Replace batteries with USB power

[Mark Bog] thought it was a waste to use batteries for his desktop touch pad. Quite frankly we agree that if you can avoid using disposable cells you should. He ditched the dual AA batteries inside of his Magic Trackpad and built a battery-sized adapter to feed it some juice. It consists of a dowel of similar diameter with a screw in each end. He scavenged a USB cord, connecting hot and ground wires to the corresponding pole of the adapter. Now his Trackpad is USB powered and never in need of a battery replacement or even a recharge.

We’re not familiar with the inner workings of Apple’s Magic Trackpad. We assume there’s a voltage regulator inside and we hope it doesn’t have a problem working with the 5V regulated power coming in from the adapter. If you’ve got the skinny on the hardware we’d love to hear about it in the comments. One last thing: because the forum linked above requires a login to view the images in the post, we’ve embedded the rest of them after the break for your convenience.

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Xbox 360 hard drive adapter (redux)

[Chlazza] let us know about their Xbox hard drive to SATA adapter, allowing the use of an Xbox 360 (original) hard drive on a PC without voiding the drive’s warranty. Looking for a fun and enriching experience read: really bored and inspired by a previous adapter we featured, [Chlazza] set out to make their own and ended up succeeding with a board that costs less than $1 in parts. Of course the drive uses its own Fat32 based file system so there is still some hacking to do if you intended to read the data, but this is a step in the right direction.

Using iPod docks with Droid via an adapter

Standard connectors in portable devices would be great for the consumer, but then you wouldn’t purchase separate peripherals for ever portable you buy (lining the pockets of the companies licensing said peripherals). [Thijs] isn’t taking it lying down any longer. Realizing that the shape of the connector is one of the only things standing in the way, he built an adapter to use iPod docks with Droid. The hardware consists of a USB connector, audio jack, iPod connector, and a magnet. After working out the wiring it was just a matter of building a chassis using polymorph material. As you can see above, his expensive dock has no problem playing nicely with Droid because of his handy work.

XBMC hiding in an SNES controller

Here’s another SNES controller converted to house a USB system. The one we saw last time used a kit as an adapter for the controller but this version uses a home-built PCB and an ATmega8 microcontroller with the latest revision of an open source adapter for NES and SNES controllers. As you can see after the break, [Atarity] built the adapter, then added it along with a USB hub and thumb drive so that he could run a copy of XBMC from the controller. Now he’s got XBMC as a way to launch emulators for those classic games, as well as play traditional media.

You will be seeing more of this type of mod soon. We were tipped off that an in-depth tutorial for SNES controller hacking is on its way, although that is unrelated to [Atarity’s] work.

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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


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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