Version 11

    The Hack Like Heck Competition

    Help us get to know the Contestants

    Ask a question in the comments below

    About Hack Like Heck
    Content Partner Program
    The Prizes


    Audition Video
    Declaration of IntentDavedarko intends to Hack Like Heck
    YouTube Channeldavedarko
    Hack Like Heck Project Progress

    FAME BOY - build log 1 - Hack Like Heck

    FAME BOY - build log 2 - Hack Like Heck

    FAME BOY - build log 3 - Hack Like Heck

    FAME BOY - build log 4 - Hack Like Heck

    FAME BOY - build log 5 - Hack Like Heck

    FAME BOY - build log 6 - Hack Like Heck


    Name: Dave Ploeger

    Element14 Community member since: September 20, 2016

    Plan to Hack Like Heck: Have a USB reader in a Gameboy case using a Raspberry Pi.

    Notable projects: LameBoy




    More about the contestant:


    Why are you interested in Hack Like Heck?

    The Ben Heck Show presents projects with a creative spin on them, but sometimes stops at a point where most of the audience thinks "hey, I can do that - maybe I can do it even better with more time!". At least for me it sparked a lot of project ideas and also taught me one or two things about electronics on the way. Now I'm at a point where I want to share builds, ideas and things I've learned over the past eight to nine years, since I've started with this hobby of mine. With "Hack Like Heck" I saw the opportunity to get feedback about my content and style of producing videos from a broad audience. Also the free shirt, yay!


    Do you want to be the next Ben Heck and make videos?

    Filming and editing is something I like to do, but do not do often enough. Excited about projects I forget to grab the camera most of the time, but it's just half the fun if you don't tell anyone about it. Creating my audition video was so enjoyable, writing the background music, the regrettable acting with the wig on, playing around with cuts and facing the challenge of having a time limit - all that and the positive feedback I have received was totally worth the time and I just want to make even more now!


    What first got you into electronics?

    My dad used to solder in his little wardrobe lab with a foldable table in the corridor. When I asked what he was doing he explained everything to me, but I zoned out pretty fast - not everything got lost on me, though! The first circuit I think I've actually designed was this little Knight Rider Larson scanner with a diode and a capacitor. Reading for the longest time taught me some tricks that inspired projects of mine as well. I've learned that there are people out there who hack my favorite consoles, rip out parts from old electronics to use them with microcontrollers or use LEDs to detect light.


    Can you tell us about some of your projects?

    Probably half of my projects are inspired by movies: I've started a very intricate PCB Sonic Screwdriver project once, that I was never able to finish. Another project would be my Arduino based lightsaber project with neopixels, an accelerometer and an 8-bit sound effect that is modulated by movement. My very first project on the hackaday community platform was the life sign wristbands from the Ewok movies. I was able to transmit my heartbeat via an NRF24L01 module to other modules, this project was also one of my earliest 3D designs and prints.


    My mum once had these tiny jam jars that inspired me to design an LED based "fake nixie" project and torture my 3D printer to print a 30cm case on a 20x20cm build plate. There was warping and it released itself from the buildplate, but somehow it still looks like a fancy clock from the 70ties.


    The most elaborate project as of now is probably the LAMEBOY, it's an ESP8266 handheld with onboard battery charging, power muxing (switching between battery and usb), serial converter, port expander for the buttons, an attiny45 handling the RGB LEDs under the Nokia LCD and an SD card slot. There is no "killer app" for it yet, but you could program it to be a MQTT remote (smart home stuff), just play games with it or show your youtube statistics.


    PCBs can be used for art, too! The PCB word clock I like because the LEDs shine through the PCB and it's actually easier to solder the 0603 LEDs upside down. The badges where something I wanted to have and knew they would be possible to do, so I looked into how it could be made and tried it.


    Following a tutorial on building a sequencer - synthesizer, I had to improvise and discovered a cool chip that made it go backwards or count to ten instead of eight. In it's box with all the knobs and switches the kids loved it at the Maker Faire



    What’s the story behind the robot that appeared in your audition?

    In 2015, with the companies 3D printer at my place, I started to work on two robots: R2-D2 and Johnny V. The color scheme of R2 wasn't right, so I called him R8-D8 and Johnny IV wasn't the full-size Johnny V, so there was that. After a while I started other projects and just put Johnny's head onto R2s body. Weeks later I looked at him again and thought "Hey, that looks nice, it's also only one robot now, instead of two!". So R8-J4 was born! He's currently able to drive towards you, when you put your hand (or hands) in front of him. Imagine the reaction of the kids at the MakerFaire Big eyes and smiles! It currently is controlled with a simple Arduino, but could benefit from a brain transplant of something mightier.


    Want to know more? Ask in the comments below and tag davedarko!