Tornado lamp made with lasers

[Styropyro] did a great job of taking common parts and making an interesting item. He calls this his Tornado lamp, and it’s made with stuff you probably have around the house — well you might have to substitute more common glassware for that Erlenmeyer flask.

The bulk of the hack is in the base. You’ll find a laser diode pointed at a small scrap of mirror. That mirror is mounted on the center of a small case fan, giving the tornadic effect when spinning. To make everything fit just right, the laser is pointed horizontally, with the fan/mirror at a 45 degree angle. The beam points up through a hole in the project box and illuminates the liquid in the flask. That liquid is water doped with a substance that fluoresces. In this shot it’s some fluorescein, but we did mention you can do this with stuff from around the house. [Styropyro] demonstrates the use of liqud from some highlighting markers as a substitute.

If you’re decoration a mad scientist’s lab this is a perfect companion for a Jacob’s ladder.

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Rebuilding a fried fan motor

The fan motor on [Pete’s] oscillating tower fan conked out on him. It’s a shame to throw away the whole thing, but it’s near impossible to source parts for a small appliance like this one. So he set out to rebuilt the motor and get the thing working like new.

The motor in question is of the brushless AC variety. [Pete’s] gut told him that the failure was due to bad lubrication of the bearings at the factory. It stopped working because the commutator could no longer rotate freely. A check of the continuity of each of the coils led him to this thermal fuse. When the motor seized the AC current built up a lot of heat. This fuse is made to burn out before a fire can start but now it needs to be replaced. With a new one in place he reassembled the motor, making sure to pack the bearings with some quality lubricant. Now he’s once again ready for a long hot summer.

Quieting an inexpensive bench power supply

[Mike] just purchased this Atten APS3005S bench power supply for around $80. It does the job, but boy is it noisy! We were pretty surprised to hear it fire up in the video after the break. To make matters worse, the noise is persistent since the fan never shuts off. Having worked with other bench supplies he knew that a common feature included in many models is temperature controlled case fans. He set out to quiet the fan and implement a temperature switch.

For this project [Mike] had the benefit of looking at a nearly identical model that does have temperature switching. He discovered that the board on this one has a through-hole zero ohm resistor populated in place of a thermostat switch. That switch closes the connection at or above 45 degree Celsius, thereby turning on the cooling fan. Bridging the traces with a zero ohm resistor to save on production costs is what caused the fan to run continuously. After replacing the resistor with a KSD-01F and swapping out the stock fan for a high-quality version [Mike] has takes a noise maker and turned it into a device that’s kind to the ears.

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Lighted fan pull saves you from flailing around in the dark

lighted-fan-pull

Like many people, [yardleydobon] had a hard time locating his ceiling fan’s pull chain at night when his room is completely dark. Rather than continue to flail around blindly grasping for the chain, he decided to find a way to illuminate it instead.

He started off by disassembling a solar garden light, retaining the solar cell, photoresistor, and batteries. After paring down the electronics to the bare essentials, he mounted them inside a plastic battery storage case which he attached to the outside of the fan’s lamp. [yardleydobon] then ran a pair of wires from the electronics box down to end of the chain, where he added an LED and a translucent pull to diffuse the light.

He admits that it’s not the nicest looking modification around, but it does the job in a pinch. He has some ideas that he may put into play if he has the time to revise the design, and we bet that many of you do as well. If so, be sure to share them in the comments.

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More POV fan message hacking

[Zach’s] company is all about the safety and to reinforce those ideals they handed out POV display fans to each employee. “Being Safe is Cool”, get it? Gimmicky… yes, but now [Zach’s] got a tiny little POV fan to hack. Although he may not have known it, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this hardware. These fans were handed out as a promotion at Black Hat a couple of years ago and prompted some reverse engineering action. The message is stored on an EEPROM and there’s even a female programming header that makes it easy to write reflash it with your own messages if you know how to craft the data.

This is where the two products diverge. The older project uses a serial connection and PonyProg to dump and data. [Zach] first tried using his Bus Pirate to dump the data but after having no success he grabbed his Arduino and managed to get the job done. Once the message encoding protocol was worked out, he wrote a sketch to flash the EEPROM. So if you can get your hands on one of these the work has already been done. See [Zach’s] custom messages in the video after the break.

But we’d like to see this taken to the next level. How about a wall-mounted device that waits for something, like an incoming email or tweet, then spins up the fan to display it?

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Converting PWM to DC signaling for more precise fan control

pwm_to_dc_fan_control

[hedgehoginventions] wrote in to share a little modification he made to his video card in order to keep it from overheating during strenuous 3D tasks. Having swapped out the stock cooler on his Nvidia 9600GT graphics card, he found that it did not need to utilize the fan while doing mundane things like checking email, but that it still required extra air flow while playing games.

He figured he get the fan to shut off by tweaking the PWM signal, but he found that he could not get the duty cycle under 20% using software, which still caused the fan to run at all times. The circuit he built takes the PWM signal output by the card, cleaning it up before converting it to a corresponding DC voltage. The fan then runs at the same speed it would if driven directly by the PWM signal, though it can now turn off completely when not required.

It’s a nice way to do automatic fan control when you can’t otherwise get your GPU fan to shut off. Nice work!

Power tool battery charger repair

drill_battery_charger_repair

[Webby] inherited a cordless drill from his dad and when he finally got around to using it, found that the charger was dead in the water. He disassembled it and narrowed the issue down to the charger’s primary transformer, but didn’t know where to go from there. A friend suggested that the coil’s thermal fuse might have blown, and upon further investigation, [Webby] discovered that his friend was right.

He removed the dead fuse and soldered in a piece of wire just for testing – not surprisingly the charger sprang to life. He picked up a new thermal fuse to replace the old one, but he wasn’t quite satisfied with the fix just yet. If the fuse burned out once already, there’s little to stop it from happening again, so he decided that installing a small cooling fan would be a good idea. He mounted the fan on the outside of the case after cutting some vent holes, leeching power from the charger itself.

While simply adding a fan to the charger might not be everyone’s idea of a perfect solution, it has worked out quite well for [Webby] in the past, so if it isn’t broken…

[via HackedGadgets]