Here we are in mid January and my wife informed me during a drive the other day her steering wheel heater was dead on her 2014 Dodge Charger. The car has software buttons on the touch screen to activate the heater and when pressed, it goes on and within 2 seconds turns off.
I began doing research for causes and typical issues are the clock spring in the steering column, computer control module among other items. A day later we were out with the kids and i was bummed the steering wheel heater was broken and from the back seat the kids said hey.. our rear seat heaters are dead too. It immediately dawned on me to check the fuse box!
Where are the fuses?
Like many modern cars there are multiple fuse boxes in and around the vehicle. Some are under the dash board, some in the engine bay, and in our case the seat / steering wheel heater are in the trunk.
To access the fuse box you need to remove everything from the trunk and lift the trunk floor (as if you were accessing the spare tire). Under the trunk floor you will find the spare tire, battery and a small black box next to the battery.
Growing up in the 1980’s I was exposed to various types of analog media. I did have a record player, but they were not “cool” at that moment and I only owned a few LP’s. I even had a chance to dabble with my parents 8 track tapes, however they were on the decline when I discovered music. The medium of choice for my generation was the cassette tape. (until the compact disk came out)
Remember the old days
I can remember heading over to the local mall to shop Sam Goody’s huge assortment of cassettes, and then stopping by my local Radio Shack to purchase blanks to make copies for my friends. That was another life, when we all had high speed dubbing Dolby tape decks and “piracy” was still on the seas!
I was reminiscing the other day about how far we have come with digital media and was wondering how I could combine my love for cassette tapes into a digital format. I started taking apart my old tapes and trying to merge a USB drive into them, but didn’t have much luck. Then I had an ah-ha moment and decided rather than convert a cassette into a USB drive, why not make a USB drive that looks like a cassette.
I feel as if I have been a technology geek for as long as I can remember. I often wonder why as a child of the 80’s I gravitated toward electronics and not sports. I guess I would lay some of the blame on my father who seemed to push me toward electronics and would bring me all sorts of fun gadgets from Radio Shack.
Early Kits – Radio Shack Science Fair 160 in ONE
I have very fond memories of the Radio Shack Science Fair 160 in ONE Electronic Project Kit. As a kid I didn’t appreciate the components, but simply followed the instruction “cook” book and wired the circuits with the included jumpers. I can remember making a crystal radio, touch sensors, sound generators (or color organs as they were called) It wasn’t long before I started making my own creations.
As I got older, I noticed the kits had started to vanish from Radio Shack. In my late teens and early twenties I even worked at Radio Shack for a while and the kits were all but gone!
I have been a big fan of SonicWall products for the last 18 years. Even after being taken over by Dell, I still use Sonicwall in my office and at home. You may say its overkill to have one in my home, but I tend to model my home lab environment to my office environment. I like to think of my home network as a sandbox for testing things in the office.
This year we are making a big push for better security around the office and one topic that came up was the office WiFi. Currently the office Wifi shares the same LAN connection as the rest of the network. Even worse there is only one SSID for both the staff and guests. Even worse than that the SSID password has not been changed for 10+ years!
A project was commissioned to segment the WiFi network from the LAN, however it is important to allow the staff that works in the office access to the LAN via WiFi when needed.
Sonicwall – I have a NSA2600, but any modern NSA device will do. If you’re not sure which Sonicwall to purchase, this is a great starter.
Welcome to part two of my post. Previously I spoke about building a security system using a Raspberry Pi Zero and MotioneyeOS. (Read Here) I built and installed the system in February and it was working great. I even caught some Ass-Hat driving over my lawn and trash (Read Here). I ran into one issue with this system. Once Summer was here and the outside temperatures hit 90° (32°c) The processor temperature of the Pi Zero was topping 161° (72°C) and lack of cooling was causing my Pi Zeros to crash
According to the Raspberry Pi foundation the boards are specked to approach 80°C but mine were failing in the mid 70’s. So now to work on a solution.
How to cool your outdoor Motioneye camera
My first attempt was an obvious one – Paint the camera white.
The waterproof boxes I was using to house the camera had a clear cover. To reduce the amount of sunlight, I simply painted the box white
Painting the box was helpful and kept the system cooler , but it still wasn’t enough. The next step was to vent the box simply by drilling a few small holes at the bottom. I know this compromises my “waterproof” concept, but I am hedging my bets if any rain water was to enter the box, it would remain at the bottom and not touch the electronics.
Still not good enough! I want to add a fan, but I only want the fan to run when the CPU hits a specific temperature. There is no need to run the fan on cool nights or during the winter. So I decided to use the GPIO pins on the PI Zero to control the fan.
Controlling the cooling fan via GPIO pins
5 Volt cooling fan
1 NPN Transistor
1 1KΩ Resistor (or equivalent)
Soldering iron / solder
How to assemble
Its probably not a good idea to connect a fan directly to one of the GPIO pins, so I used a simple transistor and resistor to help limit the current being drawn via the pin
Camera systems are so inexpensive these days that it may make sense to purchase a Zmodoor Arlo system from Amazon and call it a day. What fun would that be? I love making little electronic projects and then improving on them as I go. Rather than install a pre-packaged surveillance system, motioneye here we come.
My system consists of four Raspberry Pi units running MotioneyeOS. Three of the four units are Pi Zeros that are my actual cameras, and the fourth is a Pi 3 that aggregates the feeds to one central monitoring station. The benefit of this is there is only one IP/domain that needs to be accessed in order to monitor all the cameras on my system. Continue reading “Motioneye Raspberry Pi Zero Security System”
I have been making mason jar night lights for at least 10 years. I try to make them in various colors and styles. In addition to my Sun & Moon, Red, Green, White, Purple and Flickering Candle I have now added Emerald Green!
I know LED’s can be programmed for any color of the rainbow, however there is still something special about the standard 5mm led. I enjoy finding unique colors and adding them to my creations.
These emerald green buggers are truly a special color. Just look at the image below that shows the contrast between the emerald green and standard led.
Coming soon in another post I’m going to detail how I made a home surveillance system using a few Pi Zero’s, MotioneyeOS and some odds and ends around the house. The system is partially up and running with one camera on the house since the beginning of January and I have already captured a few interesting clips.
This particular one is of an ass hat making a k-turn in my driveway, driving over my lawn and then proceeding to run down my trash.
Cleaning out the basement yet again I stumbled on an old 20″ iMac. By today’s standards this thing is a huge piece of junk. 250GB hard drive, 1GB RAM, Core 2 processor. At 11 years old its better suited as a boat anchor then a functional computer. However the standard equipment iMac Keyboard does function as a blue tooth keyboard and can be used with other devices.
I happen to like the iMac keyboard, it feels a little small at first, however once you get accustomed to the feel it makes a great companion to any device.
The keyboard is relatively easy to pair to your device if you follow these simple steps.
Laptops and Notebook computers cost a fraction of what they did years ago. A decent general purpose laptop can be had today for around $500. However as time marches on our older computers can begin to feel slower due to more resource demanding applications and operating systems.
Maybe its not time to toss out that used laptop! With some easy modifications you can spruce up your laptop and get a few more years of good service life out of it.