HackerBox #0024: Vision Quest

A quick unboxing of HackerBox #0024: Vision Quest.

Prices I found online (Amazon Prime unless noted):

  • HackerBoxes #0024 Collectable Reference Card – $1 (estimate)
  • Three Bracket Pan and Tilt Assembly – $19
  • Two MG996R Servos with Accessories – $18 ($9/ea)
  • Two Aluminum Circular Servo Couplers (included with the pan and tilt kit above)
  • Arduino Nano V3 – 5V, 16MHz, MicroUSB – $3.99
  • Digital Camera Assembly with USB Cable – $10 (estimate)
  • Three Lenses with Universal Clip Mount – $3.33 (AliExpress)
  • Medical Inspection Pen Light – $2.23 (AliExpress)
  • Dupont Male/Female Jumpers – $0.50 (estimate)
  • MicroUSB Cable – $2.40
  • Exclusive OpenCV Decal – $1 (estimate)
  • Exclusive Dia de Muertos Decal – $1 (estimate)

Totals out to $62.45 but I couldn’t find the model on the back of the camera module anywhere. I wouldn’t expect that estimate to be off by more than $5 though and maybe even cheaper. The servos feel pretty hefty compared to the micro ones I have. This will be another neat box to play around with.

Unboxing – HackerBoxes #0023: Digital Airwaves

I was able to avoid spoilers on this month’s HackerBox again, even though something happened with my shipping over the weekend. It arrived Monday instead of Saturday like it was originally scheduled.

Unique box. I’m excited to go through the Instructable for this box and learn some stuff about antennas and WiFi. The PVC pieces and copper wire are for making a custom antenna, which will be fun. I checked my box of goodies to see which WeMos board I had recently bought and it was the Mini Lite. I think I have one of each of their tiny boards now.

I tried to come up with a value for the box again. All prices are from Amazon (with my Prime account) unless noted.

  • HackerBoxes #0023 Collectable Reference Card – $1 (estimate)
  • USB Wi-Fi Interface Device with RT5370 Chipset – $5.89
  • WeMos D1 Mini Pro-16 – $5 + 1.81 shipping (AliExpress)
  • WeMos I2C OLED Shield – $4.50 + 1.58 shipping (AliExpress)
  • WeMos ITX to SMA Antenna Coax – $4.95
  • Exclusive PCB Yagi-Uda Antenna Kit – $5 (estimate)
  • Exclusive CPVC Yagi-Uda Antenna Kit – $1 (estimate)
  • SMA male to RP-SMA male Coax Adapter – $5 (estimate)
  • Mini Tripod with Shoe Mount – $7.79
  • USB Extension Cable – $3.35
  • MicroUSB Cable – $4.16
  • Exclusive Yagi-Uda Antenna Decal – $1 (estimate)
  • Exclusive Digital Airwaves Iron-on Patch – $2 (estimate)

This was a hard box to price out, so there are a lot of estimates. I didn’t see the PCB antenna anywhere and the parts for the PVC antenna are obviously DIY. The random bag of connectors doesn’t seem to be from a kit of any kind. There was also another antenna in my box not on this list. So I’ll add another $10, which all adds up to $64.03.

Unboxing: HackerBoxes #0022 – BBC Micro:Bit

The latest HackerBox came in the mail yesterday. I managed to avoid any spoilers so thought I’d see how dumb I can sound as I figured out what was in the box.

I’m looking forward to checking out the Micro:Bit and its blocks editor. The 128×64 OLED and WiFi modules will definitely get used in projects at some point.

Knowing the Micro:bit sells for less than $20, this box seemed light on value, so I had a look. Like last time, all prices are from Amazon unless noted.

  • HackerBoxes #0022 Collectable Reference Card – $1 (estimate)
  • BBC Micro:Bit – $16.99
  • BBC Micro:Bit Connector Breakout Kit – $5.38 (kitronik.co.uk)
  • Twin AA Battery Holder – $2.79
  • OLED 128×64 pixel I2C Display – $6.99
  • Alligator Clip Jumper Wires – $1.50 (estimate)
  • Miniature Solderless Breadboard – $3.26
  • ESP-01 Wi-Fi Modules – $2.60
  • Six LED Indicator Module – $1.10 (2 for $2.21 on aliexpress.com)
  • Passive Piezo Buzzer – $1 (estimate)
  • AMS1117 3.3V Regulator Module – $1 (estimate)
  • Header Pins – $1 (estimate)
  • DuPont Jumpers – $1 (estimate)
  • Micro USB Cable – $5
  • Micro USB Breakout Module – $1.84
  • Exclusive Micro:Bit Decal – $1 (estimate)

Several of these items are extremely cheap and only sold in multiples so I gave generous estimates. Total comes to $53.45. Things in that $3-7 range really add up quickly. Still a good value for the $44 subscription.

If you’re interested in learning more about this particular box, check out the Instructables guide or leave a comment and I’ll try to answer.

 

HackerBox #0021: Track My Hack

The latest HackerBox came yesterday, which is about a week earlier than expected. Unfortunately I saw the Instructables guide and know the contents, so an unboxing video would have been uneventful. Since this box doesn’t have a ton of individual items I thought I’d do a quick value lookup.

  • HackerBox reference card – $1 (estimate)
  • HackerBox sticker – $3 (estimate)
  • 6″ PCB ruler – $4.68
  • Half-size breadboard & jumper wires – $6.09
  • MicroUSB cable – $5
  • GY-273 Three-Axis Magnetometer – $3.77
  • MicroSD Card Reader Module – $7.98
  • RobotDyn Arduino Nano V3 – $6.99
  • NEO-6M GPS module with integrated antenna – $12 (couldn’t find the same module)
  • 16GB MicroSD card – $9.49
  • MicroSD card adapter – $9.99

Prices are from Amazon. Several of these items are cheaper if you buy packs of them, but I used all single item prices. I’m sure HackerBoxes gets discounts buying in bulk and some of the items are definitely knockoffs, like the SD card. Total cost of putting together this box on my own would run about $69.99 from my quick searching. Good value for my $44 subscription.

I don’t have any of the Arduino Nano style microcontrollers, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it compares to other boards. I’ve messed around a little bit with the accelerometer (Three-Axis Magnetometer) on Circuit Playground Classic, but it will be neat to have a standalone module. The GPS module is the coolest part of this box. Would be neat to make something for the car or for running. I’m starting to accumulate quite the collection of breadboards and jumper wires.

HackerBox #0020: Summer Camp

I managed not to look at any spoilers before HackerBox #0020 arrived, so I recorded a video when I opened it and talked through the items, trying to figure out what the theme was.

 

So, yep, it’s a badge inspired by the badges for Def Con (I had seen this story a week or two before, which HB shared as a hint on their Facebook page). Due to vacation, it was a couple of weeks before I was able to put this thing together. Hope you enjoy all of my mistakes in the assembly video. 🙂

There is a lot more to think about when recording what you’re doing and trying to keep talking throughout. I think it was an improvement over the video I did for the 5v relay module though. I really need to build a tripod or overhead mount of some kind so the GoPro is more stable. I may look into a newer GoPro as well with better battery life and a screen.

More details about the badge and demo code provided by HackerBoxes can be found on the Instructable page for this box. My customized demo code is in a hackerbox0020-demo repo on GitHub.

Update: I’ve updated my demo code to have examples of how to use the SD card that is on the back of the TFT.

HackerBox #0018 – Circuit Circus

It’s not often an online ad catches my eye, but when I saw one for HackerBoxes, I clicked through. I’ve enjoyed Adafruit’s quarterly subscription service AdaBox and wondered if this was similar.

The HackerBoxes look lower quality, but are cheaper ($44 compared to $60, both with free shipping) and ship monthly instead of quarterly. The previous boxes listed on the site looked neat and sell for $59 before shipping so it seemed like a pretty good deal. I really like the idea of having something new to tinker with each month instead of only 4 times a year. I signed up and was surprised to get a shipment notification for the most recent box.

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This box is based around a little Transistor Tester kit you build. It also comes with a variety of extra electronic components that help go through a series of tutorials and aid in experimenting with circuits and the tester. If this box is any indication, I’m going to enjoy these each month.

It took me a couple of hours to assemble and solder the tester kit. I recorded it (had to stop twice to recharge the GoPro battery) and ended up with over 100 minutes of video! Nobody wants to watch all of that, so I cut out some empty space and sped it up to 20x.

Now I have a cool test device built by hand…