Dead HDD smartphone stand still holds secret data

We’ve actually got a few dead hard drives collecting dust so when we hear about a project that finds a use for one we perk up a bit. But we were somewhat disappointed when we discovered this was a smartphone stand, pen holder, and LED lamp in one. We just don’t have a use for this kind of triple-tasker. But wait… the dead drive has a secret. It still serves as data storage, if you know how to enabling the drive within.

As you can seen, [Samimiy] removed all the guts of the HDD, repurposing the platters and mounting brackets as the phone holder, and mounting plate for a couple handfuls of LEDs. The lamp portion can be adjusted thanks to the articulated based from a small desk lamp he had in his parts bin. The device receives power from the USB connector you can see in the upper right. That’s where the first part of the secret comes in. This isn’t just supplying power, it provides a USB connection to the thumb drive hidden inside the HDD case. But just connecting it to your computer won’t mount it. [Samimy] took the light sensor from an automatic nightlight and set it up below the pen holder. If you shine a flashlight down the hole in that piece of wood it will routed power to the secret USB drive causing it to enumerate on your system. Pretty clever! Take a look at his build video after the break.

We wonder if there’s a way to incorporate this light-based lock system into that mouse-mounted thumb drive.

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StorageBot finds all your components, makes your storage drawers feel inadequate

Your experience with making things, building projects, and hacking hardware is directly proportional to the amount of components you have on hand; as our experience grows, so do our space and storage requirements, it seems. [Danh Trinh] must have decades of experience, because his StorageBot robotic parts drawer is as awesomely absurd as it is clever and useful.

At first glance, StorageBot just looks like a bunch of small parts drawers mounted to the wall with LED strips along the top and side. The magic happens when [Danh] walks up to the wall-mounted laptop and commands StorageBot to find a component with his voice. A video is worth a thousand words, so you might as well head to the video for the best description available

To get the StorageBot to listen to his voice, [Danh] downloaded Microsoft’s speech recognition SDK and built a VB app to turn his voice into a location of what drawer contains the part he requested. Once StorageBot finds the row and column of the requested part, a pair of stepper motors behind the wall of parts drawers swing into action. Soon enough, the drawer containing the requested part pops out, and [Danh] can go about his business building more awesome stuff.

Because a few paragraphs can’t convey exactly how cool [Danh]‘s StorageBot is, take a look at the videos after the break.

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ecDB offers a simple, intuitive way to keep your electronic inventory organized

ecdb

One of the most important tools for any hacker or maker is organization. You might consider it more of a concept rather than a physical tool, but regardless of how you like to frame it, ensuring your tools and components are (nearly) always where they should be is key. As the odds and ends add up, it can sometimes be hard remembering exactly what you have on hand – that’s where the ecDB comes in handy.

Short for electronics component DataBase, the ecDB was created by [Nils Fredriksson], and offers a clean and intuitive way to keep tabs on what you have in-house. Many of us have used spreadsheets and notebooks to do the same, but ecDB allows you to record much more data than you could with either solution.

This is immediately clear within a moment or two of looking at the site’s interface. Not simply limited to listing part names and quantities, ecDB allows you to record manufacturer info, package type, and pin counts, while also allowing you to attach PDF datasheets and images of your components as well.

We really like system that [Nils] put together, and suggest giving it a spin to see if it will help you keep things organized in your workshop.

Ask Hackaday: Organizing a growing collection of electronic odds and ends

ask hackaday

[Tim] wrote in, lamenting a problem that many of us can likely echo. Over the years, he has acquired all sorts of small electronic parts and components, along with tools and accessories – all of which are starting to crowd his workspace. He says that most of his stockpile is being stored in a tackle box, but it’s getting unwieldy and he would like to find a better way to organize things.

Yours truly suffers from the same sort of situation. It’s mostly a result of being a tad bit lazy, while conveniently finding alternative storage containers for my electronic odds and ends. My workbench is strewn with plastic snack baggies (for screws, not ESD-sensitive bits), Glad-Ware containers, Eclipse gum packages, and old plastic baby formula tubs for larger items. While I’m certainly doing my share to reuse plastic packaging, I am aware that it’s not exactly the best organization methodology.

This topic does come up pretty often, and even though we’ve talked about it on several occasions, people still like to hear fresh feedback from their peers. If you have some clever organization tips, or a novel way of storing your electronics components, be sure to share them in the comments!

Component storage roundup

It’s been suggested that the first self-replicating computer virus was a single IC that eventually expanded into multiple plastic component storage boxes. Organizing components by their values is a huge PITA as well. Here’s some solutions we’ve found:

Photo Boxes

[Mathew] sent in his organization scheme that uses 4×6 photo boxes. Better get those boxes while they’re hot – we can’t remember the last time we used film.

Use a binder

This instructables uses binders for storage. Good for passives, but unless someone can find anti-static bags for a binder, we’ll keep our ICs separate.

The only way to organize resistors

[Johannes] stores his resistors on a sheet of styrofoam. The grid has the first color band on the left side and the second color band on the top. Extremely, extremely clever. We’re wondering why we Radio Shack didn’t come up with this in the 70s. The grid could be laid out on a log scale, though.

If Susan is lazy, why does she do all the work?

[D.C. Boyce] hacked up a couple of lazy susans, built frames out of 2x4s and mounted plastic component drawers on them. The result is probably more space than we’ll ever need. To keep things simple, he wrote a database program to keep track of everything.

Eee PC NAS

eeePC NAS

Hack a Day reader [The_Glu] shared with us a project of his. He used an Eee PC 701 he had lying around with a broken LCD, along with three 1TB SATA drives to create a custom NAS server for his house. The server features a number of other interesting components, including USB2SATA converters to connect the hard drives, as well as a 2 line LCD to display RAID information and server status. The entire  project is wrapped up in a custom made Plexiglas enclosure with case fans to keep the whole thing cool. While this may not be the first Eee PC NAS, or the fastest, this is a wonderful way to repurpose a broken netbook. We also love the idea of netbooks being used more and more in projects like these as the first generation reaches its end of usefulness age. More pictures after the break.

Thanks [The_Glu]

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How a storage company builds their own

blackblaze_storage_pods

Want 67 Terabytes of local storage? That’ll be $7,867 but only if you build it yourself. Blackblaze sells online storage, but when setting up their company they found the only economical way was to build their own storage pods. Lucky for us they followed the lead of other companies and decided to share how they built their own storage farm using some custom, some consumer, and some open source components. Continue reading “How a storage company builds their own”