Hackaday Podcast Ep22: King Of Power Banks, Great SDR Hacks, Sand Reflow, And Rat Rod Mower

Elliot Williams and Mike Szczys dig through the most interesting hacks from the past week. On this episode we take a look at a portable power bank build that defies belief. We discuss an all-in-one SDR portable, messing with restaurant pagers, and the software that’s common to both of these pursuits. There’s a hopping robot that is one heck of a PID challenge, and another robot that does nothing but stare you down. We bring it on home with great articles on pianos with floppy disks, and that satellite cluster you should be watching for in the night sky.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Direct download (48 MB of sweet, sweet audio)

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3 thoughts on “Hackaday Podcast Ep22: King Of Power Banks, Great SDR Hacks, Sand Reflow, And Rat Rod Mower

  1. I want to see teardowns of the droids, holocrons, lightsabers, and kyber crystals from Galaxy’s edge. Do those “crystals” have active electronics? Batteries inside? Very low power RFID? If the holocrons use some sort of optical color sensor, will dropping random objects into the tray do anything?

    The saber blades are obviously filled with RGB LEDs because they change color according to the color of ‘crystal’ installed in the handle. None of the review videos I watched last night on the sabers mentioned anything about materials they’re made of but the sounds while parts were unscrewed to swap ‘crystals’ sounded like die cast metal.

    Videos of the holocrons show they’re *extremely annoying* playing constant loud sounds, only interrupted by spouting stock phrases from various characters when touched. Putting various ‘crystals’ into them makes the phrases change. If the different data is contained in the ‘crystals’ and read by wireless connection then Disney could release new stuff. If they’re simply a key to enable playback of audio that’s all built into the thing, then someone is going to hack them to play everything without having to obtain all the ‘crystals’.

    There’s a black ‘crystal’ that for the sabers works just like the red ones but dropped into the holocrons does different audio than the red ones. Black is like the ‘chase’ cards in blind packs of CCGs but only comes in the red vials.

    For the droids there are ‘personality chips’ which are a bit of molded plastic with a bare PCB edge connector. Plugged into a slot under a flap on the front of the R series body or a slot atop the drive mechanism inside the BB series ball, they alter the sounds they play. Do those have active electronics or data in them or are they like that old 1970’s game console where they just enable data already in the droid’s storage? How are the LEDs in the BB droid’s head powered? I’ve seen no mention of a separate head battery? Inductive power transmission? The BB’s movement is very noisy and steering is very sketchy while it wobbles around like a drunken Weeble. (The original egg shaped Weebles.) Leave the droids turned on with their Bluetooth enabled and eventually they’ll ‘talk’ to one another.

    If I was as filthy rich as is now required to afford Disneyland I’d go for a light saber and R series droid (far more customization options) and skip the BB droid and rather pointless holocron.

    So, who’s going to be the first rich nerd to take a screwdriver to their $100 and $200 new toys?

  2. I remember playing The Kobayashi Alternative back in 1985, I also played Colossal Cave as well but the Star Trek interactive fiction game was the best of its kind in my opinion. I had graduated from college 4 years earlier when no one I knew had a computer and by 1985, everyone I knew had one. I had a Commodore 64 and upgraded to a TRS 80 Color Computer, and a few years later got an IBM PC. Ah, those were the days.

  3. @MikeSzczys
    RE: OLED displays with ribbon cables. Try searching for “OLED COG” (Chip On Glass).

    COG = Raw display with ribbon cable (OLEDs and LCDs).
    Module = COG soldered onto a circuit card (usually breadboard-friendly with header pins).
    Display = Generic term. Can returns either COGs or modules. Usually modules.

    eBay has fewer OLED COG choices. Ali Express has a lot. Enter your resolution to narrow the search results down. Ex: “OLED COG 128 64” (without quotes)

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