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Tag: hacking

Vintage Computer Festival East Reboots This Weekend

We don’t have to tell the average Hackaday reader that the last two years have represented a serious dry spell for the type of in-person events that our community has always taken for granted. Sure virtual hacker cons have their advantages, but there’s nothing quite like meeting up face to face to talk shop with like-minded folks and checking out everyone’s latest passion project.
Luckily for classic computer aficionados, especially those on the East Coast of the United…

https://hackaday.com/2021/10/06/vintage-computer-festival-east-reboots-this-weekend/… Read more...

Get Yer Halloween On!

Halloween is basically built for the hacker. Besides the obvious fabrication of absurd costumes, there’s also the chance to showcase your skills, be they mechanical, audio, or video. It’s also a great time to show off our coolest tricks to inspire the young proto-hackers. If you need inspiration, we’ve got 150 ideas.

[Brankly]’s Candy DispenserMy personal problem with Halloween, though, is that I always start at the last minute, and my ideas far outreach my time budget. Or because it’s all done in the last minute, a whole bunch of ideas that should “just work” in theory run into the immovable object that is practice.… Read more...

Wild Lego-Bot Pronks About Your Patio

Legged robots span all sorts of shapes and sizes. From the paradigm-setting quadrupeds built from a pit-crew of grad students to the Kickstarter canines that are sure to entertain your junior hackers, the entry point is far and wide. Not one to simply watch from the sidelines, though, [Oracid] wanted to get in on the quadruped-building fun and take us all with him. The result is 5BQE2, a spry budget quadruped that can pronk around the patio at a proper 1 meter-per-second clip.

Without a tether, weight becomes a premium for getting such a creature to move around at a respectable rate.… Read more...

Secret Keychain Safe Looks Just Like A Bolt

While conventional safes can be a good place to put valuables, sometimes it’s even better to hide your things where nobody will even look in the first place. [Wesley Treat] has a build that will allow you to do just that, which secrets away papers, money, or small items within the body of a bolt.

There’s a surprising amount of room inside.

The build starts in a proper hacker fashion, using a power drill to turn an aluminium blank against a power sander creating an ersatz lathing setup. The outside of the blank is then threaded with the aid of a socket wrench and die, to great success.… Read more...

Shortwave Radio Picks Up Sideband

With the push to having most of a radio receiver as part of a PC, it might seem odd to have a standalone communication receiver, but [OM0ET] reviews the latest one he picked up, an ATS25. Inside isn’t much: a battery, a speaker, an encoder, and a Si4732 that provides the RF muscle.

It appears the receiver is pretty broadband which could be a problem. [OM0ET] suggests adding selectivity in the antenna or adding an extra board to use as a bandpass filter.

The design is simple enough, we are sure you could easily hack the unit to do different things.

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Arduino Orchestra Plays The Planets Suite

We’ve seen a great many Arduino synthesizer projects over the years. We love to see a single Arduino bleeping out some monophonic notes. From there, many hackers catch the bug and the sky is truly the limit. [Kevin] is one such hacker who now has an Arduino orchestra capable of playing all seven movements of Gustav Holst’s Planets Suite.

The performers are not human beings with expensive instruments, but simple microcontrollers running code hewn by [Kevin’s] own fingertips. The full orchestra consists of 11 Arduino Nanos, 6 Arduino Unos, 1 Arduino Pro Mini, 1 Adafruit Feather 32u4, and finally, a Raspberry Pi.

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Hackaday Podcast 137: Maximum Power Point, Electric Car Hacking, Commodore Drive Confidential, And Tesla Handles

Hackaday editors Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams marvel at a week packed full of great hardware hacks. Do you think the engineers who built the earliest home computers knew that their work would be dissected decades later for conference talks full of people hungry to learn the secret sauce? The only thing better than the actual engineering of the Commodore floppy drive is the care with which the ultimate hardware talk unpacks it all! We look upon a couple of EV hacks — one that replaces the inverter in a Leaf and the other details the design improvements to Telsa’s self-hiding door handles.

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Home Automation Terminal With Cyberpunk Style

The OLKB-Terminal designed by [Jeff Eberl] doesn’t have a battery, can’t fold up (even if it seems like it could), and is only portable in the sense that you can literally pick it up and move it somewhere else. So arguably it’s not really a cyberdeck per se, but it certainly does look the part. If you need to be furiously typing out lines of code in a dimly lit near-future hacker’s den, this should do you nicely.

[Jeff] has provided everything you’d need to recreate this slick little machine on your own, though he does warn that some of the hardware decisions were based simply on what he had on-hand at the time, and that better or cheaper options may exist.

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Optical Theremin Makes Eerie Audio with Few Parts

[Fearless Night]’s optical theremin project takes advantage of the kind of highly-integrated parts that are available to the modern hacker and hobbyist in all the right ways. The result is a compact instrument with software that can be modified using the Arduino IDE to take it places the original Theremin design could never go.

The design is based on a ‘Blue Pill’ STM32 MCU development board and two Avago APDS-9960 gesture sensor breakout boards, along with a few other supporting components. Where the original Theremin sensed hand proximity using two antenna-like capacitive sensors to control note frequency and volume, this design relies on two optical sensors to do the same job.

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Finding the Right Hack is Half the Battle

Sometimes you just get lucky. I had a project on my list for a long time, and it was one that I had been putting off for a few months now because I loathed one part of what it entailed — sensitive, high-accuracy analog measurement. And then, out of the blue I stumbled on exactly the right trick, and my problems vanished in thin air. Thanks, Internet of Hackers!

The project in question is a low-vacuum regulator for “bagging” fiberglass layups. What I needed was some way to read a pressure sensor and turn on and off a vacuum pump accordingly.

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Hackaday Podcast 136: Smacking Asteroids, Decoding Voyager, Milling Cheap, and PS5 Triggered

Hackaday editors Elliot Williams and Mike Szczys look back on a great week of hardware hacking. What a time to be alive when you can use open source tools to decode signals from a probe that has long since left our solar system! We admire two dirt-cheap builds, one to measure current draw in mains power, another to mill small parts with great precision for only a few bucks. A display built from a few hundred 7-segment modules begs the question: who says pixels need to be the same size? We jaw on the concept of autonomous electric cargo ships, and marvel at the challenges of hitting an asteroid with a space probe.

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Hacking a Robot Vacuum to Write a Replacement App

While internet-connected devices can be very useful around the house, and it is pretty cool to be able to monitor your dishwasher from half a world away, it’s important to be mindful of privacy and security issues. For instance, the Cecotec Conga 1490 robot vacuum [Rastersoft] bought came with an Android app, which upon installation asked for near-total access to the user’s phone. Not content with such an invasion of privacy, let alone the potential security implications, [Rastersoft] set to work trying to reverse engineer the robot’s communications (translated) to find out what exactly it was doing when online.

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Ask Hackaday: What’s the Best Way To Heat a Tent with a Laptop?

For Europeans, August is usually a month of blistering heatwaves, day after day of cloudless skies and burning sun that ripens fruit and turns we locals a variety of shades of pink. Hacker camps during this month are lazy days of cool projects and hot nights of lasers, Club-Mate, and techno music, with tents being warm enough under the night sky to dispense with a sleeping bag altogether.

Sometimes though, the whims of the global weather patterns smile less upon us hackers, and our balmy summer break becomes a little more frigid. At BornHack 2021 for example we packed for a heatwave and were met with a Denmark under the grip of the Northern air mass.

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An RF Remote Is No Match For A Logic Analyser!

The Neewer NL660-2.4 Video Keylight has a handy remote control, which for [Tom Clement] has a major flaw in that it can’t restore the light to the state it had during its last power-on. He’s thus taken the trouble to reverse engineer it and create his own remote using a suitably-equipped Arduino clone.

The write-up is a step through primer for the would-be RF remote hacker, identifying the brains as an STM8 and the radio as an NRF24 clone before attempting to dump the firmware of the STM8. As might be expected the STM is protected, which only leaves the option of sniffing the connection between the two chips.

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Even Bees Are Abuzz About Caffeine

Many of us can’t get through the day without at minimum one cup of coffee, or at least, we’d rather not think about trying. No matter how you choose to ingest caffeine, it’s is an awesome source of energy and focus for legions of hackers and humans. And evidently, the same goes for pollinator bees.

You’ve probably heard that there aren’t enough bees around anymore to pollinate all the crops that need pollinating. That’s old news. One solution was to raise them commercially and then truck them to farmers’ fields where they’re needed. The new problem is that the bees wander off and pollinate wildflowers instead of the fields they’re supposed to be pollinating.

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Overengineering A Smart Doorbell

Fresh from the mediaeval splendour of the Belgian city of Gent, we bring you more from the Newline hacker conference organised by Hackerspace Gent. [Victor Sonck] works at the top of his house, and thus needed a doorbell notifier. His solution was unexpected, and as he admits over engineered, using machine learning on an audio stream from a microphone to detect the doorbell’s sound.

Having established that selling his soul to Amazon with a Ring doorbell wasn’t an appropriate solution, he next looked at his existing doorbell. Some of us might connect directly to its power to sense when the button was pressed, but we’re kinda glad he went for the overengineered route because it means we are treated to a run-down how machine learning works and how it can be applied to audio.

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Using Homebrew Coils to Measure Mains Current, and Taking the Circuit Breaker Challenge

Like many hackers, [Matthias Wandel] has a penchant for measuring the world around him, and quantifying the goings-on in his home is a bit of a hobby. And so when it came time to sense the current flowing in the wires of his house, he did what any of us would do: he built his own current sensing system.

What’s that you say? Any sane hacker would buy something like a Kill-a-Watt meter, or even perhaps use commercially available current transformers? Perhaps, but then one wouldn’t exactly be hacking, would one? [Matthias] opted to roll his own sensors for quite practical reasons: commercial meters don’t quite have the response time to catch the start-up spikes he was interested in seeing, and clamp-on current transformers require splitting the jacket on the nonmetallic cabling used in most residential wiring — doing so tends to run afoul of building codes.

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Hey, MiSTer Emulator, Gimme Almost Any Classic Platform!

I’m back with another of the talks from Hackerspace Gent’s NewLine conference, fresh from my weekend of indulgence quaffing fine Belgian food and beers while mixing with that country’s hacker community. This time it’s an overview from [Michael Smith] of the MiSTer project, a multi-emulator using an FPGA to swap out implementations of everything from an early PDP minicomputer to an 80486SX PC.

At its heart is a dev board containing an Intel Cyclone SoC/FPGA, to which a USB hub must be added, and then a memory upgrade to run all but the simplest of cores. Once the hardware has been taken care of it almost seems as though there are no classic platforms for which there isn’t a core, as a quick browse of the MiSTer forum attests.

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EM-Glitching For Nintendo DSi Boot ROMs

Some hacker events are muddy and dusty affairs in distant fields, others take place in darkened halls, but I went to one that can be experienced as a luxury break in a European city steeped in culture and history. Newline takes place at Hackerspace Gent, in the Belgian city of that name, and I was there last weekend to catch the atmosphere as well as the programme of talks and workshops. And of those a good start was made by [PoroCYon], whose fascinating introduction to the glitching techniques involved in recovering the boot ROMs from a Nintendo DSi taught us plenty of things we hadn’t seen before.

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