Category: Hacks

Making stuff work doesn’t always involve off-the-shelf solutions!

ASAP Jr. Mega-Tree Pole Change

Just a quick post on this. For our Mega-Tree, I bought 1.5″ and 1.25″ galvanized conduit for the pole. We also have a hole in the ground for it already. I’ll post more details about that build once we set the tree up this year. It quickly became obvious that these poles would be WAY too heavy to just prop up and drop in the hole, especially when everything was fully extended, including the pole for the star. So- I decided to use the most-excellent Monkhouse ASAP Jr. setup for it. http://www.magicchristmas.org/asap-jr.html I ran into a small problem though. The …

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Re-Using 12v PSUs for 5v Pixels and LED Panels

Last year there was a lot of debate among Pixel junkies about 12v pixels, in part due to a bad production run from a popular Chinese supplier that resulted in fires. I did my own (controversial) analysis and decided that I would eliminate the 12v pixels we already had in our show (on our roof!) and work with nothing but 5v from now on. I’m no authority on this subject and a lot of people insist on 12v pixels because that works for them. My personal belief is that 5v pixels are safer and more efficient, even though they do …

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Add an OLED to a Raspberry Pi

It’s kind of silly since they spend most of their time closed up in a weathertight box, but I really like the little OLED screens on the Kulp controllers. They give me a quick indication if the controller is working, so I can at least rule it out (for the most part) if there is any kind of a problem. I figured it was probably pretty easy to put an OLED on a Raspberry Pi, and there are Caps that do just that, along with buttons and additional outputs. After seeing settings for OLED support in FPP, I decided to …

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Quick-Hack: Jumper

Can’t find your baggie of circuit board jumpers and need one in a pinch? Do you have some Scotchloks and some jumper wires (that you CAN find)? Then just do this: Now, granted, I could have just used the jumper wire, but I didn’t really want an extra foot of wire wrapped around in the enclosure this is going in. It could get tangled up with the rest of the wires, and the jumper could possibly get pulled out, so this seems like a good solution to me. 😀

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USB/Power Adapter Hack

The little D1 Mini controllers I use, and other gadgets like Raspberry Pis, run on USB-style adapters. You can get various sizes and shapes of these “wall worts” dirt-cheap, and probably have a bunch in a junk drawer somewhere. So- what do you do when you want to use them in, say, a waterproof junction box? In my case- I use D1 Minis with a relay hat to to power displays and other things on and off. I need these in some kind of a waterproof enclosure so they can live outside, and I don’t want to have to feed …

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Fuse Holders

You are dealing with DC electricity operating at a fairly high current. You don’t want your roof, yard, shed, outhouse, etc. to catch fire. You want to protect your wiring with fuses! Some will advocate those fancy in-line automotive fuse holders. Others are big fans of marine fuse blocks, or even more expensive- “Distribution” boards. These can be expensive when you start to add up all of your power runs, and expensive isn’t the only way! These also all seem to assume you will be frequently changing the fuses. If you need to keep changing fuses- you are probably doing …

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