Sep 19, 2011

Saving 40$

After having played with electronics for some time now, I start to see some nice benefits. So... Do you need a home-made-looking car charger to accessorize your 600$ smart phone? Well, today is your lucky day so fire up you soldering iron.

  • An old cellphone charger with a proprietary connector that won't fit into anything standard.
  • A female USB connector (I took mine from a dead keyboard)
  • A multimeter
  • If you have a bad karma, you'll also need a 5v voltage regulator
  • 15 minutes of pure fun

Phase 1: Rip open that cellphone charger connector's head and get to the two wires that will give you a 5v current (you can check that with your handy multimeter).
  • If you're lucky: there will only be two wires giving exactly 5v.
  • If you're not lucky: You have more than two wire and have to find the right two using your multimeter.
  • If you're really not lucky: You have more than 5v and will have use that 5v current regulator.

Phase 2: Solder the two wires to the USB connector using this diagram...

...or this one.

Phase 3: Using hot glue and other methods you deem appropriate, hide your bad soldering job back into the connector's head.

Voila! 40$ saved. Now you can get McDo for your entire family and still have enough for a Starbucks tomorrow morning.

Sep 12, 2011


WIP: testing the onboard LEDs
before soldering the PCB

Micro-controllers and electronics are taking over my spare time... did I say spare time? Robots and flashing lights being 'sooOOoo cool', my kids are always coming in to see the crazy things I'm working on and asking half a million questions while working at my side. There's nothing like the hands-on approach.

Some weeks ago, my 6 years old son came to me with his favorite Lego robot and started telling me is plan to put flashing lights in the chest and in the head. He proceeded to show me where the batteries would be and that the [Arduino] chip would be in the middle of robot's back with all the wires going to each parts. He finished by explaining that he wanted to use Mom's hot-glue gun to attach the parts.

The 'backpack': 9v battery (bottom),
5v regulation (right on PCB) and Arduino chip

Ah, the wave of geeky pride overwhelm my dad heart. He is one of us now!

Not only did he had a plan, it was a great plan. It was doable and all the necessary components were included.

Here's the result: