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And we have the first Raspberry Pi Zero hack! In less than 72 hours from the official release announcement [Shintaro] attached an Edimax WiFi USB Adapter directly to the USB solder pads on the Pi Zero. He couldn’t bear to disturb the small dimensions of the Pi Zero by using the USB On-the-Go (OTG). The OTG is needed to convert the micro-USB connector on the board to a full USB-A connector.
The case was removed from the Edimax and the device and Zero wrapped in Capton to insulate the exposed solder points. Power was taken from the PP1 and PP6 points on the back of the board. These are the unregulated inputs from the USB power so should be used with caution. Some cheap USB power supplies can put out more that 5 volts when first connected and that might let the smoke out of a device.
The data wires were connected to PP22 and PP23, also on the back, and behind the USB data connector. Since USB is a differential signal these wires were carefully kept of equal length to avoid distorting the signal.
An SD card was created and edited on a Raspberry Pi B 2 to set the WiFi credentials. Inserted into the Zero it booted fine and started up the WiFi network connection.
Congratulations, [Shintaro] for the first Hackaday Raspberry Pi Zero hack. Is that a Hack-a-Zero-Day hack?
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Nothing brings joy to a hacker’s heart like taking a cheap gizmo and making it useful. Over at Hackaday.io [AndyHull] popped open some cheap LiPo battery power packs to see if he could power a Canon Powershot camera. The entire shebang would be left in the wilderness for photography so keeping it inexpensive was a big goal since it might be destroyed or lost.
The power packs [Andy] looked at have a TP4221 controlling the charge cycle for up to four 18650 LiPo cells connected in parallel. The controller also boosts the voltage to 5 volts for one or two USB ports while providing automatic shutdown if the LiPo cell voltage drops below 3.2v. Below that voltage the cells can be damaged and might possibly cause a fire.
The packs [Andy] used also had a torch output to drive an LED almost directly from the cells. That output is a nominally 3.8 V at 100 mA which is just what he needed to power the Canon Powershot. It could be used to power small micros or other low power devices.
The LED was removed and replaced by a connection to outside the pack. The torch output is triggered by two quick presses on a switch that was also replaced with a connector to allow remote control.
If you’re looking for powerful battery options, give LiPo a try and have a look at [Andy]’s LiPo battery safety issues post, also on Hackaday.io. For a broader LiPo overview, see this obsessive rundown of various batteries.
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Humans seem to have a strange love affair with testing their limits, especially when it comes to spinning. Perhaps they ride the Gravitron while dreaming they’re in NASA’s 20 g test centrifuge. When carnival rides aren’t enough though, a few intrepid hackers bust out the welders and take matters into their own hands. This is a hack that goes by many names, though “The Redneck Spin Chair” will bring up plenty of hits on YouTube.
The design is dead simple. Take a rear differential and axle assembly out of an old car or truck. Rotate it 90 degrees, so the diff is now pointing up. Weld a chair on. Finally, weld on a couple of tow bars. Pulling the whole mess will cause the wheels to spin, which transmits power through the differential and rotates the chair. The ride doesn’t have be pulled very fast, as automotive differentials generally have reduction between 3:1 and 5:1. We’re running things in reverse, so that reduction becomes a multiplier. The result, which can be seen in the video below is a very dizzy rider.
The earliest incarnation of this ride we could find was created at Eagle Mountain in Burtrum, Minnesota. We’re betting this particular hack has been around for decades longer though. The closest in our recent memory is North Street Labs’ Centrifury. Do you know of an earlier incarnation? Let us know in the comments!
Filed under: classic hacks