Hackaday Links: April 5, 2015

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[Dino] found something pretty cool at Walmart. It’s a USB Lighter; basically a car cigarette lighter that’s powered by a battery and charged via USB. A few bucks will buy you a battery, charge controller, and USB plug that will deliver over 2 amps at 3.7 Volts.

Speaking of battery chargers, here’s something from [Thomas]. He works in a hospital, and the IV pumps have a terrible charging circuit. After a few dozen chargers, they’ll give a battery error on the screen. They’re not bad, only unbalanced. [Thomas] made a simple rig with a Tenergy battery charger to rebalance the packs. No link, but here’s a pic. It beats paying $34 for a new battery pack.

Those Silhouette Cameo blade cutters don’t get enough respect. You can make vinyl stickers or an Arduino-themed pop up card.

Retroreflective spraypaint. Volvo has developed something called Lifepaint. It’s for bicycles and bicycle riders. Apparently, it’s clear when you spray it on, but if you shine a light on it – from a car’s headlight – it will reflect back. Any cool ideas here?

The Art of Electronics, 3rd edition, is finally out. Didn’t we hear about this a few months ago? Yes, we did. It’s shipping now, though, and there’s a sample. It’s chapter nine, voltage regulation and power conversion.

Ah, April Fool’s. I’m still proud of the Prince post, but there were some great ones this year. RS Components had Henry the Hover Drone, but we really like the protoboard with ground planes.

The market wasn’t always flooded with ARM dev boards. For a while the LeafLabs Maple was the big kid on the block. Now it’s reached end of life. If only there were a tree whose name ended in ~ino…

36 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: April 5, 2015

    1. Decoration – imagine using this for artistic additions to your vehicles paintjob either to just draw the eye a bit or to add incredible complexity (flames, fractals, etc) once the sun goes down.

      Road safety – if the paint doesn’t need direct light to work then this might be a useful short-term substitute for road reflectors or as temporary road markings in storm damaged areas when night falls and ya cant see certain landmarks to navigate by.

      Communication – use the spray to leave a message in an out of the way spot for puzzles, websites, party/rave directions, etc, etc.

          1. Painstripper is kind of a shitty thing to do (fairly expensive to fix) >:-(
            If you must go the vigilante way, use ordinary silicone oil in a spray can on the doorhandles and/or windshield, regular detergents will struggle to get it off…
            Tier II is motor oil…

    2. I don’t see much fun with Life Paint…. Apparently, it’s just re-branded “Invisible Bright” by Albedo100, says who makes it right there on the page.

      So the fun is temporary, so spraying the side of a car that’s double parked is going to do what exactly? Stuff washes off. Read the damn webpage…

    1. I was wondering the same, could there be something sandwiched? Or is this really sold like this in US shops?
      But that would be odd since they apparently did do the effort of using metal as casing for safety. Odd stuff,.

      And the guy doing the disassembling seems a bit out of touch, he totally didn’t realize that and yet he has all kinds of electrical equipment. I expect that from some 13 year old youtuber with 0 technical knowledge but not from someone who has equipment like that. Oh and the guy also didn’t seem to know LiPo batteries always have their ratings written on them, meanwhile he says he has a whole collection of them from other things he tore apart.. WTF.

      Battery was 3.7v 170mAh btw

      1. I thought the same thing. Didn’t know LiPos are pretty much always 3.7v rated.
        He also thought because he’d measured it at 3.8v that it was fully charged. LiPos nominally read around 4.2v fully charged with no load. This guy is a joker.

        Also did u see the name of his channel? HackaWeek! LOL! Wonder where he got that from?

    2. They can be charged with a resistor (to limit peak charge rate) and zener (to limit peak voltage). The peak voltage must be reduced from a smart charger, since there is no charger cutoff and it may “float” charge for a long time. Charging won’t be fast or near 100% this way, but that’s likely acceptable for a cheap disposable lighter.

      1. But wasn’t his point that it’s a nice package with a charger which you can hack to make your own stuff? So instead it’s just a small LiPo and some 2 cents parts anybody can throw together at no cost.
        Oh well.

    1. It’s a bit of a fig leaf, but I think the theory is that the battery is a certified device and plugging it into a non-certified device to rebalance the cells doesn’t de-certify it. The hack isn’t actually performed in an environment that requires med grade certification.

    1. I think they may have experimented with it,.. it probably works to some degree
      i would think it’s just different levels of reflectiveness
      different levels of “contrast”
      may depend on what surface you’re painting as well

  1. You would think that the protoboard with ground planes is a joke, but Sparkfun has been offering essentially this same thing for years: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8812

    I (stupidly) bought one a few years back, thinking that the front and back were unconnected. *That* would have been useful… however the way that it is wired up, every single hole is connected to every other single hole *on both sides of the board*. Completely retarded, but they are still selling it despite many complaints. I guess there is a new sucker born every minute…

    The eBay special $0.10 perf boards are far more usable than this piece of junk, even if the pads lift after a single soldering job.

    1. Uh, you are suppose to design a circuit then cut the traces in the appropriate places. I don’t get why you would not get that.
      Meanwhile you call others retarded..

      1. My niece has a cricut. Works for her, but you can only cut the designs programed into their rediculously expensive cartridges. They have software, but it can only specify positions of said cartridge designs. Neat machine, but useless for anything other than basic arts and crafts.

  2. Now that most cars have 12V power outlets *not to used with a resistance heated lighter*, for powering all sorts of gewgaws, things have come full circle to using the power outlets for their original purpose in a round about way.

    Funny story gleaned from the Nash Car Club magazine. When cigar lighters were first being put into cars, Nash got a sample from an auto parts salesman.The engineers installed it into the dash of a Nash and pushed it in. About a minute later it popped out, all the way out into the back seat where it fell behind the cushion and set it on fire. Nash chose not to buy lighters from that company.

  3. official Maple might be eol, but Chinese are churning out $5 clones. Leaflabs didnt touch that design in almost two years, they didnt like low margin stuff from the start.


    as seen on ‘dont get caught speeding’ TV infomercials

  4. Re: reflective paint. The police gets testy around here if they see or suspect you’ve put some kind of a coating or cover on your licence plate for the sole purpose of defeating red-light cameras.

    Anyhow, that traffic is crazy! I can’t imagine what it’s like to cycle in it; I’m terrified if a car comes within 6 feet of me. Driving in it can’t be that fun either.

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