Bluetooth Audio to Stock Saturn Radio

Saturn Radio DisplaySeveral years ago I received an iPod Touch for Christmas and I wanted a better way to get the audio from the device to my car’s stereo.  In the past I have used FM transmitters that worked pretty well, but the audio quality can be poor and you have to adjust the transmit frequency when traveling between radio markets.

I found iSimple’s iPod2Car adapter.  It emulates a factory CD Changer for a bunch of different radios from a variety of manufactures.  The device unlocks the auxiliary audio input for the radio and passes the control commands from the radio back to the iPod.  The setup worked for several years with my iPod, allowing me to enjoy my music collection as well as podcasts and audiobooks in my car.  After I bought my first Android phone I needed a way to connect it to my car to enjoy streaming Internet radio.  A simple iPod Bluetooth adapter hidden behind a cup holder has worked very well, it passes the audio to my car stereo as well the control commands back to my Android device.

I may have the only Saturn S-Series with a factory radio with Bluetooth audio input.

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EuroLight LD6230

EuroLight setup

I recently purchased a pair of Behriner EuroLight LD6230 dimmer packs used from a seller from eBay.  Each pack supports six channels at 10 amps each and support DMX, an analog input, and a manual mode.  There are also some advanced features such as adjusting the dimming curve and lamp preheat.   The packs do not include their own power input and channel breakout so I had to build my own.

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The DMXuino [Working Title]

DMXuino PrototypeFor the past couple of weeks I have been working on a portable DMX testing device.  The hardware is based off of the Arduino platform and  utilities the max485 to convert the serial data to RS-485 for DMX, a 16×2 LCD for the display, and a 16 button keypad matrix for the input.  The unit can be powered by four AA batteries or from a USB adapter.  The keypad is originally intended for use in telephone test equipment.  A few printed labels on the keypad map the buttons for lighting use.

The hardware appear to work pretty well on the different dimmer packs and relay boxes that I have tested it with.  It currently only has the ability to transmit DMX, but receiving DMX in entirely possible.

The software is still in development and has a few bugs and is missing a few features, such as having the option of displaying the values as a percentage or as its decimal value.  It is also currently missing the ability to record and recall saved looks from the universe edit to make it easier to use while out in the field.

After developing this prototype I have ran into the limits of the small screen and the limited buttons on the keypad.  I would like to build a second prototype with a larger screen, perhaps one that is 20×4 and add a few function buttons under the display that can be remapped on the fly.

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Portable Power Toolbag

Portable Power ToolbagI do a lot of work away from an outlet and I wanted a way to keep the battery for my Porter-Cable impact driver and phone charged throughout the day. An old li-ion laptop battery was recycled for the power source and the Porter-Cable battery charger was modified to accept power from both AC input and the li-ion battery, selectable by the larger toggle switch. A fused IEC connector on the top connects to the AC input for the Porter-Cable charger and the charger for the Li-ion Battery.  Two voltage regulators regulate power for the phone charger and a worklight located under the handle.

Battery Backup Power in a Box

Battery Backup in a BoxI’ve built this unit to provide silent power during power outages that usually result from large thunderstorms and hurricanes in my area.  It contains a marine deep cycle battery connected to a 1000 watt Black & Decker inverter.  The inverter is mounted to the enclosure for the battery to make it convenient to store and move. During Hurricane Irene it was able to power the fridge, lights, networking equipment, and netbook for more then eight hours without interruption.  I would eventually like to add in a built in AC charger, 12v outlet and small light to make this box even more useful when the grid is not available.