Teardown of the Barista


iFixit has done a tear down on the symbolic do-it-yourself Espresso machine, the Starbucks Barista. Believe it or not, there is not a single circuit board in the works. There doesn’t seem to be much to the Barista; A few switches, some solenoids, a heater, and one way spring valve among other things. The assembly of the device is very simple. It is noted that in a pinch it may be torn down with a pair of pliers and washer; in place of a flat head screw driver. We have pondered the possibilities of this machine numerous times, while enjoying a cup of cappuccino. Though most conversations end at the bottom of the cup, many survive such as this Silvia PID looped expresso machine. The very name “Mecha turbo crazy coffee roaster” seems to encapsulate the effects of caffeine quite adequately.

Solid state tesla coil


While researching solid state Tesla coils we stumbled across this old project. As you have probably guessed from the pictures, this coil is meant to actually play music. Knowing how to add eye catching flare, the coiler uses a Plexiglas frame turned light pipe; only to be complimented by an audio amplifier complete with graphic equalizer. There is a video of the coil in action on YouTube. We have covered singing tesla coils in the past. Other twists on the classics include the tesla coil guitar amp and a hand held plasm gun.

Serial hacking with an ATtiny2313


[Sprite_tm] automated a portion of serial hacking by sniffing out the baud rate using an ATtiny2313 and FT232 breakout board. The firmware assumes 8 data bits, no parity, and 1 stop bit (8N1). This is pretty much defacto among serial ports so it should work well, though some devices do use different settings. The auto detection routine can sniff rates as low as 110 baud and supports non standard rates. Released under GPLv3, the software is also supplied in hex format.  [Sprite_tm] has provided great project in past such as Working with VFDsControllable bristlebot, and AVR boost converter. Additional information regarding serial hacking after the break.

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BPSK on 433 MHz European ISM band


[WaveRider] is using a type of phase shift keying called BPSK to transmit digital sound and video for remote telemetry. Though a higher signal to noise ratio (SNR) is generally sought after with communications, legal limitations are imposed on total radiated power. To balance the two headed beast, he opted out on frequency shift keying due to binary shift keying’s ability to work with lower SNR. This adds the difficulty of properly reconstructing the digital signal at the receiver. A PLL based carrier regeneration circuit is used to reconstruct the signal. Using the Rabit2000 processor as the host controller on both transmitter and receiver, 96KB/Sec serial data is obtained. On the other side of the spectrum is the Homemade regenerative tube radio.

1wire attic cooling


[RagingComputer] built this 1-wire attic cooling fan. He’s using an Ubuntu server loaded with OWFS to control everything. The 1-wire temperature sensor is interfaced using USB while a serial x10 module sends out commands to be received by another x10 module near the fan. Back in the day we had covered a linux home automation project. We also covered HVAC hacks such as the smart attic fan and a 1-Wire HVAC monitoring system.

1-Wire HVAC monitoring system

1-wire hvac control

The 1-Wire HVAC monitoring system is for residential Geothermal HVAC systems. This project utilizes the so called 1-wire temperature sensor. A single board computer handles the brunt of the work including web accessible trend data. With access to the underling temperatures, the over all system performance may be gauged. Earlier this year we covered a HVAC web enabled monitor that adds an element of control. As the industry adopts modern control architectures, we hope to see more HVAC hacks around.

Music Visualizer (oscilloscope)


The Music visualizer is actually a second build based on an earlier design[Thanks Roger]. The build was influenced by Zyra’s How to make an oscilloscope out of a television. The hack is quite simple, patch the output of an amplifier into the vertical deflection coils of the CRT. This is a good use for that old TV you may have laying around  but don’t want to recycle it just yet. While on the subject we had covered the Mac SE/30 audio visualizer in 2006. For those looking for something a little more hard core, here is a bit about Homemade cathode ray tubes.