Classical VCR Head Jog Wheel

[Osgeld] takes on the classic VCR head jog wheel in this instructable. He has done a fantastic job not only in his build quality, but in the quality of the writeup. As he points out, the idea of using the head as a jog wheel isn’t new. His construction and build quality however have yielded a fantastic looking reliable device that we would be proud to have sitting on our desk.

As usual, the most interesting bits of the writeup are how he solved problems he encountered. For example, he’s using an optical mouse to detect the motion of the wheel. This requires that he print out a pattern to mount opposite the optical sensor. This sounds straight forward enough, but he found the results to be less than stellar. He documented his fix, basically reworking it in GIMP, so others can save some time. That is how tutorials should be. Great job [Osgeld].

Rotary Display Uses VCR Head And LEDs

[Daniel Daigle] is developing a rotary display that uses persistence of vision to graph data. The hardware he used includes a spinning head from a VCR, some LEDs, and a timing circuit to display 360 degrees of data. His timing input uses a waveform so this will work with any application where you can generate a PWM signal.

Check out his videos after the break that demonstrate a graph with a single line and another with six display lines.

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Game Boy Video Out Adapter


A bit light on the details, but we enjoyed seeing this video out device for the Nintendo Game Boy. A parallel cable connects to a modified Game Boy and transmits signals to the adapter which is housed in an old VHS cassette. We gather that some Super Game Boy hardware does the signal processing but from there your guess is probably better than ours.

[NeX] mentions that he originally wanted a screen to be included in the cassette. We’ve seen custom portables with small screens before, but he’s also developed a bare bones hand-held without a screen so that’s where the inclusion in the cassette would have been handy. We also wonder how the images will look on a big TV of the 50+ inch size. [NeX] has been pretty busy with the hacking lately, don’t miss the wire porn of his homemade Game Boy project.

[Thanks Jose]

Solenoid Motor From A VCR Head


Here’s a solenoid motor you can build from a VCR head and some common components. It uses an LED and a light sensor, paired with an LM311 comparator to manage the switching of the motor. As the head turns, the LED shines on the sensor through a hole and triggers a TIP120 transistor to turn on the motor during the power stroke. Once the beam of light is broken, the transistor turns off the motor and the momentum carries it through its revolution until the next power stroke is activated.

We often say that “why” is the wrong question. [Bd5940] must feel the same way because he ends the video by saying: “it has no use, but definitely a conversation piece”. Yep, we’ve seen that before.

[Thanks James]

2 Axis Joystick From VCR Parts


[eric] has found that he can build a pretty nice 2 axis joystick out of some VCR parts. Specifically, he’s using the idler wheel. When you disassemble the idler wheel, you’ll find that it has a bevelled washer in the perfect location to help with smooth joystick operation. Add a spring and a hole in some wood and you’ve got the basics. All you need to add now are the switches. This is a fantastic example of recycling parts, you never would have guessed that it was made from trash.

VHS Toaster

Though the inspiration was said to have come from a clip of The Young Ones, we all know this was bound to happen eventually. [lemonie] has turned a VHS deck into a toaster. They’ve done a fantastic job, it looks almost perfectly stock. We can imagine that maintaining the look of the VCR was pretty difficult especially getting everything to line up correctly. Finally, we have a use for our old VHS deck. You can see a video of it in action after the break.

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Scratch Built Jog Wheel

[whatsisface] sent in his scratch built clone of a Griffin PowerMate. The PowerMate… is just a big knob, so it’s easy to see why more than one person has attempted this. [whatsisface] was inspired by a bit-tech post that did nearly the same thing, only they used the head out of a VCR for the knob. All the other components, like the optical encoder, are salvaged from a mouse, which we talked about in our scavenging How-To. He used a RC car tire for the actual knob. While we’re sure it works great in dirt, we’d probably go with the weight and inertia of the VCR head instead. Have a look at the video below to see the knob being used with the Volumouse software.

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