Beginner Concepts: Electronics basics from the Giz

Gizmodo University is open for business. This free educational series aims to educate about the basics of electronic theory. No prerequisite knowledge needed and they’re starting from the ground level. First lesson? Resistors! From there they’ve posted about voltage dividers, series/parallel circuits, Ohm’s law, and how to calculate a resistor value for an LED.

This is a great way to get the base knowledge that you need to start hacking like an EE. These are concepts that we assume you have already mastered if you’re following along with our AVR Programming series. We’re hard at work on part three but that’s still a little ways off. You’ve got time to do a review a GizU and reread our favorite book on electronic theory.

Snega2usb preorder now available

We’ve been watching the development of the snega2usb since it’s debut on Hackaday. Now it’s grown up and is ready to be manufactured. In the low quality video above [Matthias] shows some of the latest high quality additions to the board. It now has a case, shiny new firmware,  production made PCB, and game pad ports.  The snega2usb is shipping this December for those who preorder now.

BBox MIDI drum sequencer


We’ve covered sequencers before, but reader [Johan] sent in his latest project that is much more minimalistic approach. Dubbed the BBox, he based his drum generator on an Arduino and an LCD display. Rather than synthesizing sound, the Arduino just outputs MIDI which is then interpreted by his Roland Juno-D. In building the device he used a favorite trick of ours to keep the interface clean. He then found an awesome banana box to use as a case. Although, the project may not be as functional as some of the others out there, it certainly has flair. Video of it in action after the break.

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snega2usb update: usb snes and sega cartridge reader

When we first posted [Matthias_H]‘s USB reader for SNES game carts, it was met with enthusiasm. The snega2usb allows you to play SNES and Sega games on your pc right off the cartridge. The latest revision is even more amazing than the first.  [Matthias] has added the ability to read Sega Genesis/Mega Drive cartridges as well as the ability to save games directly to the cartridge. The board has also been updated from the rats nest it used to be to a smart looking dual sided PCB. So far [Matthias] hasn’t had any trouble reading cartridges, even ones with the SuperFX chips. [Matthias] also launched a site for the project where the lastest information on its development can be found.  [Matthias] is getting close to a production version which will feature better firmware, console quality connectors and a shiny case.

Arduino muon detector


[Sebastian Tomczak] was borrowing a homeade muon detector from his friend, and managed to hook it up to his computer through an Arduino. The detector itself uses 3 fluorescent tubes to detect radiation. Three separate tubes are used in order to filter out terrestrial radiation; cosmic radiation will fall in-line with the tubes and pass through at least two of them, whereas terrestrial radiation will only hit one. There is some basic circuitry to amplify the signal and then perform the OR operation.

[Tomczak]  used an Arduino to take the raw data and feed it into his computer. He then used Max/MSP to analyze the data and filter out background noise, leaving only the cosmic ray data. He didn’t mention what he was going to use the data for, though. Maybe he’ll hook it up to a synthesizer.

Related: Digital Geiger counter

[via @littlebirdceo]

Top 10 iPhone apps for electronics hackers


There are so many apps available for the iPhone, one might even say there are a plethora. We would like to take a moment to help you find a few that might help with your hacking projects. Ever have problems remember a formula when you need it? Need to track the acceleration of your brand new rover? How about beginners needing help remember resistor codes. Well, there’s an app for that. Check out our suggestions after the break.

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Tiny GSM alarm system

We’ve covered this sort of thing before, but there is something to be said for the simplicity of this tiny GSM alarm system by [trax]. The alarm system is designed to send the owner a text message when a sensor is triggered. This alarm only works with Siemens phones, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find one.  The alarm is configured via a dip switch on the board and can also be armed and disarmed by text. The brains of this system is a PIC16F84A. The code and schematics are included at the bottom of the page.

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