Summer is pretty much here, depending on where you live, which means you’re probably getting ready to spend more time outside in the coming months. Just because you’re outside, doesn’t mean you should stop building cool projects – in fact, there are TONS of cool stuff you can build that are designed for the great outdoors. Here’s our top five:
Sure, you can walk in to your local RadioShack store and buy an Enercell portable power pack (we obviously recommend you do), but it can be just as much fun to build one yourself, using easy-to-find parts such as an old Altoids tin. This little project does use an Enercell 9v battery for power, as well as some other basic parts, such as LEDs and wires.
This project was featured in the October issue of Wired last year, but it’s still pretty useful, especially during the storm season where you’ll get plenty of rain. Using an Arduino and some rain barrels, Bob Parks devised this system which collects rainwater in a ground-level rain barrel, then automatically pumps it to a barrel on the 2nd floor of his house, so that he has enough pressure to wash his car. It uses solar power for the pump, as well, which is awesome.
When the temperatures hit triple-digits in a few months, you’re going to want to AVOID the great outdoors, if possible. We all hate going all the way out to the mailbox, only to discover that the mailman hasn’t come yet, then trucking it back to the house. With this easy mod, you can simply look out the window to quickly see whether or not there is mail waiting for you.
As you hit the trails this summer, it’s always fun to be able to see how fast you’re REALLY going. This simple project uses an Arduino and a reed switch to tell you exactly how fast you’re pedaling along. There’s an LCD screen that you can mount to your handlebars, so you can glance down to get your current speed.
This summer, there’s one thing we know for sure – the sun will be out in full force. Sure, we’ll be sweating profusely as a result, but we should also take advantage of that for some clean, green power. This project will help you keep your phone powered up, regardless of where you end up – it’s great for camping, or a weekend at the lake.