Hacklet 29 – Altoids Mint Tin Projects

Altoids – they’ve been around since King George III was on the throne. These curiously strong mints have had a storied history, a copy of which is included in every tin. They taste pretty good, but most hackers and makers are more interested in the pocket-sized tin than the mints themselves. It may have been the ham radio operators who first used Altoids tins to hold their sensitive transmitter and receiver circuits. The metal case makes a perfect electromagnetic field shield. It wasn’t long before the tins found their way into thousands of projects. This week’s Hacklet features some of the best projects with Altoids (and other mint) tins on Hackaday.io!

meeting-timerWe start with [Chad Lawson] and the Networking Group Timing Light. [Chad] has a networking meeting where each member has two minutes to introduce themselves. As is the case with most meetings, people tend to be a bit long-winded, running well beyond their allotted two minutes. The timing light contains an RGB LED which changes from green to yellow to red as a speaker’s time ticks away. The timer is reset by simply tilting the mint tin. [Chad] is hoping that the timer will serve as a gentle reminder to keep everyone on track time-wise.

 

radio2Next up is [Rjpope42] and his AM/FM Transmitter Pair. [Rjpope42] loves vintage tube radios, and wants to send his own signals to his amber glowing projects. Wiring an external audio input to a tube radio is pretty easy, but nothing beats a simple AM transmitter for convenience. Small FM transmitters are commonly available to add an MP3 player input to cars without an AUX audio in, but their AM counterparts have become rare. [Rjpope42] has built AM and FM transmitters, each of which will fit in a Mint Tin case. The AM transmitter can run on 9V or 12V, and even includes a USB power output for charging an MP3 player or phone!

da31k[John Hamann] entered Distance Analyzer 3000 in the Trinket EDC contest. While he didn’t win, it was still a great project, especially since this is [John’s] first serious Arduino project. The idea is to use a rotary encoder with a wheel to measure distances. Think of it like a mini version of a surveyor’s walking wheel. The Pro Trinket counts the pulses from the rotary encoder, then converts this to a distance in feet. We’d love to see [John] continue on the project. An ultrasonic distance sensor would be a great addition for multi-sensor distance reads!

 

ttotpFinally, we have [colonwq] with TTTOTP, a pro trinket Time based One Time Password (TOTP) generator. [colonwq] used the trinket to implement the well-known time based one time password algorithm. To implement a project like this, you need a stable time source. The ATmega328 isn’t very good at this, so [colonwq] used a Dallas DS1307 clock chip to keep track of things. The actual code is displayed on a 4 digit 7 segment display. When the button is pressed, the first half of the code is displayed. Once the button is released, the second half of the code is displayed for several seconds.

 

Need more mint? Check out our curiously awesome mint tin project list!

Hackaday.io Update and MeArm Giveaway

Hackaday.io has a few new features, including @username and #projectID. If you mention someone’s username with an @ in front of it, that user will get a notification in their stack. The same goes with mentioning a project ID with a # up front. To celebrate this, we’re giving away a pair of  special edition MeArms. All you have to do is leave a comment using the features on this project log. Huge thanks to [Jasmine] for setting all this up, and to [Ben] for letting us hijack his project for the week!

That’s it for this Hacklet, As always, see you next week. Same hack time, same hack channel, bringing you the best of Hackaday.io!

Trinket EDC Contest Entry: Shorty

Sometimes finding a short-circuit is easy, especially after the magic smoke has escaped. Finding a short on a newly etched or milled board though, can be a maddening task. Many of us have been there – wrestling with multimeter probes under a magnifier trying to find the offending bit of copper that is the source of all our problems. [Jaromir] designed Shorty to make this task a little bit easier.

Shorty is a short-circuit finder – but it’s not exactly like the one you would find on a typical multimeter.  [Jaromir] used MCP6041 Op-Amp to detect resistances down to the order of tens of milliohms. Determining an exact resistance measurement at these levels would require a heck of a lot of calibration. When looking for a short though, [Jaromir] is only concerned with the relative value – is he getting closer to or further away from the short. He determines this by sound. The Op-Amp output is sent to the Pro Trinket’s ADC input. The trinket drives a speaker with lower or higher tones based upon the ADC voltage. Much like the childhood game of “hot and cold”, Shorty will direct you right to your short!

There’s still time to enter the Trinket Everyday Carry Contest. The main contest runs until January 2, but we’re having random drawings every week! Don’t forget to write a project log before the next drawing at 9pm EST on Tuesday, December 30th. You and all of the other entrants have a chance to win a Teensy 3.1 from The Hackaday Store!

TRINKET EDC CONTEST ENTRY: Lazydoro

[Vasilis] has entered Lazydoro in the Trinket Everyday Carry Contest.  Lazydoro is designed to get him up off his backside, and walking around. Recent medical research has determined that sitting too long is a bad thing. In fact,  Dr. David Agus has been quoted by Nike as saying that sitting for several hours is as bad as smoking (wayback machine link). While we’re not exactly up on the latest medical trends, we can definitely see that getting up and walking around a bit never hurt anyone. Lazydoro will alert [Vasilis] once every 20 minutes or so to get up and stretch his legs a bit.

[Vasilis] plans to pair a Pro Trinket with an accelerometer module, specifically an ADXL377 from Analog Devices. The accelerometer will allow Lazydoro to determine if [Vasilis] has moved around. If 20 or 30 minutes go by without major movement, Lazydoro will nudge him to get up and take a walk.

Since shipping to Greece takes awhile, [Vasilis] is developing with an Arduino Uno and a ADXL345 while he waits for his parts to arrive. He’s hacked this into a wrist mounted device for testing. One thing  [Vasilis]  hasn’t figured out yet is how to alert the user to move around. A small vibrating motor would probably work – but we’d suggest electric shocks. A good zap always puts the spring in our step!

There is still plenty of time to enter the Trinket Everyday Carry Contest.  The main contest runs until January 2, but we’re having random drawings every week! Don’t forget to write a project log before the next drawing at 9pm EDT on Tuesday, December 23. You and all of the other entrants have a chance to win a Cordwood Puzzle from The Hackaday Store!

Trinket EDC Contest Entry: Shame On You!

[BDM] is helping others keep WiFi safe with “Shame On You!“, his entry in Hackaday’s Trinket Everyday Carry Contest. We all have that family member, friend, or neighbor who just can’t seem to get their WiFi locked down. Shame On You will show them how easy it is to detect such a hotspot, which hopefully will motivate them to correct the issue. [BDM] was a bit worried when he learned that Adafriut already has an open WiFi detector as one of their Pro Trinket example projects. However, we think he has added more than enough features to make his project stand out.

shame2Shame On You is using a Pro Trinket running at 3.3 volts, along with an ESP8266 WiFi module. Power comes from a LiPo battery and is handled by an Adafruit LiPo backpack. Like several other EDC contest entries, Shame On You is using a cell phone shell as a case. The display is a 1.27″ color OLED with an SD card. A disc style vibrator motor will also help get the user’s attention.

[BDM] hasn’t made much progress this last week, as he’s been battling some Christmas light cutting bandits. Logging each week’s work doesn’t always have to be technical, sometimes life intervenes!

We’re heading into our third week here in the Trinket Everyday Carry Contest, but there is still plenty of time to enter! The main contest runs until January 2, but we’re having random drawings every week! Don’t forget to write a project log before the next drawing at 9pm EDT on Tuesday, December 16th. You and all of the other entrants have a chance to win a BusPirate 3.6 from The Hackaday Store!

 

EDC CONTEST ROUNDUP: Musician’s Assistant AND BitMasher!

We’re getting all sorts of entries in the Trinket Everyday Carry Contest! Today we’re featuring just a couple of the awesome entries dedicated to creating music!

ma[johnowhitaker] is hard at work on A Musician’s Assistant. [John] is creating a device that does anything a practicing musician might need on the go. The Musician’s Assistant will include a metronome, tap/temp counter, and tuner. He’s hoping to also give it the ability to play back arbitrary notes using the Pro Trinket’s on-board ATmega328. [John] is trying to do all this with just LEDs and buttons as a user interface, though he is willing to go to an LCD or OLED if he needs to.

masher[Michele Perla] is working on BitMasher, portable lo-fi music sequencer. The BitMasher will allow a musician on the go to create music anywhere. [Michele] began with a SID based sequencer in mind, but he’s currently trying to do it all on the Pro Trinket. He’s already got [Roman’s] BTc Sound Compression Algorithm working on an Arduino Leonardo. Lo-Fi for sure, but that’s what makes BitMasher fun! [Michele] envisions the song entry to be similar to that of the classic Roland TR-808.  The primary user interface will be an Adafruit Trellis 4×4 button+LED driver board.

Don’t forget that our second random drawing will be held on Tuesday, December 9th, at 9pm EST.  To be eligible you need to submit your project as an official entry and publish at least one project log during the week. This week’s prize is a Cordwood Puzzle from The Hackaday Store. Check out the contest page for the full details!

Trinket Everyday Carry Contest Roundup: Sniffing Trinket and Portable Trollmaster 3000!

Hackaday’s  Trinket Everyday Carry Contest is heating up. In just one week we’ve already got over 30 entries! Many of the contenders are completely new open source projects based on the Pro Trinket. Our first drawing will be tonight, at 9pm EST. The first giveaway prize is a BLINK(1) MK2 from the Hackaday store. Make sure you have at least one project log and a photo up to be eligible for this week’s giveaway!

sniffingtrinketWe can’t help but mention how awesome some of the entries are.  [Georg Krocker] is taking on the problem of indoor air quality – not with a central sensor, but with a personal sensor that goes where you do. Sniffing Trinket is designed to monitor the air around the user. If the air quality drops, it will alert the user to open a window – or get the heck out. [Georg] has a few sensors in mind, but he’s starting with the MQ135 gas sensor and a DHT11 temperature/humidity sensor. If air quality starts to drop, 3 WS2812b LEDs will alert the user that there is a problem. The system can also be connected to a PC with USB for more accurate readings and logging.

[Georg] has an aggressive schedule planned, with a custom “Trinket Shield” PCB being laid out and ordered next week. January 2 is fast approaching, so hurry up and get those boards designed!

trololo[Dr Salica] is taking a more humorous approach to personal space. The Portable Trollmaster 3000 is designed to surround its wearer in a bubble of  “I Am Glad, ‘Cause I’m Finally Returning Back Home” aka “The Trololol song” as sung by Eduard Khil. [Dr Salica] plans to pair the Pro Trinket with the popular Sony MMR-70 FM transmitter. The Trinket is capable of playing back short audio clips, so with a bit of I2C magic, [Dr. Salica] will be able to hijack any nearby FM receiver, creating his own personal trollbox.

Do you have an idea for a great wearable or pocketable project? Check out the Trinket Everyday Carry Contest, and get hacking!