RC Helicopter Cam Hack

RC Helicopters are very popular right now and cheap! I picked this one up one at Radio Shack for $60 and they can be had at Costco even cheaper.

I thought it would be a good challenge to see if I could get a wireless video camera airborne and shoot some video of the flight! I did a few load tests and found that the maximum payload that could be lifted with this helicopter was 2 ounces. After a lot of hacking, I managed to shave enough weight off to get the thing to carry the camera and 9 volt battery. I got a few flights and some video recorded just before it started to rain but the project was a success!

I learned a few things about this class of RC helicopters while working on this project. They have a fairly short flight time and they aren’t that maneuverable. The flight time is something you have to live with but the lack of pitch control can be corrected.

There’s a device at the top of the rotor shaft called the fly bar. It’s purpose is to add stability and it does this through the use of weights at each end which create a gyro effect. I found that if I removed the weights it allowed a much great change in pitch and thus in maneuverability of the craft.

Watch the video for the full explanation and some video from the helicopter. Get one of these and a wireless camera and have some fun!

Keep On Hackin!

How To Make Cheese At Home

My girlfriend Lisa found this awesome cheese making kit from www.cheesemaking.com that makes it really easy and fun to make your own CHEESE! All you need is this kit, one gallon of whole milk and some chlorine free water.

Cheese is a wonderful thing and it’s GOOD for you. It’s really concentrated milk! You start with whole milk, add some citric acid and rennet at just the right temperatures and the solids separate from teh liquids. The solid part is what makes cheese!

Lisa also provided and awesome book on the subject opf cheese. It’s titled, The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook & Guide by Paula Lambert. It’s full of lots of great info on cheese and was helpful in understanding teh process of cheese making.

Follow along now as me make cheese together!

Keep on Hackin!

The 555 Slider Synth

Here’s a fun project to make with the 555 chip.
Here’s how it works. When it’s turned on by pressing SW1, the 555 astable oscillator is activated. It will produce a tone through the speaker that can be varied in pitch by changing the distance between the LED and the photo cell. The photo cell is mounted at one end of a 1/4″ diameter tube which shields it from 99% of the light. The LED is mounted on a piece of music wire and inserted into the tube. You change pitch by simply moving the wire in and out. Move it inwards and get a higher frequency tone. Move it outwards and the tone goes down in frequency. You can build the device as I have shown in the pictures and video, or get creative and come up with something new!

I encourage you to try building other circuits with the 555. It’s a very versatile chip with many applications.
Have fun and…

Keep On Hackin!

Parts list:
2 – 100 Ohm ohm resistors
1 – Photo Cell also call Light Dependent Resistor (LDR)
1 – 2.2 mF Electrolytic capacitor
1 – 100 mF Electrolytic capacitor
1 – Bright white LED
1 – LM555 8 pin DIP timer chip
1 – Small speaker
1 – Momentary push button switch
1 – 9 volt battery
1 – 9 volt battery clip
1 – small perf board to mount components on
Hook up wire
5″ length of music wire or large paper clip.

Rob Paisley’s 555 timer circuit page.
This has a TON of great info on the 555 including a few timing calculators to aid in component selection.
http://home.cogeco.ca/~rpaisley4/LM555.html

2007 Yamaha Virago Carburetor Repair

Well here we are back to the weekly projects! The down time was a good opportunity to regroup and dream up new projects ideas for the coming year.

My girlfriend Lisa has a 2007 Yamaha Virago that had a problem with its initial warm up. It just would NOT take throttle unless it sat and idled for about 20 minutes, and then it would still hesitate. It eventually just refused to start so I decided to take the carb apart and see what was going on. This was also an opportunity to shoot a how-to video. Follow along now as we get into the heart of this machine and find out why it wouldn’t run and set it straight!

Keep on hackin!