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Showing posts from 2014

Door-actuated space heater power lockout

Here's a little project I did last night: Power strip modified for dry-contact switching Magnetic switch on the door I'll try to keep this short: due to some insulation issues in the garage under the second floor, Henry's room gets kind of cold in the morning.  This is not compensated by the house thermostat because it's in our room and we sleep with the doors closed.  So we use a little electric space heater to regulate the temperature in Henry's room at night.  With this comes a couple of problems: Heater can be left on in the morning If the door is open, the heater then runs open-loop and tries to heat the rest of the house  The heater will run all day long, if it's set to even 1 degree above the "house" temp.   This costs over $.25/hour It's also (more of) a fire hazard since the heater will potentially be running when no one is in the house I thought of a bunch of different ways to solve this problem.  Sure, go ahead and t

Got a new car

Well I did it.  Bit the bullet and, after thinking about lots of different possibilities, decided to go with what I know: 2013 VW Golf TDI with tech package.  It took me a while to find one, but as I learned from my last car, if you don't get what you want the first time, you'll spend the rest of your ownership trying to add it (and in many cases you still won't get it). Here are some of the many features: Heated seats (my previous car didn't have this and I regretted it for 12 years.) Xenon headlights with "follow" action LED DRLs 17" rims Dual power seats Nav, SDcard slot Bluetooth smartphone integration Sunroof DSG transmission (basically a standard transmission that is robotically automated) It's going to take me a year or two just to get a handle on what is in this car.  I apparently have the RNS315 radio, which is different from the RNS516, but is apparently now standard on the tech package, I'm guessing because it's

Golf comes home on a wrecker, due to timing belt tensioner malfunction

Not even one day after buttoning up the car from the coolant sensor replacement, I got stranded while coming back from town, running some errands.  The car just stalled and wouldn't restart.  At first I thought I might have been out of fuel, (needle was slightly above 'E', not usually a problem).  I coasted into a nearby business parking lot and checked the fuel lines, there was no air.  I opened the timing belt cover and the belt looked fine.  However, I wiggled it and there was a lot of play.  I determined that the tensioner had likely failed and the belt skipped a tooth or so.  Called a wrecker and got a "free" ride home thanks to AAA. We were leaving for a weekend camping trip that day, so I had no chance to do anything with it. That was a little anxiety-inducing, considering the possibility that my engine may or may not have been destroyed. When I got back I finally got it apart and reset the timing.  Sure enough, the tensioner was basically not attached a

Emergency repair after brake caliper cease

Happened a little while ago now, but I didn't get a chance to write about it.  The driver's side brake caliper had been dragging for quite some time.  After a trip the wheel would be extremely hot.  I'd been planning to deal with it some weekend, but when I noticed some brake fade, I had to do something.  I ordered a new hub on a hunch, and it turned out to be a good call. Driver side rear end torn all the way down after the components were damaged from high heat. The caliper pins had frozen up causing the brake to be stuck on.  The pads were worn down to nothing.  The heat caused the tone ring (associated with the ABS sensor) to warp.  Since the tone ring is integrated with the hub, I had to replace the entire hub assembly.   While I was in there I also replaced the splash shield (shockingly, the dealership had this item in stock!  The first time ever). So the whole process went like this: Remove wheel Remove brake caliper Remove rotor Remove hub nut (afte

Euro Projector Headlights and Kamei Grill for the Golf

Woohoo!  I got something done on my car.  Had to go in yesterday and tighten up the connection between the counterweight and transmission gear selector (it came loose, probably was not torqued well enough when I replaced the transmission).  I decided, while I have the battery out, might as well take off the bumper and replace the headlights and grill.  This job ended up being a lot easier than I thought, because I had left the wiring there for my old custom fog lights.  Headlights are halogen projector type with OEM-style marker lights AND LED angel eyes.  I wired the angel eyes to a switch under my dash so I can turn them on/off, depending on how fancy I want to be. I can't wait to be able to see where I am going at night.  My old headlight lenses were so scratched up that the beam was diffused.

Asus Vivobook X202E DH31T: Quick review

I mostly love my Asus Vivobook X202E DH31t.  It's almost an ultrabook, for a netbook price.  There are just a few things that bother me about it.  Perhaps I can fix some of them...