The Glowing LED Hoodie

It’s Halloween! Time for another costume and another project to share. This week I’ve come up with a simple yet visually outstanding project using some super bright jumbo green LEDs. I have quite a few of these so I’m always putting them to use in projects like last year’s LED Christmas Card hack. Whenever I use LEDs I usually get a data sheet on them so I know the maximum forward voltage and the maximum amperage ratings. Once I know these to values I can enter them into this handy LED series/parallel array wizard so I know how to wire them up with the proper resistor. However, I sometimes just solder a bunch of them together and connect them to my power supply and see what kind of maximum brightness I can get out of them without a resistor! Seat of the pants electronics hacking at it’s best!

Follow along with the video and you’ll see how to put this simple Halloween costume together with just a dozen LEDs and a 6 volt power source.

Keep on hackin!

More fun with the Parallax Propeller Board Of Education

This week I’ve posted a video tutorial about getting into the Spin code that the Propeller uses. It’s a wonderful programming language that has a great interface in the Propeller Tool.
In this video you’ll learn about objects and their libraries which will give you enough of a head start to go ahead and run through this well written tutorial by Andy Lindsay. All you need is a Board Of Education, a USB cable and the desire to learn how to program!

Keep on hackin!

Getting Started With The Parallax Propeller Board Of Education

The folks at Parallax Electronics have given me the opportunity to do some projects using their line of products. I’ve decided that this would be an excellent opportunity to not only try out some cool gear but to also share the whole process in a series of how-to videos here on Hack A Week!

In this first installment about working with the Parallax Electronics Board Of Education or (BOE) we’ll get familiar with the the BOE’s I/O pins and on board devices and ports. Next we’ll download and install the software and USB drivers, configure the software, download some code and learn some SPIN programming language by making LED’s blink at different rates, and in different ways. When you’re finished you’ll be familiar with the Propeller chip, the BOE and SPIN programming language. This will allow you to then move on to higher learning with the Propeller as I post more tutorials.

First off, here a few links you’ll need for hardware/software and learning resources:
Parallax homepage
Parallax Board Of Education learning page
Download Propeller Tool V 1.3
Buy a Board Of Education here
Parallax Forums
Parallax Object Ecxchange

Pictured below is one of the first projects you create with the BOE. It’s a simple demonstration using some code to blink a row of LEDs alternately.

I find the learning curve to be fairly easy with the BOE and the amount of available community knowledge is growing every day. The Parallax Object Exchange is a repository of tons of useful methods to get things done with the Parallax Propeller micro controller.

I would strongly encourage anyone new to programming that wants to get past a single core Arduino and move on to a more powerful processor to buy a BOE and start doing some serious inventing!

Enjoy the how-to video below and stay tuned for more in this series. I’ll be connecting some other modules and sensors to the BOE and all along the way you’ll get to learn as well.

Keep on hackin!

2008 Honda Civic rear disc brakes

Time to work on the Honda again! My girlfriend has a 100 mile per day commute in her 2008 Honda Civic so the brakes wear pretty fast. In another installment I did the front brakes on this car but now it’s time to renew the rear brake pads. These cars and others use the rear brake caliper as the mechanism to apply the parking brakes. This requires a different approach to compressing the caliper pistons back into a position which allows the installment of new brake pads.

Watch this video for a detailed how-to on replacing these pads.

Keep on hackin!