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!

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

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 extend the range
  • Extract DC motors and other good stuff from that CD player 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 power screwdriver, or other rechargeable gizmo)
  • Hotrod your favorite power screwdriver with Li+ batteries
  • Circuit-bend that electronic toy for an even more annoying sound

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 it's plugged in and thus burninatingly hot.)

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

Interested folks[edit | edit source]




David Molnar - have a dead laptop to play with


rachel I have a broken iron I'd like to fix

jim i've got lots of broken stuff to play with

Christie Latest toy is a Neuros I dropped on its head.

David Stainton

Miloh Hardest fix I have on my bench has got to be the Playstation with video sync problems. Next down a-ways is a cheap Roland studio monitor board with a bad channel (replace the 14W TDA2030 or ridiculous ubiquitous JRC4558DD?). I have a small e-waste parts collection and an eye to make a Gleaner's map of what's good to salvage, what's not, and what's dangerous.

Bethany Please please let's have this, I want to play. I'll bring treats for the group.

When?[edit | edit source]

Not yet scheduled, likely after the soldering workshop

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