Talking to the car
I took my car for a day on a race track recently, which I'd really recommend if you've got a suitable vehicle. As you can see in this video, I span it at the end of the first lap, and after my heart rate fell below 200bpm I noticed that the engine management light had come on. At the time I was having way too much fun to worry about it, so I disconnected and reconnected the battery (which turned off the light) and carried on driving.
I've been doing an evening class in vehicle maintenance, and my attitude towards car problems has changed a lot - six months ago I would have probably stopped and taken it to a mechanic. But with my new adventurous DIY car repair spirit, I thought I'd try to figure out what was wrong and fix it. The class teacher said many times that as cars become more computer-oriented he understands them less. I'm the opposite - if it's got a computer in it, I might stand a chance of understanding it.
In an incredible example of standards actually working, all cars made since 1998 in the UK have an Onboard Diagnostics (OBDII) port, which looks like a massive old joystick port, intended for garages to interrogate your car and fix it. Mine's hidden on the underside of the dashboard next to the fuses, entirely hidden unless you're lying on the floor on the drivers side. For £6.99 on eBay (I love eBay) I acquired an OBDII to USB cable, above, and software. And after a lot of fiddling about in Windows I actually got the laptop to talk to the car!
The car tells me that the error is P0011, which the software helpfully translates into the camshaft being over-advanced. Why that happened and how to fix it is for another day. It also tells me hundreds of other facts, such as the car is currently breathing in air at 11°C at the rate of 3.31 grams per second, and that the coolant is at 58°C.
You may or may not find that interesting. Let me know in the comments...
In ten days we're leaving the UK for new adventures in Spain...Read more
Archive2016December 2016 (2)November 2016 (2)October 2016 (2)September 2016 (3)August 2016 (4)July 2016 (5)June 2016 (4)May 2016 (4)April 2016 (5)March 2016 (4)February 2016 (4)January 2016 (5)2015December 2015 (4)November 2015 (4)October 2015 (5)September 2015 (4)August 2015 (4)July 2015 (4)June 2015 (4)May 2015 (5)April 2015 (4)March 2015 (4)February 2015 (4)January 2015 (4)
What's this about?
Hi I'm Mat and I'm addicted to new hobbies. I used to think this was a bad thing but now I'm embracing it.
Writing them all up in this blog encourages me to finish projects, and helps me keep track of which ones I've tried.
Lock picking has been on my list of skills to learn for years, but I just discovered how easy it is to buy picks on the web...
Also in Mechanically minded...
A few weeks ago I got to drive a Lotus Exige for the first time...