[Chris] was unhappy with the battery performance of his Rovio. It seems that he’s not alone, so he set out to reverse engineer the battery charging circuit to see if there was a fix. Boy is there, what he found is the diode above, apparently installed backwards when compared to the silk screen diode symbol. Now it’s entirely possible that the silk screen is wrong and this was fixed during assembly. We think that’s unlikely because if the closer of the two diodes was supposed to have the same polarity as the one next to it there should have been room to install them both in exactly the same orientation. [Chris] pulled out a soldering iron and changed the diode to match the silk screen. That fixed his problem and he’s now getting better performance than he ever has.
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[Razor] shares with us the plans for an intelligent battery charging circuit. Instead of blindly charging your battery into oblivion, this one shuts off once the battery is fully charged. It is a nice clean circuit that can be adjusted and fine tuned to your specific needs via some trim pots and dip switches.
Noting that so many of his electronics are using the mini USB plug for charging, [Xavier] decided to modify his Nintendo DS to charge via the same adapter. It looks like the existing adapter is basically a proprietary mini USB plug, so replacing it was actually almost a perfectly clean swap job. He has nice pictures of the process and some helpful tips as well. If you’re thinking of consolidating your charging devices, this looks like a step in the right direction.
We would like you to meet PR2. Made by Willow Garage, PR2 is a platform for research into robotic programming. The bot itself is simple compared to some of the humanoid bots we see, but its behavior is quite complex. In the video above, you see PR2 completing milestone 2 of its development. This includes navigating an office with closed doors and plugging itself into a standard wall outlet for a charge. We’re especially fond of the “wiggle”. You can hear some of the developers talk more about PR2 and its completion of milestone 2 in the video after the break.
Continue reading “Willow Garage’s PR2 Robot”
This simple and clever guide to installing an always on USB port comes from the Team Hack-a-Day forums (originally created for the team’s Folding@home efforts). [Cerberus] added a USB port to his computer case that always has power, even when the computer is off. The power comes from the +5VDC standby line in the motherboard connector. You can use this new port to charge any USB based device.