There are a handful of relatively dirt cheap synths out there like the KORG Monotron, but many of them use ribbon controllers that aren’t very precise. Ribbon controllers basically slide pots that you operate with your finger or a stylus. They’re painted to look like piano keys in order to show you approximately where the notes are supposed to be. The Stylophone is another extremely affordable synth that does even less as a synthesizer and uses this type of input. It’s a fun input if you don’t mind imprecision, but can be annoying otherwise.
[schollz] isn’t satisfied to synth this way, so they added MIDI input to their KORG Monotron using a Raspberry Pi and a DAC. Fortunately, the Monotron is quite the hackable little synth, with nice, big, labelled pads on the PCB.
All it really took was a couple of solder joints in the right places, plus a clever Python script. The script listens for MIDI input from a keyboard, and then controls an MCP4725 DAC, which sends voltages to the Monotron. [schollz] wrote a tuning function that computes the FFT of the MIDI tones to find the fundamental frequencies of each to send along to the Monotron. Check it out after the break.
If liquid control is what you’re after but all you have is a keyboard, try making your own ribbon controller.
Continue reading “Adding MIDI To A Mini Synth Is Easy As Pi”
Classic motorcycles are the wild west of information displays. Often lacking even basic instrumentation such as a fuel gauge and sometimes even a speedometer, motorcycles have come a long way in instrument cluster design from even 20 years ago. There’s still some room for improvement, though, and luckily a lot of modern bikes have an ECU module that can be tapped into for some extra information as [mickwheelz] illustrates with his auxiliary motorcycle dashboard.
This display is built for a modern Honda enduro, and is based upon an ESP32 module. The ESP32 is tied directly into the ECU via a diagnostic socket, unlike other similar builds that interface with a CAN bus specifically. It can monitor all of the bike’s activity including engine temperature, throttle position, intake air temperature, and whether or not the bike is in neutral. [mickwheelz] also added an external GPS sensor so the new display can also show him GPS speed and location information within the same unit.
[mickwheelz] credits a few others for making headway into the Honda ECU. [Gonzo] created a similar build using a Raspberry Pi and more rudimentary screen but was instrumental in gathering the information for this build. If you’re looking for a display of any kind for your antique motorcycle which is lacking an ECU, though, we would suggest a speedometer made with nixie tubes.
The 18650 is perhaps the world’s favorite lithium battery, even if electric car manufacturers are beginning to move towards larger cells such as the 21700. Used heavily in laptops and flashlights, it packs a useful amount of energy into a compact, easy to use package. There’s a small industry that has developed around harvesting these cells from old equipment and repurposing them, and [MakerMan] wanted to a piece of the action. Thus, he created a cell testing station to help in the effort.
Make no mistake, this is not a grandiose smart cell tester with 40 slots that logs every last iota of data into a cloud spreadsheet for further analysis. Nope, this is good old fashioned batch processing. [MakerMan] designed a single PCB that replicates the same cell testing circuit four times. Since PCB houses generally have a minimum order quantity of ten units, [MakerMan] ended up with forty individual cell testers on ten PCBs. Once populated, the boards were installed on a wooden frame with an ATX power supply which supplies the juice to run the system.
Overall, it’s a quick, cheap way for capacity testing cells en masse that should serve [MakerMan] well. We look forward to seeing where these cells end up. We’ve seen his work before, too – with a self-built laser engraver a particular highlight. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Building A Cell Testing Station For 18650s”
Paper craft has been around almost as long as paper itself. It’s fun to mimic paper craft and origami with low-poly 3D prints, and [Stephen Hawes] wondered whether it could be done with copper-clad PCBs. Two years after the question arose, we have the answer in the form of a fantastical mask with light-up eyes. Check it out in the video below.
[Stephen] started with a model (Update: [kongorilla’s] 2012 low poly mask model from back in 2012 was the starting point for this hack) from the papercraft program Pepakura Designer, then milled out dozens of boards. Only a few of them support circuitry, but it was still quite the time-consuming process. The ATMega32u4 on the forehead along with the fold-traversing circuitry serve to light up the WS2812B eyes. Power runs up the copper tube, which doubles as a handy mounting rod to connect to the 3D-printed base.
To be fair, eighteen months out of the two years this project took was spent hand-sanding a chamfer on every edge of every panel so that they could be glued together. Soldering the edges together didn’t work as well as you might think, so [Stephen] used Superglue mixed with baking soda to give it body and make it dry faster. The result is a low-poly human face of shiny copper with TQFP-44 chip package a the all-seeing eye in the middle of its forehead like something from Tron come to life.
Just a reminder — we have a circuit sculpture contest running now until Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 12:00 pm PST. We’d love to see what you can do, whether it’s in brass rod, copper clad, or a combination of the two. Take a look at the submissions we’ve received so far, and then show us what you’ve got.
Continue reading “Circuit Board Origami Puts You Face-to-Face With Low-Poly Electronics”
At the most basic level, most shop tools are just a motor with the right attachments. But the details are often far from simple. [DuctTapeMechanic] took a junker clothes dryer, yanked the electric motor from it, and converted it into a disk sander. The price was right at about $10. You can see it all after the break.
As you might imagine, having the motor is only half the battle. You also need a way to mount the thing securely and a way to affix the sanding disk. While this doesn’t pose the same challenges as, say, a drill press, it does take some thought. The motor in the donor dryer didn’t have threads on the shaft, so a bolt and some welding time took care of that. We suspect that’s tricky because you need the shaft and the bolt to be concentric and level.
Once you have a threaded shaft, the rest of the build is anti-climatic. A little carpentry and a little electrical. We would probably cover up the electrical connections a bit more. It seems like you’d want to know which way the motor spins so you could use a reverse thread, if necessary. From the video, we think the motor he has was spinning the right way, but we don’t know if that’s always true.
There’s something satisfying about building your own tools. If you work on smaller things, we’ve seen a miniature sander that might be handy to have around. If you want to go the other way, try finding an old floor polisher instead of a dryer.
Continue reading “Upcycled Dryer Motor Makes Budget Disk Sander”
If you have more than one Linux computer, you probably use
ssh all the time. It is a great tool, but I’ve always found one thing about it strange. Despite having file transfer capabilities in the form of
sftp, there is no way to move a file back or forth between the local and remote hosts without starting a new program on the local machine or logging in from the remote machine back to the local machine.
That last bit is a real problem since you often access a server from behind a firewall or a NAT router with an ephemeral IP address, so it can’t reconnect to you anyway. It would be nice to hit the escape character, select a local or remote file, and teleport it across the interface, all from inside a single
I didn’t quite get to that goal, but I did get pretty close. I’ll show you a script that can automatically mount a remote directory on the local machine. You’ll need
sshfs on the local machine, but no changes on the remote machine where you may not be able to install software. With a little more work, and if your client has an
ssh server running, you can mount a local directory on the remote machine, too. You won’t need to worry about your IP address or port blocking. If you can log into the remote machine, you are good.
Combined, this got me me very close to my goal. I can be working in a shell on either side and have access to read or write files on the other side. I just have to set it up carefully. Continue reading “Linux Fu: Simple SSH File Sharing”
Join us on Wednesday, September 23 at noon Pacific for the Into the Plasmaverse Hack Chat with Jay Bowles!
Most kids catch on to the fact that matter can exist in three states — solid, liquid, and gas — pretty early in life, usually after playing in the snow a few times. The ice and snowflakes, the wet socks, and the fog of water vapor in breath condensing back into water droplets all provide a quick and lasting lesson in not only the states of matter but the transitions between them. So it usually comes as some surprise later when they learn of another and perhaps more interesting state: plasma.
For the young scientist, plasma is not quite so easy to come by as the other phases of matter, coming about as it does from things they’re usually not allowed to muck with. High voltage discharges, strong electromagnetic fields, or simply a lot of heat can strip away electrons from a gas and make the ionized soup that we call plasma. But once they catch the bug, few things can compare to the dancing, frenetic energy of a good plasma discharge.
Jay Bowles picked up the plasma habit quite a while back and built his YouTube channel around it. Tesla coils, Van de Graaff generators, coils and capacitors of all types — whatever it takes to make a spark, Jay has probably made and used it to make the fourth state of matter. He’ll join us on the Hack Chat to talk about all the fun things to do with plasma, high-voltage discharge, and whatever else sparks his interest.
Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, September 23 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones baffle you as much as us, we have a handy time zone converter.
Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io. You don’t have to wait until Wednesday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.
Continue reading “Into The Plasmaverse Hack Chat”