Vampire Charger Is A Rugged Anything-to-5VDC Converter

USB sockets providing 5 VDC are so ubiquitous as a power source that just about any piece of modern portable technology can use them to run or charge. USB power is so common, in fact, that it’s easy to take for granted. But in an emergency or in the wake of a disaster, a working cell phone or GPS can be a life saver and it would be wise not to count on the availability of a clean, reliable USB power supply.

That’s where the Vampire Charger by [Matteo Borri] and [Lisa Rein] comes in. It is a piece of hardware focused on turning just about any source or power one might possibly have access to into a reliable source of 5 VDC for anything that can plug in by USB. This is much more than a DC-DC converter with a wide input range; when they say it is made to accept just about anything as an input, they mean it. Found a working power source but don’t know what voltage it is? Don’t know which wire is positive and which is negative? Don’t even know whether it’s AC or DC? Just hook up the alligator clips and let the Vampire Charger figure it out; when the light is green, the power’s clean.

The Vampire Charger was recently selected to move on to the final round of The Hackaday Prize, netting $1000 cash in the process. The next challenge (which will have another twenty finalists receiving $1000 each) is the Human-Computer Interface challenge. All you need to enter is an idea and some documentation, so dust off that project that’s been waiting for an opportunity, because here it is.

Chainsaw/flashlight Overkill

[Robbtoberfest] has earned our admiration with this crazy chainsaw powered spot light. It looks horribly dangerous, extremely inefficient, and woefully under engineered. We absolutely love it.

This could be plucked from a video game or a movie and seems to be one UV bulb away from being the ultimate post apocalyptic zombie vampire Armageddon weapon. He has taken apart a chainsaw and attached it to a DC treadmill motor using a couple of bike sprockets and a chain. That DC motor then feeds a car headlight directly. As you can see in the video, when he cranks the gas, it shines pretty brightly. The unfinished nature of this is due to a deadline for a contest on instructables, so he plans on adding a protective cowl, some fancy paint work, and a voltage regulator down the road.

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