In the summertime, when the computer is hot ...

Subject: Systems | June 7, 2018 - 06:27 PM |
Tagged: DIY, system build

Why not cool down with some new components or build an entire system; thus avoiding the fiery ball of death which inhabits the sky this time of year?  They are as excited as we on the Hardware Leaderboard that you do not have to mortgage your life in order to afford the RAM and GPU for a new build.  The benefits of competition show in their builds, with their system builds showing a mix of AMD and Intel processors; NVIDIA still holds the GPU choices for now however.  Drop by for a look at what might be your next build.

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"Welcome to TR's Summer 2018 System Guide. This is where the TR staff picks out the créme de la créme of hardware components fit for the most price-effective builds around. We've tried to create builds across a wide range of price points with parts that provide the best performance possible for the money."

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Roll your own keyboard

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2018 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: DIY, input, mechanical keyboard

The mechanical keyboard market is huge, with numerous companies offering a variety of designs, switches and keycaps but perhaps you just can't yet find the perfect model.  One answer to that dilemma would be to build your own keyboard from scratch and TechSpot just published a guide to help you do just that.  In part one they provide a bill of materials you can build a shopping list out of, with an impressive amount of choices for each component.  In part two they cover the build process as well as a large gallery of designs which just might inspire you to take this project on.

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"In the world of mechanical keyboards, big brand names like Corsair, Razer, HyperX, etc., take the bulk of the limelight. But what if I told you that every part of a keyboard can be customized? This goes far beyond the aesthetics, so if you're not one for making compromises, it may be time to build your own."

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Source: TechSpot

Go fly a kite? No thanks, I'd rather build a phone out of it!

Subject: General Tech | May 14, 2018 - 03:03 PM |
Tagged: KiteBoard, DIY, cellphone, snapdragon 450

Hackaday is showing off one of the entrants to their Hackaday Contest, a project which describes how to build your own Android powered smartphone based on a KiteBoard powered by a Snapdragon 450.  Inside you will find everything you would expect from a phone, from a cell radio and WiFi service through to an accelerometer and even a daughterboard which supports sending 1080p externally over HDMI.  There is even a Raspberry Pi compatible expansion board to allow you to control the phone, or use the phone to control other tech.  Check out the full project here.

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"Let’s get this out of the way first – this project isn’t meant to be a replacement for your regular smartphone. Although, at the very least, you can use it as one if you’d like to. But [Shree Kumar]’s Hackaday Prize 2018 entry, the Kite : Open Hardware Android Smartphone aims to be an Open platform for hackers and everyone else, enabling them to dig into the innards of a smartphone and use it as a base platform to build a variety of hardware."

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Source: Hackaday

Design a thing, win a prize; change the world?

Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2018 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: hack, DIY, nifty, hackaday prize

Last years grand prize winner of the Hack a Day prize picked up $50,000 for creating the Open Source Underwater Glider, an autonomous underwater vehicle which uses a buoyancy engine instead of screws to travel underwater.  That makes it silent and able to roam around for a week or more before returning home and the plans and materials are readily available for anyone who wants to build one.

Today the 2018 Hackaday Prize launches, commencing with the Open Hardware Design Challenge.  For this challenge you need only to provide detailed plans of your project and the theory behind it, if your plans are among the best 20 and fit into one of the next four challenges you might just pick up $1000 and move onto the next stage.  The four specific challenges are Robotics, Power Harvesting, Human Computer Interface and Musical Instruments; so if you have an existing project or an idea just burning around in your brain, then here is your chance to shine!  Check out the full rules and details here.

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"The Hackaday Prize begins with 5 themed challenges which run in nonstop series (one directly after the other). Each challenge lasts 6 weeks long, with the first challenge beginning on March 12th and the last ending October 8th. The top 20 projects from each round win $1000 and advance to the finals."

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Source: Hack a Day

Beep beep VROOOM! A remote starter for your PC

Subject: Systems | August 4, 2017 - 03:41 PM |
Tagged: remote starter, microcontroller, DIY

The Tech Report have an interesting project for those interested in building their own electronic gadgets and doohickeys.  They have created a project which uses a NodeMCU open source microcontroller for IoT devices to allow you to remotely power cycle your PC via an RF signal.  The build will teach you about creating your own IoT device, a bit about how to secure said device and insight into the signals which tell your PC to power on or off or to go into sleep mode.  For those already familiar with the components and processes utilized by this project, it is a quick and easy way to design a device that retails for $25, for a lot cheaper.  Take a peek here.

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"Commercially-available remote power switches make turning a PC on and off from a distance a simple task, but our resident microcontroller enthusiast thought of a few ways such a product might be improved. Join us as we see whether those ideas could be implemented for about $10 in parts."

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The winners of the first stage of The HackaDay Prize

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2017 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: hack, DIY, nifty

The first of the five rounds of The Hackaday Prize has completed and the winners announced.  This stage is the Design Your Concept stage, often the most important factor in determining the success of the build project you intend to sit out on.  The winners are an eclectic bunch, from heart monitoring devices to printing bones on a 3D printer to a hand portable braille printing press.  It is worth taking a look at these, even if the project does not strike your fancy you can learn a lot on how the create an effective design of a concept for your own projects.  There are still four more rounds to go so expect even more interesting designs over the coming weeks,

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"Today we’re excited to announce the winners of the Design Your Concept phase of The Hackaday Prize. These projects just won $1000 USD, and will move on to the final round this fall."

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Source: Hack a Day

Just can't mount that SD card?

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2017 - 12:26 PM |
Tagged: sd card, nand reader, DIY, data recovery

Hack a Day have posted a quick quide on how you can recover data from an unmountable SD card in a safe and fairly easy manner.  With the use of sandpaper, solder and enamelled wire you can hook up the VSS and VCC pins to a NAND reader, as long as there is a working controller on the card and no physical shorts.  If you don't happen to have a NAND reader, they link to a project that will show you how to build your own, or you can source it from a supplier.  Once you have read the data you can flash it to another SD card or learn about how to translate the content if you have the tools.  Check out the comments for more and keep an eye out for a follow up article on working with the recovered data.

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"If you ever find yourself in need of an SD card recovery tool you could always roll your own DIY NAND reader. We will likely give this process a try just to play round with the concept. Hopefully we’ll never need to do SD card recovery!"

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Source: Hack a Day

If you can’t open it, you don’t own it - Macchina opens up your car's hardware

Subject: General Tech | February 27, 2017 - 12:56 PM |
Tagged: M2, Arduino Due, macchina, Kickstarter, open source, DIY

There is a Kickstarter out there for all you car enthusiasts and owners, the Arduino Duo based Macchina M2 which allows you to diagnose and change how your car functions.  They originally developed the device during a personal project to modify a Ford Contour into an electric car, which required serious reprogramming of sensors and other hardware in the car.  They realized that their prototype could be enhanced to allow users to connect into the hardware of their own cars to monitor performance, diagnose issues or even modify the performance.  Slashdot has the links and their trademarked reasonable discourse for those interested, if you have the hardware already you can get the M2 interface $45, $79 or more for the hardware and accessories.

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"Challenging "the closed, unpublished nature of modern-day car computers," their M2 device ships with protocols and libraries "to work with any car that isn't older than Google." With catchy slogans like "root your ride" and "the future is open," they're hoping to build a car-hacking developer community, and they're already touting the involvement of Craig Smith, the author of the Car Hacker's Handbook from No Starch Press."

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Source: Slashdot

Annoy the neighbours from the comfort of the couch; 3D printed remote controlled snowblower

Subject: General Tech | December 30, 2016 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: DIY, 3d printing

Snowblowers are noisy and not as effective as a shovel, but when it is remote controlled it certainly becomes an attractive solution.  Over at Hack a Day there is a link to a 3D printing project which gives you the plans to print out your own snowblower.  The project does encompass the entire machine, it might be prudent to look the project over and see if standard snowblower parts can be included in the build; especially if you already own one.  3D printing is growing in utility as well as popularity.

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"This year’s model features a slipper clutch — combined with a differential from a heavy RC truck — to forestall damage to the attachment if you happen to hit any rocks or ice chunks. The blades are also thicker and lack teeth in this iteration, as they would catch on anything hard and shatter the blade more often than not."

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Source: Hack a Day

DIY self driving car; what could possibly go wrong!

Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2016 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: DIY, self driving car, comma.ai, geohot

George Hotz, aka [Geohot], created the comma.ai program in an effort to create and sell a program to control self driving cars.  The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took offence to this, citing the possibility of this endangering humans in a letter sent to his company Comma.Ai.  He shut down the project rather than having to deal with lawyers, red tape and regulations.  The code survived however and is now available on GitHub.  Hack a Day took a look and discovered it is written in Python with some C included and is rather easy to interpret if you are familiar with the language.  It is compatible with Acura ILXs or Honda Civic 2016 Touring models, if you are so inclined.

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"First there was [Geohot]’s lofty goal to build a hacker’s version of the self-driving car. Then came comma.ai and a whole bunch of venture capital. After that, a letter from the Feds and a hasty retreat from the business end of things. The latest development? comma.ai’s openpilot project shows up on GitHub!"

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Source: Hack a Day