Hackaday Links: August 25, 2013


[Adrian] came across a treasure trove of 507 mechanical device designs. It didn’t seem quite right for a Retrotechtacular post, but we wanted to share it as it’s a great place to come up with ideas for your next Rube Goldberg machine.

Biking with headphones is dangerous. That’s why [J.R.] built a handlebar enclosure for his Jambox Bluetooth speaker.

While dumpster diving [Mike] found a Macbook pro. It was missing a few things, like a keyboard, touchpad, battery, ram, and storage. He borrowed a power supply to test it out but without the keyboard there’s no power button. He figured out the traces on the motherboard which turn it on when shorted.

[Mateusz] want to let us know about the Hercules LaunchPad. Like the other TI Launchpad offerings it’s an all-in-one dev board. The Hercules line features a couple of flavors of dual-core ARM chips. Can you believe the dev boards you can get for under $20 these days?

After seeing the ammo can sound system about a month ago [Ilpo] was inspired to share his ammo can PC case with us.

And finally, here’s a way to display your Bitcoin mining rig for all to see. This system was laid out in an antique frame and hung on the wall.

24 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: August 25, 2013

  1. There are a couple marvelous books available that are reprints of a turn-of-the-century compendiums of mechanical movements, both by an author “Gardner D. Hiscox”:

    “1800 Mechanical Movements and Devices” and his sequel “970 Mechanical Appliances and Novelties of Construction”

    Both are available from Lee Valley tools

    Fascinating collections…

    1. I went to Google Books and entered the author’s name. Both books are available for downloading as PDF, reading online or via an app. Unless you want a hardcopy, why pay money for a public domain book?

      1. Thank you! I am continuously amazed at the genius of the previous generations. Before the internet, before our connected lives maybe the isolation and lack of noise in their lives promoted the development of new approaches.

  2. I’d worry about crashing the bike with the Jambox attached, it looks like the big chunk of wood is well-targeted at his soft, visceral areas. Could do with a way to swing out or snap off, to be smaller, or at least to be made of something much weaker than pieces of wood. Thin plastic, or something like Tupperware, would be safer.

  3. I love the animations of the mechanical movements. When I saw “ammo can PC” I thought, “Shit can PC” A liquid cooled PC build into the tank of a toilet, somebody get on it. :)

    @ BruceJ – Mr. Hiscox’s books are available on the Internet Archive as well.

    @ Mike Jans – Your name is Peter now, better start changing the labels in your underwear. :)

  4. Those TI Hercules chips aren’t “dual core” in the sense you think. They’re running in lock-step, ie. executing the same code and constantly comparing the state of the CPUs. If they ever differ, it means a hardware fault has occurred and some recovery action can be taken (halt, switch over to a backup system etc.)

    1. Thanks for clarifying that. So, if they don’t compare, I guess there is no way to know which CPU core is at fault? Even with two cores, it wouldn’t be a failover system unless you had an entire duplicate system to failover to.

      1. in this case, i believe the fault detection is used to confirm correct results, not really a failover. if the results dont match, then discard results, notify admin, and stop accepting more work until the unit has been replaced.

      2. Depending on the application, you don’t care which core is at fault, merely that something has gone wrong and the system cannot be relied upon. Good for a monitoring device where a wrong value is bad news.

        For fault tolerance you want something more like aircraft use, where three systems run and compare results – the ‘odd man out’ gets shut down (or ignored). That’s not a triple-core system though, they get three different vendors each providing a different solution, a bug in a dual-core system won’t get detected as it’ll appear on both cores.

  5. I just looked at the datasheets for the two different processors used on the two varieties of Hercules Launchpad. Other than one being described for medical use and the other for automotive use, the only other difference I see is the clock speed. Even all the peripherals listed are the same. Can someone tell me what I am missing here?

  6. Went to that site ‘507 mechanical device designs.’ and even that has cursed google scripts on it, I’m getting pretty sick and tired of the google crap on every single damn site.

        1. Ditto on NoScript. It is a pain at first but you kind of get used to figuring out which scripts to allow. The most annoying part is when you’re trying to watch a video on a random site with (for example) 10 disabled scripts and every time you enable one, 5 more pop up and you need to decide whether they are the ones that will get that damn video going.

  7. I will stick with headphones and rich stereo sound thanks to NPR and flac files. I keep the volume mixed with traffic and then get the news drowned out when a truck goes by. Not earbuds of course. Winter’s good for something, I can wear studio style phones in comfort not sweat. Normally I use small surface type headphones. Most drivers are windows up stereo loud anyway.
    Yes and most importantly a glasses mounted review mirror. True heads up tech.
    Even better would be the use of wind screen tech like a mic cover. Turns out we are quite deaf when in a ten mph plus speed of noise from turbulence. There is a product out there with screens. Need to experiment, some headphones can make the wind sound like a bad movie sound track of a much worse wind complete with whistling.

  8. I feel somewhat bad for mike to having to go through all the effort to get that macbook up and running. Earlier year I found a fully functioning unibody iMac at the junkyard. It astounds me as to why anyone would throw away something like that.

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