VEF Spidola 232 retrofitting

This project derived from another one I made some time ago which was a portable music player, though I had this radio much before I made that other project, but I didn’t know what I would want to do with it.

The radio that I have is a VEF Spidola 232. It was to be thrown out as trash, but I thought I could maybe add some modern stuff to it, and stashed it in a corner until I figure out what I’d like to do with it.

On the internet there are some people that do this and they have pretty cool ideas turning these radios into things that can play from various sources leaving the whole shell and buttons original. Some even remake them to be used with FM frequencies.

My idea was similar, but I only wanted it to have bluetooth and I don’t need anything else. Also I wanted it to have a better sound quality (original speaker is just shit) and leave everything else original as much as possible.
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TVIP S-Box v.410 LibreELEC installation

Hello all. A few days ago I was gifted a TV box to do whatever with it. It was being thrown out because it didn’t work anymore the way it was supposed to when bought.

The TV box is sold by a Russian company TVIP. This model has been discontinued some time ago (dunno when exactly) and all support is dropped, but it uses an Amlogic S805 CPU which was revealed in 2014, so you can say this device was being sold for at least a few years after.

This is my second device that I bring back to life. The first one was the MXQ S805 with pretty much the same hardware. Until I got it, I didn’t know anything about these things, but they seemed like small computers and the one I got had Android installed on it. Needless to say it was shit with Android – it lagged so much and the user wanted to throw it out also because he didn’t have any need for it anymore. Installing LibreELEC on it wasn’t much of a hassle and worked right away.
Before I got the MXQ, I was using LibreELEC on RPi1. It wasn’t great experience – RPi1 isn’t capable of running the system very well, but it worked. I am so happy with the MXQ device now – it’s fast and works flawlessly.
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Airsoft bomb prop

You might guess that I’m an active airsoft player and like to bring in some innovative stuff to gain advantage for myself, like the foldable slingshot and just recently I wrote about remote detonation device that proved to be quite useful. This time I wanted to make some game prop because sometimes me and my team make a game to play for ourselves and we have no proper way of controlling our matches.

It’s not something new, but it sure adds new experience and makes for a better game. And the game prop is a bomb… with multiple modes. There exists many versions and ideas, some are very cool indeed, but I wanted to keep mine simple in regards to how it looks and universal in how it works, but not too much.

Everything will have to be connected to a custom PCB (to save space and to look more cool :D) and controlled by ATmega328p microcontroller (don’t need no arduino for this kek).
But if you want to make it even simpler, you can just go ahead and use an Arduino Nano or something on a perfboard. But if you have access to PCB manufacturing tools, then that’s the easier way to go and if anyone wants, I can send you my PCB and schematics.

I didn’t want this project to become a feature creep and tried to only filter out the ideas and features that I and my team would use in games that we do.
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All-in-one 360 lightbox

This project idea was born from another project that we at makerspace did, as sometimes happens, when you make something to work temporarily, but later see how well it worked you realize it’d be cool to have a proper thing.

And this time it was when we were photographing Makerspace Hack’n’Tell transitional prizes.

Hack’n’Tell is an event we host every first Saturday of each month where anyone can come and present projects that they did. After presentations, everyone who came can vote for the best project and the winner gets a prize for a month (until next event) and in that time he can add something or modify the prize however he wants and at the end of the year the prizes become something really impressive :)

Anyway, we made a lightbox and began planning how could we photograph them in a way to show most of them. Since the prizes have something to look at on every angle, it’s pretty difficult to photograph it in such a way to show everything in a few photos. After a few tries one makerspace member remembered a project he did about ten years ago for a similar reason. It’s supposed to rotate an object 360 degrees with high precision and automatically take photos on every turn. It was perfect for this. We placed it inside our temporary lightbox and shot everything we needed.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any progress article of that rotator (named “Sukeklis v2” btw), but there are progress photos which can be seen below. It’s pretty nicely built and control is simple too – a few http commands to control and get info fully.
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Random ICs from AliExpress

Thanks to online shops like AliExpress, DX, Banggood, Wish and countless others you can buy all sorts of random, interesting and sometimes useless shit for very cheap.

Usually I buy from AliExpress and most of the time its some electronic stuff that are way overpriced in my country, or I just can’t get them locally. In this case, I was browsing through as usual and was recommended these seemingly random ICs (integrated circuits) that to me (as a kid that liked to tear things apart and see what’s inside) looked a bit familiar from electronic toys or interactive souvenirs.

So I looked through most of them and got hit by nostalgia and interest to see how they function and what can they do. I ordered a few different types of ICs and most of them are sold in bulk.

All of the modules that I found are bare and you need to add extra components yourself, which mostly are a some kind of an NPN transistor and a 104 ceramic capacitor. Also there are no schematic or any information whatsoever about them, so you either poke the contacts yourself to see how these work or search the obscure code written on the PCB and hope for the best.

In my case, I searched, and if you dig deep enough you can find the relevant information.
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Remote detonation device for airsoft – REMDE

If you were reading my blog you probably know that I play airsoft for several years.
Here the sites that we play in don’t change often and in most places airsoft grenades can be used.

In Lithuania, airsoft grenades are essentially firecrackers with up to 1g of powder placed in a small container and filled with BBs, dry peas or anything that is kinda round and represents shrapnel. Very simple, effective and you don’t have to pick it up after using.

So, in that time I noticed that a device that ignites a grenade when I want to at a set location would be very useful when taking back positions from enemy whenever they would barricade themselves in and I dubbed thee – REMDE. For open fields, I’ve come up with a solution that I wrote about here to fling grenades much farther than I could by hands.

The device functions very simply – the bare minimum is made up of two devices – the transmitter and the receiver.
Whenever I go into a nice position that I know enemy is going to sit there when they take it, I place the receiver down somewhere, attach an e-match (the very same used for firework shows) to it and attach the grenade to the e-match.

Now when I need to, with one button, I can check it’s status if I have multiple receivers and I forget if I had used it. With another button I can send a command to ignite the e-match.
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Casting electronic trash into epoxy

I do a lot of projects, but try to only do one or two at a time. It’s how I manage things and time doing them best and I don’t get confused. Sometimes though, my parts from various shops take more time than usual to arrive and I get stuck at a position where I don’t have anything to do.

That’s how this project was done in a short while between other projects that are on hold.

Anyway, first time I had such an idea was when someone brought in random electronic component mixture in a box. There were A LOT of them. Some are old Russian components, some are modern, some I never saw before. And sorting them would be just not worth the time and painful.

There is something that can be done with them apart from dumping them all into the trash container and one thing is casting them into epoxy.
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Monster fog machine

Just about a week ago we finished making a fog machine that can produce a WHOLE lotta fog. It was made for the NoTrollsAllowed hackercamp and everyone loved it. It’s always exciting to go into a tent where you can’t see anything in arms length :D

The idea popped up when we were trying to think of something new to bring in for NTA and we were inspired by a YT video.

And we did much of what he showed the same way from parts we found laying around in the workshop. Only thing we bought were a capillary copper pipe and pumps.
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MPD autoplay feature

At a workshop that I go to we have a music station that’s been playing rock and metal music for a very long time.

The player used was a generic MP3 player hacked to get power from a 5V charger and since it’s very old it has just(!) 2GB of storage, so not many songs fit on it and you can imagine the playlist repeats itself quite often.

Some time ago we talked about something and an idea popped up to make an upgrade to the music station. We had an RPi 1, wifi adapter and 16GB flash drive laying around, so I put those together to make a music station. And with that you also need a some kinda system to actually play music.

I experimented with various different OS’e just for that – Volumio, RuneAudio (and the other version RuneAudio+R E2), Pi MusicBox and Moode Audio.
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Photos with Revue Pocket 350

Continuing my quest with antique photo cameras, I recently tried out this neat pocket camera – Revue Pocket 350 that I had sitting on a shelf for a long time. I had forgotten about it and only recently I remembered it. So I went and bought three films for it and used one right away just to see how it performs.

I expected for the result to be worse, but it turned out… ok.

So the camera is from 1978 (camera-wiki.org), it’s a point-and-shoot type and it’s just a re-branded “Agfamatic 3008” by the German company “Foto-Quelle”.

Point-and-shoot means that you can’t change any parameters. Only thing you can change is the aperture by sliding the selector on one of the settings that are shown as icons of a sun, a sun with clouds, clouds and a sun with a wave below it. The focus also doesn’t change – it’s fixed on infinity, so taking portraits with it is not good.
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