Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Digital Camera Flash Memory Adapters

Digital Camera Flash Memory Adapters

Due to the growing popularity of portable devices, memory cards have become ubiquitous in consumers' daily lives. From smartphones to digital cameras and even portable video game consoles, many different devices now require you to purchase flash memory cards in one of 25 various and incompatible formats. Thus, it not surprising that manufacturers have designed adapters to help you transfer the contents of those cards between devices or onto a computer.
  1. Memory Cards

    Flash memory cards contain a chip that stores data on digital cameras, as well as smartphones, gaming consoles and MP3 players. Memory cards also can handle data transfer between computers, although USB flash drives more frequently perform that job. If you need a device to read the contents of a card format it doesn't support, such as when transferring pictures from a new camera to an older computer, a memory card adapter facilitates that process.


    Priced at less than $5 at electronics or camera retailers, card-to-card adapters make it possible to plug a memory card into a slot originally designed for another, larger type of card. For example, the MicroSD and MicroSDHC to SD adapter from Sandisk lets you insert MicroSD or MicroSDHC cards into Secure Digital slots.The NEON MicroSD to Memory Stick PRO Duo Dual slot adapter enables MicroSD cards in devices that normally require Memory Stick Pro Duo cards. Another adapter, Semco's ESDCFII: Extreme MMC, SDHC, SD to CF Type II, lets you insert Extreme MultiMediaCards, in addition to SDHC and SD cards, into CompactFlash II slots.

    External USB

    External USB adapters are small devices that plug into a USB port on your laptop or desktop computer. Most have more than one type of memory card slot so you can, for example, connect your camera's CompactFlash cards and the Memory Sticks from your PlayStation Portable console.After you plug an external adapter into a USB port, any card inserted into it will appear as an extra drive in Windows Explorer, the native application that manages your computer's drives and files. A new window, known as AutoPlay, will automatically open and let you to perform certain tasks automatically, such as play songs or view pictures stored on the card.Typical models of external USB adapters, which generally retail for under $10, include the Kingston 19-in-1 USB 2.0 Flash Memory Card Reader FCR-HS219/1; the IOGEAR 12-in-1 USB 2.0 Pocket Flash Memory Card Reader/Writer GFR209; and the Transcend P5 9-in-1 USB 2.0 Flash Memory Card Reader TS-RDP5K. These models, respectively, enable your computer to read 19, 12 or nine different memory card formats.

    Internal Desktop Computer

    Overshadowed by the popularity of external USB adapters, internal adapters go inside a standard desktop computer, and range from a Peripheral Component Interconnect plugged directly in a motherboard slot to Integrated Drive Electronics readers attached to your motherboard by a flat, ribbon-like IDE cable that's traditionally used by older hard drives and CD or DVD drives.In addition to requiring some basic technical know-how for installation, internal adapters typically let you insert memory cards into slots below or above your CD or DVD drive, which may be less accessible than an external adapter sitting on your desk.Internal adapters usually cost less than $20 and include the Sony MRW620/U1/181 Internal 17-in-1 Memory Card Reader/Writer; the Sabrent 64-in-1 Multi Flash Media Card Reader (CRW-UINB); and the Rosewill RCR-AK-IM5002 USB2.0 75-in-1 Internal Card Reader.


    The Personal Computer Memory Card International Association Card format, now shortened to PC Card, is a type of slot often seen on laptops produced before 2008. With the advent of fast USB2 and USB3 connections, however, laptop manufacturers stopped integrating PCMCIA slots into new models.A PC Card adapter looks like an oversized credit card and allows you to insert a memory card directly into a PCMCIA slot. This can be particularly convenient if your laptop doesn't have USB 2.0 connectors -- the PCMCIA technology that supports faster transfer rates.Most PC Card adapters cost between $20 and $50, depending on the manufacturer and the type of cards they support. Common models include the SanDisk 6-in-1 PC Card Adapter; the Sony PCMCIA Memory Stick(R) Reader, which only reads Memory Sticks; and the Sandisk SDAD109A11 Digital Media Memory Card to Express Slot Adapter, which supports seven common memory card formats.

How to Back Up Data on a Laptop

How to Back Up Data on a Laptop thumbnail
Backing up your data and important files is a crucial part of computer maintenance, especially on laptops as they are more prone to damage or theft than desktops. Windows 7's built-in tool, called Backup and Restore, can automatically manage regular backups for you, saving your data to an external source such as an external hard drive, network location or even a blank DVD. For scheduled auto-backups, use the Task Scheduler to set reminders for yourself to connect an external backup source.

Things You'll Need

  • External drive or storage


  1. Setting Up Backups 

    • Click "Start | Control Panel | System and Maintenance | Backup and Restore." 
    • Click "Set up backup" to begin your backup configuration. Windows may take a minute or two to analyze your available backup locations.

    • Choose where you want to save your backup data. While you can use your optical drive, a DVD doesn't have enough space to back the system image that allows you to restore your existing system settings. You can also use an external hard drive, network-attached storage or a flash drive with sufficient space -- if you're backing up large files or using your system image, you'll want at least 10GB. If you're only backing up small files, such as text documents, you can probably get away with just a few gigabytes.

    • Select whether you want Windows to choose what directories are backed up, or whether you'd rather pick and choose. A custom setup allows you to remove resource-heavy folders if your backup location is short on space, as well as disable the system image, if necessary, for space issues. Click "Next" when done.

    • Click "Change Schedule" and select a time and frequency that works best for your needs. Select a time when you know the computer will be on; if you leave your computer on overnight, for convenience, choose a time during the night when you won't be using it.

    • Click "Save Settings and Run Backup," then "Back Up Now" to start your first backup and save your backup options. Backing up can take several minutes or up to an hour, depending on what you're backing up. Once completed, you can remove your external source.

    Using Task Scheduler for Reminders

    • Click "Start | Control Panel | System and Security | Administrative Tools," then choose the "Task Scheduler" tool.

    • Select "Create Basic Task" in the Actions pane on the right side of the screen.

    • Enter a name and description for your task, click "Next" and select the trigger for your task at the same frequency as your backups. If you're running a monthly backup, for example, set a monthly reminder prior to the backup time. Click "Next," then choose the time and day for your alert.

    • Select "Display a Message" or "Send an Email," depending on whether you want to receive an email or have a popup message reminding you to connect an external drive or disc.

    • Enter the settings for your message -- either the mail settings or the contents of your displayed message.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Arduino Mothbot

The Arduino Mothbot
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The Arduino Mothbot
The purpose of this project is to design and build a simple light-following robot using an Arduino Duemilanove microcontroller board. I really wanted to share a robot project that was cheap, simple to build, and had a complete set of instructions for all of the different steps. I hope I've succeeded and I'd love to get comments about making this instructable even better.

The design of this robot focused around using the book "Getting Started with Arduino" by Massimo Banzi and published with [ Make]. I also employed code for running the servos from a project titled: How to Make an Arduino Controlled Servo Robot (SERB).

The Arduino Mothbot is in total a pretty quick robot to build. Assuming you start with all of the parts and don't have to improvise, the project in total should take maybe an hour to build. That is if you follow the instructions and copy the code. However, if you build only one feature at a time and test along the way then this project could take significantly longer. The advantage of the longer track is that you'll probably learn a lot more and have some fun along the way.

Step 1Gather your Parts and Tools

Building this robot is going to cost you roughly $80 in parts if you've never done anything like this before. The cost for me was significantly less since I've got a lot of electronics lying around to work from. However, I know how frustrating it can be to try and follow an instructable without knowing which parts to get, where to order from, and how much everything will cost up front so I've done all that work for you. Once you've got the parts all squared away it should be a snap to do this project. Follow the following link to my project wiki to get a complete parts list.

Arduino Mothbot Parts List

Now you may want to get some tools. Since this project employs a solderless breadboard you can do without a lot of fancy electronics equipment. Hopefully you can find the rest of the things you need in a garage:

1. Needle nose pliers
2. Wire Cutters
3. Flat head screw driver
4. Small Phillips (4-sided) screw driver
5. Adjustable wrench or 11/32" hex wrench
6. Drill
7. 1/16", 5/32" and 7/32" drill bits
8. Saw (optional)
9. Safety Goggles

Please use safe practices when using any power tools.

Step 2The Planning Stage

iThe Planning Stage
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Before I started this project I looked around Instructables at a lot of other projects. I also spent some time reading the book "Getting Started with Arduino" by Massimo Banzi. Nearly everything in this project is done from an example on this website or in the book. I designed the project this way in an attempt to make it accessible to the novice roboticist.

In my planning phase I did not only looked at hardware and coding but did my electronics homework as well. I wanted to draw up a simple electronics schematic for this project so I could follow what was going on as I built it. You can see in the picture the different components, power lines, and the Arduino pins. Hopefully it's a clear diagram and also illustrates how simple the electronics for this project is.

Step 3Connecting the Servos to the Arduino

iConnecting the Servos to the Arduino
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If you're going to build a robot the first thing you probably want to work out is how to get it moving around. Most likely you want to be able to send it forward, backward, right, left and make it stop. If you can't figure out how to command it to move properly you're not likely to be able to make it do anything when you connect all the sensors. Below are the steps to connect the motor to the Arduino.

1. The first thing to do when setting up the solderless breadboard is to set up the ground (GND) and power (+6V) for the servos. I chose to use the two long strips on the board that would be closest to the Arduino.

2. Once the ground and power lines are identified connect the ground of the Arduino board to the ground strip on the solderless breadboard. Do not connect the power to the solderless breadboard yet.

3. Each servo has three wires that come out of them. Mine have a black, red, and white wire for each. The black is for ground, the red is for power, and the white is the control wire. Cut three jumper wires for each servo of the same size (so 6 in total).

4. Attach the jumper wires to the end of the servo wires and then each servo to the solderless breadboard.

5. Now use jumpers to connect the ground and power from each servo to the ground and power of the solderless breadboard.

6. Now connect the control wires from each servo to the Arduino. Connect the left servo to digital output (PWM) 3 and the right servo to digital output (PWM) 11.

7. Finally, connect the ground and power from the 4AA batteries to the solderless breadboard ground and power. Don't be alarmed if the servos start moving when your Arduino has no power or is not yet programed.

8. Using the code you should now be able to run the motors in the forward, backward, left or right directions using the included functions.

Step 4Testing out the Motors

I think it's important to include some of the test code I used when putting together the Arduino Mothbot. If you're interested and willing to put in the time to tinker around I think you'll find these code snippets educational and useful in other projects.

Before I post any code below I want to make it known that the following is based on another great project called How to Make an Arduino Controlled Servo Robot (SERB). I learned a lot from following the work on that instructable and want to give credit where it is due.

Step 5Integrating the On/Off Button

iIntegrating the On/Off Button
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Now you may be wanting to turn your robot on and off with the push of a button. The Arduino itself will run code in an endless loop until you unplug it, which can be quite frustrating when you plug in your robot on the table and it starts running away from you! Integrating the button is a great step in this process because you'll also learn how to use buttons for other things, like creating a bumper to detect when the robot hits a wall.

As a note, you'll notice I removed the servos from the solderless breadboard for most of my pictures. This just helps make the image more clear when I'm showing different steps.

1. To begin, disconnect power from the servo motors before doing any more work. Remember to do this every time you add something to this project.

2. Now you may want to be able to turn your robot on and off as opposed to having the robot immediately start moving when you connect the power.

3. Identify a strip on the opposite side of the solderless breadboard to be power for on/off button (and later the sensors).

4. Using a long jumper wire connect the power (+5V) from the Arduino to the strip you just identified.

5. Connect two jumper wires to the momentary switch and plug one end into the (+5V) power

6. Plug the other end of the momentary switch into a smaller strip in the middle of the solderless breadboard.

7. From that same strip connect a 10K ohm resistor to the strip and the other end into ground

8. Finally, connect a wire from the strip with the switch and the resistor on one end and place the other end in digital input 7 on the Arduino.

9. Now, with the code you should be able to use the button to turn on and off the robot. If you use the code with the LED (digital output 13) you will see the on-board LED turn on and off with the robot. This is a great way to test the Arduino code if you have the power to the motors disconnected.

Step 6Testing the On/Off Button

This new code includes the information for using the On/Off button and making the onboard LED blink.

Step 7Integrating the Light Sensors

iIntegrating the Light Sensors
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What would an Arduino Mothbot be if it didn't have light sensors? The point of this simple project is to make a robot that is attracted to the brightest light. For this we'll need to integrate some light sensors, also known as photo-resistors.

1. Again, disconnect the power from the servo motors before doing this step

2. The setup for the light sensors will be done twice. It is almost the exact same setup as the momentary switch. Actually, it is the same setup, but this time you will use the light sensor (photo-resistor) instead of a momentary switch.

3. Because this robot will use the two light sensors to pick a direction to drive it is recommended that you set up each light sensor on opposite sides of the solderless breadboard or as far apart as possible.

4. Connect one end of a light sensor to the (+5V) power line and the other end into a small strip in the center of the board.

5. Connect a 10k ohm resistor to that same strip and the other end to ground

6. Now connect a jumper wire from the small strip (where the photo resistor and regular resistor are connected) and plug the other end into an analog input.

7. Connect the left sensor to analog input 0 on the Arduino and the right sensor to analog input 1.

8. You should now be able to use the light sensors to move the servos.

Step 8The Final Code

iThe Final Code
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Here is the final code used to run the Arduino Mothbot. In the code I've included print statements to the Arduino serial port. If you have the Arduino connected through the USB port of your computer you should be able to see the print statements that tell you which way the robot is planning to go. You may want to adjust the light sensor threshold value to fine tune the behavior of the robot. The threshold depends mainly on your sensors and the ambient light of the location you are in.

Step 9Build the Mothbot Body

iBuild the Mothbot Body
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The robot you're building is really no good unless it can hold itself together. For this reason it needs a body. I tried my best to make this as simple a construction project as possible. You are, however, going to have to do a little work on your own to figure out the right measurements. I suggest the age old "measure twice, cut once" method.

1. The body of the robot is made out of a small sheet of poplar wood I bought at the hardware store precut to 6" x 24". I cut mine down to 6" x 8" using the saw provided in the hardware store.

2. Next I drilled holes towards the front of the board to attach the servo brackets for each servo. For this I used an 5/32" size drill bit.

3. I also drilled in a hole at the rear of the board for the caster wheel that balances the robot. For this I used an 7/32" size drill bit. I chose to use a slightly smaller drill bit so I could get a tight friction fit with my caster wheel since I wasn't using a nut and bolt combination to attach it.

4. Then I attached the brackets to the board with the nuts and bolts. This was done using the flat head screw driver and the adjustable wrench.

5. After attaching the brackets I attached each servo to the brackets with the nuts and bolts.

6. Finally, I pushed the caster wheel into the whole.

Step 10Making the Wheels

iMaking the Wheels
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The wheels were a tricky problem for me. I had actually bot some certified robot wheels but realized they were a) too heavy and b) I had no way to attach them to my chosen servos. That's when I remembered using jar lids in high school for a similar project. So it was off to the store in search of a suitable robot wheel alternative.

Each wheel is made from the lid from a Ziploc Twist 'n Loc container. Other good lids are those on peanut butter jars or other food goods. I don't advocate wasting food but save up your lids and you might find one is the right size for your robot project. I used the leftover containers to hold parts I've collected.

1. The first thing I did was pick the servo horn I wanted for the wheels. I picked the ones that had four horns and that were included with my servos when I bought them.

2. Before you do anything, drill a hole in the center of the wheel. I recommend doing this with your 5/32" drill bit. You'll need this so you can get to the screw that connects the horn to the servo.

4. Now screw the lid to the horn. I used four included screws with each servo to connect the lids to the horns. It might be easier if you pre-drill tiny holes through the lid like I did. I used a 1/16" drill bit for this. But be careful, drilling through this plastic with a heavy drill and a tiny bit can be difficult.

5. Now connect the horns to the servos using the small Phillips (4-sided) screw driver.

6. Finally, wrap rubber bands around each wheel to give you more traction. I got my rubber bands from produce I bought at the grocery store. Hopefully you have a few lying around.

7. At this point the entire body and wheels should be assembled.

Step 11Completing the Arduino Mothbot

iCompleting the Arduino Mothbot
With the body and wheels assembled it's easy to place the Arduino and solderless breadboard just atop the robot body. Make sure you can still reach the USB input on the Arduino in case you need to change the programming. I used some black electrical tape underneath each to stick them to the body. Electrical tape is easy to remove and holds quite well.

1. Tape the Arduino and solderless breadboard to the top of the robot body that you've built.

2. Using tape again it's a good idea to connect the 4AA battery holder and the 9V battery to the body. Make sure the wires reach.

3. Connect the servo wires to the solderless breadboard if you had removed them previously.

4. Connect the Arduino power

5. Connect the servo motor power

6. Now place your robot on the ground and press the on/off switch! It should now come to life and chase the light around the room:)

As a future add-on project I would include a simple bumper or wall sensor. This would be a switch, much like the On/Off button used in this project. However, when the button was pushed it would tell the robot to reverse direction, turn left or right, and continue with the program. Once that is completed this robot would be a great little testing platform for other sensors and devices.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

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How to Make a Static Electricity Generator - Shock Anything & Fry Electronics with a Touch!

video How to Make a Static Electricity Generator - Shock Anything & Fry Electronics with a Touch!
In this video I show how to make a device that allows the user to gain the power of electricity. This high voltage generator can electrify a persons entire body with a static charge more powerful than rubbing even the softest footie pajamas on a carpet could ever muster. The electrical buildup can then be discharged with a touch to shock anything in reach.

Parts that may need to be ordered online:
Negative Ion Generator (Ionizer) (I bought mine here: Search for SW-750)

Automotive Power Converter (Cheapest here: Or find one at an auto parts store)

Parts that can be purchased in a hardware or electronics store (Such as Radio Shack):
Flux Core Solder
2" of Copper Wire
Heat Shrink Insulating Tubing (Optional)
9 Volt Battery (DO NOT USE A LARGER POWER SOURCE! Doing so may be DANGEROUS!)
9 Volt Battery Harness
On/Off Switch (Any type will work, even a light switch if that is all that is available)
Sticky Back Velcro
Dual Sided Velcro (Usually found in the form of cable ties)
Glasses Case
1 Gallon Bottle (Such as a windshield washer fluid bottle)
Hot Glue
Aluminum Soda Can
Duct or Electrical Tape

Soldering Iron
Wire Strippers
Hot Glue Gun
Sand Paper
Drill & Bits
File (Optional)

I was inspired to create this video when I read the article posted here:
That article is based off of the information provided in this even older article:

Both of the above use a design that contains the generator within a pair of shoes, but I decided that it would be better modified into something that could easily be strapped on and off over anything the user happens to be wearing. The design used in the article also has a nasty habit of shocking the bottom of your foot quite frequently.

Monday, July 2, 2012

How To Create Iphone Apps With No Programming Experience !!

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