Soo uh... There is a PC connected to my garage door. Is that wrong?
I saw this piece on hackaday today, and thought I'd give it a shot with a different method. I actually managed to complete it in 3 hours!
Its a Presidian PIC-1MM Personal Internet Communicator I picked up at the DI for $5. Its basically a tiny low power AMD Geode powered PC running Windows CE. I hacked the BIOS on it a while back and installed Windows XP (requires a BIOS hack to run a custom OS). It currently has a Cisco AE1000 wireless dongle for network connectivity. All running fine from a 12v 1.5amp brick.
This is a Velleman K8055 USB Interface board. It allows you to control numerous inputs and outputs via USB digitally, or analog. I built it a while back for an abandoned project, and had no use for it. The relay connected to the side is what activates the garage door opener "button". The capacitor/resistor combo just above it allows the relay to click momentarily, even if the output is constant. We don't want to hold the garage door button down.
This is a K8055 "Bridge" that runs in windows, and allows any iOS device to control the K8055 from anywhere. There is a $3 app in the iTunes store to install on the phone. Its secured with a "key" to prevent other phones from connecting.
...and thats it! It works great! I will probably eventually write my own software, as the K8055 Bridge software is clunky.
Hmmm, whats this hiding behind my truck's grill?
Its the Hadley "The Bully" Air horn kit I picked up @ the DI for $25!
Included the Compressor, Tank, Solenoid, switches, etc.
My horn now sounds like a semi truck
So I was at the DI last weekend. I stumbled apon this:
A Panasonic TH-50PHW3U 50" 720p Plasma, for $100. Original MSRP $9670 in 2003!
At this price, it obviously didnt work. It turned on for about 4 seconds, then shut off with the power LED flashing red. On the chassis a repair estimate/bill was attached. It had a couple of part numbers listed, and scribbled on was the note "Panel est. declined". Cost of repair, $978.84. The entire time "bad capacitors!" is running through my head. I lug it home, and immediately open it up.
Holy shit this thing is complicated, check out the screwdriver in the corner for scale.
First thing I hunted for were bad/swolen/leaking caps. Didnt find any, which was a let down. That night, I do a LOT of research, trying to dig up the service manual for it. I never did find the correct one, but did find one for a similar panel. There are some troubleshooting guides specifically for the LED code it was flashing. I soon came to the conclusion while unhooking the 2 parts listed on the repair estimate that those parts are fine. The estimate was bogus.
Further testing, swapping, and measuring determines that the either the Power board (P1) or Scan Converter board (SC) is the culprit. I measured a voltage called "Vbk". This line supplies 195v to the Scan Converter board. When powered on, I measured this @ zeroV! However as soon as the unit is powered off, it jumps to normal voltage temporarily. Also when this cable is disconnected from the SC board, and is measured off P1, it is normal voltage. Bingo, the SC board must be drawing too much current, and shutting down that output! There are also diagnostic LED's on several boards internally. All light up bright, except the SC board. It lights, but is quite dim. Im pretty confident at this point the SC board is the problem.
Jumped on ebay, $116 and a few days later:
Jackpot! The next day I bought a cheap universal remote, and played PS2 on it for about 4 hours straight. Still works great!