A simple fix to resurrect your broken iclicker

simple_iclicker_battery_fix

If you are currently attending college, the odds are that you are familiar with iclicker classroom remotes. If you have one of these, you might also be aware that they tend to be flaky at times, particularly when it comes to powering on. [Todd] received a few “broken” iclickers lately and has found an easy to fix design issue that might possibly save yours (and others) from the trash heap.

When he started pulling the units apart to diagnose them, he noticed that something with the battery contacts was not quite right. They are held in place by the device’s plastic shell which is pretty common, however in the iclicker, the portion of the plastic case that holds the positive battery contact is too big, preventing some batteries from making a complete circuit.

Now you might be thinking to yourself that AA batteries are all the same, but they are not necessarily created equal. Through a small bit of testing, [Todd] found that many different batteries experienced intermittent connectivity issues depending on the height of the positive terminal, and that due to their design, Duracell batteries flat out didn’t work. With the careful removal of a portion of the plastic surrounding the positive contact, [Todd] was able to fix each of his “broken” remotes.

He hopes that this information helps some people resurrect their non-functioning units, because a few minutes work sure beats buying another $30 iclicker.

World clock simulates night and day

geochron_world_clock_clone

[Justin] always wanted a GeoChron clock, but since they run in the range of several thousand dollars apiece, he was pretty certain he would never have the chance to own one. Undaunted, he figured out a way to build a small version of the clock for himself, and he wrote in to share how it was done.

He first purchased a Wise Clock 3 from FlorinC, but he definitely wasn’t going to use the clock as it was originally intended. Rather than display the time in numbers, he pulled the Wise Clock apart and sandwiched a vellum printout of a world map in between the front face plates. A tweaked firmware image allows him to simulate day and night using the Wise Clock’s LED array. He also programmed the clock to take into account seasonal light patterns, as you can see in the video embedded below.

We think this is a great idea, and though we would probably use plain white LEDs if we built one, the RGB LEDs in the Wise Clock certainly provide a neat effect.

[Read more...]

Announcing our next theme: ATtiny hacks

ATtiny Hacks Theme Banner

It is time once again to announce a new theme. This time around, we have chosen to highlight projects built around the ATtiny series of processors. These are 6 to 32 pin AVR processors that run up to 16 MHz and have anywhere from 512 Bytes of flash with 32 Bytes of RAM to 16K of Flash with 512 bytes of RAM. We’re guessing that this will be a pretty popular theme since so many people are using Atmel processors these days. If you have a project that you would like to see on Hackaday that is using an ATtiny processor, please hit us up on our tip line. If we like it, we may we choose to feature it in one of our daily themed hacks.

To kick off this theme, here is a nice write up about a stepper motor driver based around the ATtiny13. This project reads the analog value on pin B4 and adjusts the speed of the stepper motor. It is well documented and includes source code.

Glass PCBs

Our friend [Jeri] tipped us off about this cool video on youtube where the author makes his own “transparent” PCB’s using some nontraditional materials. One ounce copper foil is found online along with some clear glass microscope slides, from there it is just a matter of cementing the foil onto the glass slides with some thin UV curing glue. Once the 2 parts are mated the entire thing is popped into an eeprom eraser for its intense UV light, then excess is trimmed.

The normal routine of toner transfer is used to copy a circuit pattern onto the copper clad glass and it’s etched in standard ferric chloride. The copper is removed but the UV glue that was holding it is still left, some special care needs be followed as this stuff is pretty weak against even mild solvents, and you do not want your traces peeling up. Next no clean solder paste is applied and parts are soldered down with a heat gun, keeping the glass evenly heated to prevent it from cracking.
This leaves you with a board that looks like frosted glass, and in order to protect the glue while clearing up the frosted effect, some polyurethane is applied which fills in all the little bumps and smoothes the surface bout out to almost 100% clear.
The end application in this video is a touch sensitive board which works fine though the back side of the glass and presents a nice smooth interface for the user. Join us after the break for the video.

[Read more...]

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