Building DIY Split-Flap Displays

It’s incredible how far display technology has come. Nowadays LED walls are found at every major concert venue, flat panel televisions are ubiquitous, and everyone has a high resolution, full color LCD display in their pocket. It’s difficult to imagine that just a few short decades ago it was a struggle to create a large, dynamic display for an economical price.

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Modifying an RC Controller to Play Forza Horizon

I’ve always been fascinated by RC cars. The dynamics, the engineering, the speed… all wrapped up in a package that you can hold in one hand. Almost more than the cars themselves I’ve always loved the remotes. Ever since I watched Back to the Future and saw that awesome modded Futaba remote I’ve been captivated by the possibilities contained in one of those mystical black boxes. I was playing a racing game the other day when the idea came to me: what if I could modify an RC controller to control a racing game?

And just like that, I decided to convert an RC controller into a gamepad to play Forza Horizon 4.

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How to Use an RC Controller with an Arduino

Whether you’re modifying a remote controlled vehicle or creating something completely new, Arduino boards are a great way to expand the functionality of your RC receiver. Adding a microcontroller lets you program complex logic functions, sound effects, lighting animations, and more – all managed from the comfort of a wireless remote.

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to connect a PWM-based RC receiver to an Arduino and read data from it using the Servo Input library.

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Making an OBS ‘Mute’ Indicator

I have a friend who likes to stream on Twitch, and he has a problem. Every hour or two he likes to be healthy and take a five minute break – standing up, stretching, going to the bathroom, etc. During this time he mutes his microphone and puts on some background music to keep the audience entertained. But when he comes back he frequently forgets to unmute his microphone so that the stream can hear him. It’s not unusual for him to be talking to himself for five minutes or more until some kind soul in chat speaks up and says “you know you’re muted, right?”

To help him and others who frequently forget to unmute their microphone, I decided to build a physical indicator for the mute status in OBS Studio.

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DIY SparkFun Pro Micro with USB-A Port

Lately I’ve been working on a project that will use an Arduino to translate signals from a wireless receiver into USB HID inputs for my computer. I had the perfect microcontroller picked out too: the SparkFun Pro Micro, which uses the Arduino-compatible ATmega32U4 and has enough I/O pins for my project and then some. There’s just one problem – the Pro Micro doesn’t have a USB-A port to plug directly into a computer! Instead it has a micro USB-B port, and requires a short cable to connect it to a PC.

Luckily for me the Pro Micro, like many of SparkFun’s designs, is open source and licensed under Creative Commons Share-alike. So I decided to dive in and modify the design to create my own version of the Pro Micro with a USB-A port!

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SparkFun Dumpster Dive 2020 Unboxing and Breakdown

Every few months SparkFun does what they call a “Dumpster Dive”. In the course of doing business they amass a collection of excess electronics, ranging from “one-off items, to items that are a little broken or ugly, to items that aren’t worth individually listing and selling.” Rather than recycling these still-useful electronics, they decided to put together little 1 lb. grab-bag boxes to sell.

And I decided to buy one.

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