Full debian on a router board

deb

[Anthony] has transformed a simple router board into a fully fledged Debian system. The board is an RB433AH which has a 680Mhz development board with 3 LAN ports and 3 Mini PCI slots intended for routing tasks. At roughly $150, this could be a pretty versatile tool to have around. Possibly more useful than the SheevaPlug.

Automatic grow light

gh1

We’ve covered automated plant growing before, but that project might be overkill for many situations. Many of us don’t need our plants to have facial expressions either. Sometimes, we just need a little bit of help. This automated grow light is a nice little project that supplies decent light when necessary. You can download the source files on the tutorial. It is currently set to supply an additional 4 hours of light, detecting the low light levels to turn it on.

Tweet-a-Watt wins Greener Gadgets design competition

tweetawatt

The team behind the the Tweet-a-Watt/Wattcher just won first prize at the Greener Gadgets design competition. The device is a hacked Kill A Watt that transmits power consumption using an XBee. After checking out DVICE’s preview of the competitors yesterday, we’re happy to see a prototype win instead of just a concept sketch.

Laser lighter

lser

[rog8811] shared his laser lighter with us. He has gutted a zippo style lighter and inserted a blue ray laser module. The old fuel compartment houses the batteries. This is pretty cool, though it might take forever to actually light a cigarette with it. His build log is quite nice with diagrams and detailed pictures of the whole process. Our question is simple, why haven’t we seen this on a James Bond film? Too bad he couldn’t use a stronger laser, like from a laser cutter. We know they do a fine job of cutting pizzas.

Tools: Proxxon drill press TBM115/TBM220

tbm220ii

A decent drill press is a crucial tool for an electronics lab. We use our drill press to make holes in our own circuit boards, and tap or break traces on existing circuit boards. We’ve used a lot of tools to drill circuit boards — power drills, power drills in “drill press stands”, and high-speed rotary tools — but when we started doing projects on a schedule, it was time for something more reliable.

We first spotted the Proxxon TBM115/TBM220 drill press in the window of a local shop.  Its tiny size and adjustable speed seemed ideal for drilling circuit boards. At $200, this is one of the pricier tools in our lab, but quality bearings and smooth drilling action aren’t cheap.  Read about our experience with this tool below the break.

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BMOW: a home made cpu

bmow

Building your own CPU sounds like quite a daunting task as it is. Building your own CPU using manual wire wrapping transcends difficult to become an art form. [Steve] has built a CPU by manually wrapping every single wire. That’s 1253 wires, or 2506 wrapped ends. Even if it didn’t work, it would be nice to look at. But it does work, you can see a demo video showing the audio functions after the break. The system is now enclosed in an Acer x-terminal case, so it isn’t as pretty, but its still quite a project. You can follow along as he builds each section, the video, sound, even the keyboard interface. It’s pretty amazing seeing it all broken down to the most basic forms.

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Paintball gun turret

paintball_sentry

[Jared Bouck] has been sending in his projects for a couple years now. We’ve enjoyed his heavy-duty DDR pads, LCD backlight repair, and ion cooling projects. His latest, an RC paintball gun turret, is our favorite though. He actually rates this as one of the easier projects he’s published; it just took a while to assemble. Several design decisions were made to keep the project simple. Two 32 Degrees Icon-E paintball guns were used. The guns already have electric solenoids for firing, so a special trigger mechanism didn’t have to be fashioned. Q-loaders were used to prevent any ball feed problems. The motors, driver boards, and RC components are all borrowed from combat robots for reliability. He’s hoping to produce a small number of kits based on this design.

Related: We’ve got quite a few sentry gun projects in the archive.