Hackaday Links: Summer, 2015

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[Elia] was experimenting with LNAs and RTL-SDR dongles. If you’re receiving very weak signals with one of these software defined radio dongles, you generally need an LNA to boost the signal. You can power an LNA though one of these dongles. You’ll need to remove a few diodes, and that means no ESD protection, and you might push the current consumption above the 500mA a USB port provides. It does, however, work.

We’ve seen people open up ICs with nitric acid, and look inside them with x-rays. How about a simpler approach? [steelcityelectronics] opened up a big power transistor with nothing but a file. The die is actually very small – just 1.8×1.8mm, and the emitter bond wire doesn’t even look like it’ll handle 10A.

Gigantic Connect Four. That’s what the Lansing Makers Network built for a Ann Arbor Maker Faire this year. It’s your standard Connect Four game, scaled up to eight feet tall and eight feet wide. The disks are foam insulation with magnets; an extension rod (with a magnet at the end) allows anyone to push the disks down the slots.

[Richard Sloan] of esp8266.com fame has a buddy running a Kickstarter right now. It’s a lanyard with a phone charger cable inside.

Facebook is well-known for the scientific literacy of its members. Here’s a perpetual motion machine. Comment gold here, people.

Here’s some Hackaday Prize business: We’re giving away stuff to people who use Atmel, Freescale, Microchip, and TI parts in their projects. This means we need to know you’re using these parts in your projects. Here’s how you let us know. Also, participate in the community voting rounds. Here are the video instructions on how to do that.

26 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: Summer, 2015

  1. Look closely at the base of the fan – it looks like a wire running out towards the base of the porch.

    Why would a perpetual motion demonstration need extra wires coming into the base of the fan?

    1. Haven’t tried to figure it out that extensively. It’s a trick similar to those physics defying LEDs. But a lot larger so easier to cheat. I love the fact that the lights only turn on once the cage is closed around that rotor, not before, despite that motor apparently acting like a generator.

      1. Damn those energy companies; full of people with famillies to feed and house, working hard to build, operate and service sometimes dangerous energy generation machinery so we can light and warm our homes. Its all a scam, they are trying to defraud us of our money by offering a service and not investing in youtube channels with perpetual motion machines… I forgot what my point was but I guess its just easier to wave your hands around and perpetuate conspiracies.

        1. Dave Berry wrote an article years ago about the electricity scam. Basically the electric companies send you the electricity, you send it back and they then send it back out to you.
          Just in case anybody actually reads my comment, and doesn’t already know this, Dave Berry is a humor columnist here in the USA.

    2. “Why would a perpetual motion demonstration need extra wires coming into the base of the fan?” To tap the tesla aether aliem energy, duh! But I will now invent a perpetual motion energy machine, make perpetual energy patents legal and just burn all the patents that come in to run a steam generator, the damn thing would never stop!

    3. Yep, sure does – nice catch! Simple misdirection, the hallmark of any magician. A big show is made that the motor/generator has no hidden wires, same with the load panel… then the fan is immediately plugged in without any FANfare and before doing anything else. It remains connected and unmoved for as long as I bothered to watch.

      Of course, since this is prerecorded, you can’t simply ask him to unplug the fan and see what happens. But similar “free energy” machines were around before the Internet. Before VCRs. At one point if you wanted to show off your machine, you had to do it in front of real people. The problem with real people was sometimes they DID ask, refused to accept the inevitable BS answer that the fan was a required/special load or whatever, got unruly, and tore your machine apart to see what the trick is. One was always found. Examples:

      1) Hidden wires supplying electricity.
      2) Batteries hidden within any large mass. The motor was a common location, almost entirely filled with them; except for a little space for a much smaller motor, just enough to give some slow rotation. (These days you have more options for battery placement, for example you could hollow out the motor/generator platform’s MDF base and embed a lot of lithium ion prismatic cells in it.)
      3) An inductive charging plate under the floor/table.

  2. Why bother with free energy when we have a nuclear fusion reactor that is free for anyone to use? Seriously, all you need is a solar panel and you get energy without any further expense.

  3. We zippo decap chips fairly often at work, or bic or ronson. It’s not pretty, but it does an okayish job of removing the epoxy if all you need to know is vaguely where on the silicon the failure happened.

  4. > If you’re receiving very weak signals with one of these software defined radio dongles, you generally need an LNA

    what you need first is a FILTER to block strong signals causing intermodulation errors by overloading RTLSDR receiver, FM radio being the biggest cause of interferences.

      1. It depends on what part of the spectrum you’re looking at. I usually use mine to receive HF (aka shortwave) through an upconverter. The biggest sources if interference I deal with are an AM radio station located less than 2 miles away from me, and several very strong FM stations that interfere because of the upconverter’s 125 MHz LO.

    1. I was wondering about this. When I saw “LNA” I assumed it meant ‘now noise amp’ ie a wide band or all band amp. We used to use a ‘LNB’ which was a ‘low noise block down converter’ which filtered the desired bandwidth amplified it and modulated it to a lower frequency range for transmission over a cable to the next stage. The cable was generally RG-6, RG-58 or RG-59.

      1. Isn’t the solar system a perpetual motion system of sorts though? And by virtue of that the moon and the tides a hand-on example?

        (I think we can consider the lifetime of our solar system ‘perpetual’ btw, from our viewpoint.)

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