Hack your Hardware

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Workshop proposal: Hack your Hardware Jtfoote 14:11, 7 November 2008 (PST)

"No user-serviceable parts inside" -- we call bullshit on that!

Favorite gadget busted? Don't throw it away; fix it! (Or at least autopsy it for the good of science!) Bring in your hardware yearning to reach its maximum potential (or give its life for spare parts). 90% of electronics failures are caused by bad connections or simple mechanical problems: we'll show you what to look for and how to fix them. We give you permission to take things apart, see what's inside, and improve them.

Possible projects:

  • Add an extra iPod input jack to your clock radio or computer speakers
  • Add a USB hub to a desk lamp (or a bobblehead doll, or a stuffed toy, or...)
  • Hotrod your IR remote control to go around corners
  • Extract the stepper motors and other good stuff from a printer found on the sidewalk
  • Fix that funky power jack on your old laptop so you can give it to Mom
  • Add another headphone jack (or FM transmitter?) to your laptop
  • Add a LED backlight or tasklight to a keyboard or a handheld game
  • Add a secondary switch or a dimmer to a power strip
  • A one-wire hack turns a discarded ATX PSU into a benchtop power supply
  • Replace the tired nicads in your electric toothbrush (or favorite power screwdriver, or other rechargeable toy)
  • Hotrod your power screwdriver with Li+ batteries

You will have more and better ideas. Bring them and share! I personally will be adding a pilot light to my desoldering gun so I can tell when I have the f*cker plugged in.

Yes this could be dangerous, and we may break things. That's how we learn.


Proposed schedule:

Week 1: Take things apart, determine problems, solutions, necessary parts to obtain.
Week 2: Having obtained parts, put things back together and smoke-test (if it doesn't smoke, it passes!)

Your comments and suggestions are a crucial part of this: thanks in advance

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