We all know the havoc that water in the wrong place can do to a piece of electronics, and thus we’ve probably all had devices damaged beyond repair. Should [Solderking] have thrown away the water-damaged PCB from a Nintendo Pokemon Ruby cartridge? Of course he should, but when faced with a board on which all vias had succumbed to corrosion he took the less obvious path and repaired them.
Aside from some very fine soldering in the video below the break there’s little unexpected. He removes the parts and tries a spot of reworking, but the reassembled board doesn’t boot. So he removes them again and this time sands it back to copper. There follows a repair of every single vial on the board, sticking fine wires through the holes into a sponge and soldering the top, before turning it over and fixing the forest of wires on the other side. Fixing the ROM results in a rather challenging fitment involving the chip being mounted at an angle and extra wires going to its pads, which demonstrates the value in this story. It’s not one of monetary value but of persevering with some epic rework to achieve a PCB which eventually boots. Of course a replacement board would make more sense. But that’s not the point, is it?
It’s fascinating to see what happens when a creative hacker is given a set of constraints to work within. [rctestflight] found themselves in a very specific set of circumstances: Free RC cars from sponsors, and no real purpose for them. Instead of just taking them apart to see what made them tick (itself the past time of many a beginning hacker), [rctestflight] decided to let the RC cars disassemble themselves, destructively, on their way to 100,000 (scale) RC Car Miles, tallying up the distance (and the carnage) in the end as you see in the video below the break.
Re-using a jig and test track (his backyard) from another test, [rctestflight] set up solar powered tether that could power any of the vehicles under test. The vehicles were modified as needed to drive along the circular track on a tether, and once stability was achieved, the cars were set on their own to either drive 100,000 scale miles or die trying.
Seeing as how [rctestflight] hales from the Pacific NorthWet of the United States near Seattle, the endurance test turned out to be not just a test of distance. Among the factors evaluated were how well each vehicle could withstand the mud, grime, and yes, even earthworms, that awaited them.
After each vehicle failed beyond the point of a quick fix, they were all torn down. Where each manufacturer cut corners could clearly be seen, and the weaknesses and strengths of each vehicle were pretty interesting. Plus, there’s a pretty great (awful) uh… rendition… of an iconic 80’s song. Twice. And of course the final conclusion: Exactly how many miles did each vehicle go before catastrophic failure? Check the video for results.
Making a camera can be as easy as taking a cardboard box with a bit of film and a pin hole, but making a more accomplished camera requires some more work. A movie camera has all the engineering challenges as a regular camera with the added complication of a continuous film transport mechanism and shutter. Too much work? Not if you are [Yuta Ikeya], whose 3D printed movie camera uses commonly-available 35 mm film stock rather than the 8 mm or 16 mm film you might expect.
3D printing might not seem to lend itself to the complex mechanism of a movie camera, however with the tech of the 2020s in hand he’s eschewed a complex mechanism in favour of an Arduino and a pair of motors. The camera is hardly petite, but is still within the size to comfortably carry on a shoulder. The film must be loaded into a pair of cassettes, which are pleasingly designed to be reversible, with either able to function as both take-up and dispensing spool.
The resulting images have an extreme wide-screen format and a pleasing artistic feel. Looking at them we’re guessing there may be a light leak or two, but it’s fair to say that they enhance the quality rather than detract from it. Those of us who dabble in movie cameras can be forgiven for feeling rather envious.
We’ve reached out to him asking whether the files might one day be made available, meanwhile you can see it in action in the video below the break.
We love clock projects here at Hackaday, and we’ve seen many beautiful designs based on a wide variety of display technologies. There are various types of glass tubes like Nixies, Numitrons and classic VFD displays, all of which have that warm “retro” glow to them. Then there’s LEDs, which are useful for making cool pixel-based timepieces and easy to drive with low-voltage electronics. So how about combining the best of both worlds, by using LEDs to make a Numitron-like display? That’s exactly what [Jay Hamlin] did when he built a digital clock based on LED filaments.
The heart of the project consists of orange LED filaments similar to the ones used in vintage-style LED light bulbs. [Jay] bought a bunch of them online and tried various ways of combining them into seven-segment displays, eventually settling on a small PCB with a black finish to give good contrast between the LEDs and the background. To make the displays look like they’re encased in glass, [Jay] bought a set of plastic test tubes and cut them to size.
The base of the clock is formed by a slick black PCB that holds an ESP32. The segments are driven through a set of 74LV595 shift registers to keep the required number of GPIOs to a minimum. There are no buttons: thanks to a WiFi connection and the Network Time Protocol the ESP32 automatically keeps the correct time.
The end result looks remarkably like a Numitron display at first glance, and remains a beautifully-made clock even if you notice that there’s no glass to be found. If you’re into LED filament clocks (and who isn’t?), check out this analog wall clock, or this spiderweb-like digital clock.
We aren’t shy of dangerous projects, but, then again, a large cooking pan full of lead solder might be a bit much, even for us. It goes without saying that you should be extremely careful and you won’t want to use any of the cookware again for any other purpose. You can see the build in the video below.
On the one hand, it isn’t hard to make a solder pot. All you need is a container that won’t melt and a heat source. But it seems like molten metal should be in something a little harder to tip over. The real story here is the technique for using the solder pot as the build is dead simple: a cheap hot plate and an iron skillet are all it takes.
Why do you want a solder pot? They are useful. As [Coalpeck] shows, you can use them to dip solder a through hole PCB easily enough. They are great, too, if you want to tin a lot of wires. They also can do a great job of removing parts from a board or a connector. Check out the old, but good video of a commercial unit removing a PCB connector after the main video.
We thought the temperature measurement technique of letting newspaper turn brown was interesting. Granted, a commercial solder pot big enough to be useful isn’t cheap. You can, though, get smaller pots (50-80 mm) for under $50. These will usually have a tray to catch spills and will be harder to tip over by accident. Not that you won’t want to be careful, though. If you do attempt this, we suggest you use a pan with no handle and set it in an outer pan to catch any overflow. But if you spill a few pounds of molten solder on your workbench, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
We’ve covered several homebrew solder pots over the years but, mysteriously, all the original websites are gone. We hope they are OK. We did look at a host of desoldering techniques that include the solder pot. Or ditch the pot of hot lead and try one of [Bil Herd]’s methods.
Scientists who work with animals love to track their movements. This can provide interesting insights on everything from mating behaviour, food sources, and even the way animals behave socially – or anti-socially, as the case may be.
This is normally achieved with the use of tracking devices, affixed to an animal so that it can be observed remotely while going about its normal business. However, Australian scientists have recently run into some issues in this area, as the very animals they try to track have been removing these very devices, revealing some thought-provoking behaviour in the process.
When reaching for a power supply design it’s normal here in 2022 to reach for a switching design. They’re lightweight, very efficient, and often available off-the-shelf at reasonable prices. Their benefits are such that it’s become surprisingly rare to see a traditional linear power supply with a mains-frequency transformer and rectifier circuit, so [ElectroBoy]’s dual voltage PSU board for audio amplifiers is worth a second look.
This type of linear power supply has an extremely simple circuit consisting of a transformer, bridge rectifier, and capacitors. The transformer isolates and steps down the AC voltage, the rectifier turns it into a rough DC, and the capacitors filter the DC to remove as much AC ripple as possible. In an audio power supply the capacitors have the dual role of filtering and providing an impulse reservoir for the supply in the event of a peak in demand imposed by the music being played. Careful selection is vital, with in this case a toroidal mains transformer and good quality capacitors being chosen.
The choice between a linear power supply such as this one and a switching design for high quality audio is by no means clear-cut, and may be something we’ll consider in our Know Audio series. The desirable properties are low noise and that impulse reservoir we mentioned, and it’s probably fair to say that while both types of power supply can satisfy them. With the extra expense of a toroidal transformer a linear supply is unlikely to be the cheaper of the two, but we suspect the balance tips in its favour due to a good linear supply being the easier to design.