Archive for Hardware

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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Building Bluetooth retro phone handset

bluetooth-phone

The other day I finished assembling this thing. I’ve been seeing these “retro bluetooth handsets” on the market for a long time and I love old things, but those are quite expensive, depending on the brand, price on ebay ranges from 20-40$ which is… too much for a toy like this.
I had made one before from not-so-old office phone. The quality of it was crappy, on some phones it was ok, on some it wasn’t… overall crap and I didn’t use it that much. But just recently I somehow regained interest in making a better version and here’s how I did it.
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Improved CD Lamp

improved-cd-lamp

Hello again :) the other day I finished assembling an improved version of a CD lamp which I made before. I’ve been collecting cd’s to be thrown out for like a year and I collected quite a stack. Had few left from my previous attempt, it was ok, but not good. That previous article I wrote in Lithuanian language, can’t remember why, it was probably easier for me at that time :D
Anyway, the new version I made is more than a meter high and uses RGB LED strip. I figured it’s not going to be used to light up a room, so I made it as a decoration instead and I think I got it really good… still not perfect, but… that’ll do pig :) I didn’t count how many CD’s I got stacked, but there should be around 680 of them… so apparently it takes 680 CD’s to have a 62cm tower.
The whole cost of this was about 55€. The most costly part was the LED RGB strip – 14€.
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BBQ blower 2.0

bbq-blower

Hello, this time I decided to make a dedicated and improved bbq air blower. I have written about making a simple rotary tool here which I later used to blow air onto hot coal when they would loose too much heat and whatnot, I don’t like getting smoke into my face :P
But that one wasn’t very good, it used a cordless drill battery as a power supply and later the cordless drill died, a few weeks after that the charger fried because of a power surge, motor required 24v for optimal results.
So I just thought to make a better version, powered by a 9v battery with 3v motor and a basic speed control.
Whole thing is very simple and can be put together from junk that I am sure you have laying around somewhere.
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