Add a Bluetooth Interface to Your Kitchen Scale

Originally posted on Hackaday:

Kitchen scale

When [Adam] found himself in need of a force meter, he didn’t want to shell out the cash for a high-end model. Instead, he realized he should be able to modify a simple and inexpensive kitchen scale to achieve the results he desired.

The kitchen scale [Adam] owned was using all through hole components on a double-sided PCB. He was able to easily identify all of the IC’s and find their datasheets online. After doing some research and probing around with a frequency counter, he realized that one of the IC’s was outputting a frequency who’s pulse width was directly proportional to the amount of weight placed on the scale. He knew he should be able to tap into that signal for his own purposes.

[Adam] created his own custom surface mount PCB, and used an ATMega8 to detect the change in pulse width. He then hooked up a Bluetooth module to transmit…

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Network Controlled Decorative LED Matrix Frame

Originally posted on Hackaday:

LED-Pixel-FrameThere is nothing better than a project that you can put on display for all to see. [Tristan's] most recent project, a Decorative LED Matrix Frame, containing 12×10 big square pixels that can display any color, is really cool.

Having been built around a cheap IKEA photo frame this project is very doable, at least for those of you with a 3D printer. The 3D printer is needed to create the pixel grid, which ends up looking very clean in the final frame. From an electronics perspective, the main components are a set of Adafruit Neopixel LED strips, and an Arduino Uno with an Ethernet shield. The main controller even contains a battery backup for the real time clock (RTC) when the frame is unplugged; a nice touch. Given that the frame is connected to the local network, [Tristan] designed the frame to be controlled by a simple HTML5 interface (code available on GitHub)…

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Why your 20s are so important

Originally posted on

Meg Jay caused a storm with her TED Talk in 2013. "I am living proof you’re wrong!" steamed one incensed commenter, while the very next wrote, "This is truly inspiring!" What got people so hot under the collar? Her thesis that one’s 20s are not a throwaway decade, and that planning for life needs to start happening … right now. Here, the talk gets a cool graphic treatment from our friends at Superinteressante magazine in Brazil. (Click the image to enlarge.)


Image credit: Karin Hueck and Rafael Quick

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How we scaled OpenStack to launch 168,000 cloud instances

Originally posted on JavaCruft:

In the run up to the OpenStack summit in Atlanta, the Ubuntu Server team had it’s first opportunity to test OpenStack at real scale.SM_FS_15K_Frt_web-lo

AMD made available 10 SeaMicro 15000 chassis in one of their test labs. Each chassis has 64, 4 core, 2 thread (8 logical cores), 32GB RAM servers with 500G storage attached via a storage fabric controller – creating the potential to scale an OpenStack deployment to a large number of compute nodes in a small rack footprint.

As you would expect, we chose the best tools for deploying OpenStack:

  • MAAS – Metal-as-a-Service, providing commissioning and provisioning of servers.
  • Juju – The service orchestration for Ubuntu, which we use to deploy OpenStack on Ubuntu using the OpenStack charms.
  • OpenStack Icehouse on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.
  • CirrOS – a small footprint linux based Cloud OS

MAAS has native support for enlisting a full SeaMicro 15k chassis in a single…

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A Motion Activated AC Switching Circuit using Mostly Discrete Components

Originally posted on Hackaday:

AC motion switch

If you’ve ever dealt with a brightly lit Christmas tree, you might understand the frustration of having to crawl underneath the tree to turn the lights on and off. [brmarcum] feel’s your pain. He’s developed his own motion activated AC switching circuit to turn the lights on and off automatically. A motion sensor ensures that the lights are only on when there are people around to actually see the lights. The circuit also has an adjustable timer so [brmarcum] can change the length of time that the lights stay on.

The project is split into several different pieces. This makes the building and debugging of the circuit easier. The mains power is first run through a transformer to lower the voltage by a factor of 10. What remains is then filtered and regulated to 9VDC. [brmarcum] is using a Parallax PIR sensor which requires 4.5V. Therefore, the 9V signal is then lowered…

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Repurpose an Old CRT Computer Monitor as a High Voltage Science Project Power Supply

Originally posted on Hackaday:

High Voltage Monitor Power Supply Conversion

Finally somebody has found a good use for all those old CRT computer monitors finding their way to the landfills. [Steven Dufresne] from steps us through a very simple conversion of a CRT computer monitor into a high-voltage power supply. Sure you can make a few small sparks but this conversion is also useful for many science projects. [Steve] uses the monitor power supply to demonstrate powering an ionocraft in his video, a classic science experiment using high voltage.

The conversion is just as simple as you would think. You need to safely discharge the TV tube, cut the cup off the high voltage anode cable and reroute it to a mounting bracket outside the monitor. The system needs to be earth grounded so [Steve] connects up a couple of ground cables. One ground cable for the project and one for a safety discharge rod. It’s really that…

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555 Timer Weekend Projects

Originally posted on MAKE:

The 555 timer IC is often considered one of the most successful integrated circuits of all time. That success stems not only from its sheer production volume — with approximately a billion made annually — but also for its ease of understanding and the diversity of its applications. Over at Weekend Projects, we’ve used the 555 in everything ranging from beginner-friendly breadboard experiments to advanced weekend-long builds. Continue reading after the jump for some fine examples of the 555 in action.

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