Archive for Hardware

BBQ blower v3

This is my third attempt at making my life easier with maintaining a fire. I wrote about other attempts here and here and it looks like that this project has a never ending continuity, since it’s such a useful device…

This device (like previous ones) are to ensure I keep my eyes out of smoke and lungs in proper working condition and this version design was inspired by other devices that are for sale on Amazon or eBay, but they are chinese made tools and require batteries to work… I thought I could make it a bit better with rechargeable batteries, a small display to see how much power is left, a normal on-off switch and possibly with a better air volume output. Also as an added bonus I thought I could use it to inflate a mattress a bit, so that I don’t have to do it with my mouth and then sit down a bit being dizzy AF. Obviously this doesn’t create enough pressure to inflate it all the way though.

I remember a scene in a “Tom and Jerry” cartoon episode “Barbecue brawl” where spike was blowing into charcoal to get the fire going and of course that didn’t go well, if only he had this device though :D


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Linksys WRT54GL v1.1 USB hardware mod

wrt54gl usb mod

Linksys routers, and I’m talking about WRT54g series, are not so popular anymore. In fact they are pretty much dead, as a technology, at this point. Technology that once were notorious among routers with their endless capabilities router-wise. Projects like DD-WRT and OpenWRT started with these WRT54 routers and now look at them. But because of their slow wifi and ethernet speeds, lack of modern wifi standard support and old chips they became obsolete, but among hackers and makers the name wrt54g is known very well. And when wrt54gl came out in 2005 it was the best-selling router of all time.

Today these routers still can be used for some projects (because of their extensive hackabilities software- and hardware-wise) where network speed is not the top priority. They can probably be compared to small raspberry computers with wifi and ethernet ports already available.

As it happens, I have a couple of these laying around at work (more specifically wrt54gl v1.1) and I thought maybe I could make a piratebox out of one of them. So I started gathering information if that would be possible. I didn’t find any info if piratebox would install properly, so I thought I could just try anyway and see how that goes… and the first thing I needed to do was to install USB ports.
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Making a foldable slingshot

Slingshots are fun. They have always been fun, many years ago they were more of a tool for hunting small animals than fun, though. Now we have huge communities, YT review channels and all that stuff oriented around slingshots and they are very passionate about them.

For me a slingshot was just a fun thing to launch rocks with and I haven’t used one in quite a while, I think since I was a kid even. But now with my recently acquired hobby (airsoft) that need to use one came up when I saw in a couple of games that some sort of a grenade launcher would be highly beneficial because I could reach longer distances, throw much more accurately and make it fly to the target faster. A slingshot is the perfect solution to this problem, however I wanted a foldable one for easy carrying in a backpack or a pouch on my tactical vest.

To my surprise there wasn’t any to buy, well except one from AliExpress, but it was made more to look good than be practical to use, also it was a bit too expensive and I didn’t want such a fancy thing. It’s sold without rubber tubes/bands and without a pouch and is too small to shoot my home-made airsoft grenades.

So I thought I could make one myself – a foldable slingshot.
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Reviving Kenwood UHF radio

Earlier I wrote that I like to play airsoft and that I made a gun case here. Naturally when doing something competitive, with time, a need for more/better accessories grows, and one is the UHF radio (or walkie-talkie for some) which is really handy when communicating with your teammates in the field.

At work a long time ago I found a pair of Kenwood TK-3101E radios that were long forgotten in an abandoned room gathering dust in the dark – one was missing a battery pack and one had a dead battery pack, but I didn’t have a need for them at the time so I didn’t do anything. Now I thought I could revive these radios for a second life and use it for myself, so I took them out and tried to use.

By them I mean just one that still had a battery pack. Seems that Kenwood has a model name for anything they make (or made, not sure how it is these days), so the battery pack has a model name KNB-14, which originally is a 600mAh Ni-Cd. Needless to say that Ni-Cd is shit and battery was dead – didn’t hold a charge of 5 hours for more than 30 minutes while being turned off.
But that didn’t surprise me, since this model was released around 1999…
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Making a Tesla lighter

Lighters have gone a long way since traditional ones. Now we have things like a so called “Tesla lighter” – which is actually an electric arc generator and you can ignite stuff with it.
These lighters are super cool, some have a coil and a single arc (2-in-1), some have just a double arc tip. They all look pretty nice and cost around 8-15€, depending on whether you want cheap or functional or nice-looking.

Usually Tesla lighters emit a high-pitched frequency sound when activated, maybe it’s just with cheap ones, not sure. They also work in all conditions – wind can’t blow it out (although since it’s all electronic, water isn’t his friend, unlike with flint lighters when you just have to wait for the flint to dry).

Since I play airsoft and use grenades (which are made with firecrackers), I use a cheap jet lighter and sometimes it’s hard to ignite them reliably. It’s resistible to medium winds, but not reliable enough to work on the first try and so I have to keep pressing it to get some fire going. It’s time consuming and enemies can always hear the clicking.
Yes, I could buy a more expensive jet lighter that is much more reliable, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money on that. Tesla lighter seems like a good alternative, but I didn’t want to buy one because they are a bit costly for such a thing and also they don’t have any way to hang them the way I want.
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Custom hard-case for an airsoft gun

airsoft-case

Recently I started playing airsoft, I came across it when a friend asked me if I wanted to try it and the game he wanted to go to had a cool backstory. At the start I was skeptical about this pseudo-war, role-playing soldiers and stuff with fake guns but cool looking gear. After a few games with rented equipment, and the first game’s first half hour being somehow awkward until I encountered an enemy and got some bb’s shot in my leg that hurt, after that I started to like it a lot. Now I’m playing it every weekend with my own gear and an AK-47 imitation.

The gun that I bought came in a cardboard box, which isn’t permanent or convenient to carry. There are hard and soft cases to buy, but those, as with many things in airsoft, apparently, are a bit expensive. So I decided to make my own hard case, which is essentially a wooden box with a lid – nothing fancy.
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Retro computers: Atari 2600

Another addition to my series of retro computer posts. This time I’m writing about the Atari 2600 Rev A. Jr. made in 1986. Quote from atariage.com:

The Atari 2600 Jr. was introduced in 1986 with a new ad campaign and a new design for the aging system. This is almost identical to the first edition 2600 Jr. except that the Rainbow on the metal plate is wider. It came in a small silver box, and can also be found in a red box. Once again it has the same functionally as other Atari models, just a difference in appearance.

I don’t usually find genuine pieces of electronics or antique laptops with a unique design at a local flea market, but my last visit was very much worth it.

This is a genuine piece that I got for 10€ – the dude doesn’t even know what he’s selling, or don’t care. Usually with laptops I’d do a bit of a maintenance like cleaning and replacing a CMOS battery, but this is so simple and in a really good condition that I didn’t have to do anything, except for brushing off dirt.

To my surprise though, this thing was in a full package – PSU, controller and a game cartridge – I mean I was surprised because all of the antique laptops I find don’t have anything else with them. I grabbed this thing right away and ran home to check if it works.
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Console emulator in a briefcase

Greetings fellow gamers! Let’s get one thing clear – I play games. Now I don’t play as much as I used to, but when I was a kid I used to play a lot… I didn’t own many consoles, simply because I couldn’t afford swapping consoles often, so I only had a Zhiliton (it’s a brand name of a Chinese clone from NES, these clones are normally called Famicom consoles). After that I owned a PS1, then a PS2, a PSP, then an Xbox360 which I own to this day.

This project, a console emulator packed in a briefcase, was born when me and a friend of mine had some ideas about how it would be cool to play and remember those old games… so I thought about it and started making one of my own.

The whole thing took a really long time (longer than I wanted, over a year) to assemble, but that’s because I ordered some of the things from eBay and AliExpress, and sometimes the packages would not get delivered, so I would need to order more and all that stuff… months of waiting and personal life stuff has delayed this project for a long time, but finally it’s ready to be shown off!
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Christmas decoration for 2016

arduino-christmas

Greetings. Christmas is coming and at work we often make something funny/interesting for this period of the year. About last year you can read in a previous post here, although it wasn’t all that interesting.

This year we decided to make some kind of an interactive thing and use the arduinos that we had laying around. So the idea was like this: To make a box that had a camera and 2 push-buttons. One button would play some kinda Christmas music, another button would take a picture through the camera and upload it to our website, where we could display them all.
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Christmas decoration for 2015

arduino-christmas

Yeah, it’s a bit late to post about it now… but end of 2016 is coming, and we have some new awesome things planned how we’ll decorate the office, so this post is to remember how we had decorated last year.
Nothing too fancy, we only did it at the last moment, but everyone liked the result.
We broke out some keyboards, glued their keys to a motherboard and some graphics cards. Found a lot of DDR rams and chained them up into a garland. Some PS2 mouses were painted red and hanged on the office lights.
The best thing was hanged on our door – a wreath made of DDR ram, LED strip, an Arduino motion sensor and a Piezzo buzzer.
The motion sensor would detect whenever someone was walking past our door and trigger an Arduino to play one of the two programmed Christmas melodies through the buzzer. To connect everything we used an ethernet cable. It was fun and simple.
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