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Bench power supply resetting thingy

As is common among some hackers, [Henry] re-purposed an ATX power supply unit to function as a bench power supply for testing circuits on a breadboard (much like this fancy example).

However, safety mechanisms on some modern PC PSUs do not automatically reset after over-current protection has kicked in, which soon became annoying for [Henry]. In order to make his power supply more hacker-friendly, he wired up and programmed an ATtiny85V, using some Arduino libraries, to do that for him. This simple project is a great example of using a hack to improve a pre-existing hack.

Course correcting the Science Fiction genre

Usually we post our own mad ravings in the rants category. But we think [Paolo Bacigalupi's] take on the meandering focus of the Science Fiction genre worthy of the deviation. He discusses the course correction that happened in the 1980′s and makes a case that it’s time for another nudge in the right direction.

We’ve done our own extensive reading of the Sci-Fi that’s out there. And it’s not hard to agree that the pillars of the genre (Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke) feel dated. We remember the thrill of reading Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and other cyber-punk offerings with new enthusiasm. But we never really put it together that this was a course correction. The older novels were focused on forecasting the future of older technology, and as the digital world develop those predictions didn’t mirror the reality of “the future”.

So what about now? Do the Tessier-Ashpools secretly govern that majority of the planet from a lofty orbital platform? Is it time for another reboot? Of course there’s never one single pivot point for these things, but we think it’s already happening in novels like Ready Player One. We haven’t read [Paolo's] award-winning book The Windup Girl (pictured above) yet but he thinks that biopunk may be one of the new directions for science fiction literature. What do you think?

[via BoingBoing]

Printing and programming a self-balancer

The Hackaday staff isn’t in agreement on 3d printers. Some of us are very enthusiastic, some are indifferent, and some wonder what if they’re as widely useful as the hype makes them sound. But we think [Jason Dorweiler's] self balancing robot is as strong a case as any that 3d printing should be for everyone!

Don’t get us wrong. We love the robot project just for being a cool self-balancer. Seeing the thing stand on its own (video after the break) using an Arduino with accelerometer and gyroscope sensors is pure win. But whenever we see these we always think of all the mechanical fabrication that goes into it. But look at the thing. It’s just printed parts and some wooden dowels! How easy is that?

Sure, sure, you’ve got to have access to the printer, it needs to be well calibrated, and then you’ve got to make the designs to be printed out. But these hurdles are getting easier to overcome every day. After all, there’s no shortage of people to befriend who want nothing more than to show off their Makerbot/RepRap/etc.

[Read more...]

Blinky headgear

This hat has a chasing LED feature thanks to our old friend the 555 timer. [BananaSlug] even built in the option to change the speed at the push of a button.

His design starts out with a costume hat. Each of the 25 LEDs is soldered to a 2×4 hole chunk of protoboard. The LED package is pushed through a slit in the hat, but the protoboard remains on the inside where it can be sewn in place. From there [BananaSlug] soldered one negative bus around the circumference, and an individual positive lead from each module back to the control board. They’re addressed by a set of CD4017 decade counters which are clocked by the 555 timer circuit.

This is a great little analog/logic project and the style is perfect if you’ve got the coat to go along with it.

MakerFaire K.C. sneak peak at ArcAttack’s new toy

I’ve been seeing videos of ArcAttack all over the web for several years now and hoped one day I’d be able to cross paths with them. When I heard they were going to be at MakerFaire K. C., I was determined to grab them and ask a few questions. As it turns out, they’re fans of Hackaday and were happy to talk. Not only that, but when I was asking what fun things they were building, their eyes lit up. “You’re going to love this” one of them said as he ran off behind the stage.  He returned with a device which was strapped to his body and spitting 5 foot long lightning bolts. He was right, I did love it!  They demonstrated this proton pack looking portable tesla coil for a while, shocking each other and random bits of metal, all the wile grinning like the fools we all are.

I know we’ve covered a portable tesla coil or two before, but seeing this thing in person,heading right for you,strapped to someone who might actually even be able to run faster than you, is pretty cool.

There is video (sorry, shaky) and a ton of pictures after the break. Enjoy.

[Read more...]

Building a boombox where tools are meant to go

[Danman1453] is ready to face the rest of his summer thanks to this toolbox boombox he built for outside use. It’s always nice to have some tunes when laboring at those not-so-fun jobs (we’ve got some windows that need re-glazing and you can bet we’re not doing that in silence). But if you can’t really hear it what’s the point? The highest volume [Danman1453] could get out of the consumer options he tried just wasn’t cutting it, and that led him to this project.

The only thing he bought to complete the boombox was some black spray paint. He already had an old toolbox for the enclosure, a head unit and the larger speakers from an old car, and the small speakers came from a set of computer speakers. Those are cleverly mounted in the compartments on the lid of the toolbox, pointed down so that they’re oriented correctly when the lid is propped open. The faceplate was even recycled by using wood an old shipping pallet.

He would like a little bit of advice though. When he’s playing a CD and the bass really gets bumping the head unit tends to skip. Does anyone have an easy method of isolating it from the speakers while still keeping it safe and sound in the portable enclosure?