CadSoft’s EAGLE 6 hits beta and packs goodies

Version 6 of the popular schematic and PCB layout software EAGLE is now in beta testing. The most notable change is the migration to XML file formats that we looked at last month.

[PT] didn’t waste any time getting his hands on the software and giving it a thorough test drive. The image seen above shows the files of a MintyBoost. It’s impossible to make out at this resolution, but it is indeed spitting out human-readable (well maybe) XML in the windows below instead of the ‘no trespassing’ binaries they used to use.

Earlier today when working on a feature we had to jump on a different computer that had EAGLE installed in order to look at a .SCH file. We wonder if someone will put out a rendering package that can parse the new format and spit out a quick PNG? At the very least, we expect to see some useful hacks for part replacement or pin swapping. It shouldn’t be too hard to poke around and figure out what happens when changing some of the stored values. Got anything in mind that you can do by editing these by hand?

Oh, we almost forgot! The biggest benefit you get from this is the increased version control compatiblity since programs like git will be able to perform diff functions on the files.

Halloween Hacks: An evil R/C clown car for terrorizing the neighborhood

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terrifying-clown-car

If you had a few too many trick or treaters hitting up your house this year, [phwillys] has a solution guaranteed to keep them from coming back. He was looking for a way to scare the crap out of the trick or treaters this past Halloween, so he constructed a remote-controlled evil jeep to terrorize the neighborhood.

The jeep was built from an old PowerWheels car, and uses a bunch of different motors to get the effect [phwillys] was looking for. He bought a linear actuator on eBay to let him steer the jeep, which is controlled using some motor controllers he had left over from another project. A salvaged car window motor was used to allow evil clown driver to turn from side to side in his seat, while a pair of car seat motors activate the giant claws built into the sides of the vehicle. The jeep’s hood was even turned into a chomping mouth with large teeth using yet another small motor.
[phwillys] also added a water sprayer to the clown’s mouth, soaking any kids in the immediate vicinity, though he was nice enough to mount a leaf blower on the opposite side of the vehicle to help blow them dry.

It really is an awesome creation, we’re sure the neighborhood kids (and parents) got a big kick out of it. Continue reading to see a short video of his scary clown car in action.

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Controlling shift registers via SPI

Hack a Day’s very own (and very prolific contributor) [Mike Szczys] put up a great tutorial on how to drive shift registers with an SPI interface.

[Mike]‘s earlier tutorial of the 595 shift register goes through the functions of a shift register pin by pin. In a 595, bits for each position in the register are sent over one at a time. Most microprocessors have an Serial Peripheral Interface, and using an SPI bus means a lot less mucking about.

An ATmega168 was used for this build, although most Atmel chips can be made to work as an SPI master device. There are just three wires connecting the microcontroller to the shift register – SER, SRCLK, and RCLK. Like any other shift register setup, the build can be expanded by connecting the QH’ pin of the first 595 to the SER pin of the second.

[Mike] graciously made all the code for his build available. The video after the break is a 16-bit binary counter, a good stopping point before [Mike] rebuilds his Larson scanner/Cylon/Kitt, moving away from a PWM-based build to a register-based one.

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Weekly roundup 11/5/11

In case you missed them the first time, here are this week’s most popular posts:

Our most popular post is about an octocopter that is big enough to hover a person who is perched perilously in the center of an angry array of blades that are counting on Murphy’s law for their chance to taste a little human blood.

Next up is a post about an interesting clock made out of Legos that uses a mechanism similar to the one inside of a combination lock to display the time.

In third place is a post about [Lizzie] and her ‘ball of dub’ that is hard to explain but interesting to listen to.

Next we have a post about how some Occupy Wall Street protesters are generating electricity despite having their generators confiscated. This one is about the hack folks, not the protest. Let’s try to keep the comments civil…

Finally, we have one about a new circuit board put out by the folks who brought us the Beagleboard. This one is called the Beaglebone and it is packing some serious firepower for just $89! We can’t wait to see what our readers come up with these puppies (pun intended)!

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