Flower with PCB pot and LED blossoms

[Johannes Agricola] recently held a workshop at the Peace Mission in Goettingen, Germany where he shared his RGB LED flowers. The small round PCB hosts an ATmega88 microcontroller which is running the V-USB stack so that the unit can be controlled by a computer. Each flower blossom is an RGB LED connected with four enameled wires which, when twisted together, make up the stem of the flower. [Johannes] took tons of pictures during the assembly while offering soldering advice along side the illustrations. The PCB is single-sided helping make this a great project for someone trying out surface mount component soldering for the first time. Or if you want something a little more free-formed try out this lemon-juice powered LED flower.

Gear indicator for Suzuki motorcycle

This little board serves as a current gear indicator for a motorcycle. It was designed with the Suzuki V-Storm motorcycles in mind as they have a sensor built into the gearbox. Other gear indicators rely on sensors on the shifters themselves, but reading the voltage level from a gearbox sensor gives much more reliable information.

The voltage measurement is handled by an ATmega88 microcontroller which in turn drives the 8×8 LED display. Also built into the system is a temperature sensor and photoresistor. The firmware takes advantage of both of these inputs, displaying temperature when in sixth gear or at the push of a button, and dimming the display based on ambient light. There are also settings for screen rotation, and user preferences.

We didn’t find schematics or software but this should be pretty easy to replicate. If you need a primer for AVR programming we’ve got you covered.

[Thanks Michal]

Home automation without pulling wires

Here’s a bit of simple home automation using hacks with which we’re become pretty familiar. [Mrx23] combined OpenWRT, a microcontroller, and a set of RF controlled outlet switches to add automation to his plug-in devices. An RF remote that controls the switched outlets has been connected to an Arduino. The router communicates with the Arduino via a serial connection. And the router is controlled by a web interface which means you can use a smartphone or other web device to control the outlets.

The best thing about this system is the power that the router wields. Since it has an underlying Linux kernel you have the option of setting CRON jobs to turn lighting on and off, and group settings can be established to set up a room’s lighting level for watching movies, hosting guests, etc. Combine this with the fact that OpenWRT can use port forwarding for Internet control and the possibilities really start to open up.

[Thanks Arpad]

Portable WiFi penetration testing

Inside this box you’ll find a La Fonera wireless access point. [Emeryth] and his band of miscreants built this portable device for WiFi security testing. The AP is running OpenWRT and has been set up to use the 16×4 character display as a terminal. An ATmega88 connects the LCD as well as six buttons to the UART of the La Fonera. From there, a set of Ruby scripts takes care of the communication protocol. As you can see after the break, this setup allows you to scan the area for WiFi, showing channel, SSID, and MAC information. Although not specifically outlined in the video we suspect there’s some more devious tricks up its sleeve too.

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Chipophone plays video game classics

This thrift shop organ gets a new life as an 8-bit music maker. Called the Chipophone, it relies on an ATmega88 to produce sounds that you might associate with classic video gaming. [Linus Akesson] takes us through all of the different sound settings in the video after the break, including performances of your theme music favorites.

The original organ uses transistor logic making it rather easy to patch into the hardware. Thanks to the build log we know that [Linus] used 74HC165 input latches to monitor each of the switches for the 120 inputs. Fifteen of these latches work like a backwards shift register 74HC595, cascading all of the parallel inputs into one serial signal. From there the microcontroller takes over, monitoring the keys, pedals, switches, and potentiometers and outputting the appropriate sounds.

[Thanks 7e]

Unlocking the crippled potential of an unmanaged switch

[Sprite_TM] outgrew the features of the cheap unmanaged TL-SG1005D switch he was using on his home network. Instead of buying a new and much more costly switch he cracked the cheap one open and found that the RTL8366SB chip inside possessed the ability to work harder but was crippled for sale as a low-end model. It wasn’t as easy as that oscilloscope firmware upgrade we saw a while back. He had to add an AVR ATmega88 to send I2C commands to the switch. Turns out that the I2C protocol wasn’t standard and after much head scratching he found some Linux drivers for the chipset that gave him enough info to send the configuration commands he needed. Now he’s go the managed switch he needed for his VLAN for the cost of a microcontroller and some wire.

Vehicle information display hacks

We’ve had a few folks send us info about their vehicle display hacks after seeing [Will O'Brien's] motorcycle computer a few days ago.

On the left we have a display for an electric vehicle. [S1axter] is using a 4.3″ TFT screen to display charge information for each battery cell in the car. An ATmega88 collects the data and sends it to a breakout board with an LCD controller on it.

To the right is a display from a Formula Student project. a Matrix Orbital GLK19264-7T-1U LCD display provides a lot of real estate for displaying data. Right now [Alan] is still in the early prototyping stages, but the video after the break demonstrates the RPM readout using a function generator. It’s not shown in the video, but he tells us that he’s since tried it out with the engine and has a PIC 16f877 reading temperate data from the electronic control transmission sensors in addition to the RPM data.

Correction: Thanks to [j] for correcting our mistake. This is a Formula Student car.

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