Author Archives: James Peverill

Reconfiguring serial ports under ArduPilot – Getting UART1 working on the PX4MiniAio

I recently picked up some PX4MiniAIO boards (available from RTF Quads and the myairbot) – one of the many “mini pixhawk” variants that are sprouting up. I wanted this board because I want a mini form factor but also want multiple serial ports. Little did I know that the way they wired the board their “UART1” port is actually hooked to the Pixhawk’s serial console, which outputs only the OS console with the default build. This post follows my hacking around to make that serial port usable for telemetry again.

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Near-Infrared Conversion on a Canon A4000 IS HD Camera

The Canon A4000 is a great tiny camera for flying aircraft applications. It is fairly new, has image stabilization and only weighs about 150grams. At 16MP it has more than enough pixels for its tiny image sensor. Being a Canon, it also works with CHDK which gives a lot of flexibility for automating and controlling the camera. Due to this, it is a pretty good candidate for conversion to a Near-IR camera. I had read online that it was a challenging camera to convert but it actually wasn’t bad. Heres a step by step.

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Used Sporty Wagon Roundup

My beloved 1988 Volvo 740 Turbo!

Periodically I conjecture whether I should replace my venerable 1988 Volvo 740 Turbo, which I have driven for almost 20 years now! It is reasonably fast, easy to work on, and at this point a fairly unique sight on the road. Being a wagon it also holds a lot in the trunk. On the other hand it is very old, loud and not very comfortable which usually rules it out for family transport.

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Real Hoopties of NJ 2014 Wrap up

The Cosmonauts returned to NJ in May, this time a bit better prepared. The Real Hoopties of NJ 2014 race went quite well. An overall finish of 56th out of about 150 cars was by far our best finish ever, although still not in the top third! It wasn’t mechanical issues that slowed us down this time though.

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OVP relay fix for the 190e 2.3-16v

Since I have owned it the 190E has had a variety of annoyance level running issues. Initially it was virtually impossible to start but ran fine once it got hot… I later realized the ECU was unplugged! Turns out with CIS the ECU is really only there to do startup enrichment and cold start stuff. Lately the car has started fine but won’t stay running when cold AT ALL. Ie it fires on the first crank, revs to 1500ish, then dies immediately. Keeping it going when cold is an exercise in throttle feathering, but once it warms up it usually stays idling fine but the idle speed is a bit erratic. I had previously fixed a number of broken wires, cleaned the idle valve and cleaned all the relay and fuse contacts, but seen little improvement.

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Toyota 1MZ deep sump baffled oil pan

Our previous track experience indicated strongly that a better oil pan was needed for the 1MZ. Although we installed an oil pressure accumulator our first engine still barely lased an hour and the second about 10 minutes. The 1MZ features a very poor pan design for performance driving. The pan is very shallow and wide. The oil depth when the engine is full is only around 2″ above the bottom of the pan! It is no surprise that this causes issues!

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