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 »

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!

How to Dissasemble a Broken Watch with Cheap Tools


Did I fix it or just break it more?

After dropping and breaking my watch for what seems like the 100th time (though it’s probably only been five), I decided to take matters into my own hands and fix it myself.  The markers that indicate what hour it is were coming off every time it was jostled, and, although my wife would take it to get fixed for my birthday or Christmas or what have you, I was informed that it was becoming quite expensive, and that possibly I should just get a new watch.

This seemed to be the best option, but not wanting to miss a chance to expand my skills, I decided to try to fix it myself.  Besides, despite it’s fragility, I really liked that watch, and it was a gift, so there was some sentimental value as well.  So after buying this cheap watch repair kit from Amazon, I was ready for action…

The back came off relatively easy, but removing the crown/stem (as I now know the winder thingy is called) can be quite difficult.  Fortunately, the video after the “read more” at least gave me a place to start, and after poking around for a bit it came out. Read more »