Hackaday Podcast 047: Prusa Controversy, Bottle Organ Breakdown, PCBs Bending Backwards, And Listen To Your LED

Hackaday editors Mike Szczys and Elliot WIlliams get together for the 47th and final Hackaday Podcast of 2019. We dive into the removable appendix on Prusa’s new “Buddy” control board, get excited over the world’s largest grid-backup battery, and commiserate about the folly of designing enclosures as an afterthought. There’s some great research into which threaded-inserts perform best for 3D-printed parts, how LEDs everywhere should be broadcasting data, and an acoustic organ that’s one-ups the traditional jug band.

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!

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4 thoughts on “Hackaday Podcast 047: Prusa Controversy, Bottle Organ Breakdown, PCBs Bending Backwards, And Listen To Your LED

  1. Arghhh! Transcripts, please! Watching videos has it’s place, listening to podcasts has it’s place, but put an end to the lazyness and PLEASE provide transcripts, if nothing else then for the sake of blind or deaf readers!

  2. The reason why you wouldn’t want to build a big battery out of the “cheaper” options like lead-acid or NiMH, NiCD, NiFe, etc. is because their embedded energy cost is higher than with lithium batteries – you’re spending more energy just to make the batteries. A lot more. They’re not energy-efficient.

    Even with lithium batteries, the fundamental energy cost to make something like a Tesla Model S battery is equal to the amount of energy an average US household uses in a year – with all the mining, refining, transportation, packaging… etc. but this is compensated for by the relatively long lifespan and high specific energy density.

    With a lead-acid battery for example, 4/5ths of the battery materials simply go to waste because you’re not “allowed” to discharge the battery more than about 20% – otherwise it will wear out on you a lot faster than it already does. You still have to process and transport all that material, but it does nothing for you. There’s deep discharge PbAs of course, but they’re not actually that much better – at least not better enough to warrant using them like that.

    There’s all sorts of gotchas with all these technologies, and they pop up once you start to seriously consider investing money, which is why they don’t appear on the market, because lots of people kinda sorta tried it already on small scale and it didn’t pan out. This is the fact that often goes past the armchair engineers, and all the “social planners” who think they’re so rational they can out-think the free market. Well, it ends up like China: make methanol to save on importing gasoline, get formaldehyde smog in the cities.

    1. >at least not better enough to warrant using them like that.

      Correction: abusing them like that. A deep discharge PbA merely tolerates a deep discharge – while a regular one takes a great deal of damage and possibly dies on you right away.

      And then there would be the problem of having enough lead to make enough batteries. As I already wrote down under the other article, there’s a predicted global need for 8333 TWh worth of batteries globally by 2050, for seasonal shifting or renewable energy production. A single regular 12 Volt car battery holds about 800 Wh and has a useful capacity of about 200 Wt. You need some 4×10^13 of them to meet the demand, plus spares, plus extra to account for the self-discharge, replaced about every 1-3 years.

      Not. Gonna. Happen.

  3. There were a lot of claims that Prusa’s appendix somehow breaks consumer protection laws. I don’t see how it does, but it would be good to get some informed clarification on that.

    A problem that plagues the Open Source RAMPS board is really poor manufacturing, which has led to many cases of the board burning. People tend to attribute that as problem of the design, when it is really not. I designed a RAMPS variant called RAMPS-FD, and had the same problem. People buy from the cheapest manufacturer who make a prototype version and inevitably run into issues. But as the Open Source designer, I have zero control over how the design is implemented and used. When there is an actual fire hazard, it’s a real issue.

    When products are also connected to the internet, you have to really think about safety and security.

    These things are always about balancing rights. I think Prusa is probably taking a reasonable course between responsible manufacturing and openness.

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