Cheap cable reused to add USB to your project

You get what you pay for. [Jkx] wanted to see how a USB to RS232 cable could be sold for just $1.70 and found out that it’s not actually RS232 compliant. The cable communicated as TTL levels, not the 12V expected of RS232 (although it can handle 12V incoming). He didn’t really want to use them for their intended purpose anyway. By betting rid of the DB9 plug and reusing the enclosed circuit board he now has a really cheap way to interface a microcontroller with the Universal Serial Bus. He worked out a couple of short subroutines that take care of receiving and sending data over the connection.

Keypad door lock, better than last years keyfob?

It’s that time of the year again. The leaves are changing colors, it’s getting colder outside, and all the littler hackers are off to college. Which means we get to see an influx of dorm room locks and openers.

[Adam] is back at it again with a new keypad dorm room lock. Last year he had an exceptional setup using a car keyfob, so we’re a little curious as to why he would revert to such a low level system as a keypad that isn’t even color coded.

Perhaps its in his “new” way of presenting the hack. Rather than a blog or write up, he documents the entire most of the process in a little less than 20 YouTube videos. Watch him testing out the system after the jump.

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Macro lens for a Nexus One

[Thomas] tipped us off about a macro lens attachment for his Nexus One. As you’d expect, adding the lens helps the phone’s camera bring tiny details into focus. He re-purposed a lens from a pair of mini binoculars, using epoxy putty to make a mounting bracket. Now the last time we saw this putty used with a phone it was for a snap-in bracket that cradled the phone and included a lens adapter. Rather than go that route [Thomas] made use of the headphone jack just above the camera lens. An old headphone plug has been epoxied to the macro lens ring, holding it in place securely while remaining easily removable.