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PS3 IR dongle tamed for use with a Linux box

So a man walks into a Radio Shack and the clerk says “Why the long face?”. No, that’s not it. [Ms3fgx] walks into a Radio Shack and says “holy crap, that PS3 IR dongle is only two bucks”. He’s been looking for an IR remote receiver to use with a Linux machine and decided to bend this PS3 dongle to his will. It’s a lot less expensive that the parts to build the simplest IR receivers like this FTDI cable version, or a microcontroller based receiver.

He plugged it in and was delighted to find that it enumerates. The kernel has PlayStation 3 controller support built-in and has no problem picking up this device. When he uses ‘cat’ to display the incoming data all he gets is repetitive garbage. This is because the dongle only supports Sony remote control codes. But after a bit of universal remote setup, he’s got unique commands for each button. The last piece of the puzzle is to map the controller commands to keyboard keys. This is done with the QJoyPad package, but there are a myriad of ways to remap these buttons so go with what you know.

Short and squat balancing bot is extremely stable

[Lauszus] really put together an impressive self balancing robot platform. It is virtually motionless when balancing in place, and that stability is never lost even when motoring across the room.

Part of the success behind this build is the use of quality components. He’s got a really nice set of motors with built-in encoders which give feedback to the balancing system. They work in conjunction with a gyroscopic sensor and PID code to keep the two-wheeled platform upright. An mbed board running 96 MHz provides plenty of computing power for the balancing system. But an Arduino can also be found on board. This was included to facilitate Bluetooth connectivity with the remote control as [Lauszus] didn’t want to port the code he had already written.

The fourteen minute video after the break shares the details behind how the PID controller is tuned and how [Lauszus] implements target angle and a few other factors. Of course he talks about the hardware choices, and demonstrates functionality by driving the bot around using a wireless PS3 controller.

The construction method which uses masonite strips and threaded rod does a good job of protecting the hardware mounted on it. We’re always a bit worried about these bots falling over and some of the projects we see offer little or no protection. Once thing that helps protect against a spill is a piezo buzzer which sounds when the battery is getting low.

[Read more...]

Hackaday Links: January 16, 2012

Finally the 13-year-old on Battlefield 3 will get their comeuppance

[Shawn] sent in his fully adjustable auto-fire mod for an XBox360 controller. It’s pretty simple – just an ATtiny85 soldered to a button with a pot to adjust the rate and switch to turn it on and off. It could have been done with a 555, but this is good enough.

Now one for the PS3 bronies

[Capt-Nemo] loves and tolerates everyone so he modded his 60 Gig PS3 with a bunch of LEDs to display Rainbow Dash’s cutie mark. Yes, it’s from My Little Pony. Don’t judge us. Watch the demo video instead.

How do you organize resistors?

A while ago we saw a neat way to store resistors in a piece of foam with a grid according to the first and third color bands. [Greg] did it another way that just puts a label on a piece of foam. Can you think of a better way?

It’s not a synthesizer, but is it fake?

A lot of people have been sending in this video of [Stephen] turning his kitchen into a synthesizer. We’re thinking he turned a bunch of bowls and cans into an MPC / MIDI controller at best, or it was all done in post. We’ll let our readers duke it out in the comments.

Blinky things spinning very fast

A gracious Hack a Day reader sent in a mechanical television demo he found during late night intertube browsing. We know it’s from a 1992 episode of Computer Club that aired in Germany. It’s four rotating bars of 232 LEDs that will display a standard TV signal. We think it might be time for an RGB LED version of this. Any takers?

PlayStation 3 controller made fully remappable

[Hazer] managed to take a PlayStation 3 SixAxis controller and modify it so that all of the buttons can be remapped in hardware. Aside from this being really cool, he had a good reason for doing it. Regular readers should remember the feature regarding [Chuck Bittner's] internet petition calling for button mapping as a feature in all games. As the industry still hasn’t taken up the torch in this area, [Hazer] developed this mod for [Chuck] to use and has released it for any others out there who wish to give it a try.

The hardware alterations are pretty hardcore. On the left of the image, just below the rumble motor, a DIP microcontroller is nestled dead-bug style. This is a PIC 18F14K50. It’s running a bootloader, and has its own USB port on the opposite side of the controller. By cutting traces and soldering to vias, this chip intercepts button presses and shoots them off to the controller’s processor based on alternative mapping stored in EEPROM. There’s a helper app that lets you plug the controller into a computer to specify what each button does, including features like toggle for the buttons. Check out [Chuck's] thoughts on the hardware in the video after the break.

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Fake PS3 tracks thieves all the way home

ps3_tracking_system

One of [Wayne’s] relatives had their house robbed during a blizzard/extended power outage, and as is typically the case, none of the stolen items were recovered. His nephew’s PS3 was among the pilfered belongings, which didn’t sit well with him. Taking a cue from police “bait cars”, he thought it would be cool to fit a dummy game console with a tracking device, should anything similar happen in the future.

He bought a hollowed out PS3 shell on eBay, filling it with an Arduino, an accelerometer, a GPS sensor, a small GSM modem with a prepaid SIM card, and a reasonably sized LiPoly battery. The system usually sits in a sleeping state, but when the accelerometer senses motion, the Arduino powers up the GSM modem and sends an SMS security alert to his mobile phone. Using his phone to control the tracking system via SMS, he can request GPS coordinates and directional information, which can then be relayed to the police.

His tracking system is a great idea since hawking stolen game consoles are easy money for thieves. If there happens to be a string of robberies in your neighborhood, you could certainly rest a little bit easier knowing that your Playstation doppelganger will let you know if someone is looting your house.

Internal 7-segment PS3 display

[Zach] sent in his temperature controller and display for PS3, and even though it only works with a PS3 fat, we like our PS2 backwards compatibility very much, thank you.

The build stated off with [Zach] putting thermal sensors on the CPU, the RSX, and Northbridge of his PS3. After starting out controlling the fan with his laptop, he moved on to an integrated fan and display controller after seeing this post about a ‘hidden display.’ In the end, one of the coolest looking PS3 mods we’ve ever seen was born.

The build runs off an Arduino Pro that gets the temperatures from the sensors, prints everything to a custom 7-segment display board, and controls the fan. [Zach] thankfully made the Arduino source available and also put up some board files if you’d like to make your own. It’s a pretty impressive build that’s completely invisible when the PS3 is powered off.

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Fan throttling for PS3 temperature control

This setup will let you monitor Play Station 3 temperatures and throttle the cooling fan accordingly. [Killerbug666] based the project around an Arduino board, and the majority of the details about his setup are shared as comments in the sketch that he embedded in his post. He installed four thermistors in his PS3 on the CPU heatsink, the GPU heatsink, the Northbridge or Emotion Engine, and one in front of the air intake grate to measure ambient room temperature.

Above you can see the setup he used to display temperatures for each sensor on a set of 7-segment displays. The project also includes the ability to push this data over a serial connection for use with a computer or a standalone system.

The project is still in a prototyping stage. It works, but he likens the fan throttling to the sound of a car engine constantly revving. Future plans include smoothing out the fan speed corrections and scaling down the size of the hardware used in the system. We’d suggest doing away with three of the displays and adding a button that lets you select which set of sensor data you’d like to display.

[Thanks User]

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