Tag: Electronics

August 13, 2010 / / Electronics
Bulbdial clock with breadboard and multimeter
Let’s make it touch sensitive!

UPDATE: People keep asking about the breadboard setup. Fair enough. I’ll throw together a quick overview when I get home today.
UPDATE: here it is: http://www.alexwhittemore.com/?p=462

The Bulbdial clock from Evil Mad Scientist is probably the coolest clock idea I’ve ever seen. Even cooler are my parents, who got the kit for my birthday.  The basic idea is that three rings of LEDs cast shadows onto a clock face to form H/M/S hands, somewhat like a sundial, with the hands slowly animating around. A lot of thought clearly went into making this kit, and it’s very nicely done, but there’s a major drawback: I want to use it on my bed side table, where I usually keep a clock, but it’s too bright for me to fall asleep! Of course, that’s been thought of too: in the normal view mode, the three buttons at the bottom of the clock are brightness up, down, and “mute,” which turns off the LEDs entirely. But they’re hard to get to buried underneath the frame of the clock, and it makes muting the display cumbersome in the dark. Let’s fix that!

August 11, 2010 / / Electronics
Crappy Buds
Crappy Buds

Say what you will, but iPhones are pretty awesome, and so are the headsets that come with them. At least up until you put them in your ears. The inline controls are awesome, but the speakers are uncomfortable, lacking in low end punch, and do nothing for sound isolation. Other, much better headphones exist, but for under a gajillion dollars, none come with the same kind of inline controls. Here’s how to have the best of both worlds.

August 2, 2010 / / Electronics
LaunchPad
Meet the LaunchPad

I’ve been playing with the TI LaunchPad the last day or two since I’ve been home in the US. I ordered two when they launched, but I was abroad and only just started playing with them, and I have some first impressions to share.

July 19, 2009 / / Electronics
USB metering goodness.
USB metering goodness.

A while back I wanted to monitor how much current my iPhone could draw under different conditions. I had seen a cable before where somebody brought it into a project box with a couple of screws on top exposing the two unshorted positive leads and the straight-through ground (such that you could measure both current through the cable or voltage across it), but I felt I could make things both smaller and more fully-featured.

May 24, 2009 / / Electronics
Acrylic insulated wires stink, for sure, but when they're stranded and micro-fine, they stink WAY more.
Acrylic insulated wires stink, for sure, but when they’re stranded and micro-fine, they stink WAY more.

I may use this blog to post mainly iPhone or software related articles, but I am an electrical engineering student, and as an EE, I love me some good, clean hardware. Therefore, when my favorite pair of earbuds kicked the bucket the other day, my first thought went to the in-box iPhone headset and, more importantly, how much those earbuds suck. My favorite bang-for-the-buck earbuds EVER are Skullcandy Full Metal Jackets, primarily because I got them at TJ Maxx for $25. In general though, they have silicone pads that seal out sound, instead of the hyper uncomfortable iPod earbuds that fall out and sound like crap. I was super bummed when my FMJs broke, but luckily, the part that broke was on the plug end of the earphones. That is, both earbuds themselves still work fine, only the plug is dead. My thought was to cut the crappy iPhone buds off their cable (which includes a microphone and remote button) and graft on my beloved FMJs.