Category - Build

Making a USB Temperature Sensor

Summary: The idea here was to create a temperature sensor that could easily be connected to an Apple Mac computer and have it display its readings inside an OSX application. More a demonstrator than anything someone might actually use in the real world, but who knows, maybe someone out there has a practical need for such a contraption...

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Repairing the AA Car Battery Solar Trickle Charger

The AA Car Battery Solar Charger is a perfectly good solar panel for ensuring that your car battery does not run down if the vehicle is not used often enough. Its one weakness, however, is the cable coming out of the solar panel, which is prone to breaking, in part because the gauge of the internal copper wire is so thin. Worse still, it is all too easy for a wire break to go unnoticed, since the cable's insulation can remain intact, and the blue flashing LED on the solar panel will continue to flash irrespective of whether the car battery is being charged or not. Consequently, if a wire break does occur inside the cable, there is a good chance you will be unaware of the problem and one day when you try to start your car - it won't! I encountered this very problem...and this is how I fixed it.

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Taotronics Mobile Phone / GPS Car Holder Permanent Mount

Summary: If you are the owner of a Taotronics car phone holder and, like me, you like the design and functionality it provides, but dislike suction cup attachments in general and the fact that it occassionally falls off the windscreen when the weather is warm, then check out this project where I convert the suction cup mount into a permanent mount for my car's dashboard. Super-steady and no more messing around with the unpredictability of suction cups. Looks good too, although would have preferred it in black!

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Doorbell Light for the Hearing Impaired

Summary: The objective of this project was to create a visual signal on my treadmill that would alert me when someone was ringing the front doorbell. Why a visual alert? Well, because I invariably have music blaring out of my in-ear headphones when I’m running and between that and the noisiness of the treadmill itself, I have, in the past, missed the delivery guy knocking at the front door. It is so annoying to have to go on a treasure hunt just to recover parcels that I could have easily received myself if only I had known that the doorbell had been rung. The final design involved a large red flashing LED to get my attention, controlled by a 556 timer chip (which is two 555 timer circuits in one package) and wired through internal house wiring to the doorbell. The enclosure housing the device was designed to fit into one of the bottle holders on the treadmill display console.

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