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RC Bluetooth Car - Big Idea Testing

After ordering a few parts, I have now built Remote Control car that I can control via Bluetooth. Started with a RC Jeep that I found at Goodwill that had no controller. I took out the control board and started looking at what I could do with an Arduino.


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A Recent Big Idea

Recently, after watching a video about a group that made the "Racer", I got the idea to make something like that. Its not a new idea, I eve found some Instructables on the topic which have been very helpful. I knew I could use an Arduino to control a RC Car, and I could send controls via WiFi to the Arduino. One car is great, two is a race! In my mind, I have a great chance to pay homage to of my favorite games, Super Mario Kart! Here is the overall, hopeful, results.
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Building a PHP Editor for CMS

I started looking around for a online PHP IDE. I didn't find too much. A few HTML WYSIWYG types, yet none that would do PHP editing or syntax highlighting. I know I can easily open a document via PHP and edit the content, yet I wanted just a little more finesse.

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This has been pretty exciting and I hope to get it to a point where it's easily shared and others might be interested in using it.


I was having intermittent starting problems that became a continuous starting problem. Thankfully, I have manual transmission and have been able to compression start my car, or push start it. I replaced the battery that was maybe 8 years old, yet was still in good condition. I also was able, after pulling the starter out, to get the starter to run on the bench, yet never in the car. I found the following instructions useful from eHow, yet were lacking some details that I felt would be helpful for others.

I have largely reprinted the eHow instructions with some additional notes and illustrations to help someone looking to replace their Toyota Matrix starter. FYI they are all generally the same fo2 2000 to 2008. My model is the Toyota Matrix 2003 XRS (1.8L). I worked with my father on these and we both thought all the instructions, even the ones that came with the new part, were lacking.

Tool List:
  • 14mm socket (deep/shallow) for the 2 bolts that hold the starter motor
  • 12mm socket (deep/shallow) for the nut on the starter terminals
  • ratchet driver
  • extension. Preferably short ones.
  • flat-head screwdriver for underpanel plastic clips (they break easy)
Removing the Starter
  1. Place the vehicle on a set of front-end lifting ramps (or jack stands). Secure the emergency break. Allow the vehicle time to cool down to avoid burning your hands. About 30 minutes of cool-down time should be enough.
  2. Remove the negative battery cable and then the positive battery cable from the battery with an adjustable wrench.
  3. Remove the driver side plastic underpinning by prying the retaining clips out with a flathead screwdriver. Set the underpinning aside. The starter is now visible.
    Personal Note: I found just the Passenger side was enough. I also took the Passenger side wheel off to give myself more working room.
  4. Remove the black wire from the rear of the starter by pulling outward on the cable connector.
  5. Remove the gray rubber cap off the starter. Remove the 10mm nut that secures the ground wire to the starter.
    If you have a PMGR Version starter, which is what I had (Image 1-1 Below), the positive (+) cable is only long enough to reach the + Cable Terminal that points out toward the Passenger side of the car. The replacement model, OSGR Version (Image 1-2 Below), has a + Cable Terminal that points down toward the ground. My dad ended up creating an adapter that we used. I suspect that a Toyota service station may replace this cable end or have an adapter. I would suggest asking if one is sold at the parts store of your choosing. I purchased mine at Pep Boys and they didn't mention anything.
  6. Remove the two 14mm bolts that secure the starter to the engine. One bolt connects to the bell housing. The bolt is difficult to reach. A short extension bar connected to the socket may be necessary.
    This is where I wish they had explained things better. One of these bolts, the bottom bolt, slides through the starter and tightens into the frame. The other bolt, the upper bolt, passes through the frame and tightens in the starter.
    • If you reach in, from the drivers side of the engine compartment, you will find the head of the bolt that tightens into the starter. This is the upper bolt. You will reach it from above, essentially.
    • The other bolt, you will reach from below. This one faces the passenger side of the car and is easier to reach.
  7. Pull the starter outward and downward to remove it from the vehicle. It’s common for Toyota to install shims between the baseplate of the starter and the engine. Collect all of the shims. Reuse them during installation.
I found no shims in mine. We cleaned the starter motor, checked it's connectors, and found nothing obviously wrong with it really. We attached it to a 12 Volt battery (+ Cable Terminal and - to any part of the starter) and attached a clip from the + to the Start Terminal. The motor came to life and spun. I put it back in, and tried it, no start. Also bypassed the ignition by directly connecting 12 volts from the positive (+) battery post to the Start Terminal; it couldn't turn the engine over. It sparked, so we knew it was getting power.

I decided that it must just be old and could not turn the engine, or not turn when there was a load. We went down and got a new starter. Again, remember to ask about an adapter or you can choose to make one yourself. We used a small piece of large gauge wire with crimp on ends, soldiered those down. We then used a small bolt and nut, 10 mm, to secure the current factory end to the adapter. The other end attached to the + Cable Terminal and tightened down. The gray boot covered the bolt/nuts and the new terminal wasn't near anything that could create a spark or short.

I suggest attaching the adapter before mounting the new starter. Then follow the steps to install the new starter.

Installing the starter
  1. Place all of the shims onto the baseplate of the starter. Slide the starter into place. Mesh the gear protruding from the starter base and the gear inside of the bell housing. Turn the starter to line up the bolt holes in the baseplate and the engine.
  2. Secure the starter with the two bolts previously removed from the old starter. If the bolts are highly corroded, use new bolts.
    This is where you want the adapter to already be installed.
  3. Secure the ground wire with the wire securing nut. Push the gray cap back onto the nut.
  4. Plug the wire connector to the starter by pressing the connector into the wire harness.
  5. Put the underpinning into place. Press the retaining clips into their holes with your thumb.
  6. Reconnect the positive and then the negative battery cable.
That should do it. You should be able to start the car now. Few places suggested to start it 3 times as a solid test. This seems like good advice. I hope, if you found these steps, they are useful to you. Feel free to comment. If you have questions, I will get a note if you post a comment and will do what I can to help you out. I'm not a mechanic, just someone that believes in DIY.

If you're wondering, my car starts now. Fixed!

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Log Parsing without LogParser on a LAMP

I took erratum's comment to mind and thought about another way I can parse my growing number of Apache logs. A little Googling, and I ran across a MySQL Article to move Log Files from Apache into a MySQL. So this idea is nothing new. It does give me a lot of tools to be able to perform SQL queries against my logs in the same way that LogParser allows.

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Sketching Ideas

Got inspired to post some things I had sketched last month while at Harbin.
There just ideas for the time being.
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Ok, I know it sounds weird. I really like using Microsoft LogParser for digging through web logs. It's so flexible that it can handle web logs, event logs, FTP logs, pretty much anything you can throw at it! I use it a lot in Windows with IIS logs. I also have Ubuntu servers running Apache and I want to read the combined access logs that are created.

The easy way:
  1. Download the logs to a Windows platform
  2. run your logparser command with the -i:NCSA flag:
    logparser -i:NCSA "SELECT * FROM access.log"
That will do it.

I didn't want to download my logs. I wanted to be able to run LogParser from my Linux shell. Since it's a Windows executable, I wouldn't be able to run it in Ubuntu directly.

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2011 Burning Man Prep List

Updating my List from 2008 and 2010.

FoodShadeSuppliesLighting
* - Not a good option
  • Hummus
  • Seasame Crackers
  • String Cheese
  • Bacon (Cooked & Uncooked)
  • Tortillas
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Turkey Jerky (Kind of Meh)
  • Pork Jerky! (Very Sweet)
  • Triscuts
  • Peanutbutter filled Pretzels
  • Brownie Bites
  • Hamburgers *
  • Instant Pasta *
  • Canned Fruit
  • Dried Fruit
  • Fruit Leather
  • Bar Snacks
  • Soy Milk
  • Cereal
  • Granola
  • Bean Salad *
  • Meatballs
  • Sausages
  • Deli Meats *
  • Avocados *
  • Powdered GatorAid
  • Rice (Precooked)
  • Rice Cakes
  • Spices
  • Trail Mix
  • Snap Peas
  • Baked Snap Peas (Snapea Crisps)
  • Green Beans
  • Bell Peppers
  • Chicken Tenders *
  • Cliff/Luna Bars
  • Nutella
  • Grahm Crackers
  • Nuts
  • Water (1.5 X 10 Days = 15 Gal)
  • Dome & Covering
  • Yurt
  • Parachute
  • Tarps (Canvas and Plastic)
  • Blankets
  • Hammocks
  • Pillows
  • Cooking Stove
  • Cooking Oven
  • Pots & Pans
  • Cooking Trays
  • Coolers
  • Goggles
  • Sunglasses
  • Camp Chairs
  • Garden Staples
  • First Aid Kit
  • Toiletries
  • Plates & Cups
  • Tables
  • Bandanas
  • Bike
  • Sunblock
  • Solar Lights
  • X-Mas Lights
  • Clip Lights
  • Head Lamp
  • Flashlights
  • Work Light

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Buildy McBuilderson

I leave for Burning Man in less than 2 weeks.

In 2006, I built a Geodesic Dome following these instructions: http://graphics.stanford.edu/~munzner/dome/struts/ I have brought it and built it each year since. This will be it's 6th year on playa.

I worked on covering it better each year. Still do not have a very good cover for it. In 2009, I bought a used canvas tent. It worked well until a hole opened in it. Since it's canvas, I can repair it. I will be doing that before taking it out there.

This year, I am using the parachute that I bought for the dome in 2006 and following this instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Parachute-Shade-Structure/
Thanks to altenra and Evan for the inspiration.

I will also be bringing the yurt again this year. I am thinking of building a new hybrid hexiyurt with plywood and R-Max panels. We shall see what I can make.

I think I have all the supplies I need. I just need to purchase food stuff. I did find something good, Pork Jerky! It's a little like bacon you don't have to cook. I will have to go back and review my past food lists. Lists are damn important! I also am thinking about using 5 gallon alhambra like bottles instead of the normal 2.5 jugs I buy. I would only need 3 of them and the pump unit. I should have 16.5 gallons of water for my 11 days. Otherwise I would need 7 or so of the smaller jugs.

I must remember to take more photos this year. See you on the Snail!

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Chris, Doer of Things
Plays Well with Fire!

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