Category Archives: Hardware Hacking

Adding a UART Interface to a USB Relay Board

This Chinese “8-Channel USB Relay Board” requires a 12V power supply, and it’s also supposed to plug into the PC for convenient software control. But there was nothing convenient about the software, and I wanted it to work directly with Arduino and other MCUs anyway. Here’s how I replaced the USB interface with a basic UART.

USB Relay Board Hack Closeup
USB Relay Board Hack Closeup

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Reviving an old joystick with an Arduino Leonardo

When I found this ancient QuickShot Joystick which seemed to be still in working order, I just had to make it work again. Of course, no modern computer knows how to interface with such a dinosaur, so I build a “translator” system using and Arduino Leonardo. Here’s how.

Quickshot joystick
The old Quickshot joystick in all its glory

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Inside An IKEA LED Light Bulb

I’m usually happy with my IKEA purchases, but this one particular LED bulb was a big disappointment. It was installed in a desk lamp (also from IKEA) that wasn’t used much; I seriously doubt it worked even 500 hours overall, when it started failing. I did not have the receipt to attempt exchange or refund, so the only thing left to do was crack it open and learn what’s inside.

LED bulb,still whole.
LED bulb,still whole.

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Fixing a Bug

One of the benefits of playing with electronics and Making is that with time, you can start fixing gadgets around the house. I’m not talking about home appliances – these could really harm you if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing – but there are plenty of other opportunities. Take, for instance, this Remote Controlled  Beetle toy:

The Remote Controlled Bug
The Bug: A Remote Controlled Beetle

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