I just created a Wikipedia directory of local tool-lending libraries. After some light googling, I found twelve– three in the SF Bay Area, two in upstate New York, and the rest scattered. But I would imagine there are many more, and I hope people add to the list. Link.

Phillip Torrone

Phillip Torrone

I’m a broad-spectrum enthusiast, writer, editor (Wired, MAKE, Timeline), maker, and dad who lives in San Francisco.

  • webkris

    I’d accept ‘cool project’, but not ‘amazing project’.
    There is no way to re-charge the batteries with the power outlet and the power handling (driving unfiltered DC right into the mobo) is ‘less then desired’. If you plug it in the way it is right now you have a miniMacFireâ„¢. The pictures are clear but it looks like it was soldered with matches. “Clean up that flux man!” It took me a while before I’d take pictures of my own soldering. ;)

    The challenge:
    This project needs a small circuit board with maybe 4 components to do battery charging and filtered discharging. A ‘low battery’ warning light (simple comparitor) or even a sophisticated LED-bar battery indicator could be strapped onto that. I’d even grab an old APC UPS – get the USB battery tracking board out of it, modify for voltage, make it work! You could drive the USB output right into the board and monitor the battery life with the OS.

    I’d also like to know how much those cells go for. No, I didn’t email them. :D I’m sure they’re not cheap.

    – Kris

  • silasb

    Speaking as the person who did the Hack in the first place…

    I agree with most of the points above. This was a work in progress, and circuit protection was not needed for proof of concept as I was not recharging the batteries with the mac mini’s power cord (and in fact I stated that in the article). Sorry about the flux, I ran out of IPA.
    The power managment stuff still needs to be done (But I want to stay off of the USB bus as I need it for other purposes). By the way the cells are pretty cheap. Only $40 per cell. SKC Films makes off the shelf power sources for laptops and cell phones that have all of the work done already. I just didn’t want another external piece of equipment, and I wanted to have the fun of hacking the batteries into the inside of the Mac.