LCD backlight repair

Another broken LCD TV came [Steve DiRaddo's] way. This one had a broken backlight that he wanted to fix. He scrapped his LCD light table in order use the inverter. The two televisions were not the same size, nor made by the main manufacturer, but backlights all operate under the same principles. Using an inverter from a bit larger model meant it would have enough power to illuminate the lamps but he knew there’d be a problem with connectors and pinouts. After a bit of testing and creative wiring he got the system back up and running.

He’s got some extra parts left over from each TV including a bunch of CCFL lamps. Sound like it’s time to add some ground effects to his bike.

Hardware store follow focus

Want to do quick and accurate focus change with your DSLR? Here’s a discussion thread covering dirt-cheap solutions. It starts with a broccoli rubber-band and a couple of zip ties. That being a bit chintzy, the more popular build seen above uses a hose clamp, rubber band for padding, a drawer pull, a nut, and some threaded rod. If you build it, be very careful not to over-tighten the clamp and crush your focus ring! After the break we’ve embedded a video of what follow focus looks like through the lens and what is happening with the camera during the shoot.

[Read more...]

Hack together a Coffee Roaster

For most people, making coffee entails taking a couple scoops out of a can of pre-ground coffee, adding water, and pressing “Go” on the drip machine. To others coffee brewing is an artform, and want as much control over the process as possible. For those without an overflowing bank account for a home roasting machine, Evil Mad Scientist Labs have put together a general guide for throwing together a Coffee Bean Roaster and cooler (which is apparently just as important as roasting) from a low cost hot air popcorn popper. The home roasting scene is even big enough to warrant its own Wikipedia page, which also mentions using a popcorn popper as a bean roaster.

The guide includes some great simple circuit diagrams to keep in mind when hacking your own, as well as a good explanation why you shouldn’t just clip out the heating coil for cooling mode.

Electric go cart from trash

A quick lesson on being a good parent. If you make an awesome electronic cart out of trash that may not necessarily be stable, or even fully capable of stopping once it gets going, you MUST put your children on it and insist that they drive. Did we mention that the system is full acceleration or no acceleration? Indeed, it is. There isn’t a writeup, and one really isn’t needed. This is dead simple. The parts list will explain most of what is going on, but the look of doubt and fear on the kids face is what really makes this hack worth it. Or is that possibly a look that says “what are you looking at?”

[via Flickr]

Simple laptop conversion

[Jakob] sent in his method of dealing with broken laptop hinges. Broken hinges are a plague. We have no less than 4 laptops lying around that are beyond repair with broken hinges. Some are just propped up against things, some have had box hinges glued to them and some are just waiting to die slowly from non use. [Jakob] has a nice neat conversion where he basically made a tablet. We’ve seen that before as well as picture frames. His version, while being quite possibly easier than most of the others, has a neat design aspect. An extended lip at the bottom fits in a groove in a plastic slab. All in one PC becomes a tablet in an instant. Not too shabby for a broken laptop. It looks like he needs to pop a touch screen kit on it though.

Arduino programmer for Arduino

Wow, that title is flamebait… but give us a chance to explain. [George] wrote some code for the Arduino that allows it to program another Arduino. You may be thinking to yourself “this has already been done”. In a way it has, with the AVR ISP programming shield. But once the code has been uploaded to the Arduino, you don’t need a computer to program the next chip. This concept turns an Arduino into an in-the-field programmer. Right now his code only programs the ATmega328 and it’s a little buggy, but the concept is solid. A fully functioning independent programmer is easy to image; [George] has laid the ground work, the AVR ISP programming firmware has proven this can work with several different chips, and if your AVR has an ATmega328 there should be plenty of room to store the code you plan to flash to the target microprocessors. It’s up to you to put all the pieces together.

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