How To Install French Doors

Lisa asked me a few months ago about installing French doors in her house. She has a nice sun room just off from the living/dining area and she’s always wanted French doors in the pass through. Since we’ll be living together soon we decided the time was right to get them installed. My two dogs Fritz and Sophie need a room they can be in during the day that’s separate from the rest of the house and the sun room is the perfect choice. It has lots of light, hardwood floors and there’s a sliding door that leads to the outside deck and the back yard where we can easily install a dog door.

The entire cost of this project is less than $700 with all the materials coming from a big box home improvement center nearby. In the video you’ll see just what kind of tools, materials and planning it takes to install French doors and you’ll also learn how to hang doors in general. It’s a full 30 minutes of how-to so get comfortable, sit back and enjoy.

Keep on hackin, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Parallax HMC5883L Compass Module with LCD Readout

This week I’m working with some more products from Parallax Electronics. I’ve spent several hours at the bench figuring out how to get the Compass Module to display it’s readings to 2 x 16 LCD. I started out with the demo code for the compass module and modified it to output to the LCD instead of the serial terminal window. It took quite a bit of trial and error as I learned just what the demo code did and how it needed to be modified for the LCD. In the video you’ll see just what I changed to get it to work!

This is the board as I had it set up for this project:

This is the wiring diagram for the project:

You can download the code here:
compass with LCD V3.spin

Here are the links to the Parallax products used in this week’s project:
Propeller Board Of Education
Parallax HMC5883L Compass Module
Parallax # 27977 2 x 16 Backlit LCD with Piezo Speaker

Enjoy the video and… Keep On Hackin!

Automatic LCD Sunglasses

This week I completed a hack I’ve been working on for a few weeks. It all started with Ben Heck’s automatic sunglasses hack. He used an MCU and a photocell to flip down some shades in front of his glasses using some mini servos. I figured I could come up with something simpler and indeed I have.
These automatic sunglasses are based on active shutter 3D glasses used for viewing 3D TV and video. I found a couple of pairs on ebay for about $13 each. I opened them up and started hackin! What you see in the pics and video below are the results. I built a light detector circuit with a photocell and a transistor which allows voltage to flow to the LCD which turns it dark. A 1K ohm resistor serves to discharge the LCD and make it go back to clear quickly.

NOTE! If you decide to build these you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK! These glasses are made of thin glass and if broken while wearing them could cause damage to your eye or even blind you. I also make no claim that they actually filter out harmful UV rays. That said, this is a proof of concept hack that can teach you about a light detector circuit and how to use an LM317T voltage regulator.

Be safe, have fun and…
keep on hackin!