a young distro based on Ubuntu that’s gaining a lot of attention lately, though the principles can be used for other Linux distros.

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What it takes to go solar


ExtremeTech has posted an article detailing the process of adding solar power to a house. The author included some interesting detail about his personal power consumption, and details about the process of selecting his contractor too. The total cost of the installation came to about $36,000 after state and federal rebates for going solar.

It’s not a homebrew setup, but it’s good to see an article detailing all that is involved. We’ll take you through the tech side of it after the break.

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mpguino: injector level fuel montoring


[dcb] posted about his work on the mpgduino mpguino. The project uses an arduino with a LCD display to monitor fuel consumption based on vehicle speed and the pulses of the fuel injectors being fired. It’s definitely an interesting project given current fuel costs and the passive nature of the project. You can easily tap the wires needed for the monitor and remove it without voiding your warranty (not that we really care).

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