13 September 2008


A few days ago I read an article about (and subsequently ordered) a kit to build Mitch Altman's TV-B-Gone. I haven't had the opportunity to build anything electronic in quite a while, so I jumped at the chance.

It came yesterday and I enlisted the help of my 6-year-old son to put it together today.

It's a fairly simple kit with an 8-pin microcontroller, 4 transistors, 2 capacitors, 5 resistors and 5 LEDs (oh, and a push button).

Assembly was a little slow as my son wanted to know what each part did and was worried about his personal safety considering that he equates all electricity with being shocked. I enjoyed explaining it to him and asking him to show me where the parts should go.

I whipped out the old soldering iron and tools and went to town. Putting together electronic kits reminded me of my childhood days assembling HeathKits and tinkering with my 200-in-1 electronics lab (and later, real breadboards and etching my own circuit boards). Ah, the good old days. I'm not exactly sure when I decided to switch from hardware to software, and while I love programming, it's always nice to smell the solder once in a while.

Here's a short video of the initial test of the product:

Needless to say, eating out should be a little more enjoyable now!


Tiffany said...

El Oh El

Greg Spence said...

So now when you're over at my place watching TV and it suddenly shuts off, I'm going to blame you.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I wonder how many TV codes it has. The one that's built into the DefCon 16 Badge seems somewhat anemic as it won't work on my Sanyo TVs (easy to fix if I tweak the firmware) and the range sucks, too (easy to fix with a new IR LED from RatShack and a soldering iron). I think you may have inspired me to start hacking the badge some more...

Rosie : ) said...

Very neat. :) I love the smile on your son's face, so cute and expectant! He looks happy to be doing this with Dad. :)

Silly comment time: If that little wee remote can control a TV, why-oh-why does my *Universal* remote have to be programmed for 15 minutes before it can pick-up anything? And some *Universal* remotes are only good for some brands, apparently. Or it might only control the volume on your televison and the channel changer in your DVD player {who the heck needs to change channels on a DVD Player?}. {sigh}