While one often listens to songs or albums in full, sometimes you just want to lay down a simple beat. [todbot]’s latest project promises to do just that.
The build relies on a Raspberry Pi Pico or any other RP2040-based microcontroller board, and is programmed in CircuitPython. The PWM feature is used for audio output, and it’s loaded with different WAV samples of the classic “Amen” break.
Each measure, a random new sample is chosen and played, changing the beat. Even better, all the samples can loop, and they come in varying lengths, allowing them to overlap and lay over each other to add further depth to the mix. It’s a cinch to setup, as CircuitPython has an AudioMixer object built in.
Those wishing to tinker for themselves can find all the code and samples on Github. A build like this one is a great way to start learning about working with audio and music, after all. We’ve seen [todbot]’s work here before, too. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Breakbeats Courtesy Of The RP2040”
Koenigsegg, the Swedish car company, has a history of unusual engineering. The latest innovation is an electric motor developed for its Gemera hybrid vehicle. The relatively tiny motor weighs 63 pounds and develops 335 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Dubbed the Quark, the motor uses both radial and axial flux designs to achieve these impressive numbers.
There is a catch, of course. Like most EV motors, those numbers are not sustainable. The company claims the motor can output peak power for 20 seconds and then drops to 134 horsepower/184 lb-ft of torque. The Gemera can supplement, of course, with its internal combustion engine — a 3 cylinder design.
Continue reading “How Can 335 Horses Weigh 63 Pounds?”
Typically, electric skateboards drive one or more wheels with brushless motors, while keeping everything mounted on otherwise fairly-standard trucks to maintain maneuverability. However, [swedishFeetballs] decided to go a different route, building a 3-wheeled design using some interesting parts.
The build relies on a large combined hub motor and wheel, similar to those you would find on a hoverboard or some electric scooters; this one is a Xiaomi part sourced from eBay. It’s controlled via an off-the-shelf electric skateboard speed controller that comes complete with its own remote.
The hardware is all bolted up to a custom skateboard deck built from scratch to accept the large single rear wheel. Up front, a regular skateboard truck is used. Batteries are mounted under the deck. Reportedly, the board has a top speed of 15 mph, which unsurprisingly matches that of the Xiaomi M365 the hub motor is sourced from.
It’s a neat way to build an electric skateboard, and to be honest we couldn’t be more curious as to how it rides. Unfortunately, only a few seconds of footage is available, but we’ve embedded it below for your watching pleasure!
Meanwhile, you might also be curious as to the benefits of a half-track skateboard. Video after the break.
Continue reading “3-Wheeled Electric Skateboard Does Things Differently”
There was a time following the Second World War when TV sets for the nascent broadcast medium were still very expensive, but there was an ample supply of war-surplus electronic parts including ex-radar CRTs. Thus it wasn’t uncommon at all for electronics enthusiasts of the day to build their own TV set, and magazines would publish designs to enable them. With a burgeoning consumer electronics industry the price of a new TV quickly dropped to the point of affordability so nobody would consider building one themselves today. Perhaps that should be amended to almost nobody, because [Retro Tech or Die] has assembled a small black-and-white CRT TV from a kit he found on AliExpress.
We have to admit to having seen the same kit and despite a sincere love for analogue telly, to have balked at the price. It’s an exceptionally cheap set of the type that was available from discount stores for a laughably low price around the final few years of mainstream analogue TV broadcasting, and having a couple in the stable we can confirm that the value here lies in building the thing rather than owning it.
The unboxing and building proceeds as you might expect, with the addition of very poor documentation and extremely low-quality parts. Satisfyingly it works on first power-up, though some adjustment and the reversing of a deflection yoke connection is required for a stable picture. The scanned area doesn’t fill the screen and he doesn’t find the solution in the video, we hope that by his next video someone will have suggested moving the deflection yoke forwards.
Perhaps merely assembling a kit might not seem the most exciting subject for a Hackaday story, but this one is a little different here in 2022. CRT TV sets are now a long-gone anachronism, so for a younger generation there is very little chance to see them up close and thus watching one built has some value. If you want to spend the cash and build your own he’s dropped the link in the YouTube description, otherwise watch the progress in the video below the break.
Fancy learning a bit more about analogue TV? Have a dive into the video waveform. Or for a bit more CRT goodness, learn about converging a delta-gun colour set from the days when a TV weighed almost as much as you did.
Continue reading “Build Your Own CRT TV”
On [Jan Derogee]’s desk is something that wouldn’t look out of place for many of us, a pile of computer magazines with a case of 3.5″ floppy disks on top of it. The causal observer would see nothing more than the detritus of a retrocomputer enthusiast’s existence, but stick around. In fact it’s a clock, and one of the most unusual ones we’ve seen in a long time.
How can a box of floppies tell us the time? Selected disks have custom labels that look as though they might be authentic game collections, but in reality are fakes that carry numbers alongside the game art. An ingenious system of cams hidden in the hollowed out pile of magazines raises the correct floppies to tell the time, hours on the left row and minutes to the closest five minutes on the right. The floppies are modified by the removal of some plastic and the disk itself, because early versions had a habit of shredding disks. A final touch comes in the form of a Nokia phone on the desk next to the clock which plays a tune in lieu of chimes on the hour. You can see the clock in action in the video below the break.
Continue reading “It’s Always Floppy Time!”
Many years ago, I read an article about the new hotness: lithium batteries. The author opened with what he no doubt thought was a clever pop culture reference by saying that the mere mention of lithium would “strike fear in the hearts of Klingons.” It was a weak reference to the fictional “dilithium crystals” of Star Trek fame, and even then I found it a bit cheesy, but I guess he had to lead with something.
Decades later, a deeper understanding of the lore makes it clear that a Klingon’s only fear is death with dishonor, but there is a species here on earth that lives in dread of lithium: CEOs of electric vehicle manufacturing concerns. For them, it’s not the presence of lithium that strikes fear, but the relative absence of it; while it’s the 25th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and gigatons are dissolved into the oceans of the world, lithium is very reactive and thus tends to be diffuse, making it difficult to obtain concentrated in the quantities their businesses depend on.
As the electric vehicle and renewable energy markets continue to grow, the need for lithium to manufacture batteries will grow with it, potentially to the point where demand outstrips the mining industry’s production capability. To understand how that imbalance may be possible, we’ll take a look at how lithium is currently mined, as well as examine some new mining techniques that may help fill the coming lithium gap.
Continue reading “Mining And Refining: Lithium, Powering The Future With Brine”