YES, We are having a contest!

Hey, all you Hackers & Modders, do you have a project you want to show the world? if so click the red “contest” button at the top to enter to win a Nintendo DSi.

$10 Razor E100 Scooter First Battery-Charging Attempt

Keith got a steal of a deal on a razor scooter and it had some issues

1. battery was shot
2. No charger
3. motor would not make contact with the wheel to make it move forward

Because he is a genius he ripped apart the batterys, motor assembly and got a charger. he was able to bring this beast back to life! Thank you Keith for the nice write up.

Link to the Keith’s Blog

Mini-Itx Toaster Computer


This is a little dated but i am a huge fan of PC case mods this mod really takes the cake…

[Steve Brune] says Back in September of 2004 He decided that his workshop could use a small form factor computer. He ran across on the web and decided to use the mini-itx Nehemiah M10000 as the basis for his project. After browsing the online projects, He realized a custom build would be way more fun than a conventional case. Back in the 90’s, the flying toaster screensaver theme always brought a smile to his face. So he decided on a toaster theme. He bought a Procter Silex toaster from Walmart for $25.

Here is a Link to the Build

LED Light Strips For Bike? Get Your Duck Tape Out!

Checkout what bicyclist Chris has made! he explains adding LED light strips to his ride.

Soviet Numitron Tubes

Thanks to [mintelectronics] via WordPress he has a nice writeup on some IV-6 Vintage Soviet Numitron Tubes. Cool stuff huh!, He did stop blogging last year but he did leave everything online for us to see! Thank you, [mintelectronics]

I have acquired some IV-6 Soviet Numitron Tubes. Numitron tubes are just similar to normal vacuum tubes, but they run on low voltage and current hence making them highly attractive for low power project use.

I have acquired some IV-6 Soviet Numitron Tubes. Numitron tubes are just similar to normal vacuum tubes, but they run on low voltage and current hence making them highly attractive for low power project use.

To operate such a Numitron tube we must first heat up the filament inside which will in return heat up the gas inside so it can glow when a current is applied to the grid. The device has 13 pins, one of which is cut and is a refrence to count the pins counter clockwise. Below is an illustration of me simply connecting a AA battery 1.5V between pin 7 (Cathode) and pin 8 (Anode of filament).

Afterwards we are able to apply a current to the grid which is pin 9, we also put the negative lead of the power supply onto pin 7 which acts as a cathode for all the connections. The voltage range of the connection is between 6v (barely visible) to 30v in such an operation.

Then all you have to do is get another wire from pin 9 (the power supply) and connect it to the pin you want and it will light up the segment with a beautiful vintage blue colour!

I did a few measurements of the current consumption of the tube. Below is the current consumption of the grid with all of the segments turned on at 28v.

The current of the grid and all of the segments turned on at 10v.

The current of the filament at 28v.

And finally the current of the filament at 10v.

Once I begin learning about segment drivers and such I will begin using these tubes for display purposes. Currently they are just a cool little addition to the lab without much use.

Low cost IMU on Thalamus

Several of the previous projects that we’ve featured here have included the need for an IMU, an Inertial Measurement Unit, such as those involving quadcopters and self-balancing skateboards, and gymnastic robots.  Don’t let the fancy name scare you off, an IMU consists of some fairly straightforward sensors that can sense motion.  This data gets combined together with an algorithm and tells you which way up your board is, and how it is moving.

Small IMU sensors used to be extremely expensive, however thanks to the smartphone revolution there are now many low-cost IMU chips out there.  Here’s one Kickstarter that is packing not only some of these chips onto a low-cost board, but also includes a powerful ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller to do all the processing of the data for you.  So whether you need to include motion or orientation sensing in your arduino project, or attach one to your computer, all you need to do is receive the processed data from this device.  And it can also act as a flight controller for quadcopters (its original purpose).  At $58, this is a reasonably low cost for an IMU board with this many capabilities.

*Hackvertisment alert: kickstarter projects have commercial interests, you know the drill  by now.

Tour of a Letherman factory


Over at core77 there’s a great article by [Kat Bauman] of a tour of one three factories producing Letherman tools. There’s some great description of the manufacturing process as well as some great photos and a video interview.

I’m not going to embed the video here as I would encourage everyone to go to the article. So I am including a fake picture of a Youtube video linked to the article itself which contains the real video.


New Smartwatch turns your hand into a phone


There’s a new smartwatch rocking kickstarter right now with a pretty interesting concept.  With the usual features you’d expect from a smartwatch like caller display, reading messages, displaying weather/news, and of course telling the time; this smartwatch also lets you take calls.

A speaker on the watch is angled to bounce sound off your hand and into your ear.  This allows you to take calls by holding your hand up to your ear, and thereby signaling to all those around you that you are in fact taking a phonecall rather than inanely talking to yourself in public, as it often appears to be the case when using bluetooth headsets.

At costs comparable to a decent watch anyway, this seems like a competitive entry in the up and coming world of smartwatches.

*Hackvertisment alert: Kickstarter projects have commercial interests, you know the drill by now. : a new Hacker Profile Site


Do you have a lot of hacks to your name that you need a single place to show them off?  Or are you interested in following the works of a few notable members of the community who might not maintain personal websites?  Or do you just want a single site where you can browse and get to know the who’s who of the hack/mod/DIY community?

Well right now you can’t do any of that (or you could, but it involves too much effort).  But soon there’s a new site on the block that looks like it has the potential to be the solution to all of the above and more:

[ben], owner of, describes it as: is a venue for hardware hackers and makers to showcase their projects and find inspiration. Receive feedback on your designs and build reputation by contributing to the community. By making it easier to share ideas we’re taking one step towards our long term goal of helping makers turn their concepts into real products. is currently invitation-only beta, we’ve had a look around and it seems to be shaping up nicely, there’s already a handful of people on the site, with some names that many of you might already be familiar with.  Here’s one (publicly visible) project that is already hosted on, showing off some of the functionality.

Here’s a screenshot of what the home page looks like.  Things of course will change as the site develops, but we love the clean interface right now, and we are greatly looking forward to seeing the site develop and begin serving the community.  We hope to be linking more to when it publicly launches.


Plasma Globe from Facial Machine

Youtube user [GREENPOWERSCIENCE] demonstrates that you can make quite a good plasma globe from a “high frequency facial machine”, a highly dubious looking cosmetic device for “invigorating circulation by stimulating cells beneath the skin”.  From what little research we’ve done, this machine appears to be basically a high-voltage transformer designed to electrocute people’s faces.

[GREENPOWERSCIENCE] modifies the machine simply by swapping the class tube with a piece of metal (in this case a socket wrench head fits perfectly), turning what might be a reasonably safe device into presumably quite a dangerous or at least very painful shock gun.  In any case, attaching a lightbulb to the end of it makes a neat plasma globe.

Don’t try this at home! (try it in someone else’s home!…no just kidding, this looks dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing).

Soda Can Battery


We’ve all seen lemon batteries and potato batteries, but it turns you you can also make Soda Can Batteries.  Instructables user [argha halder] shows us how.

The acid in the soda acts as the electrolyte, and the different metals that make up the can and the nail creates an electrochemical cell.

However, despite the images, [argha halder]‘s instructable does state clearly that one can alone is not enough to light an LED, and that he needed to use a DC/DC boost circuit such as a joule thief to light the LED, he also mentions that it is possible to string can together to form a battery capable of lighting the LED.