Friday, March 28, 2014

Control Appliances With Your TV Remote (and an Arduino)

Most of the buttons on a remote control are never used. So why not use them to control appliances and other electronics around your house. In this project, I am going to show you how to use an Arduino to decode the signal from your remote and use it to make an outlet switch that can turn your electronics on and off.

When you are done, you will be able to control lights, fans and even your coffee maker with your TV remote.

For stet by step instructions check out the Instructable:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sound Effect Desk Bell

Most people are familiar with the classic desk bell. So when they press the button on top of the bell, they expect to hear a gentle ringing sound. They are not expecting to hear a bird chirping, gun fire or other sound effects. But that is what will happen if they press the button on this desk bell.

In this project, I show you how to modify a desk bell so that it plays sound effects. It makes a fun little prank for your friends and coworkers.

For detailed step by step instructions, check out the instructable:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Magnetic Scrubber for Hard to Clean Containers

Sometimes it can be difficult to clean the insides of containers like vases and fish tanks. Many flower vases have an opening that is too narrow to fit your hand through and a shape that makes it inconvenient to use a brush. With a fish tank, you often have to drain the tank in order to clean the glass. Both of these problems can easily be solved with a simple magnetic scrubber. All you have to do is embed a strong magnet inside a sponge or other scrubbing tool. Then you can guide it with another magnet on the outside and clean even the most difficult to reach places. You could even use this kind of tool to clean the outside of windows.

For step by step instructions, check out the instructable:

Talking Caps Lock Key Prank

Do you know someone that types with the Caps Lock on? How would you like to modify their keyboard so that it yells at them when they hit the Caps Lock key? In this project I show you how to do just that. All you have to do is wire a small sound module to the circuit board inside the keyboard. You don't even need to solder anything.

The keyboard has a small LED that indicates when the Caps Lock is on. I connected this LED to the Play switch on the sound module. When the LED turns on, it activates the sound module and it plays the sound clip.

Just for fun, I recorded a clip of Billy Mayes saying his tag line  "Hi Billy Mayes here!"

For step by step instructions, check out the instructable:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Invisible Spy Beacon / Infrared LED Throwie

Spies need ways to secretly communicate with their partners. This can be a simple signal like a chalk mark on a wall or a newspaper left on a park bench. But the best kind of signal is completely invisible. In this project, I am going to show you how to make a simple invisible beacon that you can use to signal your friends and accomplices.

For step by step instructions, check out the Instructable:

Snow Monitoring Scale

Snowfall is often just measured by its depth in inches (or centimeters). But there are other important factors to consider. The density, the temperature, and the crystal shape all greatly affect how the snow behaves when you try to work with it. So it might be useful if we also measured other properties of snow as well.

For instance, if you have to shovel snow, the thing that you are most concerned about is the weight of the snow. To measure this, I made a simple scale that can be read remotely. This lets you monitor the snowfall from the comfort of your warm house. It makes a great addition to any DIY home weather station.

For step by step instructions check out the Instructable: