Lazy Hacker Checks Fuel System For Leaks, The Easy Way

Old cars are great. They represent a different time, reflecting the state of society at the point of their design and manufacture, and can charm and delight while also providing useful transport. Except, well… old cars are great, except when they’re not.

With my Volvo 740 hitting its thirtieth birthday and cresting over 200,000 miles, to say its a little worse for wear is an understatement. The turbo dadwagon has suffered transmission issues, and cold starting woes… but most frustrating is the sudden spike in fuel use. After some work, my humble daily driver had slid from using an acceptable 21 miles per gallon, to getting just 15. Add on the fact that the turbocharged engine demands premium fuel, and you can understand my consternation.

Now that I was haemorrhaging cash on a gargantuan weekly fuel bill, I had plenty of motivation to track down the problem. Busy, and eager for a quick solution, I deferred to a mechanic recommended as the local expert in all things Volvo. Sadly, the results were inconclusive — initial appearances were that all the engine’s electronic controls were functioning to specifications, and I was told that it was “probably a bad batch of fuel”.

Unfortunately, several expensive tanks later, sourced from all over town, revealed that the problem was in fact real. With a supposedly reliable report that the fuel mixture was correct, thus ruling out culprits like the oxygen sensor, I began to wonder, was I simply pouring fuel out the tank?

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Upgrade Your Mac With A Touchscreen, For Only A Dollar

Imagine how hard it could be to add a touch screen to a Mac laptop. You’re thinking expensive and difficult, right? How could [Anish] and his friends possibly manage to upgrade their Mac with a touchscreen for only a dollar? That just doesn’t seem possible.

The trick, of course, is software. By mounting a small mirror over the machine’s webcam, using stiff card, hot glue, and a door hinge. By looking at the screen and deciding whether the image of a finger is touching its on-screen reflection, a remarkably simple touch screen can be created, and the promise of it only costing a dollar becomes a reality. We have to salute them for coming up with such an elegant solution.

They have a video which we’ve put below the break, showing a few simple applications for their interface. Certainly a lot less bother than a more traditional conversion.

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Workbench Light Arch On The Cheap

A light arch is exactly what it sounds like: an arch fitted with LED strips that can evenly illuminate the area below. They are becoming very popular in the miniature and model making communities as they put a lot of light where you need it without the shadows that you can get with purely overhead lighting. Those same characteristics make it excellent for electronics work as well, so while we haven’t seen many light arches come our way yet, we expect it won’t be long before they start tricking in.

[Spencer Owen] recently wrote in to tell us about his LED light arch that’s exceptionally easy and cheap to build. Whatever excuse you had before about not trying a light arch over your bench is probably out the window once you check this build out.

The heart of the arch is a length of plastic tile edging, which you can pick up from any big box home improvement store. LED strips are then attached to the inside face of the tile edging, and a suitable power supply wired into one end. [Spencer] mentions he’s strategically wrapped some sections of the arch with a diffuser, which may or may not be necessary for your particular application.

At this point the astute reader may have realized that this doesn’t make an arch, and would just give you a floppy light stick thing. Right you are. The real magic of this design are the 3D printed anchors. All you need to do is bend the tile edging, insert the ends in the anchors, and you’ve got a perfectly formed arch.

The hole in the anchor matches the profile of the tile edging closely, though might need to be adjusted to match a different brand of edging from what [Spencer] has. The tension of the plastic will be enough to hold the arch up without the need for glue or fasteners. As an added bonus, the arch can be taken down by just pulling the edging out and letting it return to its original shape.

Using your newly arisen arch to light up the bench is all well and good, but why stop there? Why not use it as clock, or to play a dungeon crawler?

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