Ask Hackaday: Troll Physics Super Deluxe Edition

Here’s a brain bender for you: YouTube user [Fredzislaw100] put up a video of six LEDs and six switches wired up in series. After soldering a resistor and 9V battery connector, the first switch turns on the first LED, the second switch turns on the second LED, and so on for the rest of the circuit.

We’ve seen this trick before from [Fredzislaw100], only this time he’s moved up from 3 LEDs to 6. In the reveal of the previous trick, [Fredzislaw] built two AC power supplies inside a nine volt battery connector; one high frequency and one low frequency. The low frequency AC line powers the first two LEDs with the help of diodes in the switches and LEDs. The high frequency AC line turns on the third LED with the help of an inductor inside an LED. Apparently [Fredzislaw] still has some soldering skills to show off; the circuit powering this trick is most likely the work of a soldering god.

From a close viewing, it looks like LEDs are wired up in pairs, i.e. LED 1 works the same as LED 2, LED 3 works the same as LED 4, etc. We’ll let Hackaday readers argue it out in the comments as to how this trick is possible.

Tip ‘o the hat to [Th0m4S] for sending this one in.

Ask Hackaday: Did you catch the Grammys?

Although award shows aren’t necessarily our thing, [T. D.] sent in something that piqued our interest. His friends recently got back from the Grammy awards where they witnessed thousands of LED bracelets blinking in time to a performance by Coldplay. A little bit of YouTubing pulled up this video that demonstrates the effect (because that video will probably be taken down shortly, just pick something from this link).

[T.D.]‘s friends brought one of these bracelets back with them and like a good Hackaday reader, he cracked it open. This is the precious board pic that [T.D.] sent in. We’re pretty confident that the IC is an ATMega48PA, but beyond that we’re not quite sure how these bracelets can, “light up and flash at precisely the right time” as [T.D.] puts it.

From what we saw on the Grammy broadcast, it’s possible these bracelets merely flashed whenever the user clapped their hands. A circuit that simple doesn’t require a microcontroller, so we’re left wondering what the heck is going on here. If you’ve got an idea of how these choreographed light display bracelets work, drop a note in the comments.

EDIT: Commentors have pointed out these wristbands are called ‘Xylobands.’ There’s a great video of these wristbands in action at the 2011 X Factor finale.

Ask Hackaday: Troll physics edition

[Martin] sent in two videos he found while cruising the tubes. The first video is a simple circuit with a resistor, three switches, and three LEDs. All the components are soldered together right in front of the camera. When a battery is connected, turning the first switch on makes the first LED light up. Turning the second switch on makes the second LED light up, and the same thing goes for the third switch and LED. Obviously we’re dealing with powers that are incomprehensible with even several cups of coffee.

The second video features the same resistor/switches/LEDs, this time in a parallel circuit. Turning on the first switch makes the first LED light up, and the second switch makes the second LED light up. Truly we are dealing with an expert in troll physics.

This is probably something really benign and uninteresting, but it sure is enough to wake up enough brain cells on a Monday morning. We’re not going to hypothesize, so check out the comments where we expect the correct answer to be.

[Read more...]

Ask Hackaday: Organizing a growing collection of electronic odds and ends

ask hackaday

[Tim] wrote in, lamenting a problem that many of us can likely echo. Over the years, he has acquired all sorts of small electronic parts and components, along with tools and accessories – all of which are starting to crowd his workspace. He says that most of his stockpile is being stored in a tackle box, but it’s getting unwieldy and he would like to find a better way to organize things.

Yours truly suffers from the same sort of situation. It’s mostly a result of being a tad bit lazy, while conveniently finding alternative storage containers for my electronic odds and ends. My workbench is strewn with plastic snack baggies (for screws, not ESD-sensitive bits), Glad-Ware containers, Eclipse gum packages, and old plastic baby formula tubs for larger items. While I’m certainly doing my share to reuse plastic packaging, I am aware that it’s not exactly the best organization methodology.

This topic does come up pretty often, and even though we’ve talked about it on several occasions, people still like to hear fresh feedback from their peers. If you have some clever organization tips, or a novel way of storing your electronics components, be sure to share them in the comments!

Ask Hackaday: Now a regular occurrence

A while back, we announced that we would be bringing new features to Hackaday. One in particular that garnished a lot of interest was our question answer type thingy. Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, that has not happened yet. Without divulging too much into the secret machinery that lies underneath Hackaday, I’ll just say that we(the writers) don’t necessarily have control over all aspects of the site. An example would be the copyright. Yes, we finally got it updated. Thanks for all of your emails. No, none of us had access to that part of the site, so don’t bother letting us know how simple that change should have been.

We are as eager as you to see some good ideas and good feedback flowing through this site, so we’re going to start a regular post, entitled “Ask Hackaday”. This isn’t entirely new, we’ve done it before actually. This is just to let you know that we intend to do it regularly, and to set some ground rules.  “Ask Hackaday” will mostly center around you, our readers, and your ideas. We will publish a question, and possibly our thoughts, but the main content will be your responses. We have a huge collective of intelligent creative readers and it would be a shame not to tap into that pool of knowledge.  When you are offering an answer, be thorough, give details, and please be kind.

Send your questions to askHAD@hackaday.com for consideration. They will be chosen based on a complicated system of random number variation involving furry woodland creatures and how we feel at the moment that we read them. Do not get offended if you question does not get published. We get tons of questions already and we don’t intend to publish them all.

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