I need someone to explain this to me.

Giving a crank flashlight a super capacitor overhaul

crank-flashlight-supercap-overhaul

[Caleb] was given a tiny LED flashlight which has a crank used to charge it. Unfortunately it wasn’t holding a charge, and constant cranking didn’t work very well either. He cracked it open to find a single lithium button cell. Instead of using a drop-in replacement he soldered in his own super capacitor.

The stock device is remarkably simple. It uses a standard DC motor as the generator. It’s connected to the crank using a set of gears, with the two red wires seen above connecting it to the control board. Four diodes make up a bridge rectified and apparently feed directly into the battery. No wonder that cell went kaput!

But this orientation isn’t bad for using capacitors. They can be charged directly and the switch which attaches the LEDs to voltage doesn’t interfere with their operation. The last problem was making room for them in the case. [Caleb] considered a few different approaches, but ended up just heating the plastic enclosure until it could be deformed to make room for the additional parts.

Bust-a-Move physical controller

This set of PVC cranks make you work for your game of Puzzle Bobble, also known as Bust-a-Move. It uses a little cannon centered at the bottom of the screen to pop bubbles based on like colors. There is a cartoon character that cranks as hard as it can to aim that cannon, and this hack brings that effort into the real world.

The controllers are made from PVC. A bit of creative use of joints and different pipe diameters make for a freely rotating rig. Rotation is monitored via the optical encoder wheel from an old mouse. Above you can also see the plastic container that hosts the ‘fire’ button. Since the mouse is already an input device, there’s no other electronic work to be done. Just plug the controllers in and map the wheel/buttons to the game you want to play. Make sure to check out the demo video embedded after the break.

If Angry Birds is more of what you’re playing these days you should consider building your own slingshot controller.

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Powering kids’ toys by hand

hand_cranked_toy_piano

[Dominik’s] daughter had an old toy piano that she loved, but when the batteries started to die down, it played awful tones and sounded generally out of tune. While this is likely something our circuit bending friends might be interested in, [Dominik] preferred when things sounded more cheery.

He considered simply replacing the batteries, but it seemed like a far better idea to do away with them altogether. he hunted around for a solution, and eventually found one at the local IKEA store. He grabbed a LJUSA hand-powered flashlight and disassembled it, saving the crank and circuitry.

He installed the crank on the back side of his daughter’s piano, and mounted the electronic bits inside the toy’s shell. The crank spins a brushless motor, generating an AC current which is rectified to DC before being stored in a capacitor. He says that a 30 second crank will play just a few tunes, which isn’t ideal, though it is better than frequently replacing batteries.

[Thanks, Roger]

Hand-cranked magnet machine is endless fun

magnet_machine

We can’t think of a single person who doesn’t enjoy playing with a handful of rare earth magnets now and again. We know that [Dave Johnson] certainly does. As a gift to his father in law, he constructed a magnificent machine that does little more than manipulate spherical rare earth magnets with hypnotizing grace.

The machine is constructed almost entirely from wood, save for a few fasteners and rods. Even the gears have been carefully cut from wood, with special attention paid to ensure smooth operation. When cranked, the machine slices off a single magnet from one end of a long chain, passing it along to a lift arm. The lift arm deposits the magnet into a metal tube, and with the help of eddy currents, it drifts slowly down before being redeposited at the end of the magnet chain.

Be sure to check out a video demonstration of the machine after the break, it really is fun to watch.

[via LaughingSquid]

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