Hackaday Links: December 3, 2011

Honey, would you like some cheese? WHIRRRRRRRRR

[The Timmy] broke his manual cheese grater. It would be a waste to throw away a perfectly functional tool that’s only missing a handle, so he kicked it up a notch with a cordless drill. Now [Tim], “can grate with incredible speed and power for even the toughest of cheeses.” Anyone have a broken pepper mill?

The most adorable oscilloscope

We’re not much for plugging products, but this scope is really cool. It’s designed to fit on a breadboard and is smaller than some ICs we’ve seen (68000, so yes, it is). We’re wondering why there hasn’t been a homebrew version of this yet.

Now do an R/C castle

Here’s a minifig-sized R/C LEGO car made by [brickmodder]. It has a custom drive train and steering mechanism that uses the smallest servos [brickmodder] could find. How about an R/C pirate ship next?

It’s probably an ad for something

Here’s some sort of code thing that asks the question, “Can you crack it?” Apparently, it’s for UK cryptanalyst recruiting. You won’t get a 00-designation, but woo Bletchley Park.

Inverting an inverter

[Manfred] is putting an alternative energy setup on his land. Of course he needed an inverter to charge his batteries, so he went with a highly regarded (high price) box. What he got was anything but. You’re going to need at least ten minutes to go through this hilariously sad teardown of a high quality Taiwanese inverter. Oh, [Manfred] is awesome. Just look at his microhydro plant.


  1. biozz says:

    i think we have shown that scope before

    but anyway i love that inverter setup!

    and cryptography makes my brain sting O.o

  2. abc says:

    I have that scope, it’s the Xprotolab. I have been able to do the majority of my lab assignments with it at home, as part of my college course. It is not a replacement for a full-sized scope, but for students and home experimenters, I honestly believe it is just the thing to get. The price is right, too. And the new version of firmware (mine’s old) supports a USB connection and there is software to view the output like a real scope. Pretty damned good.

  3. Anonymous Coward says:

    Pepper mill has been done! 0:53 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avqTrSrOtVA

  4. biozz says:

    even tho my brain burns after looking at that crypto i think its a 10 letter word and possibly each hex bit equates to a binary bit and to an 8 bit byte

    but thas as far as i will go

  5. jc says:

    that program is a 32bit linux binary, it computes something and then makes an only syscall it does in its lifetime: exit(0)

  6. Cerberus says:

    Not to spoil this for anyone but the correct answer takes you here: http://canyoucrackit.co.uk/soyoudidit.asp

  7. I remember a code cracker thingy like that in a Bruce Willis movie. The premise was that anybody who could crack the code was judged as a National Security risk by some obscure Bureaucrats, and needed to disappear. Of course, Bruce’s job was to protect the “savant” who broke the code, and take down the bad guys in a “Man Movie” sort of way…

  8. Haku says:

    I read the code breaking challened was ‘cracked’ by using Google: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/03/gchq_code_crack_compo_snafu/

  9. aki says:

    teh codes – Pr0t3ct!on#cyber_security@12*12.2011+

  10. Axor says:

    http://canyoucrackit.co.uk/soyoudidit.asp is posted every where but no method on how they got to it; decoy maybe?

  11. Regarding the itty-bitty-teeny-weenie O’Scope, unless you REALLY need a scope that plugs into a protoboard, SeeedStudios is selling one that is faster (1MHz analog bandwidth instead of 200KHz), frequency counter (digital only), bigger display with more pixels, bezel and labelled front panel with buttons, screen captures saved to EEPROM, and it costs less ($48 instead of $49).

    The downside is only one analog input, no spectrum analyzer, no analog waveform out, and no protocol sniffer.

    So, depending on your needs, they are both inexpensive and useful items.

  12. flapjackboy says:

    Nope, no broken pepper mills, but I do have a spice weasel with a cold.

  13. Hirudinea says:

    I got a cheap drill at the Goodwill, mabye I could adapt it to a coffee grinder for camping. As for the inverter, you never get what you pay for, you get what the seller can get away with.

  14. acomputerdog says:

    wow, and i though a Chinese inverter would be the worst you could find. proved me wrong.

  15. Hug-A-Bug says:

    Solution to how the canyoucrackit problem was solved can be found here. http://lolhax.org/2011/12/03/can-you-crack-it/#more-114

  16. pelrun says:

    BTW the Xprotolab kind of *is* a homebrew project; the true project page (and not just the reseller page you linked) is here:


    Schematics, layout and code files are there.

  17. nes says:

    I just spent a couple of hours reading through Manfred’s write up of his penstock and turbine. What an absolute hero!

    That sort of thing would be practically impossible here in Europe due to bureaucracy. I think I might move to Chile :)

    • There can be problems getting a government permit to divert water (even on your own property) in the USA due to an abundance of environmental legislation. It can help a lot to donate large campaign contributions elected official who may be able to help you. Money can buy you additional freedoms if you can afford to “grease the wheels”, so to speak.

    • dunz says:

      I know people who’s done it in sweden anyway. His setup isn’t as elaborate though. No turbines, but he’s off grid anyway. Mostly through solar power and so called “earth heat(?)”

  18. space says:

    ludens.cl is goldmine!

  19. TheCreator says:

    If you really got the code you would realize that it is a 3 part test. I’m on part 2 now. Let you know how it goes.

  20. lurksMostly says:

    > broke his manual cheese grater.

    Happened in reverse for me: I got impatient with my pepper grinder, and attached the drill for some peppercorn steak. I got the steak, but the pepper grinder didn’t make it. I had a great time, the wife wasn’t so impressed, though.

  21. Axor says:
  22. The Timmy says:

    my girlfriend said “I just *KNEW* you were up to something when you went back to your room and I heard all this rustling around in there!”

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