Friday, July 29, 2011

New tool: self-adjusting wire stripper

I got it online for 7 bucks. Super handy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Canon PowerShot SD870 LCD screen replacement

The screen on this camera developed a black spot when it was left in the glove compartment of a car. I've had this happen to me before when I had a camera screen pressed against another object in my backpack for a long time during a hike. High heat might also have something to do with it. I got a new LCD screen online for $50 and swapped it out.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Car audio interface

I don't like the hassle of changing out cd's while driving. And installing a simple aux input defeats the purpose of having steering wheel buttons since you have to reach for your mp3 player to change songs. So I decided to try this nifty little device, despite not being able to find a single review on the web: Yatour Audio Interface

It basically acts like the factory cd changer, except it reads memory cards and flash drives instead of cds. Here's the process of installing it on my e46.

Testing it out during my drive to work, there was terrible alternator whine coming from the speakers. I had to buy a ground loop isolator and wire it between the device and the headunit. Now everything is good and noise-free. I can finally ditch the stack of cds in my car.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Samsung TL100 digital camera

My uncle handed me this camera to see if I could fix the lens that would not retract. I ran into this problem once during a trip to Germany. One of my (not sober) classmates dropped my friend's camera. The lens barrel got knocked out of alignment and was stuck. I took the camera apart and popped the lens back into place using a handle of vodka. The top of the vodka bottle fit perfectly inside the lens barrel :)

Unfortunately, the lens of my uncle's camera had bent pins and broken plastic pieces inside the barrel. It wasn't fixable, but I thought I'd share anyways.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fridge door light switch

Sometimes the light inside the fridge turned on when you opened the door, sometimes it didn't. Here's how I fixed the intermittent connection.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

DVD player lens cleaning

My grandpa's dvd player started having a "no disc" error on all the discs he tried, even new and unscratched dvds. I could hear the dvd spinning, so I knew the problem wasn't the motor. I figured the laser pickup lens was dirty, or dust had fallen onto it. I tried blowing into the dvd slot, but that didn't fix it. The solution was to take it apart to clean the lens directly.

I first tried cleaning the lens with rubbing alcohol using a cotton swab, but that didn't solve the problem. It turns out dust got trapped underneath the lens, not on the surface. Blasting it with an air duster can did the trick. One of those lens cleaner kits would not have worked for this specific situation.

Friday, July 15, 2011

BMW e46 lower control arms

The steering on my car has felt kind of loose lately, with a little bit of wandering when trying to hold a straight line. I jacked up the front end and found a ton of wiggle in the wheels. Looking underneath, I could see the looseness was coming from the ball joints in the lower control arms. I found a new pair of control arms and bushings on ebay for $150.

There's a good DIY here if you're interested in seeing a detailed step-by-step. It took me 3 hours to do the first side. I'm guessing an independent shop would have done both sides for around $500 (and double that at the BMW dealer).