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Featuring homemade electronic gadgets, the latest in development boards (Arduino, BeagleBoard, Raspberry Pi, etc), examples of cool design, and the latest and greatest (and most shiny) consumer gadgets.

Top 10 Gadget Masters

Here is the list of the most popular Gadget Masters in January.

1. Top 10 tips for the PIC16C508

A common complaint shared by electronics engineers is that they run out of output lines when programming. Many projects need lots of drive lines and if one needs more than around eight, it may be wise to jump to another microcontroller. To combat this problem, as well as another nine handy hints, today Gadget Master brings to you the top 10 tips for the PIC16C508.

2. Richard had a flash of inspiration

Now he’s got the power to cut lightning down to size. People have always been fascinated by the fury of the heavens. Electronics prodigy Richard Hodgkinson created a lightning distance timer so he would no longer have to manually calculate the approach or retreat of a thunderstorm. He recycled a 70 KHz crystal from an old device for the oscillator. “Let there be light,” he declared as two HP 45MGC670 surface mount LEDs were attached to allow him to see measurements in the dark. And his project wouldn’t be complete without two 1.5V AA cells which are the heart of his timer. Now his creation is alive, all he needs is a wicked thunderstorm.

3. Jerry had high ambitions

How high can you go? That’s a question that model rocket enthusiast Jerry Baumeister wanted an answer to. Cheap enough to be used in even “risky” launches, Jerry’s battery-powered device features a circuit designed around a Flash microcontroller that performs an analog-to-digital conversion of the voltage produced by an absolute pressure transducer. Altitude and operational data is then output to two LEDs. Since the output is in A/D units, Jerry just has to do a quick mathematical conversion and he’s flying high. Or at least he knows if his rockets are.

4. Build your own DigiThermo

This link explains how to build your own DigiThermo to measure time and temperature. The DigiThermo demonstrates the use of “C” language, a dual-slope converter, LCD interfacing and digital filtering as well.

5. How did we manage before the headlight alarm?

Never forget to turn off your headlight ever again! Most new cars already have a headlight alarm built in but there are still many cars out there without that feature. This circuit is cheap and easy to put together.

6. Simple Christmas-tree lights tester

Why is it that you always test 48 bulbs before you find the bad one in a 50-light string? This simple circuit allows you to divide and conquer, greatly reducing the time it takes to find the bad bulb.

7. Neuroti-Kart: Home-made electric go-kart

The Neuroti-Kart has proved to be one of our most popular Gadget Masters ever. After extensive tinkering in his shed, ‘wires99′ created Neuroti-Kart, the home-made electric go-kart. His design goals were to make something ‘electric powered, quiet, fast, capable of doing donuts in my street’.

8. Tweaking Arduino

Gadget Master reader David Fowler shares his tips on how to update the Arduino compatible Bare Bones Board.

9. Charge your motorcycle battery

Gadget Master reader David Fowler shares his tips on how to update the Arduino compatible Bare Bones Board.

10. Can you turn a Pringles can into a WiFi antenna?

The jury’s still out as to whether these guys have way too much time on their hands, or if this is simply a case of viral marketing, but this duo seemed to have answered the age-old conundrum of what to do with that empty Pringles can lying around the house: just turn it into a WiFi antenna. As you do.

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