Category Archives: Projects

Hexbright Hacking

The Hexbright is an Arduino-compatible open source flashlight that was the subject of a very successful kickstarter campaign in 2011.

Today I spent a short time working on some custom firmware for it.

My firmware adds two new features:

  • Button presses cycle between modes (low, med, high brightness) as usual, but if you wait longer than CYCLE_DELAY (default 5 seconds) between presses, the next press turns the hexbright off.
  • If the hexbright is left on for longer than AUTO_OFF_MINUTES (defaults to an hour), the hexbright turns off.  Handy for when you prop the light somewhere and forget about it.

You can download my custom Hexbright Arduino sketch here.  If you’re new to the Hexbright, read these well-written instructions first.  You’ll need to install the required USB driver and Arduino board configuration file.

Amazon link: HexBright FLEX, 500 Lumen Programmable LED Flashlight

Introducing the MightyOhm Geiger Counter Kit

Geiger Counter Kit - Finished

Look!  A new kit!

I admit that I’ve been working on this one for a while.  Sorry for the lack of updates, but I have been far too busy doing everything last minute and fixing bugs to post here!

I designed this Geiger Counter kit specifically so I could give a workshop at Chaos Communication Camp 2011.  I just couldn’t fly halfway around the world only to show up at a hacker conference empty-handed!

My workshops are tentatively scheduled for Thursday and Saturday.  I’m not bringing very many kits, so if you’re coming to Camp, sign up early!

More information about the kit is here.  I’ll be adding more documentation over the next couple weeks.

Hopefully I’ll also be showing off this kit next month at the OSHW Summit and the NY Maker Faire.

CD101 PID Controller stop mode issue

The CD101 is an inexpensive (under $40) PID controller sold by Sure Electronics. Aside from the incomplete documentation that is shipped with the unit, I’m pretty happy with this controller. I’m planning to use it to replace the failed PID controller that controls my soldering hotplate.

I am having one small issue with the CD101 – stop mode doesn’t seem to do anything. By that I mean it doesn’t disable the outputs or seem to affect the controller in any way. Based on my interpretation of the user manual, the outputs and alarms should be disabled in stop mode. This is mostly an annoyance in my application – if I want to disable the hotplate I’ll just turn it off. However, I can imagine that the lack of a standby mode might cause problems in some applications.

I contacted Sure Electronics about the problem, and they requested a video. I figured I might as well post it here, since I went through the trouble of making it and everything. :-)

By the way, since it can be hard to find information on this controller (eg. how to change from Fahrenheit to Celsius display), I have been slowly putting together a wiki page for the CD101.

PS: The video was shot with my new Canon PowerShot S95, which seems to take great footage, except that there is no autofocus or zoom control while shooting. (?!)