Building a better spectrum analyzer for radio enthusiasts

This spectrum analyzer project seeks to improve the quality of tools available to amateur radio operators. A lot of thought has gone into the design, and those details are shared in the verbose project log. The case was originally a CATV link transmitter, but most of the controls seen above have been added for this build, with unused holes filled and finished to achieve the clean look.

One noteworthy part of the build is the time that went into building a rather complicated-looking 1013.3 MHz cavity bandpass filter. Despite the effort, the filter didn’t work. Details are a bit sketchy but it seems that some additional tuning brought it within spec to complete that portion of the device.

This certainly makes other toy spectrum analyzers look like… toys.

[Thanks William]

Arduino Asteroids

[nootropic] has a new game out for hackvision, “Asteroids”! We covered the hackvision back when it first started appearing in October of 2010, and hardware wise it has not changed. It is still an Arduino (software) compatible system sporting a atmega328, video and audio out connections (uses the TV-out library), all on a nice printed circuit board that, with the buttons, resembles a game controller.

While its impressive enough to run arcade inspired games like space invaders, pong, and tetris while using Arduino and a library, Asteroids takes the game up a notch.

Features that make Asteroids well, Asteroids include a mod of the TV-out library so that bitmaps can fly over each other without erasing the pixels under them to give that old time vector arcade feel, and “point in polygon” style collision detection, which is a fantastic / efficient way of collision detection against irregular shapes, limited platform or not.

Last but not least, [nootropic] used the set_vbi_hook() function of the tv out library in sound design, going from simple “beeps” and “boops”, to “beeps” and “boops” on a constant 60Hz refresh (in the case of NTSC) that allows him to build more complex sound effects that give a nice arcade sound of explosions and laser blasts.

Join us after the break for a quick video, and remember, this is Arduino based so if you already have an Arduino, you can add the supporting hardware (buttons, resistors, and RCA jacks) and run any of the games currently offered, or make your own.

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Upvote/Downvote cards

Next time you throw together a talent show consider using these cards for up and down voting. [Frits Rincker] came up with the idea over the weekend based on the like and dislike buttons of Facebook. They consist of some foam board with LEDs in the outline of a hand. He built a switch which completes he blue circuit for the thumb’s up and a red circuit for thumb’s down by using a weight that slides freely in a channel, with a reed switch at either end. We’ve embedded the video after the break for you enjoyment.

Oh, and in case you were wondering; Hackaday likes this.

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Replace an N64’s worn out joystick

As gaming consoles age the controllers will inevitably show some wear, and sadly may give out all together. [Kyle] couldn’t bear to watch his Nintendo 64 controller bite the dust so he replaced the thumb stick with one from a PlayStation. This is a bigger job than you might imagine because the two parts are fundamentally different. The original N64 stick uses a rotary encoder to output data to the control chip, while the PlayStation stick is an analog device. [Kyle's] solution was to read the analog values using a PIC, but lower in the thread you can read about another user who pulled off a similar hack using an AVR. Both convert the signals into the rotary encoder format that the N64 chip is listening for. From the looks of the clip embedded after the break, this couldn’t work any better!

[Read more...]

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