Add Bluetooth to your Car (For cars with aux input)

This time around I'll show you how to add Bluetooth functionality in your car, if your car radio only has an auxiliary port.

You need a Bluetooth to auxiliary adapter. Here are the links to the two that I showed in my video (which you may not want to buy, for reasons in my video):

The tiny one (eBay)
The bigger one (eBay)

Here are links to Amazon where you can find ones that should be true stereo audio (read the reviews to be more sure), but are more expensive:

USA
Canada
UK

And of course, here is the video:



And another video I threw together to test if you can properly hear stereo audio:


Automatic Sliding Door Cable Replacement on a 3rd Generation Honda Odyssey

I replaced the cable on the automatic sliding door on our 2009 Honda Odyssey EX-L and I thought I'd share what I learned. These instructions will apply to any 3rd generation Odyssey (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) with automatic sliding doors (the EX-L and Touring).

I had previously done this on our 2002 Odyssey using a write up on the OdyClub forums. Much of it is the same, but there are very important things that are different. This is not a full write up. I'm only writing about what is different with the 3rd gen. There is a video I've posted at the bottom of this, but make sure you read all of this too.

First off: this job is not pleasant. If you can find the entire motor assembly for a price you’re willing to pay, go for it. The entire assembly is definitely easier to remove than it was in the 2nd gen.

Parts

All the parts are the same, except for the cable. The green cable from Home Depot won’t work. The OEM cable is 1/16”, just the same as the green cable. But the OEM cable has a very, very thin coating. The green stuff has a thicker coating that brings the outside diameter of the cable to 3/32. That’s too big to fit in the motor used in the 3rd gens.

I ended up using 1/16” uncoated galvanized aircraft cable. Here in Canada, it seems to be harder to find this stuff. My father-in-law ended up calling around for me and got some from an aircraft mechanic. It cost more than it would elsewhere ($1/ft), but this stuff is tough. I couldn’t cut it at all with wire cutters. I ended up using my angle grinder to cut it. You can find 1/16” galvanized cable at Home Depot, though the quality may not be the same.

Being uncoated, there is a worry of it rusting out if the galvanization wears off. My OEM cable rusted out where the coating was damaged, which caused it to break. That’s one factor of why I’m more comfortable getting it from who I did: the galvanization is probably better and less likely to wear off as quickly (or at all). Time will tell.

Some Home Depot stores in the US stock 1/16” stainless steel wire rope. That would work too. Although one of the aircraft guys my father-in-law talked to said that the stainless stuff is weaker and also doesn’t like to be constantly bent. Your mileage may vary.

Another option is using brake cable for bikes. It's a lot easier to find. Thicknesses are in millimeters, so you need be no thicker than 1.5mm (1/16" is 1.5875mm).

The length of the cable is very important to get right. You don’t have much leeway. For the driver’s side, the cable going toward the front of the van is about 66”. The cable going around the back is about 62”. I did not replace the passenger side, so I can’t tell you those lengths. Cut it a half inch longer just in case. You can always cut some off later, but you don’t have too many options to lengthen it. I did have to lengthen mine a bit. I added about an inch on the back cable. I put a short length in the roller, and used one of the stops from the ferrule and stop set to attach it to the cable going to the motor. You can only put on a couple inches in that spot, so it’s much better to just get the cable length right the first time.

Links to Parts

Cable with 1/16" outer diameter, about 12ft per side (maybe Home Depot, or online)
US (aircraft cable): http://amzn.to/2gAC9Vo
Canada: harder to find aircraft cable, so try bike cable: https://amzn.to/2IbZLN8

Ferrule and stop set (locally, or online) (you probably won't need this if you use bike cable with a stopper end already on it)
US: http://amzn.to/2gNrhXm
Canada: http://amzn.to/2oZEelm

Terminal lug, which needs to be ground down (Home Depot, or online)
US: http://amzn.to/2gwJrvW
Canada: try an electrical supplier

Opening the motor

The driver’s side motor is so much easier to get to. The passenger side is in an awkward spot, so you will have to unmount it to work on it. The motor has a bunch of screws on the outside of it. Those can all come off. Here is a picture with the cover removed.

Door motor


A 10mm bolt and washer releases the pulley, and everything comes out. The white stoppers just clip in, so you can pull those right off. You may need to release the bottom clips of the white stoppers and push them up, then pull them out.

Putting it back together

I could not get the wire to feed through without taking off the rest of the assembly (where it feeds to the outside). There are 3 10mm bolts at the back, 4 in the front. Take those off, and pull off the rubber covers.

If some of the old cable is still exposed both inside and outside, and you have some heat-shrink tubing, you can shrink the tubing over both the old and new cable, and use that to pull the new cable through. This is definitely the easiest way to feed the new cable through.

Otherwise, feed the new cable from the inside out: feed it through the tube, so it eventually comes out at the roller. I found that it would stop right where it met the roller. The end of my cable was frayed a bit, so I think that’s why. I was able to use some pliers to push it through with more force than I could by hand.

Put the rubber covers back on and reattach. At this point you have one end of the cables at the motor and the other end outside.

I found that I had to feed the cable into the motor pulley before crimping the stop on it. But before that, feed the spring and white stopper over the cable. The springs have a straight piece at the one end, which must go toward the inside of the motor. Make sure you have the white stopper with the clip toward the bottom. After those are over the cable, you can feed the cable into the pulley. The cable coming into the left of the motor goes into the back of the pulley. The cable coming into the right of the motor goes into the front of the pulley (regardless of driver or passenger side). Feed the wire straight through to the other side, then crimp on the stopper. You can then pull it back and ensure it doesn’t come back out.

Once both cables are attached, go outside and attach the roller (you could do this first if you want). The instructions for this are the same as the 2nd gen. Tighten it down as hard as you can. I used two sets of vice grips to tighten it as tight as possible.

It's also a good idea to fill the hole in the lug and cover the cable with JB Weld to make this connection as permanent as possible (although you may want to wait until you know the length is right and everything works before you do this). This will be your weakest link - if the cable slips out of here, you'll be doing this all over again.

Attach the door at this point if you want.

Back inside, roll the cables around the pulley as much as you can and push it into the housing. The gear the pulley sits on moves quite freely, so you will have a hard time lining it up right.

Clip in the white stoppers, and push the springs into place. This is a pain. The straight piece coming off the springs feed into a hole on either side. Use small pliers and a light so you can see the hole. Once those are in the hole, make sure you don’t pull the wire outward, or you’ll pull those springs out. It’s annoying when that happens.

Put the washer and nut back over the pulley. Make sure the white stoppers are pushed all the way down so that they clip in.

By this point you would have noticed that there are also white clips around the pipe the cable feeds through that hold it to the body of the van. Put those back on. Those can be opened up with some effort if need be.

It’s wise to test things before you put everything back together, but if you test, make sure you either hold down the spring on the right with a finger, or put the cover on with at least one screw. The right spring can pop out otherwise.


If you have any questions, ask me in the comments here, on the video, or in the thread over at the OdyClub forums where I first posted this.

Here's the video:

100W LED Video Light

Now that my YouTube channel has been picking up traction (more than I ever thought it would), I figured I should do a better job with the quality of my videos. A big piece of that is lighting. So I wanted some good, powerful lights to use, but without having to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars.

So in this video, I'm going to show you how I made my own DIY video lights with 100W LED chips for about $50 worth of parts. These turned out to be super bright!! I added dimmer knobs so I can control the brightness, as well as umbrellas to soften the light.

These lights can even be used as work lights. Just be careful if you use them for doing drywall: since there is a fan in it, it will suck in drywall dust and get the inside of the light all gross. I speak from experience :)

First, here is a list of all the parts I used, with links to where you can buy them. All prices are in US dollars and from 2017. Prices may have changed by the time you're reading this.

LED light set: eBay ($22.69)
10kOhm logarithmic potentiometer: eBay ($1.89 for 2) or locally
10kOhm trim potentiometer: eBay ($0.99 for 10) or locally
USB wall charger: free or dollar store
2ft 4” PVC pipe: free or Home Depot ($9.13)
2x 4” PVC drain: Home Depot ($3.21)
Threaded insert: Home Depot ($2.97 for 4)
Cabinet Handle: Home Depot ($1.16)
Black plastic paint: Amazon ($5.94) or locally
IEC320 C8 power socket: eBay ($1.14 for 2) or locally
IEC320 C8 power cord: free or Monoprice ($1.88)
Knob for potentiometer: eBay ($0.99 for 5) or locally

If you add all that up, it comes to $53.32. But if you decide to make a second one, the cost for the second comes down to $30.27 since many of parts you can only buy in multiples, so you already have enough for the second.

You can also buy lighting umbrellas with holders, as I did:

Umbrella holder: eBay ($2.99)
Umbrella: eBay ($2.59)

Finally, here is the video:

I doubt anyone will make these lights exactly as I did. I took inspiration from these two videos, so check them out to get some ideas for yourself.


Add Dimmer to ZY1010B 100W LED Driver

Update: The full light is done! Click here

I will be working on 100W LED lights to help with lighting my videos. I bought this kit on eBay for about $30US: https://goo.gl/HgWenj

I was planning to wire in a dimmer, like this guy did: https://youtu.be/c--5c3Egv4E?t=4m4s

But alas, the LED driver I got did not have a trim potentiometer like the one in the video. However, on closer inspection, I found that the circuit board has a spot for one, there just isn't one there:

So I wired one in there, and it worked perfectly!

Here's a link to a potentiometer you can use for this: https://goo.gl/kXgcRC

And here's the video where I demonstrate how it works:


Stay tuned for a video where I put all of this together.

Save Money on CAD/USD Exchange Rates

A little known fact is that the banks that issue credit cards usually have an inflated foreign exchange rate. For many cards, like the Canadian Tire Options card, for example, that rate is 2.5% on top of the MasterCard exchange rate. So for us Canadians who do a lot of cross-border shopping, or shopping online in US dollars, that can add up.

Can you avoid it? Yes! Last year I found the Amazon Rewards Visa, only available to Canadians. Using this card, you will only be charged the Visa exchange rate, which you can check on Visa's website, and no more.

Apart from no foreign exchange fees, it does have other perks:
  • Free $20 Amazon.ca gift card for signing up
  • 2% cash back on Amazon.ca purchases
  • 1% cash back everywhere else (only applies to Canadian dollar transactions)
  • No annual fee
Once you earn $20 in cash back, it gets applied right to your card (your bill is decreased by $20).

To sign up, click on the link below. The application takes 5 minutes and you can start using it immediately on Amazon.ca, before you even receive your card in the mail.

Make the purchases you've always been making for 2.5% less. We've found it worth it.

Stop Your Treadmill from Beeping

Are the beeps from your treadmill annoying? Want to run while the kids are in bed? Watch this video to see how to quiet your treadmill.

I'll show you four (well, technically five) different ways to do it:

1. Muffle the sound, if you just find it too loud.
2. Disable the sound entirely
3. Add a switch to turn the sound on and off
4. Add a volume knob

The 5th option, which is what I do in the video, combines 3 and 4. Options 1 and 2 require no special tools, but doing option 2 without a soldering iron is not recommended.

Here are wiring diagrams for the other options, with links to where you can buy what you need:

Switch
Here is a push on / push off (aka self-locking) switch: https://goo.gl/c4j1r1

Volume knob
You'll need a 20kΩ potentiometer (labelled as B20K), which you can buy here: https://goo.gl/XxgVBD

Volume knob with switch
For this you'll need a 10kΩ (or more) potentiometer with combined switch: https://goo.gl/2WG87b


And finally, here is the video:

Leather band for RoadID Elite

In this video I'll show you how to make a leather band for the RoadID Elite to replace the silicone band that comes with it. I use these bracelets for my kids, and I've found that the silicone bands break after a while. I've gone through 4-5 bands now and I don't want to replace them anymore.

These bracelets can be bought at:
https://www.roadid.com

Note that you can buy the clasp and plate on their own if you plan on making your own leather band.

A leather trim piece can be bought on Amazon:
US: http://amzn.to/2kB9J2h
Canada: http://amzn.to/2laIsjL
UK: http://amzn.to/2k96MT5