We’ve featured a lot of car hacks on these pages, most would void the warranty and none of it with explicit factory support. Against that background, Ford’s upcoming Maverick is unique: a major manufacturer has invited owners to unleash their do-it-yourself spirit. It is one of several aspects that led [Jason Torchinsky] of Jalopnik to proclaim The 2022 Ford Maverick Is An Honest, Cheap, Multitool Of A Vehicle And I’m All For It.
There are two primary parts to Ford’s DIY invitation. Inside the cabin are several locations for a dovetail mount called “Ford Integrated Tether System” (FITS). Naturally Ford will be selling their own FITS accessories, but they also expect people to create and 3D-print designs addressing needs unmet by factory kits. CAD files for FITS dimensions are promised, but any maker experienced with a caliper should have little trouble.
Another part of Ford’s DIY invitation is in the cargo area, whose sides were stamped with slots for lumber beams supporting projects like a ~$45 bike rack. There are also threaded bolt holes already in the bed, no drilling or tapping into sheet metal necessary. Behind a few small plastic doors are wires to supply 12 V DC power without the risk of splicing into factory harnesses.
There will always be wild car hacks like turning a sedan into a pickup truck. But it’s great to lower the barrier of entry for milder hacks with these small and very welcome features. QR codes on a sticker takes us to Ford’s collection of video instructions to get things started. Naturally if this idea takes off other people will post many more on their own YouTube channels. We like where Ford wants to go with this, and we would love to see such DIY-friendliness spread across the auto industry. A few Ford videos explaining design intent in this area after the break.
[Title image: Ford Motor Company]
Continue reading “Ford Maverick Welcomes DIY Spirit”
Who among us hasn’t dreamed of having some brainstorm idea, prototyping it, and then have some huge company put it into worldwide production? The problem is, that’s not really as easy as it sounds in most cases. Take the case of Robert Kearns. Never heard of him? You use the result of one of his patents pretty often; Kearns invented the intermittent windshield wiper.
If he had sold the patent to one of the big carmakers, this would be a short article. Not that he didn’t try. But it didn’t go very well and while, in the end, he prevailed, it was a very expensive victory.
Continue reading “The Back And Forth Of Windshield Wipers And Patent Lawsuits”
Over the nearly a quarter century since the Web has been in existence, there have been various websites and projects in the field covered by Hackaday that have done the rounds and captured our attention for a while. Some have turned into major projects and products, others have collapsed spectacularly, while many have faded away and been forgotten.
It was one of those “I wonder what happened to… ” moments that prompted a search for just such a project that did the rounds a little at the start of this decade. Re-Engineering the Model A Engine is [Terry Burtz]’s project to take the Ford Model A engine from the 1920s and re-engineer it with the benefit of some upgrades to increase its longevity and reliability. The new engine would look identical to the original unit, but would feature modern metallurgy, a re-engineered crankshaft with up-to-date bearings, a pressurised lubrication system, and some cooling system modifications.
The web site has a fascinating technical description and history of the Model A engine, along with a detailed examination of the proposed upgrades. There is a long list of project updates, but sadly work stalled in 2015 due to difficulties finding an iron foundry that could cast the blocks at an affordable price. It’s a shame to see a promising project get so far and fall at this late hurdle, is it too much to hope that among the Hackaday readership there might be people in the foundry business who could advise? It’s quite likely that there would be a queue of Model A owners who would be extremely grateful.
If you think you’ve seen some veteran Ford action here before, you’d be right, but only to a point. Meanwhile where this is being written a similar project for a 1950s Standard Triumph engine would be most welcome.
Any time we hear from [Charles Z. Guan], we know it’s going to be a good feature. When he’s linking us to a blog post with phrases like “If you touch the wrong spots, you will commit suicide instantly”, we know it will be a really good feature. [Charles] is no stranger to Hackaday – we’ve featured his GoKarts, Quadcopters, and scooters before. He was even generous enough to let a couple of Hackaday writers test drive ChibiKart around Maker Faire New York last year.
This time around, [Charles] is working on a power system for chibi-Mikuvan, his proposed entry of the Power Racing Series. He’s decided to go with a used battery from a hybrid vehicle. As these vehicles get older, the batteries are finally becoming available on the used market. [Charles] was able to pick up a 2010 Ford Fusion NiMh battery for only $300. These are not small batteries. At 20” wide by 48” long, and weighing in at 150 pounds, you’ll need 2 or 3 people to move one. They also pack quite a punch: 2.1kWh at 275V. It can’t be understated, taking apart batteries such as these gives access to un-fused lethal voltages. Electrocution, arcs, vaporized metal, fire, and worse are all possibilities. If you do decide to work with an EV or hybrid battery, don’t say we (and [Charles]) didn’t warn you.
As [Charles] began taking apart the battery, he found it was one of the most well thought out designs he’d ever seen. From the battery management computers to the hydrogen filled contactors, to the cooling fan controller, everything was easy to work on. The trick to disassembly was to pull the last module out first. Since all the modules are wired in series, removing the last module effectively splits the pack in half, making it much safer to work on. The battery itself is comprised of 28 modules. Each module contains two 4.8V strings of “D” cell sized NiMh batteries. The battery’s capacity rating is 8000 mAh, and [Charles] found they still took a full charge. Since he doesn’t need the pack just yet, [Charles] removed the final bus bars, rendering it relatively safe. Now that he has a power source, we’re waiting to see [Charles’] next stop on the road to chibi-Mikuvan.
In this video, [Joe Grand] takes us through [Team Van Gogh’s] entry in the OpenXC hackathon event. In what could possibly be the greatest road trip in history, [Joe Grand, Ben Krasnow, TechNinja, and Super Awesome Sylvia] all pile into a car. With them they bring a host of dev boards, wires, a CB Radio, and of course Sylvia’s WaterColorBot.
As their name implies, [Team Van Gogh] took a more artistic approach to the challenge than other teams. OpenXC steering, gear shift, accelerator and brake data is sent through a ChipKit to an RS-232 link into [TechNinja’s] laptop. The laptop translates the data into commands for the WaterColorBot. With this system, a simple Sunday drive can become abstract art.
The team also showed the concept of what could be done if OpenXC was extended to send data back to the vehicle – something Ford doesn’t support. Their example works when a phone call comes in by using the system to lower the volume on a CB radio standing in for car’s Bluetooth system.
Most of this challenge was completed with simulated data from the OpenXC vehicle interface. The team only had a few minutes to work the bugs out in a real vehicle. However, they proved their concepts well enough to win the grand prize.
Continue reading “Team Van Gogh Uses OpenXC To Create Art From Your Drive”