Archive for the “geek” Category

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For the techies out there – go take a look and pass it on.

Proper links are not working at the mo.

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So thanks to Lorraine Pascale everyone enjoyed mini toad in the hole with Basil and Sage batter.



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OK so for a good while now my 2002 Clio 1.2 16v has been having trouble starting, it turns over fine but doesn’t always fire and start up. Also to get it to start you normally needed a bit of gentle gas on the accelerator. Idle was a bit rough, but I wasn’t too worried about that. Anyway last night it finally refused to start. I’d been putting off dealing with it as there was no rhyme or reason to when it started and when it didn’t, but I had convinced my self it was worse when it had been in the sun all day. I also knew of many notorious Clio immobiliser issues, which if you need a new key will cost £160 per key – not good.

Lots of searching on forums led me to the following probably issues:
1) Keys, immobiliser, ignition socket, etc.
2) Fuel pump
3) Coils
4) Shorts in the wiring loom
5) TDC (top dead centre) or Crank Arm sensor (this is a hall effect sensor that tells the engine when to spark)

The Diagnosis
1) Immobiliser – spoke to a service guy at Renault (S J Cook & Sons in Bristol). He said if you put your keys, get to ignition 2 the red light should go out. If when you turn the engine over the red light flashes at twice the rate it flashes when the cars is locked and immobilised then it is an immobiliser/key fault. If that doesn’t happen it isn’t. So far so good – no flashing light
2) Fuel pump – logic would say if the pump had gone it wouldn’t intermittently start. I can also hear the relay click when the pump is primed at ignition 2.
3) Coils – these were replaced last year, shouldn’t have gone again so soon.
4) Shorts – visual inspection of everything I could see looked fine.
5) So that leaves the TDC sensor. Turns out it is a £28 part from Eurocarparts and fairly easy to change. Given all of the above this has to be the best place to start before you start racking up a big bill at the garage. Also if the sensor is dodgy it can be worse when the engine is warm, which may support my hot day theory.

The Fix
1x 10mm ring spanner
1x 10mm socket & ratchet
1x small flathead screwdriver (for releasing the sensor from the harness)
1x TDC sensor. Depending on the age of your Clio Renault changed the part which means if you buy a genuine part you have to splice the cables from the harness as the new sensor doesn’t fit the old harness. If you buy from Eurocarparts or GSF it will go straight on.
1x torch
1x large piece of cardboard or hardboard

0) Place the hardboard on the floor under the engine – if you drop anything it will be much easier to find.
1) Unclip the coolant overflow pipe from the air filter unit
2) Release the air hose from the air filter unit
3) Using the 10mm socket remove the 2 bolts from the top of the air filter housing and remove the air filter & casing. This frees up space to work.
4) The sensor is located where the engine meets the gearbox on the passenger side of the car. It sits just above the flywheel. It is a black cylinder on a steel curved bar held on with 2 10mm bolts. Take a picture of it so you can be sure you put the new one in the right way round
WARNING: Do not remove the hoses just above the sensor to make more space – you will empty the engine coolant over your feet!
5) There are two wiring loops that run across the from of the sensor. Unclip the securing clip of the large one to give a little slack. There should be some slack in the thinner one.
6) Using a combination of a 10mm socket on the front bolt and a 10mm ring spanner on the rear bolt release the TDC sensor
7) The bolts have long shanks and are not threaded all the way so they should not fall out once fully undone
8. Carefully move the sensor out from between the harnesses and hoses
9) Using a small flathead screwdriver one the the precision ones) release the sensor from the harness
A quick comparison with the new part and you will see the little magnetic tip will look very tired compared to the gleaming new one.
10) Connect the harness to the new sensor making sure it is pushed all the way home
11) Making sure you have the correct orientation manoeuvre the sensor into place#
12) Starting with the rear bolt using your fingers locate the bolt and get its thread started
13) Do the same on the front
14) Use your spanners and socket to tighten it all up
15) Reconnect the harness into its securing clip
16) Replace the air fliter unit, its 2 bolts and air hose.
17) Replace the coolant overflow pipe into its holder on the air filter housing
18) Visually check you have not forgotten anything and have nothing left over
19) Start the engine

Mine started first time and idled better than ever.

Hope this helps someone.

Thanks to the following websites for all the tips and good advice:

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Being on paternity leave with a two year old to look after and a wife who has had a C-section brings a whole slant to everything as i am doing all the cooking, cleaning, washing etc. So i’d thought I’d ring the changes starting with a man-grade laundry basket from Ikea. This 11 gallon bad boy is called a Skoghall.

I’m living the dream.


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Star Wars and Cake, what more could you want?

More Star Wars Cakes on the Flickr Blog

Lego Millenium Falcon Cake

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…and I don’t know how to use it.

I am now starting the long and rather complicated transition from a web-based domain email and a Nokia Symbian S60 phone to Android and Google apps to host my domain email.

To say I’m scared of breaking my domain, email and sanity is somewhat of an understatement.

Angry Birds here I come.

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“He’s worth a lot to me”

On the way home from Spring Harvest we stopped at Street to do some shopping and I found these amazing Star Wars Adidas Originals, even better they were only £32 and feature my favourite ever Star Wars character.

ZX800_02 They are supposed to pick out the design elements and colours of Fett’s Mandalorian Warrior armour. I think they do it quite well.
ZX800_01 They come in action figure style packaging.
ZX800_03 The trainers feature Boba and Fett tags on the laces, and his head on the tongue. You also get pair of red laces if you to bring out those colours.
ZX800_08 The rear features logos from Fett’s costume and are nicely distressed just like his armour.

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So I haven’t blogged for ages, but I am finally going to use this site for one of my original intentions which was to do some reviews of some of the stuff I buy. As my wife will testify to I spend far too much time researching kit before I buy it and can never find the reviews and information I want so I am going to have a go myself.

I bought a new iPod Nano 6G & Nike+ sensor kit the other week to use at work and go running with. I’m not going to review that here as there are loads of reviews already online, but I am going to review the following bits and pieces I have bought to support it. I no particular order:

Sennheiser Adidas CX 680 Sports Headphones
Marware Sportsuit Sensor+ (case for Nike+ sensor)
Tunebelt Sport Armband for iPod nano 6G
Kolay 6G Nano socks, skin and screen protector

As soon as I have the pictures edited I will start reviewing.

Watch this space!

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So my computer died. I thought motherboard/cpu. Bought £370 worth of new kit, and much like my unnecessary oven my computer was still toast.

Finally diagnosed a faulty OCZ ModXStream Pro PSU which is only 10 months old. What a load of rubbish. To make matters worse to return it I have to send it to the Netherlands. So I’ll be buying a new PSU as well then.

Don’t think I can return the motherboard processor as I have installed the processor onto the board. That was an expensive experiment.

I failed Dave’s computer rule number one – always check the PSU.

I will be following Dave’s computer rule number two – never buy OCZ again.

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