LEDs, Neuroti-Kart in top 10 Gadget Masters
A special Gadget Master feature highlighting the best of LED designs led the way for the most popular entries for the month of April. Neuroti-Kart, the home-made electric go-kart – which is an oldie but a goodie – came a respectable second, still drawing in the crowds months after it made its debut on Gadget Master. 1. Trip the Light Fantastic with LED Gadget masters From their humble beginnings as little red dots that let the user know if household appliances are switched on, LEDs can now be ultra bright light sources capable of lighting up a room or illuminating the road ahead of a vehicle. Here is a collection of the best LED gadgets that have made themselves home in Gadget master. 2. Neuroti-Kart: Home-Made Electric Go-Kart This old chestnut is still performing well. After extensive tinkering in his shed, this inventor created this unique go-kart. The Gadget master’s design goals were to make something “electric powered, quiet, fast, capable of doing donuts in my street”. 3. Meet Andrew’s Blast from the Past Back to the future. Sometimes the best way to take a step forward is to take a step back in time. So Andrew Smith designed a fully functional toy oscilloscope, made out of parts he found in his junk box, such as the EF91, EF80 and EF184 valves. Using a DC-DC converter to power the old (but still working) 7cm CRT he discovered in his loft, Andrew housed it in the same wooden box as the rest of the circuitry. The whole system runs from a single regulated 12.6V DC supply, which can be derived from a “wall-wart” PSU. Doc Brown would be proud. 4. Pete decided to give his lamp a facelift Making an ordinary lamp a work of art. Seeing great potential in a normal, off-the-shelf product, Pete Griffiths designed a circuit he popped into the lamp to give it a new lease of life. His design combines a PIC and three constant current buck converters to create the RGB LED controller. This controller drives the high power 350mA LEDs using PWM to control the LED brightness. By driving the red, green and blue LEDs with varying pulse widths the controller can generate up to 16 million colours using fades, strobe and static effects. Who says you can’t give the humble lamp a nip and tuck? 5. CMOS quad Schmitt makes gardening easy Plant watcher ensures your plants won’t go thirsty. This is the gadget green fingers across the globe have been waiting for. Italian designer Flavio Dellepiane put together a plant watering watcher that flashes an LED at a low rate when the soil in the pot plant becomes too dry. Adjusting the 50k 10mm cermet trimmer allows the plant watering watcher the flexibility to adapt to different soil and pot combinations. With extremely low 3V power consumption, there’s really no reason for your plants to get anything less than five-star treatment. Put your feet up this summer and let the watering watcher take the guess work out of your plant’s next drink. 6. LED blade powers self-built Star Wars lightsaber Check out this entry for a “how-to” on making your own authentic lightsaber, featuring an LED blade, a Pentium heat-sink and gold connectors. 7. Arduino Sound – Part one This is the first in a series of articles about generating sound with an Arduino. The goals are to generate good quality sound which can be used to play simple tones, stored music, sampled sound and even act as a MIDI synthesiser. 8. Lights, camera … staircase! From Alan Parekh’s tome of knowledge, comes the stair lighting kit. The lighting control unit is microcontroller based. The stair lights are connected to the control unit and an Infrared transmitter and receiver are used at the top and bottom of the staircase to generate a beam of invisible light. 9. Build a 7×7 monochrome LED display Here is the circuit schematic as well as build instructions and parts list for an easy to build 7×7 LED matrix. The 7×7 monochrome LED display comes into its own when showing animations. The link shows the circuit schematic is quite simple. All you need is an AVR, a few transistors, com resistors and some logic to convert RS232 to TTL. 10. Bill loved riding his bike at night That’s why he created a 40-LED night light to make sure he could see and be seen on his bike. Bill set up a 555 timer IC to generate a continuous on/off timing cycle to alternatively flash two groups of 20 LEDs. His night light operates on four AA batteries, which will keep the road ahead nice and bright, even on the darkest and chilliest of British nights. You can even extend battery life with a second circuit Bill put together that uses a short duty cycle to flash a single set of 30 LEDs.