Category Archives: COMPONENTS AND TOOLS

New Quieter Fan for My HTPC

quiet fan HTPC vs old louder fanFor the last five years or so, I haven’t had cable, and instead use a computer (AKA HTPC) to stream everything off of the internet. I use a graphics card with no fan, which has generally worked well for me, but some streaming services* seem to cause the CPU to heat up, causing my main cooling fan to go crazy.

I’m not sure if it’s because it was getting old, but the fan that I had sounded like a jet engine. After doing a little research, I found out that I needed an 80mm fan. This is apparently normally measured by what the height and width of the square fan box is, but my fan was round for whatever reason. You can also infer this width by the distance between the holes. There is a handy chart here, so I made my best guess after taking the measurements.

After looking at reviews, I finally settled on this “ARCTIC F8 PWM PST” fan (Amazon) for under $8 as of this writing. It is seriously the most Read more »

A New Vehicle Code Reader

can-obd2

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 »

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!