HydroBot: Prototyping new modules


Matthew Reed writes:

ProtoModule is a HydroBot module designed to easily develop and test new monitoring or control functions that may someday go into a HydroBot module. It has 11 GPIO pins and the power rails broken out on a 0.1” pin header for easy breadboarding or interfacing with ribbon cables. The provided pins give access to a variety of digital and analog I/O, as well as digital communication peripherals, to allow for many flexible design options.

More info at protofusion.org.

Halogen floodlight SMT reflow


David Sanz Kirbis built his own reflow device with an halogen floodlight, that is available on Github:

First test was to check the speed of the temperature rise inside a standard halogen floodlight. Reflow soldering temperature curves are quite demanding, and some adapted ovens can’t reach the degrees-per-second speed of the ramp-up stages of these curves.
I bought the spotlight, put an aluminium sheet covering the inside surface of the protective glass (to reduce heat loss), and measured the temperature rise with a multimeter’s thermometer…. and wow! More than 5ºC/s… and I better turned the thing off after reaching 300ºC and still rising quickly.
So the floodlight was able to fulfill the needs.
Next step was a temperature controller, that is, the device that keeps the temperature as in a specified reflow curve profile in each moment.

See the full post and more details on his blog, TheRandomLab.

Check out the video after the break.

Controlling speakers with RADAR


Speaker power controller made with a RADAR module from Scott Harden:

I just finished building a device that uses RADAR to toggle power to my speakers when it detects my hand waiving near them! I have some crummy old monitor speakers screwed to a shelf, and although their sound is decent the volume control knob (which also controls power) is small and far back on my work bench and inconvenient to keep reaching for. I decided to make a device which would easily let me turn the speakers on and off without having to touch anything. You could built a device to detect a hand waive in several different ways, but RADAR (RAdio Detection And Ranging) has got to be the coolest!

Project info at swharden.com.

Check out the video after the break.

YouTube channel IoT view counter

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Kenneth Finnegan built this YouTube channel IoT view counter, inspired by Becky Stern’s IoT counter:

I’ve wanted an Internet connected read-out for some time now, inspired by the awesome shadow box IoT projects Becky Stern has been doing (weather, YouTube subscribers). I’m certainly not to the same level of packaging as her yet, but I’ve got a functional display working with a Hazzah and an eBay seven segment display module.

Project info at Kenneth’s blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Dual purpose spot welder with pulse duration control


Kerry Wong published a new build:

I had wanted to make a spot welder for a while. Most of the DIY spot welders use a momentary switch the primary side of the microwave oven transformer (MOT). Due to the simplicity of this design, it is very simple to make. This design however, has some inherent safety issues as the momentary switch is typically within reaching distance of the operator (unless a foot switch is used) and inadequate insulation could increase electric shock risk. Further more, the current flowing through the primary winding can significantly exceed the current rating of the switch and cause the switch to fail. Due to the inductive nature of the winding, the switch can sometimes arc over and pose significant risk to the operator.

Project info at Kerry Wong’s blog.

Check out the video after the break.


Arduino data logger update


An update on Edward Mallon’s Arduino data logger project we covered previously:

If you need a logger with a cheap durable housing, it’s still hard to beat the Dupont-jumper build released in 2016. But sometimes I need more of a bare-bones unit for bookshelf test runs while I shake down a new sensor. I can whip up a breadboard combo in about twenty minutes, but they can stop working if I bump one of the wires by accident. I’ve lost SD cards from this half way through a long term test, and I’ve also run into issues with noise & resistance from those tiny breadboard contact points.
To address this problem I’ve come up with a new configuration that uses a screw-terminal expansion shield originally intended for the Arduino Nano. This requires a modest bit of soldering, and after some practice, between 1-1.5 hours to finish depending on how many “extras” you embed.

Read more details at his blog here.



A DIY NAS project from Peter Scargill:

So I’ve had a fair experience of these systems. Well, this blog entry isn’t about expensive NAS systems. It’s about a cheap one… really cheap that is – and DIY.
How cheap? Well, about £12 depending on what you have handy. For this price you need a handy 2.5” hard drive, a FriendlyArm NEO or NEO2 and of course the 1-Bay NAS Kit for NanoPi. Beware that the front panels for NEO and NEO2 are SLIGHTLY different – i.e. the Ethernet connection position varies slightly so these are not cross-compatible without a spot of filing which is why I’m showing you the stock photo!
Anyway… so I plugged my trusty 100GB 2.5” hard drive into the board (well, it was free and was sitting doing nothing), plugged the NEO2 into the board, downloaded the ROM and.. well, that was it really – turned on the power (you need a 12v power supply) and waited. Sure enough the unit appears on my network.

More details at Scargill’s Tech blog.

TB timer – Timed camera cable release


Steve Smith has published a new build:

It’s taken some research but I have built a prototype with my trusty ARDX Arduino Uno kit
Currently, the device changes mode with a press of the mode button which will later be incorporated in a suitable rotary encoder. I modified the prototype’s rotary encoder to remove the detents and therefore, have continuous motion rather than be stepped. When stepped, the value hops by two at a time. The ‘B’ and ‘T’ modes both operate as expected and at the moment, the rotary encoder changes a value in ‘TB’ mode and is displayed on the OLED display. the outputs are opto-isolated so will appear as switches to the camera. Although I’ll be using the cable release with a Canon DSLR, it should be very easy to make it work with other DSLR makes.

Project info at projectavr.com.

3D POV display


Gelstronic shared detailed instructions of how to build this 3D POV display, project instructables here:

In my project i use a spinning helix of LED strips. There are a total of 144 LEDs that can displays 17280 voxels with 16 colors. The voxels are arranged circularly in 12 levels. The LEDs are controlled by only one microcontroller. Because i have used the APA102 LEDs i need no additional drivers or transistors. So the electronic part is easier to build. Another advantage is the wireless electrical supply. You need no brushes and there is no friction loss.

Check out the video after the break.