This device is lovingly called the SPINmaster. [Linux-works] built it to spin up multiple hard drives before the motherboard starts up. It detects the power-up from the PSU and uses a relay to hold the motherboard in reset, indicated by the red LED. Each of four relays then spins up a hard drive and illuminates the green LED when ready. Once all green lights come on the reset relay shuts off and the bios starts up. This type of staggered startup takes a lot of the load off of an under-powered PSU. He’s posted firmware and there’s a schematic available too. We took a look at his video but there’s not much to see as it’s just the inside of the machine while it boots up.
This is the multichord, a one-string musical instrument built by [Christopher Mitchell]. The string is a 20 pound mono-filament thread stretched between a wooden bridge and the read/write head of a hard drive. The idea is that the vibrations of the string are picked up and amplified acoustically by the sounding box that serves as the body of the instrument. The frequency of vibration (pitch) is changed by adjusting the tension of the string through the application of various voltages to the HDD head. A relief spring has been added to the head to take the resting tension off of it, making it a lot easier to fine-tune the settings for each note. A keyboard made of twelve buttons selects each different pitch as the string is plucked.
[Christopher] is continuing to post great hacks; we’ve seen a glove input and a giant VU meter from him in the past. Take a look at the multichord in action after the break.
Continue reading “HDD actuated acoustical instrument”
[Dennis] got snowed in after the biggest storm in the history of the state hit. Like any good hacker he didn’t let the time go to waste. He decided to dig out his Neo Freerunner to give it a decent battery and a new OS.
The original battery for the Freerunner has a controller board integrated into the package. [Dennis] pulled out the board and attached it to a portable DVD player battery. After running it through a discharge cycle with another hack of his, the board learned the new battery capacity. The larger battery plus a fast-charger from SparkFun required a larger case. He made it happen by combining a 2.5″ HDD case with the original body courtesy of some JB weld. The final portion of the hack was to load up Android which is as simple as untarring the package onto an SD card.
It’s a bit big, but the battery will last and he’s got an open platform. Nice work!
[Incudie] tipped us off about a method to fix a borked HDD in your Xbox 360. Many of the one million consoles banned earlier in the month also had the hard disks scrambled making off-line gaming impossible as well. It turns out that this is caused by having a ban flag in the NAND chip on the motherboard. It has been discovered that because of wear levelling, the NAND will have two copies of the “secdata.bin” file which stores the ban flag. Please note, this will NOT allow the console to use Xbox Live, it just re-enables the HDD.
The quick and dirty of the fix is as follows: First the NAND is dumped from your Xbox 360 to a computer. After verifying the file, it can be opened in a HEX editor and the two copies of “secdata.bin” located. Once identified by date, the older version is injected on top of the newer to overwrite the ban flag.
Looks like this is not for the faint of heart, but if you got banned for modding in the first place this should be easy to pull off.
Update: Looks like xbox-scene now has a collection of apps to help you with this process. [Thanks CollinstheClown]
Here’s a collection of simple hacks you can do in between larger projects. After the break we’ll look at converting an iPod from hard drive storage to Compact Flash, build an LED desk lamp using LEGO and USB power for charging, and use an Arduino shield to add network control at the touch of a button.
Continue reading “Roundup: simple hacks”
The hard drive in [Jason’s] 24″ iMac was on the blink. He decided that instead of just swapping out the bad drive for a traditional unit he would upgrade to a solid state drive. Tearing apart high-end hardware like this can be a bit nerve-racking but luckily the drive is mounted right behind the screen so he didn’t have to take everything apart.
The SSD he picked up was 2.5″ but the mounting hardware in the iMac is only setup for 3.5″ form factors. We would have used a bit of hackery to make it work but [Jason] went with an adapter kit. Uh-oh, once installed there was no problem with the mounting but the SATA cable didn’t reach far enough to plug it in. The cable snaked around under the motherboard and would have been a lot of work to swap for a longer one. He ended up removing all of the mounting screws except for one coercing the drive close enough for the connection.
It worked for him and it can for you as well. If you do this make sure to devise your own mounting scheme so that you don’t hit the same snag.
[Photo: AppleInsider iMac teardown]
Saying that [Ian] had some overheating issues with his iMac G5 would be an understatement. After losing three hard drives due to heat he decided to do something about it. The first step was replacing the thermal paste with Arctic Silver. The solution for the hard drive was a little more unorthodox.
[Ian] picked up a 320GB Western Digital Caviar Blue drive because of its very low noise rating. He used rubber grommets to mount it outside the case and ran SATA data and power extension cables through a quarter inch hole to the motherboard. He mentioned to us that the cutout seen above the drive is from a previous mod.
This certainly will fix an overheating problem but it doesn’t do much for the sexy style we’re accustomed to with Apple hardware.