Transport

In addition to the health problems, we seem to be having a rather torrid time with our cars at the moment. As a family we have three cars. A small people-carrier that my wife primarily drives (which recently got damaged in a car park) a small 4-door run-about that I’m currently using, and my home-built sports car (which is loosely based on a Lotus 7, and which is currently off the road waiting for me to repair the rear suspension).

On Saturday I noticed that as I was driving “my” car up to junction, the rear brakes were making a strange noise. On checking them, it turns out that the pads have worn down to the rivets. Which have scored the discs. D’Oh. My bad for not checking them more regularly, but the upshot is that the rear discs and pads needed replacement.

This is a job I’ve carried out before on other cars without any issues, so I called into the local discount motor factors, and picked up a pair of discs and a set of pads, before calling into the more consumer-oriented place to pick up a workshop manual that would show me the details of how to actually do it. Only for me to discover they don’t do a workshop manual for this car. Oh well, I figure it can’t be *that* hard to change the discs and pads, even without detailed instructions.

How wrong could I be? 3 hours later, and I still haven’t managed to even get the callipers off, let alone the discs themselves. It’s basically impossible to get enough leverage on the bolts without having the car on a lift. At this point I realise that life is too short to be messing about with this, especially when I’m not making any progress, and so I put it all back together as it was. And today I’m trying to get hold of a friend who runs a small garage to get his guys to sort it out for me.

Stressed out

Still no news from the consultants re confirming my diagnosis. Someone ran into my wifes car in the car park today and smashed up the back of it. Needless to say, they drove off without leaving a note, so we’ll have to pay for the repairs. It just keeps on coming 😦

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Today I spent the day cleaning up my garage.  I’ve been meaning to get around to this chore for, oh, about 3 months.  Somehow I always manage to find a way to put it off. But today I woke up feeling invigorated, so I set to with a vengeance. Truth to tell, I had little choice … my workbenches were so overflowing with part-completed projects that there wasn’t room for any more. In fact, there wasn’t even room to complete any of the part-completed ones, which meant unless I did something, I was never going to get to tinker with any new projects ever again …

The main problem is that about 10 months back my home-built car ran into a rather serious engine problem, where the valves met the pistons while they were travelling in opposite directions. To resolve it required the engine and gearbox come out, which meant all the front body panels had to come off. And while I had the car apart it seemed to make sense to fix a niggling problem with the instruments. Which would be OK, but it meant that the interior all had to come out. So my garage now has my car in about 500 discrete parts scattered across all the horizontal surfaces (the workbench, all the shelves, the floor etc).  It’s ready to go back together soon, but not quite yet – I just need to strip down the fuel system first …

And the problem? Well, for Christmas I got a couple of rather geeky presents. Firstly I got some power line networking gear. Which means that I can extend my home Ethernet network out to my garage. Which means that I can finally install my single board industrial controller out in the garage.  This is good because it has a huge number of connectivity options, which means that I can start to experiment with some interesting telemetry gear that I’ve been looking at for a while. In particular, I’ve been eyeing up a weather station. And my beloved (and long-suffering) wife’s present to me was the permission to splash out and buy one…

Anyway, I can now see the benches again.  I have Ethernet in the garage, and my controller is installed and running, and I can SSH into it from my laptop. So now I just need to decide what I want to monitor before starting to order the sensors …