Installing military hardware in a home flight simulator

The cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon features a small 3-inch display that monitors and tracks hostile aircraft and missiles, friendlies, and the current target. This Radar Warning Receiver is vitally important to pilots in combat, so [Mike] decided to add one to his homebuilt F-16 simulator that runs Falcon 4.0.

The RWR displays threats as symbols that are usually generated by tens of thousands of dollars worth of military hardware. [Mike] figured a $7 PIC microcontroller would work just as well and set about designing vector graphics that would fit on a single chip.

[Mike] had the graphics displaying correctly on an oscilloscope, but that’s a far cry from the from the surplus RWR display he picked up. Although the display is a simple CRT, the original designers of the radar warning receiver thought it necessary to put the deflection amplifiers in another part of the airplane. After building a pair of 30 Watt amplifiers, [Mike] could finally display more than a single dot on the display.

After all was said and done, [Mike] has a wonderful radar warning display that fits into his F-16 cockpit perfectly. While it’s not quite a 737 in a garage, we’ve got to respect someone who takes surplus avionics and makes them work. Check out [Mike]‘s display in action after the break.

[Read more...]

Going old school with an 8051

A while back, [Matt] bought a few 8051 MCUs and tucked them away for a future project. He just found these fabulous little chips in a component drawer and decided it was time to figure these guys out. Eventually, [Matt] stumbled across this awesome resource for 8051 programming.

The 8051 featured a still reasonably respectable 4k of ROM and 128 bytes of RAM – not too dissimilar from an ATtiny of today until you realize this 30-year-old chip has 32 IO pins. This microcontroller, along with its bigger brother the 8052, served as the de facto microcontroller standard for 20 years. You’ve no doubt taken a ride in a car that used one, and was even put to use doing low-level grunt work in early PCs.

[Matt] says he couldn’t find a Hackaday project featuring this 30-year-old microcontroller (not true, here’s one of those tilty mazes and an electronic toll booth), but even we have to admit we don’t feature much outside of the usual AVRs and PICs. Even though it’s 32 years old, the 8051 family still has some tricks up its sleeve like playing audio CDs. If you’ve got an 8051 project lying around, send it in on the tip line and we’ll probably throw it up.

PushingBox alerts you of your cat’s roaming habits

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but cats are certainly a hacker’s best muse. They provide so many ‘reasons’ for projects, like this cat door which [Clement] augmented to monitor the comings and goings of his feline friend (translated). He’s using a web service we hadn’t heard of before called PushingBox to send notifications like Tweets and Emails from the Arduino monitoring that door.

The two white rectangles attached to the cat door in the image above are magnets commonly used for entry door monitoring. Using a pair of them along with reed switches lets the system differentiate between an incoming or outgoing cat. The Arduino is web-connected and running the PushingBox API to manage the notification messages. See a demo of the system in the clip after the break.

This would be a nice addition to the cat door we saw [Dino] build. Of course, if you really want to go all out with the cat hacks the next project should be a GPS tracking collar. [Read more...]

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