DashFest JJ's life and project dumping grounds…


I haven’t posted here in a while… This exists!

Thanks to Half Cut Tea for featuring me in this short doc!

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Tabletop Tesla Coil

I built this little guy today.

It works pretty good considering it was built in less than 6 hrs, and being poorly tuned.  I tossed it together with junk I had around. Nothing was calculated or measured. Arcs are about 5-6" so far

The secondary diameter is smaller than a quarter.  I just wrapped ~33awg magnet wire around a piece of PVC pipe until I felt satisfied with its height.  The solid copper primary sits upon some ceramic insulators salvaged from an old runway strobe.  The box is some 3M marketing shwag.  The transformer is a 10kv that I found in a box of junk from an auction long ago.  Not sure on the current, probably about 10-20ma.  The tank cap is a Sprague 4nf doorknob.  An acrylic box from Ikea, with 2 carriage bolts makes up the sparkgap.  I'm running it though a variac, and found the cap begins to fail around 80v input, so it needs a better cap. Topload for now is a tennis ball wrapped in aluminum foil. Not much else to it.


Here's a vid:

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Garmin Nuvi GPS Pin Brute Force Cracking Robot

I spent the entire day today working on this beast:

A little while ago I picked up a nice Garmi Nuvi 780 at a freight recovery auction. Its protected by a pin code, that cannot be reset unless either the correct code is entered, or it is taken to its "safe location".
I have seen a couple of other people do brute force cracks on these, and decided to give it a shot.

Entirely built from junk I had laying around, starting with an HP scanner. I don't have the hardware laying around to drive the stock stepper motor, so i decided to use servos instead. On top of the scanner's sled is a gutted DVD drive. 2 servo's for X and Y, and a 3rd servo for pushing a pencil eraser stylus onto the screen. I didn't have servo horns, so I used clothes pins instead. Most everything is hot glued together. Its all run by an Arduino Nano.

The code counts from 0000 to 9999, waiting for the appropriate delay between each attempt. At this rate, it will take about 36-40hrs to go through each pin.

Here it is in action:

That's about it. I'll report back when I find the pin!

That was quick, it was 0248. Only took a couple of hours!

Info update:
The robot does not currently have any check procedure to see if the device unlocked and will continue to pound the screen even after it unlocks. I figured this may not be a problem, and let it run. I had plans to add a camera to monitor its progress if this does not work or re-locks the device.
Coincidentally, I went downstairs to check on its progress about 2 hrs in, and I witnessed the unlock with my own eyes!

Here's the code (not cleaned up): http://www.dashfest.com/garmincrack.txt

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Mac Classic Web Server

Last night I tossed this together:

Mac Classic Web Server (Down indefinately, I was sick of it running)

Its a Mac Classic, with 4MB RAM, 40MB HDD, and a Dayna Pocket SCSI/Link T Adapter. (Yep, this ethernet adapter runs on SCSI)

Running MacOS 7.0.1, MacTCP  V2.0.4, MacHTTP 2.2


We'll see how long I leave it running.

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Professor Kill A. Volt

So I built a Tesla coil for Halloween. Me and Ash came up with the idea a week before, so I didn't have much time.

I already had most of the components for a coil ready. Already had neon transformers, a handful of doorknob capacitors, totalling 17.5nf. Since this is all I had available with capacitors, I was forced to keep the power down to 12kv @ 30ma (360 Watts). I had an old primary and secondary coil I built years ago for a static gap coil. But the secondary was only about 3" diameter.

I decided to build a synchronous rotary spark gap to get the most out of the little power I was putting in. I used a universal brushed food processor motor. I ran across a neat trick discovered by Clive Penfold that allows you to convert a brushed motor to synchronous with just a diode soldered between 2 opposed brush commutators. Synchronous Rotary spark gaps are a great way to get a efficient, and solidly timed spark discharge in the primary circuit. It allows the capacitor to discharge @ 120 beats per second, and also discharges at the peaks of the AC wave. The phase of the discharge time can be changed by rotating the motor in relation to the tungsten electrodes on either end of the gap. It worked quite well for me, as shown in these vids/pic:

The rotor is just a 1/4" barbed nylon "T" fitting for hose. I stuck a couple of set screws in it to lock the fitting on the motor shaft, and lock the tungsten electrode in position. I dremeled slots in the white plastic mount to allow for phase adjustment. (The slots were made bigger after that pic) Using my Variac I found it ran nice @ about 40 volts. I found a transformer @ Raelco that made it more permanent.

I'm mounting everything in a poly rolling cart that I found at the DI for $10. The cap is just a handful of 40kv doorknob caps, all in parallel for a total of 17.5nf. I used aluminum strip to mount them together, and a couple of IKEA plastic shelf brackets to mount it to the cart. A simple safety gap was built using a couple of carriage bolts (not shown).

Now the Transformer, Cap, and Spark Gap is taken care of, I start fiddling with the primary and secondary coils.

I already had old stuff available, and gave it a shot:

The sphere at the top is a pair of IKEA Bowls soldered together. Actually worked pretty well. The streamers were about 12"-14"

I decided to go ahead and wind a new primary/secondary. Due to only running 360 Watts, I know the performance wont be much better in terms of streamer length. But at least I'll have a better set up for next year after building a better cap, and increasing the current up to 120ma.

The new secondary was wound on a 5.25" poly post cover from NPS. Wound 24" of 23awg magnet wire. Here's some pics of the winding process.

It came out pretty well, although I had to tweak it a few times to work out the loose windings. Over the next few days I put approx 6-8 coats of Polyurethane from a rattle can on it.

The primary took a few attempts. I tried using clear acrylic boxes from IKEA, and threading copper tubing into holes I drilled.. It didn't work out so well. So I started over, and decided that zip ties and drilled PVC on a temporary plywood base should work.

I used 3x 20 foot spirals of 3/8" copper tubing soldered together. This was probably the single most expensive part, but turned out well!

I think the winding spacing is a bit too wide, but it works. I soldered together 2 more IKEA Bowls, this time for a 14" diameter sphere. And gave it a test!

It was marginally better, as expected. Not enough current, remember? Probably about 18" streamers. I put some hardboard covers over the spark gap area to cut down on noise and UV light hitting people. Also wired a foot operated switch from Harbor Freight to make operation easy. The Rotary Gap stays on continuously, and the transformer is kicked on with my foot on demand.

But wait, we need more! I also tossed together a few 12kv transformers for a 120ma Jacobs Ladder!

Also gathered some props.

I built a pair of grounded huge aluminum "tongs" with IKEA strainers at the end to use as a Faraday Cage. I let the kids put the candy in the tongs themselves, sometimes yelping really loud to make em jump. :D
I then zapped the candy with the coil, before giving it back to them. My wife Ash put together a spider web covered workbench with bubbling concoctions, sheets in the background, and other spooky bits. We both dressed in lab coats, her being my clipboard wielding "Lab Assistant". I'm also wearing a pair of welding goggles, and 40kv lineman gloves (for looks).

It all worked out well, and everyone enjoyed it!

A friend recorded this one.

This will be a new tradition each year. Each year will be bigger. I should be running a nice MMC Cap, and 1440 watts input next Halloween!

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Game-tendo (Portable NES in a Gameboy)

I built and almost finished this project LOOONG ago, but abandoned it due to a fried LCD. I found a new suitable screen for $2 at the DI and decided to finish it.

Here's the guts (minus wiring):

Pretty straight forward.
The "NOAC" (NES On A Chip) was salvaged from a "Power Player" pirated NES system.
The LCD is one pulled from an Intec PS2 portable screen+controller combo.
The controls are the original game boy button board, trimmed to fit, and re-wired to a genuine NES controller shift register.
Wire it all up, and you got a portable NES!
Its still not quite finished. Need a battery and voltage regulator, as the NOAC takes 5vdc and the LCD needs 9vdc. Needs a simple audio amp for sound.
Other than that its good to go!

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The Superman

Over the weekend I worked on the Suzuki TS250 I picked up a while back. Ripped off all the electronics and road junk. Tank is from a TS185, and is slightly smaller, but works fine. built a throttle cable for it, and took it for a couple of spins.

It is now named "The Superman" for obvious reasons.

It runs great! I was surprised with its power for an enduro

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DashFest.com server upgrade

Im building up a new server with a bit more Oomph:

New server

Drives galore!


DoomBOX on Hackaday/G4TV!

I submitted DoomBOX to Hackaday earlier this week, and it was accepted!

Since then, it went somewhat Viral, and eventualy made its way on TV:

Crazy! Thanks Hackaday for posting my project!



50" Farmtown, BITCHES!!