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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

Looking at the most popular Gadget Masters this month, we realised there must have been a Star Wars convention this month we didn’t hear about, because the most popular entry was the remarkable LED lightsaber. May the force be with you.

Closely following behind was the rotating LED display gadget, and Andrew’s headphone amp snapping at the LED gadget’s heels.

Without further ado, may we present the 10 most popular Gadget Masters for March. Enjoy.

1. LED blade powers self-built Star Wars lightsaber
Check out the finkbuilt blog for a “how-to” on making your own authentic lightsaber, featuring an LED blade, a Pentium heat-sink and gold connectors.

2. How to build a rotating LED display
Alan Parekh designed a rotating LED display. His rotating LED display page contains more images and build instructions.

3. Andrew liked the sound of nostalgia
The best companion to your music collection. Everyone loves valve hi-fi equipment. A fan of mixing the old with the new, Andrew Smith designed a very high performance valve headphone amplifier. The headphone amp also includes a DC-DC converter providing the required 175V at 15mA for two channels which shuts down gracefully if the output current reaches 38mA, so there’ll be no chance of a burn-up while you’re burning up the dancefloor at home. So now you can take a step back in time a little while listening to everything from Beethoven to Britney.

4. Gadget Masters, we have a problem!
Enthusiasts Joe and Brad designed a clever, electronically controlled two-stage model rocket powered by a 9V NiCad battery. The heart of the electronic control system consists of a small FPGA with a soft-core processor that runs the control algorithm and logic.

5. Ring ring ring goes the telephone light flasher
Thanks to this clever ringing phone light flasher gadget found on Aaroncake’s electronic circuits page, you can now have a light happily flashing away as someone tries to give you a call. No word yet on a gadget that can help you avoid someone you really don’t want to speak to, but we’ll keep you posted.

6. Neuroti-Kart: Home-made electric go-kart
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’.

7. 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. 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?

8. Cruising: Gadget Masters for your car
Since Gadget Master’s birth in the summer of 2007, we have featured several clever and original designs that make any automobile connoisseur’s life just that little bit easier. Here are the best of the best Gadget Masters for your car that we have hosted on these pages.

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. White LED driver provides 64-step algorithmic
This circuit for the white LED driver drives as many as four white LEDs from a 3.3V source and adjusts the total LED current from 1 to 106 mA in 64 steps of 1 dB each. The white LED driver is designed for portable power applications that require white LEDs with adjustable, logarithmic dimming levels.

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