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Homebrew firmware upgrade for VCI-100 turntable controller

We love hacks that take quality products and make them better. This enhanced firmware for the VCI-100 is a great example of that. In a similar fashion as the Behringer hack, [DaveX] reverse engineer the firmware for the device and figured out a few ways to make it better. It improves the scratch controller and slider accuracy to use 9-bit accuracy from the ADC readings, which in the stock version were being shifted down to 7-bits. There’s also a few LED tricks they call Disco Mode. They’re selling a “chip” that you need to flash the firmware but from what we can see it’s simply an RS232 converter so you might be able to figure out how to work without that part. We’ve embedded a demo of firmware version 1.4 after the break.

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Motorcycle rear-view with in-helmet display

Want to see what’s behind you when riding your sport bike without taking your eyes off the road? They make rear view cameras for that but [Nescioqd] wanted a rear display right in his helmet (PDF). He started by mounting a rear-pointing camera on the back of the bike, powered from the 12V feed for the taillight. On the display side of things he picked up a Myvu Crystal wearable display. This is like a pair of glasses that have small LCD screens were the lenses should be. [Nescioqd] removed one lens and mounted it inside the helmet.

Since the display resides inside the helmet there is some concern about being able to see at night with a bright screen below your eyeball. [Nescioqd] actually ran into the opposite problem at first, bright sunlight makes it difficult to see the image on the LCD screen. He fixed this by picking up a dark tinted helmet visor (the easiest solution) but we’d love to see a photoresistor used to regulate the backlight level.

It would be interesting to see both screens used, with rear-view on one side and an instrument display on the other.

Audio cabinet refit with modern equipment

Hard at work on making this 1960’s Fleetwood audio console usable again, [Travis] packed a lot of power into the retro case. Both the radio and turn table had stopped working but the cabinet looks great and the speakers still work. In the lower center cavity you’ll now find a full computer motherboard and replacement amplifier. A new turntable has been added with an interesting vibration-dampening shelf to support it. [Travis] built the shelf with a void in between two layers of wood which he filled with sand to help with isolation. The remote control for the amp also needed some work as the receiver is pointed to the back of the unit. To fix that a second IR receiver found a home behind the fabric for one of the speaker grates. That receiver is monitored by an ATmega168 microcontroller and signals are repeated back to an IR LED mounted near the amplifier.

Beefing up a cheap drill motor

[Rob] just finished reinforcing a cheap drill motor. He picked up the tool at Harbor Freight and ditched the case. The plastic retaining ring was replaced with a thick metal washer which he machine The washer uses three bolts to attach to the mounting plate that he welded together. We’re not exactly sure what he’s got in mind as he only mentioned that this will be used with a robot. We wouldn’t mind having one of these as a bench motor but there must be hundreds of uses now that it can be attached to just about anything. It seems Harbor Freight has become popular as hacking’s raw material source. The last example we saw of this was a welding table made from a utility cart.

World Maker Faire New York 2010

A quick heads-up to those of you that will be at the New York Maker Faire and the Open Hardware Summit.One of our writers, [Devlin Thyne], will be there checking out projects and handing out Hack a Day stickers. Be sure to stop him to say hello and maybe show off your projects. We look forward to seeing you and your projects.

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