Screenshot of the YouTube channel videos list, showing a number of videos like the ones described in this article.

[DiyOtaku] Gives Old Devices A New Life

Sometimes we get sent a tip that isn’t just a single article or video, but an entire blog or YouTube channel. Today’s channel, [Diy Otaku], is absolutely worth a watch if you want someone see giving a second life to legendary handheld devices, and our creator has been going at it for a while. A common theme in most of the videos so far – taking an old phone or a weathered gaming console, and improving upon them in a meaningful way, whether it’s lovingly restoring them, turning them into a gaming console for your off days, upgrading the battery, or repairing a common fault.

The hacks here are as detailed as they are respectful to the technology they work on. The recent video about putting a laptop touchpad into a game controller, for instance, has the creator caringly replace the controller’s epoxy blob heart with a Pro Micro while preserving the original board for all its graphite-covered pads. The touchpad is the same used in an earlier video to restore a GPD Micro PC with a broken touchpad, a device that you can see our hacker use in a later video running FreeCAD, helping them design a 18650 battery shell for a PSP about to receive a 6000 mAh battery upgrade.

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Don’t Object To Python Objects

There’s the old joke about 10 kinds of programmers, but the truth is when it comes to programming, there are often people who make tools and people who use tools. The Arduino system is a good example of this. Most people use it like a C compiler. However, it really uses C++, and if you want to provide “things” to the tool users, you need to create objects. For example, when you put Serial in a program, you use an object someone else wrote. Python — and things like Micropython — have the same kind of division. Python started as a scripting language, but it has added object features, allowing a rich set of tools for scripters to use. [Damilola Oladele] shows the ins and outs of object-oriented Python in a recent post.

Like other languages, Python allows you to organize functions and data into classes and then create instances that belong to that class. Class hierarchies are handy for reusing code, customizing behavior, and — through polymorphism — building device driver-like architectures.

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Start Your Creepy Jack-O-Lantern Project Early This Year With Gourdan

For a lot of us, projects take time, and they have to be squeezed in around the regular chores of real life. Thus, if you’re starting your Halloween builds after the holiday displays have already hit the stores, you’re probably too late. We’re here to implore you to start building early this year—and you can take inspiration from a great pumpkin called Gourdan.

Gourdan is the work of [Braden Sunwold]. It’s a pumpkin with a fearsome visage and creepy eyes that follow you around the room. This is achieved thanks to a Raspberry Pi 3 nestled within Gourdan’s gourdy body. Gourdan’s eyes are a pair of 1.54-inch LCDs which display animated eyes. Thus, no mechanical wizardry is required here—it’s all done digitally. A camera attached to the Raspberry Pi tracks people with the aid of OpenCV, and the eyes are created and animated with the help of Adafruit example code.

There’s never a better time to start hacking for Halloween than right now. And hey, who knows—your neighbour might have kicked off in January, so they’ll have an almighty head start. They could have something really impressive in the works!

And don’t forget—you can always send us your holiday hacks, whatever the time of year! Just hit up the tipsline. Happy making!

Starlink terminal being injected with 12V from an external PSU

Bypass PoE And Power Your Starlink Terminal Directly

Sometimes, you will want to power a device in a way it wasn’t designed for, and you might find that the device in question is way too tailored to the original power source. Today, [Oleg Kutkov] is here to give us a master class on excising unnecessary power conversion out of your devices, with the Starlink terminal as an example. This device can only be officially powered from 48V PoE, but can technically work from about 12V – and, turns out, many people want to mount a Starlink terminal to their cars.

[Oleg] shows us the power circuit of the Starlink terminal, explaining which component is responsible for what, and gives us a block diagram. Then, he shows you the 12V rail that all internal components actually draw power from, and where to feed power into it. Plus, he warns you about possible caveats, like having to disable the builtin 12V regulator to prevent it from backfeeding-induced damage. If you’re looking to modify a similar device, this tutorial gives you heaps of insight on what you might need on your foray.

Thinking to modify your own Starlink terminal, perhaps, and wondering about the power consumption? [Oleg] has current consumption graphs for you, collected with a data logger for Uni-T UT800 of his own design, providing detailed figures on just how much energy you ought to supply to power the terminal from 12V, and where to (not) get it. After all, even a seemingly suitable power supply might not do.

A small gauge showing power generated by a house's solar panels.

Cute Solar Power Gauge Brightens The Day

What’s the first thing you want after installing solar? All the sunshine you can get, of course. Especially if you did it in the wintertime. And what would be more fun than monitoring your power generation, especially leading up to the equinox, or start of spring? Probably not much, especially if you built a cute solar power gauge like [Ben] did to keep him from obsessively checking his phone.

At the heart of this build is the affordable Seeed Xiao ESP32C3, which controls an equally cost-effective automotive stepper via an L293D H-bridge driver. Then it was just a matter of hooking it into Home Assistant. As power is generated by the solar system, the cute little sun on the gauge rises and shows the kilowattage gained.

Unfortunately there’s no real data sheet for the stepper, so [Ben] opted to use the 5 V from the USB that’s powering the ESP32. However, it seems like this might not be enough power because the gauge appears to drift a bit. To fix this, [Ben] runs the stepper_init script twice a day, which cranks the dials all the way forward then all the way backward before settling on the last known value.

Are you interested in solar? Here’s how you can build a small power system.

3D Printed Wheels Passively Transform To Climb Obstacles

Wheels do a great job at rolling over all kinds of terrain, particularly if you pair them with compliant tires. However, they’re not perfect, and can get stumbled by things like large vertical steps. Enter the PaTS-Wheel — a compliant mechanism that can tackle such obstacles with ease.

The PaTS-Wheel takes advantage of printable flexural hinges. Under regular conditions, it exists as a simple round wheel. However, when presented with a step obstacle, its individual segments can bend and flex to grab on to the step and hoist the vehicle up. It all happens passively as a result of the wheel’s structure, no actuators or control system are needed to achieve this action.

The video below does a great job of explaining the concept in raw engineering terms, as well as showing it in action. If you really want to drill down though, dive into the research paper. The design outperformed smooth wheels and whegs in climbing ability, and was able to match smooth wheels in simple tests of flat ground power consumption. The results are very impressive.

We’ve seen other transforming wheels before, like these wheg-like constructions, but nothing so passive and elegant as these. Video after the break.

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NASA Is Now Tasked With Developing A Lunar Time Standard, Relativity Or Not

A little while ago, we talked about the concept of timezones and the Moon. It’s a complicated issue, because on Earth, time is all about the Sun and our local relationship with it. The Moon and the Sun have their own weird thing going on, so time there doesn’t really line up well with our terrestrial conception of it.

Nevertheless, as humanity gets serious about doing Moon things again, the issue needs to be solved. To that end, NASA has now officially been tasked with setting up Moon time – just a few short weeks after we last talked about it! (Does the President read Hackaday?) Only problem is, physics is going to make it a damn sight more complicated!

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