SSD Flex connector to SATA

[Scott] was trying to fix a laptop, and we all know how that sometimes ends. Having a spare 128GB solid state drive and a Dell Mini 10 netbook to shove it in, there was only one problem, the drive did not have SATA connectors. That problem was taken care of like a pro with this FPC to SATA converter.

Inspired by our recent spot about Speeding up a ThinkPad, he was able to find information about the FPC connector from a similar Samsung model, order a SATA connector, FPC zero force connector and matching 24pin jumper. From there a board is designed to connect the two interfaces, taking notes of how other drives have their SATA traces laid out to ensure proper function.

The board is etched and connectors soldered, with every thing plugged in and tested, a little bit of glue is used to hold everything in the stock netbook’s drive sled, resulting in really fast boot times, and a factory look.

Twittering wall switch lets Dutch hackers know when it’s time to play

hackerspace_open_switch

Hack42, a hackerspace in Arnhem, Netherlands recently moved into some new digs, and they wanted an easy way to let their members know whether they were open or not. Fixed hours of operation typically do not fit this sort of organization, so that was out of the question. Instead, they built a switch into the wall** that will let their members know when they are open for business.

The switch separates the TX and RX pins of two Ethernet ports that reside in an old access point embedded in the wall. When the hackerspace is open, the switch is thrown and the circuit is closed. A cron job checks the state of the eth1 port once a minute, sending the “Open” status message to Twitter and IRC once it notices the status change. When the switch is thrown again and the eth1 port goes down, a “Closed” message is broadcast.

It is a simple but cool hack, and quite befitting of a hackerspace.

**No direct Google Translate link is available, though Chrome will translate it for you without issue.

[Thanks, _Danny_]

Shedding some light on your kitchen chores

led_light_bar

[Garret] over at Macetech wanted to supplement the lighting over his kitchen sink, which is always too dark at night. He says his house is a “geek house”, so a standard light socket just wouldn’t do – he would have to construct a LED bar for over the sink instead.

Since nobody wants to use a light switch with wet or messy hands, he did what anyone would do and rigged up a motion detection circuit to automatically turn the lights on and off for him. 16 bright white 10mm LEDs were mounted in some foam core board, along with a PIR motion sensor. He used an ATiny84 to handle the PWM fade-in and fade-out of the lights, as well as to keep track of the activity (or lack thereof) at the sink.

He does admit that the ATiny84 is way overpowered for this project, but he lacked anything smaller, and says that 555 timers wouldn’t give him the smooth light fading that he desired. Regardless, it works as advertised, and now nobody has to peel potatoes in the dark any more.

Continue reading to check out a quick video demo of the motion-sensing light system.

[Read more...]

Coming soon to a store near you: remote-control cockroaches

roboroach

Given a box full of cockroaches, the first thing most of us would do is try to locate the nearest source of fire. Lucky for the roaches, the team over at Backyard Brains look at things a bit differently than we do.

Their latest effort combines cockroaches and electronics to create a bio-electrical hybrid known as the RoboRoach. Using control circuitry donated from a HexBug inchworm and some 555 timers to create properly timed pulses, they have been able to control the gross movement of cockroaches. Stimulation is directly delivered to the antennae nerves of the cockroaches, enabling them to tell the roach which direction to turn and when.

Currently there are some ahem, bugs in the system, which they are working diligently to resolve. Only about 25% of the roaches they wire up can be controlled at present. Once that ratio improves however, they will be looking to offer RoboRoach as a beta product. If you are aiming to add a beetle air force to supplement your remote-controlled cockroach army, be sure to check this out.

Continue reading to see a video of the RoboRoach in action.

[Read more...]

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