Prototyping the new office clock

[Damage] was tapped to build a new clock to hang on the wall at the office. He got a hold of some 6.5 inch seven segment displays for the hours and minutes, as well as some 4.5 inch modules for the date and month. Rather than jump right in with the large hardware (especially because he’s waiting for the PCB order to arrive)  he built this prototype with more commonly sized displays.

His build is Arduino powered. In the video after the break he mentions the temperature compensated crystal oscillator that keeps the time. We’d wager that’s the DS3234 based RTC module that Sparkfun sells. This is the same chip family as the Chronodot and it was our choice for the Ping Pong Clock.

The finished clock will hang high on wall, out of reach when you need to set the time. This shouldn’t need to be done much – if ever – since that RTC includes a backup battery. But [Damage] took the time to develop a remote programming device anyway. Using another Arduino, an LCD display, and an Xbee pair he whipped up a remote that can be used to navigate and change the main unit’s settings.

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Devil horns adorn the hood of my truck

When you’re hunting zombies you’ve got to give them something to fear. [Shannon Larratt] is getting ready for that eventuality by adding devil horns as his hood ornament. It looks awesome from afar, but when you see the close-up images you realize how lifelike this is. That’s because it’s not a sculpture. [Shannon] cast the ornament in a mold made from his own hand.

The process started with some dental alginate which he slobbered all over his hand as he held the devil horns pose. After the mold had hardened he cast the ornament using fast-curing black plastic resin.

With the ornament now in hand he needed a way to secure it to the hood of his vehicle. He picked up a threaded U-bolt. A hole and a slot were carved in the base of the ornament to receive the U-bold and a straight bolt for a trio of anchor points. More of the black resin fills the holes, securing the bolts and making it a snap to mount the ornament by drilling through the hood.

We also find it awesome that during this process [Shannon] took the time to cast his daughter’s fist for use as a door knob at home.

Radio packets…from spaaaace!

space_radio

[Bill Meara] was watching the International Space Station and the Shuttle Discovery pass overhead a few weeks ago, which rekindled an interest he gave up long ago – sending and receiving radio packets from space.

Years ago, he used to send APRS packets into space with a small rig powered by a 286 computer and HandiTalkie. These packets would drift off into space most of the time, but occasionally they would bounce back to Earth whenever the space station or PC Sat would fly by. The packets were often captured by other ham operators across the globe, who happened to be tuned to 145.825 MHz.

His interest renewed, he dug out his old HandieTalkie and Kantronics Terminal Node, aiming them towards the sky via an antenna situated in his back yard. When he returned 10 hours later, he found that he had collected all sorts of “space packets” from across the globe.

While not exactly a hack, it is definitely a neat exercise in ham radio operation. We can imagine slinging data packets off the space station would be an exciting experience for any budding operator (and OMs as well!)

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