Old radio + old phone = Android media station

[Bjørn] combined some aging electronics he had around the house to create this Android media center. The enclosure is an FM-radio, but since he only listens to online media it wasn’t of much use to him. After sizing it up he realized it was a perfect candidate to receive his old HTC Hero Android phone.

The upper portion of the stock radio used to host controls for tuning the FM dial, adjusting volume, and switching the unit on and off. He cracked open the case, ditching the radio receiver and patching in to the amplifier. The volume knob was moved to the right side of the case, and a hole cut to receive the phone. Audio is pulled from the phone with the jack sticking out the left side. We’d love to see a future improvement using a right-angle jack (kind of like this charging hack) or patched directly into the phone’s circuit board. This way everything would fit inside the box.

Now he can listen to Internet radio, or stream some video like in the clip after the break.

[Read more...]

Replacing non-standard USB charging ports

htc_charging_port_replacement

While many mobile phone manufacturers are moving towards the micro-USB interface as a standard, others such as Apple and HTC are still bucking the trend. Part of [arto’s] job includes repairing mobile phones, and last month he found himself faced with a pair of broken HTC handsets that needed their charging ports replaced.

Replacements for HTC’s proprietary connectors are apparently quite hard to find, and [arto] says he had to source them from an HTC repair center. With the proper parts in hand, he could finally get down to work.

The HTC Hermes handset he repaired was a breeze, as it had plenty of space available around the charging port. He said that this allowed him to replace the jack pretty easily, but the HTC Touch Dual was a mess in comparison. He started by removing the old adapter, which was done by cutting it out bit by bit. He says that he did it this way rather than desoldering, due to its proximity to other heat-sensitive components. After some careful soldering under a microscope, everything was back in working order.

While his repairs are not necessarily the things that hacks are made of, the information is still quite helpful. Broken charging ports are extremely common among smart phones, and with plenty of these older models still floating around, his pointers just might help someone save a few bucks on a replacement phone.

Update: Custom cellphone induction charging

This is a custom back plate with induction charging circuitry that [Derek Hughes] build for his HTC HD2 cellphone. When we checked in with him last week he showed us how to add an inductive charger without voiding the warranty but it wasn’t very pretty because the stock back plate blocked the inductive field and couldn’t be used. The solution he came up with will work with any device if you want to put some time into the build.

He took two different aftermarket cases; one fits his cellphone and the other is a BlackBerry case meant for housing a credit card. After cutting a hole in the back of the cellphone case he epoxied the credit card holder in place, smoothed the seam with Bondo, and repainted. Not only does the charger fit in the credit card case, but there’s still room for a credit card. [Derek] also measured the magnetic fields around the circuitry and found they will not damage the magnetic strip on that American Express Black you’ve been keeping on you. In the video after the break he mentions the last step in finishing this case will be to locate a 90-degree USB plug as the current connector is a bit of an eyesore.

Inductive cellphone charging without voiding warranty

[Derek Hughes] wanted to use inductive charging on his cellphone without voiding the warranty. He picked up a Pixi charging backplate meant for a Palm Pre and scavenged the coil and regulator circuitry from it. To make the electrical connection with his HTC HD2 he removed the mini-USB plug from a charging cable and connected it with 30 gauge wire. The whole package will fit beneath the back plate for use with a Touchstone charger (as we’ve seen with the HTC Evo) but there was one problem. The metal backplate from the HD2 interferes with the inductive charging. For now he’s using tape to hold everything together while searching for a plastic case replacement.

He walks you through the hack in the video after the break. We’re usually not worried about voiding warranties, but a phone like this takes a lot of abuse and having warranty protection or even a service agreement isn’t a bad idea. [Read more...]

Inductive charging for the HTC Evo

[Danny] added wireless charging to his HTC Evo. The hard work was already done for him by Palm, it was just a matter of adding that hardware to his phone. A Touchstone induction charging kit for the Palm Pre will cost you just over $40 for the base station and a replacement back cover. [Danny's] method removes the induction coil from that cover a relocates inside the case of the Evo. He routes two wires around the battery and solders them to positive and ground connections on the board. Once it’s back together the device draws power without any wires.

[Thanks Matt]

Android 2.1 on four more HTC handsets

Tired of fighting Windows mobile on your HTC handset? Now you can fight a beta ROM of Android 2.1. [Slm4996] has put in a flurry of work over the last few days to get Android 2.1 running on the HTC Kaiser (aka AT&T tilt), Vogue, Niki, and Polaris. Right now everything except the camera and bluetooth is working but there is a bug tracker to help with troubleshooting any undiscovered issues. If you want to try it out but don’t want to flash the hacked ROM to your phone you can run it beside Windows Mobile by using HaRET.

Correction: The title of this post originally read “Droid 2.1″ in error. We have corrected it to read “Android 2.1″.  [Thanks GuyFrom7Up]

Head-mounted computer with spit, bailing wire

Oh, for crying out loud! While we were all giddy reporting on yesterday’s wonderfully done head-mounted computer, [Andrew Lim] of recombu.com comes along and essentially does the same thing with an HTC Magic handset and three dollars worth of Harbor Freight crap. Linux kernel, WiFi, accelerometer, the whole nine yards. Consider our collective ass handed to us.

Funny thing is, either of these could be considered The Consummate Hack. One flaunting the creator’s know-how with its custom-designed parts and delicate engineering, the other exhibiting a more punk flair with random scraps and off-the-shelf technology achieving much the same effect — a solution so obvious we were blind to it. Whatever your outlook, this is a great day to be a hacker!

[via slashdot]

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