As expensive as a new car is, it almost seems like a loss leader now to get you locked into exorbitantly expensive repairs at the dealership’s service department. That’s the reason a lot of us still try to do as much of the maintenance and repairs on our cars as possible — it’s just too darn expensive to pay someone else to do it.
Case in point: this story about a hapless Tesla owner who faced a massive repair bill on his brand new car. [Donald]’s tale of woe began when he hit some road debris with his two-wheel-drive Model 3. The object hit penetrated the plastic shield over the front of the battery pack, striking a fitting in the low-pressure battery cooling plumbing. The plastic fitting cracked, causing a leak that obviously needed repair. The authorized Tesla service center gave him the bad news: that he needed a new battery pack, at a cost of $16,000. Through a series of oversights, [Donald]’s comprehensive insurance on the car had lapsed, so he was looking at funding the repair, approximately half the cost of a new Model 3, out of pocket.
Luckily, he got in touch with [Rich Benoit] of The Electrified Garage, one of the few independent garages doing Tesla repairs and customizations. The video below is queued up to the part where they actually do the repair, which is ridiculously simple. After cutting off the remains of the broken fitting with a utility knife, [Rich]’s tech was able to cut a thread in both the fitting and the battery pack, and attach them together with a brass nipple from the plumbing section of the local home store. The total bill for the repair was $700, which still seems steep to us, but a far cry from what it could have been.
Hats off to [Rich] and his crew for finding a cost-effective workaround for this issue. And if you think you’ve seen his EV repairs before, you’re right. Of course, some repairs are more successful than others.
Continue reading “Repair Hack Saves Tesla Owner From Massive Bill”
Car lifts used to be a tool reserved for professional mechanics. Times are a-changing though. With the advent of reasonably priced four-post hydraulic lifts, more and more shade tree mechanics are joining the five-foot high club. Installing a lift in a home garage creates a few hazards, though. What happens when a family remotely opens the garage door while there is a car up on the lift? Garage door and lifted vehicle will meet – with expensive and/or dangerous results. [Joe Auman] saw this problem coming a mile away. He built the LiftLocker to make sure it never happens to him.
At its core, LiftLocker is a set of switched extension cords. Two cast-aluminum boxes hide the electronics. One box plugs in-line with the lift. The other box plugs in-line with the garage door opener. Each box includes a Sparkfun Redboard Arduino compatible, an RFM22 433 MHz Radio, and a relay. Input comes from a security system magnetic reed-switch. Both boxes are identical in hardware and code.
Operation is simple. One box and reed switch goes on the lift, the other on the garage door. If the lift is going up, its reed switch will open. The lift’s Arduino detects this and commands its RFM22 to send a signal to the other box on the garage door. Upon receiving this signal, the garage door controller will open its relay, disconnecting power to the garage door opener. Communication is two-way, so if the Lift controller doesn’t hear an ACK message from the garage door controller, everything will shut down. Click past the break to see the system in action.
Continue reading “LiftLocker Keeps Your Lift Safe From Attacking Garage Doors”
It’s been said that hackers are enamored with complex networks. In the 60s and 70s, the telephone network was the biggest around, singing a siren song to an entire generation of blue-boxing phone phreaks. I started a bit closer to the house. As a child I was fascinated by the heating system in the basement of our home: a network of pipes with a giant boiler in the middle. It knew when to come on to provide heat, and when to kick on for hot water. I spent hours charting the piping and electrical inputs and outputs, trying to understand how everything worked. My parents still tell stories of how I would ask to inspect the neighbors heating systems. I even pestered the maintenance staff at my nursery school until they finally took me down to see the monstrous steam boiler which kept the building warm.
My family was sure I would grow up to be a Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) tech. As it turned out, electronics and embedded systems were my calling. They may not have been too far from the truth though, as these days I find myself designing systems for a major manufacturer of boiler controls and thermostats.
Recently a house hunt led me to do some HVAC research on the web. What I found is that HVAC techs have created a great community on the internet. Tradesmen and women from all over the world share stories, pictures, and videos on websites such as HVAC-Talk and HeatingHelp.
Continue reading “HVAC Techs – Hackers Who Make House Calls”
While surfing one of our favorite websites, we came upon this little jewel. We can’t really tell if this is hack-worthy, or just a deathtrap, so to help decide…
Mechanics crawler + 80cc motor – safety concerns = deathtrap
It’s really that final “Brakes? Why would I need to stop?” that puts this project over the edge. Regardless, check out a video after the break. And please, do not try this at home.
Continue reading “Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor’s Dream Ride”