Better temperature readings using an aspirated thermometer

Unlike regular thermometers that can get incorrect readings because of the sun’s heat, shading, and airflow, aspirated thermometers isolate the temperature sensor from precipitation and the sun, while providing constant air circulation. Take ten 1-wire T2SS boards and combine them with DS18B20s and you’ve got yourself the start of an aspirated thermometer. A foot of PVC pipe, fans, and the above mentioned parts and you’ll have accurate temperature readings in no time.

[Dave] made his to control a natural gas boiler, pumps, and 11 gas-fired unit heaters for a combined output of 5.3 million BTUs per hour – keeping his greenhouse nice and toasty.

Update: Thanks Firetech for pointing out our silly typo.

Accessing BGA pins

[Philip] developed a method of tracking down the pins of a Ball Grid Array. He wanted to do so in order to add USB host functionality to his HP Jordan 720. The method doesn’t directly connect to the BGA but instead finds a via or other access point to serve as a solder point. He first looks up the pin in the BGA datasheet. Once located, he uses the bristle of a toothbrush (teal) to act as a backstop and feeds in some enameled wire (brown) to the appropriate ball. A multimeter is used to check connectivity between the wire and the vias around the chip.

Patience young grasshopper, this should work but it might take a while.

LEGO book scanner

Here’s a good one from a few years back. [Muranushi] built a scanner to automatically scan an entire book. LEGO is used as the primary building material. A book is placed on a LEGO balance (inset photo) with a counterweight that eases the work of raising and lower the book. The book is lowered, a LEGO carriage moves across the book to turn the page, the book is raised to the glass of an upside-down scanner and scanned into a laptop.

It seems LEGO and imaging devices are a great match. Most of the parts used here are from LEGO Technical set 8485, a set that comes with motors and a motor controller seen above, on the floor behind the computer. We’ve embedded some video after the break of a book in the midst of the scanning process. [Read more...]

How to root a Nook

Here’s the latest in rooted consumer devices, has rooted the Barnes & Noble Nook eBook reader. The process is extremely easy, as the operating system is stored on a 2GB SD card inside the device. In fact, once you have the case open the hard part is over. From there, the card should be backed up for safe keeping. Now mount the card, enable the Android Debug Bridge and reassemble. The Android SDK can then be used to log into a shell on the Nook wirelessly.

We’re not sure there’s much that can be done past this point yet. It’s up to you to get Doom running!

Static Bleeder

When you are in the middle of the desert, pretty much every solution to a mechanical or electrical problem is a hack. [Sgt.M] who was deployed in Iraq sought out the help of radio guru [H.P. Friedrichs] about a static problem he was having. When dust storms would blow in strange things would happen in camp. Humming and crackling could be heard and [Sgt. M] actually had an electrical arc from a lamp to his hand at a distance of about 2 feet.

[Friedrichs] helped him find the problem. Their antennae were acting as static electricity collectors in the dust. All that dust friction in the dry air constantly built up a charge. The solution was simple, discharge the electricity at the antenna when it isn’t in use. Several solutions are outlined on the page, so check them out.

Cellphone hack-off

Today we received two very interesting hacks utilizing old cellphones within a matter of minutes of each other – Of course, this means war!

In the left corner we have the Mobile Mobile, a 50 cell phone collection dangling high above our heads by [James]. Loyal readers will remember his last match, a physical realization of the Spinning Wheel of Death. But today, Mobile Mobile tries to keep his title with the use of Twitter and live video.

In the right corner we have competition and newcomer  [Timo] and his Cellphone Symphony. With a combined amount of 150 cell phones including sim cards, he is going to be one tough cookie. It’s all down to this folks.

Both utilize MIDI to try and lift spirits this holiday season by playing music and sounds. Servers and custom software are of course both necessities… but who will be the winner? Check out after the break!
[Read more...]