A few weeks ago we posted a build of an avid motorcycle enthusiast named [fvfilippetti] who created a voltage regulator essentially from the ground up. While this was a popular build, the regulator only works for a small subset of motorcycles. This had a large number of readers clamoring for a more common three-phase regulator as well. Normally we wouldn’t expect someone to drop everything they’re doing and start working on a brand new project based on the comments here, but that’s exactly what he’s done.
It’s important to note that the solutions he has developed are currently only in the simulation phase, but they show promise in SPICE models. There are actually two schematics available for those who would like to continue his open-source project. Compared to shunt-type regulators, these have some advantages. Besides being open-source, they do not load the engine when the battery is fully charged, which improves efficiency. The only downside is that they have have added complexity as they can’t open this circuit except under specific situations, which requires a specific type of switch.
All in all, this is an excellent step on the way to a true prototype and eventual replacement of the often lackluster regulators found on motorcycles from Aprilia to Zero. We hope to see it further developed for all of the motorcycle riders out there who have been sidelined by this seemingly simple part. And if you missed it the first time around, here is the working regulator for his Bajaj NS200.
We write a lot about self-driving vehicles here at Hackaday, but it’s fair to say that most of the limelight has fallen upon large and well-known technology companies on the west coast of the USA. It’s worth drawing attention to other parts of the world where just as much research has gone into autonomous transport, and on that note there’s an interesting milestone from Europe. The British company Oxbotica has successfully made the first zero-occupancy on-road journey in Europe, on a public road in Oxford, UK.
The glossy promo video below the break shows the feat as the vehicle with number plates signifying its on-road legality drives round the relatively quiet roads through one of the city’s technology parks, and promises a bright future of local deliveries and urban transport. The vehicle itself is interesting, it’s a platform supplied by the Aussie outfit AppliedEV, an electric spaceframe vehicle that’s designed to provide a versatile platform for autonomous transport. As such, unlike so many of the aforementioned high-profile vehicles, it has no passenger cabin and no on-board driver to take the wheel in a calamity; instead it’s driven by Oxbotica’s technology and has their sensor pylon attached to its centre.
[Carter’s] build is a prototype that allows him to try out the form factor and use it as a daily driver, so many decisions were made to speed up the build and get something functional. For example, rather than spend the time tweaking and printing his own keyboard, he used an off-the-shelf keyboard he knew he liked. While a framework motherboard would have been perfect for something like this, they, unfortunately, weren’t available when [Carter] started the build. So [Carter] used a used gaming laptop for the task. He had hoped to drive the display directly from the motherboard as many laptops use embedded DisplayPort internally. Unfortunately, this didn’t work as the motherboard didn’t support the resolution he was trying to drive at, so he just used the external port to drive the screen. A 3d printed base fits underneath the keyboard to hold the laptop motherboard with little extensions for bits that don’t work well, such as the wifi card. The chassis also has a slot that allows a secondary display to slot right in.
Ultimately, it is something of a modern-day typewriter and something like a cyberdeck. Either way, we love it. Video after the break.
If you’ve ever worked with multi-cell rechargeable battery packs, you know that the individual cells will eventually become imbalanced. To keep the pack working optimally, each cell needs to be analyzed and charged individually — which is why RC style battery packs have a dedicated balance connector. So if you know it, and we know it, why doesn’t Dyson know it?
It’s that question which inspired [tinfever] to start work on the FU-Dyson-BMS project. As you might have surmised from the name, [tinfever] believes that Dyson has intentionally engineered their V6 and V7 batteries to fail by not using the cell balancing function of the onboard ISL94208 battery management IC. What’s worse, once the cells get as little as 300 mV out of balance, the controller considers the entire pack to be shot and will no longer allow it to be charged.
Or at least, that’s what used to happen. With the replacement firmware [tinfever] has developed, the pack’s battery management system (BMS) will ignore imbalanced cells so you can continue to use the pack (albeit at a reduced capacity). Of course the ideal solution would have been to enable cell balancing on the ISL94208, but unfortunately Dyson didn’t include the necessary resistors on the PCB. Though it’s worth noting that earlier versions of the board did have unpopulated spots for them, lending some credence to the idea that their omission was intentional on Dyson’s part.
But not everyone is onboard with the conspiracy theory. Over on the EEVBlog forums, some users pointed out that a poorly implemented cell balancing routine can be more problematic than not having one at all. It’s possible that Dyson had some bad experiences with the technology in earlier packs, and decided to move away from it and try to compensate by using higher-quality cells. That said, at least one person in the thread was able to revive their own “dead” battery pack by installing this unofficial firmware, so whether intentional or not, it seems there’s little debate that usable batteries are indeed being prematurely marked as defective.
[Dan Julio] owns a pair of Miniware multimeter tweezers, a nifty helper tool for all things SMD exploration. One day, he found them broken – unable to recognize any component between the two probes. He thought it could be a broken connection problem, and decided to take them apart. Presence of some screws on their case fooled him – in the end, it turned out that the case was glued together, and could only be opened destructively. For an entry in the “Reuse, Recycle, Revamp” round of 2022 Hackaday Prize, he tells us how he brought these tweezers back from the dead.
During the disassembly, he broke a custom flexible PCB, which wasn’t reassuring either. However, that was no reason to give up – he reverse-engineered the connections and the charging circuitry, then assembled parts of the broken tweezers together using a small generic protoboard as a base. Indeed, it was likely a broken connection between probes, because the reassembled tweezers worked!
Of course, having exposed PCBs wouldn’t do, and from the very start, assembling these tweezers back together was not an option. Instead, he developed a replacement case in OpenSCAD, bringing the tweezers back to life as his trusty tool – and still leaving repairability on the table. If you’re interested in the details, he goes more into how these tweezers are designed when it comes to charging and connectivity, and we recommend that you give his write-up a read!
We’ve been seeing smart tweezers around for over a decade now, from reviews and hacks of commercially made ones, to DIY chopstick-based and PCB-based ones. If you already own a pair of tweezers you’ve grown attached to, you can neatly retrofit them with a capacitance sensing function!
The 2022 Hackaday Prize is focused on lightening our load on the planet, and one obvious way to do so is to get and store renewable power locally — the theme of our first challenge round: Planet-Friendly Power. Our judges have studied all the entries and their votes are in. All of these ten projects will receive $500 right now and are eligible for the Grand Prize of $50,000, to be announced in November.
Most of the alternative energy sources you’d expect to see were represented: solar, wind, and water. But everyone brought their own twists to the topic. For instance, the Low Cost Solar Panel Solution demonstrates that there’s a lot more to a DIY solar project than just the panel. You need to support it, protect it, turn it to face the sun, and convert and store the power harvested. And [JP Gleyzes] even goes so far as to use recycled water bottles to make the 3D-printed parts. Sun Chaser 2 puts the panel on wheels, driving it out of the shade to collect maximum energy in a real-world backyard situation. Cute!
Finally, we had two great kite projects to harvest wind with minimal setups on the go: Kite Propulsion and Energy Independence While Travelling. Both are still in the experimental stages, but both have great documentation of where the research projects stand.
Finally, Moss Microbial Fuel Cell is really out there on the edge of current research. Combining the reasonably well established microbial fuel cell with the photosynthetic power of moss, [Guru-san] is able to light an LED for a few seconds at a time. It’s not much, but it’s also a desktop-scale project. And who can say no to leaf-shaped capacitor circuit sculptures to store the energy?
Those are just a few of the ten finalists, listed here in no particular order. Congratulations to all of you! We’re excited to follow your projects along their journey, and wish you all the best.
There was a time, and not all that long ago on the cosmic scale, that if you wanted to hear music, you either needed to make it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. For most of history, music was very much a here and now thing, and when the song was over, that was it.
Thankfully, those days are long gone, and for better or worse, we have instant access to whatever music we’re in the mood for. The Spotify client in your pocket is a far cry from the iPod of a few years back, or the Walkman of the 80s, or even a mid-century transistor radio. But no matter how you listen to your music, it all starts with getting the live music recorded, and that’s where we’ll be going with this Hack Chat.
Hooking up the preamps, mixers, mics, and recorders that make modern music possible is what Frank Olson is all about. You’ll probably recognize Frank’s name from his unique niche as a maker of wooden microphones, but dig a little deeper and he’s got a lot of experience with vintage pro audio gear. As both a musician and an audio engineer, Frank brings an enthusiast’s passion for recording gear to the Hack Chat, and we’re looking forward to picking his brain on the unique ways he’s found to turn sounds into music and to get to all down on tape.