Apple released iOS 8.2 beta 3 yesterday, and a new video compares the performance of the iPhone 4s on the recent beta, and the latest public version, iOS 8.1.2.
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Batteries flat and no cellphone coverage and you need to communicate hundreds of miles? No problem. [Peter Parker VK3YE] has created a wind-up ham radio transmitter built into a discount store crank-handle flashlight (or torch). No batteries – all power comes from you turning the hand crank. This design was inspired by the ‘Gibson Girl’ emergency beacon transmitter used during Second World War. But what used to be an very large, full body cranking box is now tiny and simple to crank. Let’s take a look at he video and the build details after the break.
With a simple wire antenna its continuous wave (CW) morse code signals can be heard hundreds of kilometers away, which is demonstrated in the video.
How it’s built
Removing the torch’s LEDs, battery and PC board frees room for the three transistor transmitter. The generator remains to power the transmitter.
The first transistor is an RF oscillator using a 7.023 MHz crystal. It’s on whenever the handle is being cranked. The oscillator’s output is amplified by the second transistor connected as an RF power amplifier. Its output goes to the antenna via a low pass filter which suppresses harmonics. The faster you crank the greater the RF output but 500 milliwatts is typical.
Sending Morse code requires that the transmitted signal be switched on and off. This is accomplished by the keying transistor which energizes the RF power amplifier only when the key is pressed. This simple and reliable transmitter circuit is based on the famous OXO by [George Burt GM3OXX] many years ago.
A momentary push-button switch salvaged from an old video recorder acts as the key. Mount this in a spot where you can press it with the hand holding the torch while cranking the generator with the other.
Construction cost is under and the project can be built in a day. The video linked above includes a description, a demonstration and circuit diagram. The one below shows a demo of [Peter’s] hand-cranked radio communicating with a station 700km away. We think some possible add-ons for the ingenious device include a companion receiver, a PIC-controlled automatic keyer or a GPS attachment that send the position in Morse.
Filed under: radio hacks
When [Ch00f] was getting jeans rung up at Nordstroms, he noticed how fast thermal receipt printers can put an image on a piece of paper. This observation isn’t unique to the circles [Ch00f] frequents – there are a few small receipt paper printers out there that connect to the Internet, iPhones, and a whole bunch of other Kickstarter-friendly keyword devices.
Nevertheless, a device that can make a hard copy of an image quickly and cheaply isn’t something you just stop thinking about. After rolling the concept around in his head for a few years, [Ch00f] finally came up with the perfect build – a camera.
The hardware for the build is based around an STM32F4 Discovery board. It’s a bit overpowered for this sort of application, and this is one of [Ch00f]’s first adventures in ARM-land. The rest of the hardware consists of a thermal receipt printer and a JPEG camera, the latter of which replaced a cellphone CMOS camera module that was lost in a move.
A custom camera requires a custom enclosure, and for this [Ch00f] made something remarkable. The entire enclosure is CNC milled out of a beautiful piece of figured walnut. The end result looks far too good for a prototype, but it does polish up nicely with a bit of linseed oil.
Now [Ch00f] has an instant camera that takes the idea of a Polaroid and turns it into something that produces a print for tenths of a cent. There’s a time-lapse function – just a zip tie on the shutter button – filters with the help of highlighters, and the ability to record movies in flipbook format.
It’s a great project, and also something that will make for a great crowdfunding campaign. [Ch00f] has already started work on this. He already has a sleek, modern-looking website that requires far too much scrolling than should be necessary – the first step to a winning Kickstarter. [Ch00f] also learned a lot about ARMs, DMA, dithering, gamma correction, and the JPEG format, but that’s not going to get anyone to open up their wallet. You know what will? A slick video. You’ll find that below.
Filed under: ARM, digital cameras hacks
Whether you call them individually controllable RGB LEDs, WS2812, or NeoPixels, there’s no denying they are extremely popular and a staple of every glowey and blinkey project. Fresh off the reel, they’re nearly useless – you need a controller, and that has led to many people coming up with many different solutions to the same problem. Here’s another solution, notable because it’s the most minimal WS2812 driver we’ve ever seen.
The critical component in this build is NXP’s LPC810, an ARM Cortex M0+ in an 8-pin DIP package. Yes, it’s the only ARM in a DIP-8, but still able to run at 30MHz, and hold a 4kB program.
JeeLabs is using the SPI bus on the LPC810 to clock out data at the rate required by the LEDs. The only hardware required is a small LED to drop the voltage from 5V to 3.3V and a decoupling capacitor. Yes, you could easily get away with this as a one-component build.
The build consists of a ring of sixty WS2812b RGB LEDs, and the chip dutifully clocking out bits at the correct rate. It’s the perfect start to an LED clock project, an Iron Man arc reactor (are we still doing those?), or just random blinkey LEDs stuffed into a wearable.
Thanks [Martyn] for sending this one in.
Filed under: ARM, led hacks
While the focus is to go digital, to consolidate all of our cards and anything else into a digital format so we can put them on smartphones, sometimes it’s not always a good thing.
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They said it couldn’t be done, and perhaps it shouldn’t have been attempted. Shouldas and couldas aside, the oil crisis of the 1970s paved the legislative way for an 800-mile pipeline across the Alaskan frontier, and so the project began. The 48-inch diameter pipe sections would be milled in Japan and shipped to Alaska. Sounds simple enough. But of course, it wasn’t, since the black gold was under Prudhoe Bay in Alaska’s North Slope, far away from her balmy southern climes.
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System was constructed in three sections: from Valdez to Fairbanks, Fairbanks to a point in the Brooks Pass, and south from Prudhoe Bay to the mountain handoff. Getting pipe to the Valdez and Fairbanks is no big deal, but there is no rail, no highway, and no standard maritime passage to Prudhoe Bay. How on earth would they get 157 miles worth of 58-foot sections of pipe weighing over 8 tons each up to the bubblin’ crude?
Barges! Ridiculously huge, specifically-built barges with 35-foot stanchions to hold pipe sections stacked on decks as large as football fields. Four barges were built close to the steel mills, two in Japan and two in Hong Kong. Several other barges were constructed stateside, departing regularly from Tacoma to meet the demanding timeline of the project. The barges headed for Prudhoe Bay from Asia would be towed 3300 miles by a pair of heroic tugboats to rendezvous with the other barges at Nome.
About 150 miles from Prudhoe Bay, the tugs encountered the arctic ice floe as expected. What they didn’t expect was no sign of an open channel. Time was of the essence here: if they didn’t make it to Prudhoe and back within about a month, they’d be mired in ice all winter long. Each tug was towing two barges in tandem. Since no channel ever opened, they decided to anchor each tug’s rear barge, take the lead barges through the ice all nice and easy, and come back for the rest. Ninety miles of ice cakes and cursing later, they reached the open waters of the Arctic Ocean and floored it for Prudhoe Bay. Pretty slick stuff, eh?
[BDM] is helping others keep WiFi safe with “Shame On You!“, his entry in Hackaday’s Trinket Everyday Carry Contest. We all have that family member, friend, or neighbor who just can’t seem to get their WiFi locked down. Shame On You will show them how easy it is to detect such a hotspot, which hopefully will motivate them to correct the issue. [BDM] was a bit worried when he learned that Adafriut already has an open WiFi detector as one of their Pro Trinket example projects. However, we think he has added more than enough features to make his project stand out.
Shame On You is using a Pro Trinket running at 3.3 volts, along with an ESP8266 WiFi module. Power comes from a LiPo battery and is handled by an Adafruit LiPo backpack. Like several other EDC contest entries, Shame On You is using a cell phone shell as a case. The display is a 1.27″ color OLED with an SD card. A disc style vibrator motor will also help get the user’s attention.
[BDM] hasn’t made much progress this last week, as he’s been battling some Christmas light cutting bandits. Logging each week’s work doesn’t always have to be technical, sometimes life intervenes!
We’re heading into our third week here in the Trinket Everyday Carry Contest, but there is still plenty of time to enter! The main contest runs until January 2, but we’re having random drawings every week! Don’t forget to write a project log before the next drawing at 9pm EDT on Tuesday, December 16th. You and all of the other entrants have a chance to win a BusPirate 3.6 from The Hackaday Store!
Filed under: contests, Featured
This year, Apple stole the show when it comes to performance by introducing the A8 chip that powers iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and the significantly faster A8X chip that powers iPad Air 2.
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For , [William] of Toronto’s Hacklab hackerspace got a hold of one of the smallest CRT screens ever made – about the size of a large coin. Over the course of a couple sessions – including a public hack boothside at their Mini Makerfaire – [William], [Igor], and several other members managed to connect it as a monitor directly off a Raspberry Pi. The end-goal is the world’s smallest MAME cabinet (smaller by almost half than this LCD one).
As Canada followed the US and stopped broadcasting analog back in 2011, it became quite a challenge to feed the screen a video source. They disclosed early that the easiest solution would just be an RF transmitter on the Pi and then tune the micro-set to that channel. Too easy. They wanted something elegant and challenging so they went digging into the circuitry to find a place to insert a composite video signal directly.
The real story here is their persistence at reverse engineering. The PCB was folded like a cardboard box to fit in the original case, making large portions of the circuitboard and wiring inaccessible. Even when they managed to trace the signal to what they thought was the appropriate chip (marked C80580), they could not find any information on the 30 year old chip. Noting that every other chip on the board was Panasonic and started with “AN5″, [Igor] suspected the mystery silicon was just renamed and went through every single datasheet he could find with that prefix. Combined with form factor, pin count and purpose, his sleuthing was rewarded with a guess for a match – the AN5715. His hunch was correct – using that datasheet led him to the answers they required.
Then they just had to figure out how get the composite signal the Pi outputted into something the chip would use to display the correct image. There were no shortage of challenges, failures and dead ends here either, but they had help from the rest of their membership.
Their project log is an interesting narrative through the process and in the end of course, it worked. It is displayed beautifully with a clear acrylic case and ready for a cabinet to be built.
Filed under: portable video hacks, Raspberry Pi