Hackaday Links, September 14, 2014

Photonicinduction is back! The Brit famous for not setting his attic on fire has built a 20,000 Watt power supply. It connects directly to England’s national grid with huge connectors. Impeccable fabrication and triple servo controlled variacs, and apparently this will be used for making a lot of hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis of water.

In case you missed it, there’s a group buy for Flir’s Lepton thermal imaging module. Here’s the breakout board.

Need to solder something away from an outlet, and all you have is a disposable lighter? There’s a fix for that.

A Raspberry Pi case designed to be compatible with Lego. Now we need a hat/shield for NXT connectors.

Need another channel in your RC remote? Here’s this. It uses the gyro gain channel on a receiver. If someone wants to figure out how this works, wee do have a rather cool project hosting site.


Here’s something impossibly cool: The Macintosh PowerBop. It’s a Powerbook 170 with the floppy drive replaced with the radio in a cordless phone. It was part of France’s BiBop network, and you could buy private base stations for use at home. It is technically possible to use the radio as a wireless link to a modem, but [Pierre] couldn’t get PPP or a sufficiently ancient browser working. Plus ten points for taking it to an Apple store, and another twenty for trying to connect to our retro edition.

Chicken Lips. [Fran] and our very own [Bil Herd] are hanging out a bunch and recalling [Bil]’s time at Commodore. For this little featurette, [Bil] brought out his very own Commodore LCD. There are three of those in the world. Also included: tales of vertical integration, flipping bits with photons, and 80s era ERC.

31 thoughts on “Hackaday Links, September 14, 2014

  1. Where does the 20,000 watt guy get 480V three phase in his attic? It’s probably 415VAC 50Hz to be technical. You *can* convert UK mains to three phase but is he getting it directly? Depending on the power factor he is only pulling 25 to 28 amps, so not that many when you really think about it. An average UK house *should* have enough power to handle this and maybe a bit more, depending on the age of the house. Maybe he was able to convince the power company to just run him three phase?

    1. PhotonicInduction may have gotten into a bit of trouble with the power company when he used the normal mains connection for some high-energy stuff, and managed to brown out the whole neighborhood.

      He did, at some point convince the power company to install one of those crazy high power feeds. I don’t know how, but he managed to do it, and now he can pull all the power he likes. The feed is probably wherever the mains comes into the house, which is why he mentions that he’s keeping the big, heavy power supply in the living room, and running a cable from there up to the attic.

      PhotonicInduction is absolutely crazy, but he knows what he’s doing, and somehow does it all safely.

      1. convince?
        You phone them up and ask for it, then you pay for it, then they install it.

        Anyone* in the UK can get 3phase 415v power supplied easily. I can’t imagine it’s that difficult in America either.

        For me though the 240v 60A connection I have is more than enough for what I need!

        *probably not people living in high rises, or renters who don’t own the building.

      2. His construction seems neat and solid, but he always puts stuff in a flammable surrounding seemingly not caring even when he’s actually running high voltage through things to blow them up.

        So ‘does it all safely’ is debatable.

    2. Where I’m situated largest single phase connection you can get is 230V 35A (7kW supposedly) which is what most houses have got. If pay for the extra copper they’ll run you three phase to a residential meter no questions asked, plently of legitimate uses, espescially if you have electric heating or have and kind of workshop. The biggest three phase residential hookup is 3x63A (so 43kW!).

        1. I’ve got no idea where they ended up with such numbers. That’s just the largest they’ll install for you as a residential client. At leasts thats what it says on the electricity bill, no idea how long it takes to blow out the fuse installed at the actual hookup point.
          For a small commercial hookup you can get up to 230V 3x200A. If you require more than that then you probably aren’t going to be hooking up through a low voltage substation but rather directly at the 10/20kilovolt level.

          The electricity distribution practicies with the EU are rather different from the US. We don’t use those single phase pole pig distribution transformers. Things like stove tops/ovens or boilers are often three phase appliances.

          1. It’s a bit tricky to use the term ‘EU’ here, UK does things quite differently than mainland for instance, and of course mainland europe runs from countries like germany, who probably have tons of standards and stipulations, to former east-bloc countries who probably come from a background where things are not done quite like the german engineering standards would require things to be done.

      1. I wonder if that’s slowly going to go obsolete as more heat pumps go inverter drive, largely nullifying the advantage of bringing 3 phase to the unit. Here in the US, it’s common to find single phase heat pumps up to 5 tons or so. It’s a shame 3 phase isn’t common in residential over here, as 3 phase motors generally run quieter and more efficiently than single phase motors of the same power rating. (And no run cap, start cap, or start relay!)

        1. That’s slowly going away as heat pumps have been much more economical than propane for a long time. In fact, some inverter heat pumps are efficient enough to be competitive with natural gas.

          And then there are the Bitcoiners who make a profit heating their house. :)

    3. From “way back” I remember him having a 60kW connection running to his house. So if he’s got this thing running at full power, there is still considerable room for other appliances on his power-budget….

    4. he probably just got a 3ph hookup installed. anyone inthe UK can. for a fee. if you want to run machine tools in your shed for examle. the incommer to my place looks about the same as the extension cable he is playing with. (was installed recently) and its 3x60A @240/415v. I have it fused down to 30A/Phase as thats all i need but the incommer is fused to 60A

  2. Oi!

    I’ve sent Emails from three different servers (at least one of which isn’t listed anywhere as a Spam source) about my R/C Signal Trigger project/product, designed to do a similar job to the “RCCS”. Never got a response.

    I’ve got schematics, circuit description and very detailed instructions on my website here:
    And I’m selling kits right now (not after a Indiegogo campaign) on Tindie:

    My design also adds an extra functions to a R/C system without costing existing control channels. It doesn’t only work with systems for R/C helicopters, but with any transmitter with a mechanical trim control, and digital transmitters with an additional modification.

    It’s even based around a 555 timer IC!

    So what’s the deal HackaDay? It’s not just this, but I’ve sent in a number of tips that seem to have been ignored while similar ones I’ve sent in the past were featured. I’ve asked in the Emails if you’re just fed up with me for some reason, but no response. I’ve run out of Email servers.

    1. You’ll probably actually get picked up. I mentioned a book that no one gave a shit about and then next week there is a write up on SIGSALY ;) I must admit when I first read your post I was a little wtf, but I get it now. Best of luck, chief :)

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