Headphones use standard-sized but proprietary rechargeable batteries

Here’s something we haven’t run across before. We’re familiar with proprietary battery shapes (we’re looking at you, digital camera manufacturers), or custom recharge connections (look of death directed toward cellphone manufacturers), but using electrical tricks to force AAA brand loyalty is a new one. It seems that’s exactly what is happening with [OiD's] wireless headphones which were manufactured by Phillips.

The headphones take AAA sized batteries and can use either disposable or rechargeable varieties. There is a warning label advising that only Phillips brand rechargeables should be used, and sure enough, if you try a different brand the performance suffers both in charging time and in battery life. The original batteries are labelled as Nickel Metal Hydride at 1.2V and 550 mAh, which falls within common specs. But [OiD] noticed that there is an extra conductor in the battery compartment that makes contact with the sides of the battery case. Further inspection reveals that a reverse-biased diode makes contact through this conductor with a portion of the battery which has not been painted. This is not true with other brands, allowing the circuit to distinguish between OEM and replacements.

[OiD] shorted out that connection and immediately saw a performance boost from his replacement batteries. It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on here without a full schematic for the circuit, but we’d love to hear your speculation on this setup in the comments. Is this a low tech version of the identity chips that camera batteries sometimes hide?

Propeller Lamp

Wanting to replace a power hungry halogen lamp in the living room, [Jason Dorie] went out to design a Remote Controlled, Dimmable Led Lamp (pictures). The body of the lamp is a pretty interesting idea, sporting a couple waste baskets with a translucent HDPE skin as the lampshade and a PVC column for structure.

The column is wrapped in a spiral of 16 foot long led strips , and are wired so they can be controlled in groups. Light output is (estimated) at about the same as a 100-150 watt incandescent while only consuming 24 watts.

The lamp is controlled via a universal remote and features a TLC5940 driven by a Propeller, all sitting on a CNC machined PCB. With that much horsepower under a lamp you can expect that it will not just simply dim in and out, so join us after the break for a video to see how to turn on a lamp with style.

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SNES to PC

The Nintendo Entertainment System is by far the most popular 8 bit post crash video game system. Therefore, the NES gets all sorts of mods and hacks done with it, but there is not a whole bunch of noise for its bigger badder 16 bit brother the Super Nintendo. Have no fear though [Vigo the Carpathian] (I did not know it was the season of evil!) helps to correct that in his first Instructable, turning a SNES into an all in one classic video game player.

Using the shell of a Super Nintendo the bottom half includes ZOTAC IONITX-C-U mini ITX motherboard, and a dual SNES controller port to USB that fits in the original openings to use the real deal controllers. A USB port is also mounted for some wireless dual shock action.

On the top half, the eject button, and cartridge slot flaps have been removed and speaker grill cloth was added to provide venting. Near the back of the unit, SD-card to SATA adapter provides storage, which we think is a good idea for cheap SSD storage. Micro switches are also rigged up so that the original power and reset buttons control the same computer functions.

Clean looks, small form factor, join us after the break for a quick video.

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Robotic bird flaps away last bits of privacy

This really gives a lifelike look to the eye in the sky. In case you were worried that every part of your life wasn’t being recorded by a surveillance camera, the Festo Bionic Learning Network has come up with a drone that will be hard to discern from the wildlife.

Watch the video after the break. We’re not 100% certain that it’s not fake, but it looks real enough (the mark of a truly amazing design). You’ll see the robo-bird flapping away both from a fixed point on the ground, and from a camera view behind the head of the device. It propels itself both by flapping and rotating the wings and is capable of taking off, flying, and landing autonomously.

It’s bigger than the hummingbird drone that was developed for DARPA, but we think that it sticks out less when caught at a glance. No word on the intended use for the device, but we’re sure that some of you are enjoying the nostalgia of the mechanical owl from Clash of the Titans, and that’s why we want one.

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