Tips on picking the right case

Finding the right enclosure to house your latest project can be tricky, so Sparkfun wrote up some handy tips on the how to pick the right one.

The most important tip is to have your components measured before acquiring a case; even being a few milimeters too small can put you back at square one. To do this right, it’s useful to look at the dimensional drawings of prospective cases to get a sense for the size. These typically include recommended shapes for PCBs too.

You may find a case that meets your dimensional needs but doesn’t have the appropriate mounting bosses. To get the placement right, screw some plastic standoffs to the PCB, then use super glue to attach them firmly to the case.

Tips on button choices, hole drilling, and other typical issues with case modification can also be found in this guide. If this is something that’s been stumping you, give it a look.

How-To: Binary clock using a Freeduino SB 2.1

Solarbotics recently released its own version of the Arduino microcontroller development board. They based their board on the Freeduino design. We thought this would be a good opportunity to review the new board as well as present a How-To about building a simple binary clock. Along the way we’ll cover some basics on attaching LEDs and switches to a microcontroller.

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Wheels and weed whackers

Perhaps you’ve seen this image before: a young kid tooling around on a pair of inline skates, pushed forward by a weed whacker cycle. While the instructions for this device would seem fairly obvious (attach wheel to weed whacker) the writeup appears to be nonexistent. If you have any information, do let us know, but in the meantime, enjoy these other weed whacker powered projects.

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Flipstart HSDPA mod

Our friend [tnkgrl] has successfully added HSDPA to a Vulcan Flipstart. The Flipstart is a palmtop Windows machine with 1.1GHz Pentium M, 512MB RAM, 30GB hard drive, and an EVDO option. Before starting, you need to come up with a mini-PCI Express HSDPA card. Instead of trying for a random bare mini-PCIe card on eBay, she purchased an unlocked AT&T Sierra Wireless Aircard 875U USB dongle. Inside of the dongle is a battery, SIM slot, and a mini-PCI Express card. The Flipstart lid comes off with just a few screws and the card drops into place. Even though the antenna isn’t tuned for all the possible bands you should still get good signal most of the time. The best part of this mod is that it doesn’t require any obvious modification, so your warranty will be intact… as far as anyone can tell. Embedded below is the video of the easy swap. In the past, she added HSDPA to the OQO 02, which definitely takes a lot more work.

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Wii dual NAND flash hack

[ChipD] successfully installed two NAND flash chips into his Wii. He can keep the stock firmware on one and then flip a switch if he wants to boot using the other chip with a modified firmware. This hack is fairly straight forward. All it took was someone with steady hands to try it out. The new NAND chip is identical to the original and was salvaged from a flash drive. The chips were soldered as a stack except for the chip enable pin. The chip enable from each chip is attached to a small switch to toggle between which is active. You could use a TSOP socket to swap the different chips, but it wouldn’t fit inside the Wii case. This little switch could be hidden easily next to the GameCube ports.

CRT blinkenlights

[Julien] sent in his group’s twist on the now classic blinkenlights project. Oddly, the writeup is entirely in jpg form, so I can’t know if he’s finished it yet. One of them promised to send it in during our New uses for old CRT monitors HackIt, so it’s nice to hear something about it. While the classic blinkenlights uses building windows as pixels, this version divides CRT displays into four squares.