UV EPROM eraser in a toolbox

[Devon Croy] belongs to a hackerspace that works hard to keep hardware from going to the landfill. He found they were in possession of over a hundred Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory chips (EPROM). Not to be confused with EEPROM, which are electronically erasable, these EPROM chips require a strong source of UV light to blank the old data before they can be written again.

Instead of buying a tool to erase two or three chips at a time he built his own bulk EPROM eraser from an old metal toolbox. He used parts from a fluorescent black light and acquired a new bulb that generates light in the UVC spectrum, the band which works as an eraser for the chips. After bolting the parts into the case he added a spring-loaded timer knob and a safety switch that kills the power when the case is opened, similar to the UV exposure box we looked at yesterday.

Of course, if you don’t need a bulk eraser you could shop some garage sales for a UV pacifier cleaner which can also erase EPROM chips.

Illuminated moveable type

[Rob Stewart] put in a lot of time and built this lighted display at great expense. It displays four letter words using a word association algorithm to pick the next term to show. What interests us is the motorized display. It is made up of fluorescent tubes but they’re not fixed in place. Each can be rotated, as well as moved along a linear path to form any letter in the alphabet. Check out [Rob's] build logs for the details on how he pulled it all together.

[Thanks Hugo via Engadget and Switched]

Cooling LEDs by heating the water saves on electricity

[Matthias] swapped out his twin-tube florescent aquarium lights for LEDs. By running tank water through the aluminum LED mounts he’s transferring excess heat into the water in the tank, in turn saving some of the electricity that would have been used to heat the tank. Couple this with roughly 35 Watts saved by moving away from fluorescent tubes and he’s got a great energy-saving hack. The LEDs used in the last aquarium light conversion were cooled by heat sinks and fans. We’d love to see this concept incorporated into that design.

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