USB controlled SPÖKA night light

usb-controlled-spoka-nightlight

[wejp] picked up an IKEA SPÖKA night light, but he wasn’t entirely impressed with its functionality. Pressing the top of the ghost’s head causes it to cycle through a few colors, and pressing it a second time locks it into displaying the current color until its tapped again. Inspired by this SPÖKA hack which used a different version of the night light, he tore his down to see what he could do with it.

Upon stripping off the outer cover, he found that the internals were considerably different than those found in its glowing brethren, though they were perfect for what [wejp] had in mind. He removed the rechargeable battery pack as well as the controller board, which sits on a PCB separate from the LEDs. He replaced the stock micro with an ATtiny25, which he uses to give himself a bit more control over the light display.

He couldn’t quite cram all the functionality he desired into the ATtiny, but he planned on powering the light using his computer anyhow, so he installed a small USB port in the back. When connected to his PC, the SPÖKA can be controlled more precisely than when it operates alone.

Unfortunately there’s no video available of the SPÖKA light in action, but there are plenty of images available on his site.

Numerous quiz buttons built on the cheap

[Sprite_TM] was tapped to build a rather large quiz buzzer system. Judging from his past work we’re not surprised that he seemed to have no trouble fulfilling the request. As the system is not likely to be used again (or rarely if it is) he found a way to finish the project that was both quick and inexpensive.

Each buzzer consists of a base, a button (both mechanical and electrical), and a couple of LEDs to indicate who buzzed in first. The mechanical part of the button uses a plastic bowl from Ikea and a wooden dowel surrounded by some pipe insulation. A momentary push switch is glued on the top of that dowel, and the insulation projects above that just a bit. This way it acts as a spring. The Dowel has been sized so that the bowl lip will hit the wooden base just as it clicks the switch.

As you can see, all of the buzzers are interlinked using Ethernet cable. The real trick here is how to read 14 buttons using just one CAT5 cable. This is done with the clever use of a 4×4 button matrix for a total of 16 buttons. The matrix also includes the LEDs for each buzzer. Since CAT5 has four twisted pairs this works out perfectly.

Looking for a more robust system thank this? Here’s a pretty nice one.

Controlling a cute Ikea night light with Android on the cheap

When [trandi]‘s wife saw a cute night light at Ikea, she had to have it. She actually bought several of these for when her husband would inevitably crack one open and start tinkering with the microcontroller inside. The inevitable hack is pretty cool, and also gives us some ideas for interfacing with Android on the cheap.

The build started as an Ikea Spoka night light, an adorable anthropomorphized night light with a squishy silicone skin. Inside the Spoka are a dozen tri-color LEDs that [trandi] can cycle through with the push of a button. After deciding to control the lights inside the Spoka with an Android phone he reached for an IOIO Android breakout board. Fate intervened and [trandi] ended up with a ridiculously cheap Bluetooth modules that provides a simple serial connection to other Bluetooth devices.

The build reuses the blue, red, orange LEDs in the night light but replaces the no-name 8-pin micro with an ATtiny2313. [Trandi] wrote a small Android app to control the color over a Bluetooth serial connection. Check out his demo after the break.

[Read more...]

Adding HTTP to Ikea DIODER

[Alex] sent in a neat Ikea DIODER build that controls strings of RGB LEDs with HTTP requests.

We’ve seen Ikea DIODERs controlled wirelessly and over USB, but using the Internet with a DIODER is new to us. For his build, [Alex] used a Nanode, a small Arduino-like board that has built-in web connectivity.

The hardware portion of the build is very simple. A MOSFET controls each LED strip on the DIODER. The stock controller of the DIODER was ditched, meaning [Alex] needed to figure out how to convert an RGB color space to a Hue, Saturation, and Lightness color space “for super-classy fading.” Once that was figured out, [Alex] implemented a 1D Perlin noise function to blend between two colors.

Finally, the great EtherCard library was used to turn HTTP requests into dancing LEDs. [Alex] is thinking about building a JQuery webpage so he won’t have to muck around with entering commands like 192.168.1.25/hsl?i=0&h=135&s=90&l=50 into a browser. Without a nice web interface, it’s not as futuristic as [Alex] would like, but it’s still cool to us.

RGB upgrade for Ikea single color fiber optic lamp

Five bucks will buy you a STRÅLA lamp from Ikea. It’s a battery operated hanging lamp that pipes the light out through multiple branches of fiber optic bundles. But you’ll only get white out of this, which is pretty boring. [Boris] decided to swap out the stock LED for an RGB unit and drive it with an Arduino.

The lamp nucleus is just a couple of pieces of plastic which can be popped apart to reveal the shard of PCB hosting one LED. The body of that diode is flat on the top, and [Boris] filed down his replacement to match the form factor. There are only two conductors in the wire that runs between that PCB and the battery pack, so he replaced them with four conductors (R,G,B, and GND). His prototype uses the Arduino’s PWM capabilities to control the colors, but [Boris] recommends transitioning to a simple chip like a PIC 12F675 or one of the smaller ATtiny microcontrollers after you’ve got the bugs worked out.

See how this turned out in the clip after the break.

[Read more...]

Ikea wine rack originally sold as a mattress holder

[Jeremy Walworth] has been dumpster diving again. He noticed that his neighbor had a bucked of nice-looking wood out at the curb for garbage collection. He inquired about it and learned that it was an Ikea bed that had broken, and that the original hardware was still there in a separate bag. He dragged it to his lair and built this wine rack out of the parts.

The reused rails and hardware provide five shelves for the bottles. [Jeremy] wanted each vessel to stay in place if the shelf wasn’t full, so he grabbed a piece of mill work from the home store and cut dividers which were glued in place. Now he’s able to show off up to sixty bottles for just a couple of bucks in material expense.

It seems like Ikea is able to sell furniture for less than the cost of the materials sourced locally. We think this is a fantastic way to find parts for your own hacks, as the components that break can often be cut down to undamaged pieces. We also make sure to check the As-Is section on each visit for the ‘leftovers’ that are usually sold for pennies. Who know’s maybe you’ll find the parts you need to build a camera mount for documenting projects.

Upgrading a solar lamp to charge an iPad

ikea_sunnan_upgrade

[Phillip] and the crew at Voltaic Systems took a look at the Sunnan solar powered desk lamp from IKEA a while back, and while they thought it was pretty useful, there were definitely some things they wanted to change.

First on their list of revisions was to increase the capacity of the stock battery pack. Taking the lamp apart and unscrewing the pack’s lid revealed a set of 3 AA cells, which they swapped out for higher-capacity models with more than double the watt-hour rating.

A beefed up battery is a good start, but the lamp’s tiny solar panel has no hope of topping off the batteries outside of Death Valley. To ensure that they get a nice full charge, a small jack was wired into to the battery pack, allowing the group to connect any size external solar panel they pleased.

Finally, [Phillip] and Co. wanted the ability to charge an iPad2 from the lamp’s battery pack. They hacked in a small USB connector and a slightly modified MintyBoost board to provide a little extra juice to their tablet.

While they are still testing the modifications, they say that everything is working nicely, citing that the extra battery capacity and charging abilities are a great addition.