[Dino’s] project of the week is a backup alarm for your car. This is a feature that has become popular on many large vehicles like SUVs where visibility is an issue when moving in reverse. But it doesn’t sound like he was motivated by the need to have this in his own car. Instead, he was looking for something to build using a laser range finder.
[Joe Grand] (the brains behind DEFCON badges) has been working on an inexpensive laser range finder for Parallax. He sent one of the first-run prototype boards to [Dino] for beta testing and we’re glad that [Dino] decided to show it off. It uses a small red laser diode and a camera module to measure distance in millimeters. The board communicates serially and this particular project uses an Arduino along with a character LCD and speaker to display distance and sound an alarm when the car is within a meter of an object.
Check out the video after the break to see the build in its entirety. The system works reasonably well, if the object you’re about to hit is perfectly lined up with the laser dot.
In 1997 [Michael Butkus Jr.] found an uninterruptible power supply in the dumpster. The batteries were shot, but he needed a backup to keep his pellet stove running for heat, drive the exhaust fan to keep the smoke out of the house, and power his computer and other electronics. After a bit of head scratching he decided to beef up the UPS using deep-cycle batteries.
He actually built two of these. One is smaller, and similar to what we’ve seen before. The other is larger and uses four batteries, two pairs in parallel which are then connected in series. He’s careful to use heavy gauge wiring and 50 amp fuses for each battery, both of which will protect against the risk of fire. One thing we found interesting is that the batteries are stored in the basement, directly below the UPS which is connected via a short run of 12 gauge home electrical wire.
We were happy to see that he’s done updates at the top of his post over the years. He lost a few batteries due to neglectfully letting the water levels drop too much. He did switch over to sealed automotive batteries sometime in 2004 or 2005. Looks like things have been going strong ever since.
It’s been a long time coming, but the video above shows a modchip circumventing the PlayStation 3 security by running a game from a hard drive. The sites Ozmodchips.com which sells the modchip, and psx-scene.com which has confirmed them as working are both unstable right now due to heavy traffic. But here’s what we know. The device is called the PS Jailbreak and can be used to dump PS3 games to the hard drive of a PlayStation3 running the most current firmware (3.41). Dumped games can then be played from the hard drive by selecting them from a menu that the modchip spawns. It’ll cost you though. The current preorder price is $169.99 AUD or $147.47 US dollars with a projected delivery date of August 27th.
[Aaron Shephard] at mini-itx.com just finished a backup DVD burning robot based on an EPIA M10000 Mini-ITX motherboard and scavenged parts. A Perl script interacts with stepper motors, LEDs, and sensors through the parallel port on the motherboard. The robot inserts DVDs for burning, flips them for labeling, and stacks completed discs in a pile. Coasters are rejected to a ‘penalty box’ for easy disposal.
The video above supposedly shows a Playstation 3 booting a game from the hard drive by booting a legitimate game from disc. There aren’t many other details besides a comment that backing up Blu-ray discs takes a lot of space. So, if this does actually work, it’s doubtful we’ll see much piracy because of it.
Data Robotics has released an updated Drobo with two Firewire ports and an updated processor, allowing for faster data transfer and daisy chaining multiple Drobos. The new models of this storage and backup device also features a quieter and larger case fan. The case itself has been modified slightly but to great effect, looking sleeker than ever. Sadly, they still start at $500 without any hard drives.
One nice side effect to the announcement of the new Drobos is the price drop for the old ones. Starting at $350, these still make great storage solutions, and hanging on to $150 isn’t bad either. Still, if the idea of buy anything for this purpose curls your toes, build your own network attached storage.