Tweet-a-Watt kits


[adafruit] wrote in to let us know that the Tweet-a-Watt is now available in kit form. While the plans have been available for a while, a kit is a welcomed addition. The kit doesn’t include the Kill-a-Watt monitor, but rather the XBee adapters and parts necessary to make it talk to your Arduino or computer. The kit is $90, while the Kill-a-Watt can be found for roughly $20.

Opensource robotic arm


[oomlout] has released this Opensource robotic arm. It is 5 axis, using cheap hobby servos. The total cost, including having it cut at is roughly $150. The plans include all the pieces, down to the servo controller. This means that you’ll have to supply your own microcontroller and programming. They do state “We can guarantee it is loads of fun to play with, and we think potentially very useful for more serious pursuits.” and we would like to test that guarantee. We’ve been keeping an eye out for this ever since the servo switch assemblies.

[via Hack a Day flickr pool]

Photographing LEDs


Since we rely on you, our loyal readers, to supply the tasty projects that we thrive upon, we felt this writeup about how to photograph LEDs could be very useful. Photographing them can be quite difficult at times, they throw off the standard settings on your camera pretty easily. EMSL takes us through all the settings for best results. While you’re brushing up on your photography skills, you might want to consider making a flash ring, or some kind of macro lens. Now go take some awesome pictures and submit your projects.

Google summer of code 2009

This year’s Google summer of code has been kicked off with a fairly substantial amount of participants. You can still submit an application until April 3rd, to join the roughly 2,500 “graduates”. For those who don’t know what it is, the Google summer of code pairs developing programmers with open source projects and funding. It’s a great program, resulting in advances in some programs that we follow. We’ve talked about several of the groups that will be participating this year, such as the NUI group, rockbox, openstreetmap, and videoLan.

Bounty on Bus Pirate features, get a free v2 PCB


We’re putting a bounty on two high-priority Bus Pirate features. You can get a free PCB for the upcoming Bus Pirate V2 by writing a bit of code. Hack a Day has a varied and talented group of readers, and we know someone out there has the experience to make these changes with minimal difficulty.

  • The latest code integrates the PIC24F bootloader for easy updates without a programmer. We’d like to add a protocol snooper, but that requires interrupts. With the bootloader, however, interrupts are relocated and we’ve yet to fully grasp how that works. We’ll send a PCB and PIC 24F to the first person who modifies the code to demonstrate UART, SPI, or change notification interrupts with the boot loader. Microchip’s 24F bootloader app note is available here. Complete.
  • The current frequency measurement feature is a hack that uses a counter and a timer. Be the first to implement the input capture peripheral instead, and get a free PCB. See the function bpFreq(void) in base.c. Complete.

The latest Bus Pirate code and compiled firmware can be checked-out from Google Code SVN. Submit your code via the comments below or

UPDATE: Both issues were resolved. Thanks for your suggestions.

Serial to USB cable for the G1


For those wanting to do some hacking  or kernel debugging on their G1, [macpoddotnet] shows how to make a serial to USB cable. He gathered enough information on the Android platform google group to be able to piece something together. He’s using a USB 2.8V serial TTL level converter, and lists several available that should work. Looks like a pretty easy build.