February 18th, 2010

Mobile 2.4 GHz Spectrum Analyzer

Mobile 2.4 GHz Spectrum AnalyzerMobile 2.4 GHz Spectrum Analyzer

Miguel writes :

The analyzer has become my best travel companion. It’s very discrete: everyone think you are playing with a mobile phone!. You can see in a moment what are the used frecuencies / channels at your location. One of the most interesting things if to carry it in the pocket in exposure mode and walk sometime in your neighborhood. In this way you can find easily what are the free frecuencies or channels. With the time, I learned how to distinguish between different device

Mobile 2.4 GHz Spectrum Analyzer: [via HackADay]

August 16th, 2009

Nokia N97 GPS Upgrade

Nokia N97 GPS Upgrade

The N97 touchscreen smartphone from Nokia was announced at the end of 2008 and was released earlier this year. With quite an impressive set of features that would satisfy even the pickiest of mobile phone users, the N97 has its share of flaws that can be very disappointing when counting on the phone to get your job done. Such a flaw is the N97’s GPS performance, which is rather poor, especially with this kind of feature-rich phone – it’s worse than N95, which is already an old model for those who follow the mobile phone industry closely. But this unfortunate defect can be remedied with some minor adjustments.

The idea of this hack is to improve the GPS performance of your N97 with ease, dismantling it with care and adding some copper wire to its antenna. Because half of the antenna wire is covered with glue, you will need to peel it first, until you get to the metal. Then, you add a copper wire (you can easily find it in all sorts of broken stuff you may have laying around) that should be placed under the GPS antenna. And that’s it, your N97 will now be more reliable since the antenna received the special high-tech upgrade presented – the addition of the copper wire!

On a side note, as the author of the original article says, I’m also baffled by the terrible performance of some of the high-end smartphones. I’m not a big fan of the GPS, but something is definitely wrong when you pay hundreds of dollars for a device that performs so bad in environments in which it was meant to function. How all of this eludes the people in charge of testing is a mystery.

Nokia N97 GPS Upgrade: [Link][via]

January 20th, 2009

AVR thermometer+Nokia display

AVR thermometer+Nokia display

Here is another project which proves the versatility of the Nokia 3310 display, with a few components you can have a thermometer with graphical display. In many cases the 3310 display is to small, well for this application it fits like a glove, the sensor is the DS1621 with i2c interface, this way you can learn also how to use the AVR two wire interface to, don’t be afraid of the graphical display, you will find plenty of example source code and library.

Estimating from the price drop of LCD technology, the commonly used two row alpha numeric displays will be obsolete in a few years, its time to migrate to graphical!

AVR thermometer+Nokia display: [Link]

October 10th, 2008

Super TV-B-Gone

I liked the tvbgone kit from Ladyada the first time i saw it but i never had the time to build it, until a week ago. But than i decided to build a more powerful one that could turn off TV’s from even greater distance. I came up with a design that consists of 48 IR LED’s and a ATmega8 that will send the signals to the LED’s.

the led board
Unfortunately i wasn’t paying attention on a small paragraph from Ladyada that was saying “Use 940nm IR LEDs.” so without knowing i bought 860nm IR LED’s (L53SF6C from Kingbright). I did not knew at that time that this is going to affect the distance at which the device works. Why L53SF6C ? they seemed nice because at 50 mA they have typical 100 mW/sr so allot more power than the F3(940 nm) series which had 30 mW/sr at 50 mA.

I arranged the LED’s in 4 rows of 12 pieces and the resistors fit quite nicely between the LED’s. I used four BD139 NPN transistors to drive the rows. It took me hours to drill and then solder this board(48 LED’s and 48 resistors mean 192 holes plus the other parts)

super tvbgonesuper tvbgone

the controller board
The controller board contains an ATmega8 chosen because of it’s 8k memory needed to store all the codes, an 8 MHz crystal, an LED, a tact switch and some resistors and capacitors. I designed the board so that it can also be used for other projects.

super tvbgonesuper tvbgone

the code
It took me some time to adjust the code from tiny85 to ATmega8, getting the timers right was tricky but i managed to get it done. Also i had to delete a couple of codes to fit it in the 8k’s of the ATmega8.

the power
The whole project is powered from a Nokia BL-5B battery which was ugly fitted onto a peace of PCB 🙂 . I can’t seem to find a decent socket to hold such a battery. I’ve run the circuit for over a week every day and the battery is keeping up, and when it gets discharged I’ll simply charge it inside of an old nokia phone.

super tvbgone

Testing it
Well as you can imagine the first thing i did was to test it on the TV’s in my place, it worked perfectly. Next i wanted to test it on a larger scale so i took the device onto a nearby supermarket were they have a bunch of Tv’s onto a wall. I had to conceal the device somehow so they don’t kick me out of the store 🙂 so i placed the device inside a CD case. I don’t know how much the case is obstructing the signal, but it was turning off TV’s from a distance of 20 meters.

super tvbgone

Probably choosing the right wavelength LED’s would double the distance, and by using a clear case the distance would double again, but that’s just a guess.

The boards were designed in Eagle and fabricated by me using the photo etching technique.

I’m planing to build a newer version, in fact i already sent the files for PCB fabricating. This new version will use only 4 LED’s just like the original design, and will be smaller thus easier to conceal and it will also use ATmega8 for the controller. I’ll post pictures as soon as i get it done.

some more pictures..

super tvbgonesuper tvbgonesuper tvbgonesuper tvbgone


Electronic Badge Displays Color Slideshows

The Electronic Mini-Badge is a PIC24FJ64GA004-based electronic badge that displays color slideshows. Many electronic badges display scrolling text using a matrix of discrete LEDs. This low-power system features a graphical OLED display and can be easily upgraded to handle animation, video, or RF communication.

I’ll have to take a look over this circuit’s schematic to see if i can easily adapt it to a Nokia 6100 LCD display, because i happen to have one, and it would be a nice project.

Electronic Badge Displays Color Slideshows: [Download Project][View Project PDF]

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