USB HDD enclosure to DVD connector

This is a “why didn’t I think of that?” idea. [Alec] needed a way to connect an IDE DVD drive using USB. Rather than order a connector he pulled the circuit board out of an old USB hard drive enclosure and connected to his DVD drive. Bang, recognized and running.

This will prove extremely handy if you have a netbook without an optical drive. We’ve used Unetbootin to move Linux ISO images to a thumb drive in the past. In addition to getting around the lack of an optical drive, this saves burning the data to a piece of plastic. But, you should be able to use this with a Leopard retail DVD instead of a 16GB thumb drive for a Hackintosh conversion. That means you could install Leopard on a netbook without needing a Mac to transfer the disk image to your thumb drive first.

Roundup: simple hacks

simple-hack-110909

Here’s a collection of simple hacks you can do in between larger projects. After the break we’ll look at converting an iPod from hard drive storage to Compact Flash, build an LED desk lamp using LEGO and USB power for charging, and use an Arduino shield to add network control at the touch of a button.

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Hack a USB port into your 2010 Prius

prius_usb_port

[Rosenberger31] did a nice job of adding a USB port to his 2010 Toyota Prius. He removed the access door on the console where the traditional “cigarette lighter” 12 volt port is located. A Dynex 12-volt to USB adapter was piggy-backed onto the power lines and the USB connector was then fit into the blank accessory plate next to it.

There is no data connection here, the port only provides 5v regulated power to devices plugged into it. None the less, it is still a pretty nice looking alternative to having a power adapter hanging out of the dash all the times. If you try this, heed one of the warnings from the comments and make sure you add a switch if you vehicle powers the 12 volt port even when the car is not running.

This makes us wonder: will this void your warranty?

Bench power supply adapter

psu_adapter

Every electronics workbench could benefit from having a bench power supply. Converting a PC power supply works, but often, it involves splicing wires and limits the supply to only bench use, and building one from scratch is definitely an undertaking. To counter this, [silic0re] and his father came up with a detachable adapter that simply plugs into the existing connectors. The adapter provides posts for four different voltages and can be built in no time. It’s nice to see a solution that will let you use any power supply laying around without having to worry about the dangers of opening it or cutting it up.

[Thanks silic0re]

USB power from your VGA port

vga_usb

[gmgfarrand] needed an extra USB port to power some devices. Since he just needed power, and no data, he slapped together this quick adapter that pulls power from the vga port instead. While we’re not sure if this could possibly damage your video card if you pull too much power from it, we’re happy to see someone being original. That VGA port goes unused so often, this adapter might just make it a tad more useful.

[thanks Adam]

RS-232 USB madness


If you’ve been amused by the lengths people go through to speak to a serial device these days. [timmeh] just took the cake. He build his own frikkin’ tiny RS-232 to USB interface with the diminutive SIL CP2101. The package on it is QFN-28 (If PLCC is Darth Vader, QFN-28 is his mean little brother.) That said, if you prefer to work with stuff that talks TTL or RS-232, this could be a handy add-on to pop a USB port on your project. (Oh, look, they have samples…) Sure, we’ve beaten the serial connections to death, but they’re so handy we just can’t resist. It may be a decent way to add a serial port to your laptop. (Picture this: dell’s bluetooth cards are usb devices – you could add one of these without even voiding your warranty.)