Building a better NES

NES

The first model of the NES wasn’t all that great; just ask any one of the millions of six-year-olds who independently discovered blowing on a cartridge made it work. The second NES hardware revision, the top loader, was better but only had RF video output. These are the only two pieces of hardware that can play every single NES game, and even with years of hacking NES-on-a-chip devices, there’s still much to be desired.

[low_budget] over on the AtariAge forum decided he’d had enough of these hardware compromises and decided to build the first new NES hardware revision in 20 years. It’s got all the best features from both of its predecessors and a few new features not seen on any existing NES. There’s support for composite and RGB video generators, new and better amplifiers for the audio, no lockout chip, and a top loading cartridge slot to prevent bent pins on the 72 pin connector.

While [low_budget]‘s prototype works, it only does so by salvaging the CPU and PPU from a working NES. There’s still much work to be done on the prototype, but even if we’ll have to destroy our beloved NES, we’d love to get our hands on one of these improved consoles.

Pinoccio Web Rover

web-rover

Before assuming that the title should be “web crawler,” just shush your shussins’ and check out the video after the break. The Pinoccio, as previously noted, is a board in development as a sort of web-enabled by default Arduino. This makes it perfect for a project like this one where a little rover is controlled from 10,000 Kilometers away, or around 6000 Miles for those of us that dwell in the US.

This setup uses a cell-phone accelerometer in Brazil to allow control of this robot in Nevada. Although close, the control isn’t quite real time, so that has to be accounted for. Something like this could be easily used for a telepresence ‘bot.

If you want to build your own, the assembly time is estimated at 1 hour. Instructions, as well as source code can be found on their page after the video. Although the Pinoccio board won’t be available until at least this summer, maybe this will give someone inspiration to try something similar in the mean time! [Read more...]

Adventures in 3d printing: Our first week with the LulzBot AO-100

Lulzbot-3D-printer-RT

Recently, we acquired a LulzBot AO-100. It was given to us, free of charge.  After having it for about a week, I’ve figured out enough that I feel I can finally share my thoughts, impressions, and experiences.  I will be completely honest about the machine. It was given to us, which is insanely awesome, but hey, I have to share the real information with the readers.

When we first started looking for a printer, we decided we didn’t want to build one from scratch. While that might seem initially to be the opposite of Hack a Day, there is a reason. I simply can’t build every tool I use from scratch.  I have projects in mind that could benefit from a 3d printer, and I want to work on those.  This meant that I was looking for a pre-assembled unit. Many people asked for an article on getting a reprap going, so we started to consider reprap based kits as well.

When LulzBot contacted us, I was initially skeptical. I mean, the name is lulzBot. Is this an internet troll? Is this somehow connected to Lulzsec, the hacking group? Did they seriously name their printer LulzBot? Well, as it turns out, they are legitimate. Not only that, we’ve seen them before, they are also AlephObjects, who sent in the video of the wall o’ printers working. Why did they name it LulzBot? The answer was basically, for the lulz. It is worth noting that [Jeff] has been a strong proponent for free software for a long time and that Lulzbot is built from the ground up to be completely open and shareable. You can go to the website right now and download the list of parts as well as all source code and configurations.

As you read further, please remember that the model they sent me was not their newest. They don’t even sell this model any more. Technically speaking, it is roughly 2 generations behind.

[Read more...]

Hackaday Links: February 9th, 2013

Hobby electronics from 1982

links-twinkling-star

[Lennart] came across one of his projects from several decades ago. It’s a twinkling star which blinks LEDs at different rates using some 7400 logic chips and RC timers.

Solder fume extractor

links-fume-sucker

We’re still blowing the solder fumes away from us using our mouth, but this might inspire us to do otherwise. It’s a large PC fan mounted on a lamp goose neck. It clamps to the bench and is quite easy to position.

Ultrasonic liquid level measurement

links-dual-tank-level-sensors

Wanting a way to measure the liquid in these tanks without submerging a sensor, [JO3RI] turned to an Arduino and an ultrasonic rangefinder. His method even allows the level to be graphed as shown in his Instructible about the project.

Adding an ‘On’ light to save batteries

links-on-light-for-musical-toy

Dumpster diving yielded this electronic drum machine for [MS3FGX's] daughter to play with. The problem is that pushing any of the buttons turns it on, it doesn’t have an auto-off, and there’s no way to know when it’s on. This is unacceptable since it runs on 5 AA batteries. His quick fix adds this green On LED. We wonder if he’ll improve upon this and add an auto-off feature?

CMOS Binary Clock

links-cmos-binary-clock

This is a portion of the guts of [Dennis'] CMOS Binary Clock project from the early 2000’s. He even built a nice case with a window for the LEDs which you can see are mounted perpendicular to the protoboard.

Arduino as an inexpensive ham radio frequency counter

Arduino-Frequency-Counter-Part1.Still003

[Todd Harrison] really has our number. Like him, we don’t want to spend money when we don’t have to, and hacking our own solutions is a lot more fun anyway. This time around he’s helping out a friend who is a ham radio enthusiast. The friend’s radio didn’t come with a frequency display, and buying the add-on would cost more than the radio did. So [Todd] has set out to build an Arduino frequency counter for a Kenwood TS-520S HF ham radio.

This post (and the video found after the break) doesn’t cover the entire project. It’s rather involved just to make sure that [Todd's] initial idea is viable so he spends about 35 minutes explaining the problem, then measuring the radio outputs and testing to see that the Arduino can read them accurately. Because the radio has a very large range of operation, [Todd] will need to add external component to facilitate this. That extra circuit design will be the topic of the next project segment.

[Read more...]

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