Adding a pedal to a Yamaha DD35 drum kit

[Paul] Wrote in to tell us about a quick project that might be useful to others out there. He was having some problems with the DC jack on his Yamaha DD35 portable drum kit. Naturally, he did what most of us would do and just broke out the soldering iron and prepared to solder it back in place(hot glue it afterwards, that always helps too). That part isn’t a big deal, we’ve all seen it a million times. However, while inspecting the DC jack, he noticed something silk screened on the board right next to it.  As it turns out, that was a kick pedal jack. After a few minutes hunting for a victim around the house that would be sacrificed for its plug, he got his hands on one. A few moments later he was jamming away with a kick pedal.

We absolutely love these super quick upgrades. [Paul] thought maybe this feature was left out at the last minute, and we’ve seen this type of thing for a number of reasons. Maybe that was a feature kept aside for a more expensive model, maybe there was some other reason it was left off. Frankly, we don’t care, we just think it is awesome that it works!

Stay with us to see a quick video demonstration.

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The Vibrotron

Behold the Vibrotron! Constructed by the Carnegie Melon University robotics club, the vibrotron is a piece of a larger project called the robOrchestra. The mechanics in action here are quite simple. You have two reservoirs of small steel balls. One at the bottom, one at the top. The bottom ones are fed to the top ones using an Archimedes’ screw. Once at the top, they are dispensed through some tubing down to plink off of a vibraphone key. All of the timing is done via solenoids mounted at the end of the tubes. The final product reminds us of the Animusic animations that were put out a few years ago.

For this system, since they wanted this to be an automated and reconfigurable bot, they are using an Arduino to control the solenoids. This way they can change songs as they please. We have to admit though, we’d love to see one where the timing for the song was all done through tube length or some other passive system allowing it to be hand cranked and purely mechanical.

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Mini LED message board built from retro displays

personal_electronic_retro_telegram

[Iain] is getting to the point in his life where he finds himself waxing nostalgic about various different technologies from his youth. One item he has always been fond of is first generation 7 segment consumer LED displays, like those found in old calculators.

He was excited to find one of these displays at the bottom of a box full of electronics odds and ends he received from a friend. After identifying the display and tracking down a data sheet online, he decided that he wanted to build some sort of little gadget out of it.

His first inclination was to build a tiny text scrolling gadget from the display, and thus his “Personal Electronic Retro Telegram” (P.E.R.T) was born. With Arduino in hand, he prototyped the circuit on a breadboard, then sent away to have some PCBs built. Once he received the boards, alll of his prototyping components were swapped out with SMD versions, including a TQFP ATMega168 chip in place of the full-sized Arduino board.

The final result is a nice melding old and new technology which he decided to give to his girlfriend as a gift. Continue reading to see a quick video of the P.E.R.T in action.

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