A New Vehicle Code Reader


Code reader – I should have discovered this a long time ago!

A few days ago my “Check Engine” light came on on my 2006 Toyota Tacoma. Given it’s age and mileage (nearly 130k), maybe this will start happening occasionally. Despite all of the crazy stuff that write about here, I’m not a terribly experienced auto mechanic, but I decided I would at least try to diagnose the problem myself.

I ordered a Buke U581 CAN OBDII EOBDII Memo Scanner from Amazon for around $50 (although there were some available for much cheaper) and paid for one day shipping.* Once it came in, the biggest challenge was figuring out where the port was. After some Internet searching, Read more »

The DIY Fabnik Wallet Kit


After a short interview for a Makezine.com article, they guys at Fabnik offered to send me one of their wallets to try out. Not being one to turn down free stuff, and realizing that my wallet was somewhat worn, I accepted their offer*, choosing their thin wallet kit.

It was fun to make, and turned out nicely, as seen in the picture above. The orange stitching looks nice (for a Clemson grad), although the holes for it were a little tight. I had to use pliers to get the needles through. The Fabnik crew says that they are working on this, and I would suspect that as this design evolves, it will get even better!

I documented my build in the time lapse and have a few more comments on it after the “read more” link, so be sure to read on for more! Read more »

Whippersnapper Runt Rover Assembly

DCIM161GOPROServocity was recently nice enough to send me one of their Whippersnapper Runt Rover robotics platforms to try out. After assembling it, it appears to be a really solid platform with lots of space to mount electronics on it. It even has a cutout for a servo and a platform for a microprocessor such as an Aduino to snap into. As seen in the picture above, I hooked the four pre-wired motors into a breadboard to try it out.

With a fully-independent motor driving each of the four wheels, it should have all kinds of traction for a vehicle this size. The possible disadvantage of a setup like this is that there is some skidding while turning, but, as seen at the end of the video below, this doesn’t seem to be a problem for it whatsoever.

With boards such as the Arduino and Raspberry Pi on the market, the electronics available for creating robots and other projects are can be readily had. The mechanical side of things, however, seems more open for innovation, and it’s great to see relatively cheap mechanical robotics kits like this become available!