drink's blog

Hackery Pokery

Today I used Kapton (okay, Koptan) tape for one of its common purposes for the first time, I used it to stop insulation melting and disappearing while I was tinning leads. I got the leads out of an old parallel cable, and they probably weren't meant to be soldered at all. Old computer cables are bar none the cheapest source of highly multi-colored, small-gauge finely-stranded wire I know of. If you pick them up from thrift store warehouses or flea markets you can get them for less than a dollar, and get yourself a meter of 20+ different colors of wire.

SK450 - it's Dead Cat Time

About this time last year, I built myself a SK450 quadcopter to cheaply familiarize myself with the hobby and gain a fun new toy. That project came off very well, and I was pleased with the results for the money spent. This time, I'm upgrading that copter into a "dead cat" configuration, using some new parts and some old ones — but mostly new.

Wooden Gantry Crane

When I was offered a $300 1998 A8 Quattro parts car (for my 1997) I leapt at the chance. By the time I got it home, though, I thought better of my plan to swap the electrical harness from that car to my car, and decided that I would swap the transmission from the old car into the "parts" car because it was in such better shape. But this presented a problem — how do I pull the engine and transmission out of one car, and put it into the next, given my lack of a perfectly flat and level place to work? The answer as I see it is to build an A-Frame or a gantry.

Arduino Fan Temp Speed Control

I decided that I would like to have a programmable temperature-based fan speed controller for a fume extractor I am building from scrap parts, and the logical thing to do seemed to be to use an Arduino Nano as modern fans use a 5 volt PWM signal to control their speed, and also report back their speed with another 5 volt signal. They are also wicked cheap if you are willing to use clones.

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Walkera Devo 7e Modding

A little while ago I acquired a Walkera Devo 7e from a friend, for use with my assorted R/C aircraft. This is a pretty dandy little radio in its own right, which speaks the Walkera Devo radio protocol. By doing nothing but reflashing it with Deviation firmware, you can add support for the Spektrum DSM2 and DSMX protocols. But if you're willing to pick up a soldering iron, you can accomplish a whole lot more for not too much money.

Ambilight Clones, Windows, and Arduino

Long, long ago, when I first heard of Philips Ambilight, I thought it was one of the coolest silly things I'd ever heard of. Today, much later, I finally have gotten around to rolling my own Ambilight clone using an Arduino Nano and WS2812B strips. I did not have to write any code, because other people have already done it for me. Figuring out which people had done what properly took me the better part of a day, so I will now share my knowledge with you here. This should be a cross-platform (Win/Lin/Mac) solution, but I have only tested on Windows.

W126 vs. D2: What it's like driving the A8 vs. the 300SD

For quite some years now, my main mode of transportation has been a 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300SD, a base model-plus-sunroof 3 liter turbo diesel. This represented the budget version of the Mercedes flagship sedan, if you will, but still cost as much as a small house. I am finally moving up to something slightly newer, a 1997 Audi A8 Quattro. Like the Mercedes, when it was new, its price was similar to that of a small home. There are other similarities and differences, and only recently have I had the opportunity to make any kind of comparison.

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