DIY emergency lighting system

diy_emergency_lighting_system

When the power goes out at home, what do you do? Most of us probably scramble around the house looking for a flashlight. [Gigawatts] wanted a better solution, so he built an emergency lighting system based off a standard household UPS. A while back he had constructed a relay-switched outlet box to help periodically restart his cable modem which would get hung up a little too often for his liking. Since changing Internet providers, he no longer needed the switched outlet box, and was looking for a way to reuse it.

He hooked up the outlet box into the “battery powered” side of the UPS, and inserted a light bub into the normally closed half of the switch box. A 5v power supply was hooked into the “surge protection only” side of the UPS and is used to keep the relay switched. This causes the half of the switch box that is normally closed to remain open, and the light switched off. When power is lost, the 5v supply no longer switches the relay, and the light is turned on – powered by the UPS battery.

This is quite a useful hack if you happen to have a spare UPS sitting around – it sure beats scrambling around searching for a flashlight in the dark!

Hackaday links: February 21, 2011

PCB Stand

Part PCB, part old IC, and held together with hot glue. It doesn’t take much to make this electronics stand, but it’ll certainly add to the geek level of your desk.

Decorate with light

This busy living room is actually decorated all in white. The patterns that give it life are on lend from a projector and what we’d imagine is some fantastic software. [Thanks MDV]

Flashing butt on your bike

[Eli] sewed lights and flex sensor into her jeans. Now her butt flashes in heart-shaped patterns as she rides. She actually robbed one of the flex sensors from this project to complete that explosive high-five project.

Mini-rake’s progress

A lathe and some sand that needs tending is all that [Spatula Tzar] needed to get this zen garden rake under way. We like how she used a vacuum bag to infuse the wood with mineral oil.

Paper and electrons

This collection of musical projects forsakes common substrates and builds the mess of circuit boards on pieces of paper. Not much information but the strangeness is worth a look.

Blinky headgear

[Everett Tom] added some blinking LEDs to his visor while honing his PCB design skills at the same time. He started with the TI eZ430-F2013 for prototyping the blinking circuit along with its mode toggle buttons. Once this was worked out he used BatchPCB (a low-cost professional board fab option) to manufacture a board. The final design hosts an MSP430 F2013 microcontroller as well as the voltage regulator circuit that draws power from the 9V battery that hides inside the head band next to the board.

You guessed it, video after the break.

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Arduino levitation

Here’s the proof that Arduino is a tool for serious prototyping and not just a toy. [Norbert Požár] built a magnetic levitation device that combines an Arduino with an electromagnetic driver circuit and a magnetic field sensing circuit. Unlike other other levitation setups that use optical sensing, this implementation uses a hall effect sensor on the electromagnet to maintain the distance between it, and the permanent magnet it is holding in midair. Check out the embedded video after the break and browse through the overview page so see how pleasing it is to do away with a frame around the floating object. This makes us wonder if it could be inverted in a way similar to that magnetic scale.

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Motion activated monitor wakeup

This hardware is used to keep a computer monitor awake when there is motion in the room. The monitor displays important information for firefighter in the vehicle bay, but only needs to be on when they are getting ready to go out on a call. The solution is a simple one, a PIR sensor combines with a mouse for motion sensitive input. When the PIR sensor detects motion it causes a mouse button click via a 2N3904 transistor. Now the monitor will not waste power or have burn-in over the long term, but whenever someone is in the room it will be displaying the information that the emergency workers need to know.

[Thanks Andy]