Reading analog sensors with the Raspberry Pi

Adafruit just posted an awesome tutorial on reading analog sensors with the Raspberry Pi. It’s a great walkthrough that can be applied to your next Raspi project as well as any project where you just need one more analog input.

Earlier, the folks over at Adafruit posted a tutorial on using a MCP3008 ADC with the Raspi to directly read analog values using a Raspi. Sometimes, though, you don’t need eight analog inputs and a 12-bit ADC to get a project off the ground. Adafruit’s tutorial for reading analog values without an ADC relies on a single 1μF ceramic capacitor attached between a digital input and ground. By pulling the sensor line high for a millisecond or two, the capacitor charges at different rates depending on the value of the analog sensor.

Yes, it’s just an RC timing circuit but seeing as how the Raspi doesn’t have an analog input, we figure this tutorial could help out a few people.

A Wireless MAME Coffee Table Controller

MAME coffee table plan

Although we’ve featured quite a few MAME controllers here, we thought we’d feature one more. It’s only a well-drawn mechanical plan at this point, but if the results are anything like the model or detail drawing, we will be quite impressed.

One thing that is of particular interest is the planned parts list. Amongst them are the typical joysticks, buttons, and even a trackball. What may be new to some of our readers is the bluetooth arcade controller by [Wayne and Layne] opensource hardware kits. Although they aren’t cheap at just under $80, and requre an Arduino Mega for use, this is nonetheless an interesting control option. The maximum button presses may be another limiting factor at 6, but it should be a cleaner solution than cannibalizing one or more wireless controllers.

Of course, we’d be negligent if we didn’t at least give you a link to a completed MAME controller. Be sure to feast your eyes on these images if you’d like some finished controller eye candy or check out the pic after the break!

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Excavate Your Basement Using RC Equipment

basement excavation

Although it could be debated as to whether or not this is a “hack,” since the equipment used is built for excavation, the scale of it seems deserving of a mention. In the linked article, [Joe] is quoted as saying, “the common misconception here is that the RC’s are not here to excavate my basement, but rather the basement excavation project is here for the RC’s.”  This could be a motto for most makers/hackers in that projects are frequently not done for the resulting product, but for the experience of making something your own.

According to [Joe], he excavates 2 – 3 cubic yards per year with his little RC vehicles.  Living in Canada as a rancher and farmer, he’s required to be near his home to feed his hungry animals even during the cold winter months. During this time, there can be very little to do. After sometimes working 16 hour days during the summer, he needed something to keep him occupied close to home. Be sure to check out the excavation video after the break, or check out the original article for even more pictures and video! [Read more...]

The Minotaur’s Revenge: Dueling Labyrinths

In case you hadn’t noticed, we participated in a contest recently. The RedBull Creation contest. The basic idea was that they gave us 72 hours to build something based on a theme. The whole thing would be streamed live as the 12 teams competed. The theme was “game of games” and the rules were pretty basic. It had to be a game with a clear winner (nothing too general), it had to be safe, and it had to fit in their shipping container.

Our project is called “the minotaur’s revenge”, and is basically a set of dueling labyrinths. A pair of giant tilting mazes that have to be controlled while attempting to trigger traps on your opponents table. We knew that watching us screw some wood together for 3 days would be painfully dull, so we put extra effort into keeping our feed amusing. We had scheduled events like a fire breather, grafitti artists, people in costume, and strange things happening all the time. We took time to answer questions and converse with our watchers. It paid off, our feed was usually host to double the viewers of any other feed.

Keep reading for a full writeup on how everything was made, along with a ton of pictures and some video.

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