Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to Add Custom Ringtones to a Wireless Doorbell

I moved into a new house this year One of the many things left behind by the previous owner was a pair of wireless doorbells. So I took the opportunity to try modding them to make them more interesting. One idea that I had was to use a recording module to give the doorbell custom ringtones. Since the wireless receiver uses a ground signal to activate the ringer, all I had to do was move one wire from the doorbell's speaker to the recording module's play pin. Then you can just record whatever ringtone you want and use it as a doorbell. The only down side is that the recording module that I used was really quite so it wouldn't work for a whole house doorbell.

For step by step instructions for this project, check out my Instructables page:

Pringles Can Mod

Wouldn't it be great if there were some way to adjust the level of the chips in a Pringles can. When the can gets low, you either have to pour them out onto a plate or get chip dust all over your hands reaching down to the bottom of the can.

So I cam up with a few ideas for ways that the chips could be raised as you eat the chips. This project shows one idea that involves a spring loaded platform that you can pull up with strings attached to the lid.

For step by step instructions on how I built this ridiculous and unnecessary mod, check out my Instructables page:

Cooking with Power Tools

Have you ever wished that cooking involved more power tools. Of course you have. Well, here are a few ways that you can do it. Just get your cordless drill and use your imagination. You can make a cordless power mixer, a power pepper grinder, a power cheese grater or a power dish scrubber. None of these applications are necessary but all of them are much more fun than doing it the normal way.

How to Make a Spray Bottle That Works in any Direction/Position

At one point or another we have all been annoyed by the fact that a spray bottle won't work if you want to spray something at too much of an angle. So I made a simple mod that lets it work in any orientation. I replaced the hard suction tube with a flexible tube and added stainless steel weights at the end. This way the end of the tube will naturally fall to the lowest point of the container where the liquid will pool. Basically it is a clunk tank. This kind of suction tube is used is a lot of mobile fuel tanks such as airplanes and string trimmers.

For step by step instructions check out my Instructables page:

How to Make Any Home Appliance Into a Solar Electric Hybrid

The biggest problem with implementing residential solar power is the start up cost. Home solar systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars and most families just can't afford it. So I came up with an idea for scaling a solar electric system down to make it cheaper and easier to implement. By designing a system for a single appliance, all the parts can be smaller/cheaper and it doesn't require any rewiring of the home's electrical system.

Here are the basics. A solar panel charges a battery. When the battery is fully charged, the system turns on a power inverter and switches the appliance from running on grid power to running on the solar power that is stored in the battery. When the battery gets low, the system automatically switches the appliance back to running on grid power. By using the solar power on a duty cycle, you take full advantage of all the available solar power.

I built a simple system that periodically powers a desk lamp for less than $200

For step by step instructions on how to build one of these systems, check out my Instructables page:

Maker Faire Bay Area 2012

This year I was finally able to attend Maker Faire. I can't get over how amazing it was. Check out some of the highlights.

Chindogu: Food Magnifier

A chindogu is an "unuseless" invention. They tend to focus on functionality to the exclusion of practicality. They work, but no one would ever use them. Just do an image search for "chindogu" and you will find a ton of ridiculous products. So when Instructables hosted a chindogu contest, I had to contribute with something ridiculous of my own. The result was "The Food Magnifier." Check it out.

DIY Capacitive Stylus

Whenever I get to try out a new electronic gadget, I inevitable start trying to figure out how it works. This was the case with my new smart phone. I started researching touch screens and experimenting with how they work. I figured out that you can use pretty much anything conductive as a DIY capacitive stylus. So I made a brief video on a few designs that worked fairly well.

For a more detailed description, check out my Instructables page:

LED Easter Eggs

Little kids love Easter egg hunts. But as they get older, they start to lose interest. So this project is an attempt to try to make Easter egg hunts more interesting. Just make a bunch of LED throwies (minus the magnets) and put them in the eggs with the candy. And voila! Glow in the dark Easter Eggs for nighttime Easter egg hunts. Soon you will have a bunch of kids running around in the dark, staring at the ground and not looking where they are going. What could possibly go wrong?