By Dave ProchnowPosted 10.31.2007 at 5:43 pm0 Comments
Are you looking for a way to put some fright into your Halloween night? How about a flying bat circling around the heads of your guests? Armed with only a multimeter and couple of short lengths of wire, you can easily transform the WowWee FlyTech Dragonfly into a frightening dive-bombing bat—sans remote control. Yes, you can leave the radio control transmitter at home (except for recharging the bat’s internal LiPoly battery), because this bat takes to wing on its own terms.
Step 1. Carefully separate the Dragonfly’s two foam body halves. One blue “eye” LEDs has been glued into each one of these foam halves. You can elect to leave these LEDs intact, remove them, or swap them out with a pair of red LEDs. I elected to remove them—for conserving battery power.
Step 2. Use your multimeter to identify the main motor’s positive (+) and negative (-) connection points on the Dragonfly’s printed circuit board (PCB). These points should be labeled M+ and M- (or, M1+ and M1-), respectively. You might have to “unearth” the M- connection point from under a mound of glue gunk.
Step 3. Locate the ON positive (+) terminal and the ON negative (-) terminal on the Dragonfly’s power switch. Double-check that these terminals are in the ON position and not the OFF position on the switch.
Step 4. Solder a wire from the motor’s M+ connection point to the switch’s ON + terminal. Solder another wire from the motor’s M- connection point to the switch’s ON - terminal.
Step 5. Test the switch’s operation. When you flick it ON, you should receive full power wing flapping from the Dragonfly. Your bat is almost ready to take flight. You can switch the power OFF.
Step 6. Align the two foam body halves and glue them back together. Ensure that the gears and armatures move freely. Paint the foam body and tail flat black. Fashion two bat ears from the scrap paper and glue them into place.
Step 7. Switch the bat ON and launch it into flight. You should strive for a circular flight path. Try twisting the entire tail assembly to obtain the desired flight path.
It's hard to classify oneself as a true nerd without doing some dabbling with Linux. For my first foray with the penguin, I decided to take things up a notch and install Linux on my iPod. Nerds more hardcore than I seem to be able to get Linux running on pretty much anything with a printed circuit board and a screen, often just to prove that it's possible, but with iPod Linux there are some exciting ends to the painfully geeky means.
For me, motivation number one was to have the entire Wikipedia on my iPod. Although I was initially skeptical of the anyone-can-change-anything concept, Wikipedia has since proved to be a regularly mind-blowing source for information on, well, anything. Where else could I find out that Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector during the English Interregnum on my birthday, or that Nintendo's Mario might be from Brooklyn?
Since I almost always have my iPod with me, I'm now packing all those interesting facts and more at all times—just this weekend I was able to become an expert on the George Washington statue in New York's Union Square while waiting to meet some friends there. The articles translate surprisingly well to the black-and-white screen of my older iPod, and all the embedded links to other articles (how many have you clicked on here?) work just as they do on the Web. And the whole thing, surprisingly enough, fits into only an 800-megabyte file.
Check out the Encyclopodia project, as well as ipodlinux.org, for more information on how to get started, and stay tuned to the blog for more updates as I continue to geek out with iPod Linux. —John Mahoney
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.