Arduino-Powered Bicycle Speedometer
DIY

Top 5 Projects For The Great Outdoors

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:

Altoids Phone Charger/Flashlight

Altoids Phone Charger/Flashlight

Altoids Phone Charger/Flashlight

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.

Solar Pump and Rainwater Tank

Wired_Rain_Barrel_Final

Wired_Rain_Barrel_Final

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.

Mailbox Indicator Light

Mailbox Indicator Light

Mailbox Indicator Light

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.

Arduino-powered Bicycle Speedometer

Arduino-powered Bicycle Speedometer

Arduino-powered Bicycle Speedometer

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.

Solar-Powered Phone Charger

Solar-Powered Phone Charger

Solar-Powered Phone Charger

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.

What outdoor-oriented project are YOU working on this summer?

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4 Comments

  • Dale Schmertman

    I am looking for a solar powered fountain kit or at least the solar that makes a small patio fountain/planter as seen in a Birds and Bloom magazine – but no plans!!

    thanks

  • Steven Powers

    Many if not all of my projects have been built with parts from Radio Shack! Here just a few:

    Fake Car Alarm, (it’s just a red flashing LED housed in a cigarette lighter plug) I have had one working now for 20 plus years!

    Garage Door Left Open Alarm: uses a simple magnetic switch a battery and an LED placed in the house, if the garage is left open I have flashing Light to tell me.

  • Curtis

    It would be good if Radioshack stocked components that weren’t basically worthless. If you are building anything with more complexity than a light, you cannot use components from Radioshack. Whoever is in charge of buying components at their corporate headquarters has absolutely no idea what they’re doing. They should be stocking PANASONIC capacitors, not FEEWAXMAJOOBIE or FLIMFLAMSHIMSHAM no-name “brands” made in some seedy Vietnamese factory. Once they start buying good components that won’t get you killed due to your circuit malfunctioning and running huge current through you, they should then price them in a SANE manner. It is insult to injury that Radioshack wants to sell you components that WILL NOT last and may very well kill you, and they price them so ridiculously high. Four bucks for ten resistors? This is stupid, and Radioshack is stupid until this basic scenario is fixed.

  • WDB

    Looking for the “RadioShack-LED-Cube-offers-a-fun-challenge” blog and the LED_CUBE.ino file(s).
    Thank you.