Hackaday Links: December 25, 2011

Ah, Christmas. That wonderful time of year when you can roll out of bed to the screams and wails of children, grab a hot cocoa, and spend several hours arguing with an 8-year-old about which LEGO set to build first. Simply magical. While you’re waiting for the Doctor Who Christmas special to come on, settle down with these wonderful Christmas-themed builds that came in over the last few weeks.

One step closer to Robot Santa

Here’s an interesting way to spice up your seasonal headwear. [Mark] took a Santa hat and added a string of multicolored LEDs to the brim. The lights were picked up at a drug store for a dollar. Control is through a simple push button connected to an ATtiny13. Press the button, the lights cycle in a different pattern. Very cool, so check out the video.

A holographic holiday tree

[Auger] posted this very cool light up Christmas tree decoration on Instructables. This tree is made up of three pieces of acrylic. Different designs were laser cut into each piece of plastic – candy canes for the ‘red’ piece, stars and tinsel for the ‘yellow’ piece, and the tree for the ‘green’ piece. LEDs of the respective colors are cemented to the bottom of each bit of plastic. It’s called light piping and is used everywhere. This is the first time we’ve seen three colors, though.

This is what nerds do, and it’s awesome

[Rickard Dahlstrand] was playing around with his phone trying to take deliberately fuzzy pictures of his tree. He noticed the dashes produced from the LED Christmas lights must be produced from PCM dimming. Going through the EXIF data in the picture, he found the exposure time was 1/17th of a second. 1/17 of a second = ~ 58 ms / 5 (cycles on the picture) = ~11 ms per cycle = ~100 Hz frequency on the PCM dimming. Of course this is just about 2 times the line frequency in [Rickard]’s native Sweden, so we’ll call this confirmed. There’s no blog post for this, but we’ve never seen a clearer example of applied geekery. Simply awesome.

Yeah, we measured [Rickard] on a nerd meter

In the spirit of giving, [Johannes] decided to tell the entire world exactly how nerdy he is. He built a ‘Nerd Alert’ meter out of an old 1950s Japanese multimeter. The old guts of the meter were chucked, and a simple amp made out of a transistor amplifies the current flowing through the user’s fingers. A neat scale ([Johannes] measures somewhere between Amiga Workbench and Space invaders) replaces the old, boring, number-based one. Again, no write-up, but here’s some awesome build pictures.

Finally a use for all those old radio tubes

[AUTUIN] took apart a vacuum tube with a blow torch and a diamond cutting wheel. Surprisingly, he was able to put it back together, but not before making a wonderful Christmas ornament. There are two copper wires inside the envelope that are the leads to a single orange-red LED. The whole thing is powered by a watch battery. We’ll be sure to reference [AUTUIN] next time we have to take apart a glass bulb, because he managed not to burn, cut or blind himself.

Six things in a links post? It’s a Christmas miracle!

[Darryl] sent in a nice tool to select and display all of the hacker/maker merit badges available from Adafruit. Oh, we’re still trying to figure out who to give 10 badges to. We’re giving away skull ‘n wrench badges to the top ten hacks ever featured here. Leave a note in the comments, or tell us who should win.

Holiday wishes

Now put the computer down and go spend some time with your families, or failing that, strangers. Of course there’s an all day Doctor Who marathon, and that thing isn’t going to watch itself…

13 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: December 25, 2011

  1. Yeah, basically they wire the LEDs up as a half wave rectifier. I have a string of LED lights that has a small green cylinder at one end that gets warm, I’m guessing another diode, but I haven’t tried to test that yet. I’d like to add a full bridge rectifier and some filter capacitors to try to reduce the flicker.

  2. I can see the PWM’ing of lights (or even the 60hz in light bulbs) with my naked eyes. I have the ability to move my eyes left and right very quickly and can see the pulses much like a digital camera does.

    1. Lol… that’s an ability? That’s called something everyone such as myself has experienced, as myself even more-so as my optometrist suggests I have 40/40 vision, therefore my eyes have rather good focal range, but are rather sensitive aswell.

      Everyone can see the separation of colours that the colour wheel in a DLP projection system (Be it rear projection TV, computer DLP projectors, etcetera.) The same happens with that in a sense that your eyes can perceive the separation of colours or rather “oscillation” of the colours that occur at some unknown rate I assume is proportional to the spinning speed of the colour wheel in RPMS.

  3. man oh man you should totally give me one of the skull an crossbones just because i been coming here reading and posting for 6 years….pweeese….

  4. That is NOT holography.

    Holography, as put by their inventors, is the reconstruction of a wavefront by interference with a reference beam.

  5. Thanks for the tattoo idea; that Pi MP image is genius.

    I second the ballot for Jeri* and Ben.

    *corrected spelling from original post

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