LED Headlight Upgrade – 1995 Chevy S-10

The low beam in one of my headlights burnt out, and since it’s a 4×6 sealed beam unit, I have to replace the whole thing. I decided to replace both the driver and passenger side at the same time so that they match, and upgrade to LED units by GENSSI (4×6 G3) that also add the ability to have always on daytime running lights (DRL). (As opposed to always driving around with my low beams on.)

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The (1995-1997) Chevy S-10 only has two headlight units and the factory sealed beam headlights (H6545) use a weird plug shape that is not the standard H4 (the ground plug is twisted about 45 degrees). They are rated at 65 watts on the high beam and 45 watts on the low beam, but for nighttime driving I have never been happy with their light output.

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The GENSSI (4×6 G3) that I am replacing them with has a measured power consumption for one unit at 14.4 volts on my bench power supply of 1.8 A for high beam, 1.03 A for low beam, and 0.08A (8ma) for the DRL.  This works out to 26 watts, 15 watts, and 1.1 watt for a single unit. The eBay auction page claimed 25, 20 and 1.1 watts for high/low/DRL, so the measured figures mostly match the online specifications, giving me hope that the specified lumen ratings may also be somewhat correct (Claimed at 2150/1800/57 lumens).

These units cost me $40 each, compared to the  $15 replacement cost for a direct drop in Wagner H6546.  However, the cost didn’t stop there, as I needed to pay an extra $30 for two adapters from the OEM socket to the H4 plug on the LED headlights. I could have just cut off the OEM connector and wired in a H4 socket for less money, but I decided to pay for the adapters to make the installation plug and play as well as retain backwards compatibility. Supposedly LED lights should last practically forever, but if I ever need to replace them in a hurry I want the ability to go back to the OEM 4×6 units which can be picked up at most auto-part stores.

The difference between the LED’s and the original headlights is quite apparent, as the LED’s are a “cooler”  color temperature (white, not yellow) and brighter, which is why I am changing out both headlight units even though only one burnt out.

Here you can see a comparison of the new LED on the left and the original halogen on the right, shining on a garage door in the day and at night.

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I paid an $80 premium for the LED lights as opposed to the cheap OEM halogen replacements. For that $80 I get a cooler color temperature (for a more modern look), more light (better nighttime visibility), minor energy savings,  and the ability to wire in true daytime running lights if I decide to make the effort (not yet connected).

Flashing Kids Shoe Teardown

I took apart one of those kids shoes that flashes to see what the battery/circuit/sensor looked like. Here it is:

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A small coin cell (under the round sticker), a circuit board, and a spring sensor are embedded in a square block of resin. It has three output channels (labeled R,G,B, although in this particular shoe all three were connected to red LED’s).  One LED (shown) was pointing out the back of the sole, and the other two were on top of the shoe. It took me about 5 minutes with a razer knife to dig this out of the sole of the shoe, and another 5 minutes to cut out the wires that went up to the red LED’s on the top of the shoe. Here is a video:

Building a lofted storage shelf from a single sheet of plywood

My rental garage has 10+ foot ceilings, and I have a lot of stuff to store. To utilize the vertical space, I built a lofted storage shelf from fourteen 2×4 studs and a single 4×8 sheet of 3/4″ plywood to go over my electronics project table. This is what it looks like before I added the electronics table, pegboard and shelves.

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Because I’m renting, I needed the unit to be free-standing, and not attached to the walls.   I had the plywood ripped at 30″ at home depot for a 96″ wide and 30″ deep shelf, leaving me an 18″x96″ section that was used for both the back and side bracing panels.

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Time to upgrade to LED Lights

LED lights are much more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, slightly more efficient than compact florescent (with much less mercury!), and have recently really dropped in price.

I just purchased a six pack of 11 watt LED bulbs designed to replace 65 watt flood lights for $27. When lit, together they use 66 watts. (And light up the kitchen better!)

Compared to the 390 watts used by the incandescent bulbs they replaced, this is a savings of 324 watts.   If they are lit for three hours a day the savings is substantial; 972 watt hours, or almost one kWh!  If we pretend the average cost of electricity is 0.10 a kWh (it’s actually closer to 0.117 for me) this works out to paying for the light bulbs in energy savings in less than a year (270 days!).   As long as the bulbs last for at least 810 hours, they have paid for themselves. (The rated life on the package claims 25,000 hours)

If we conservatively pretend the bulbs will only last 10,000 hours (9 years at 3 hours a day), they will continue to save  324 watts x 9190 hours after they have paid for themselves. This works out to 2,977 kWh, or $297 worth of electricity.  Not a bad return on investment for $27 of sunk costs.

In summary, it’s time to replace any incandescent bulbs you have with LED’s. (You may as well wait for the CF bulbs to burn out before you replace them.)

Parking and Charging EV’s at the University of Central Florida’s (UCF)

If you are looking to park and charge an EV on the UCF (University of Central Florida) campus, plugshare shows three options.

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One is right at the visitors information center, one is on the NE side of the first floor of parking garage A (by the elevators), and one is under a large solar canopy in the D1 parking lot next to the Memory Mall. All chargers require you have a UCF parking permit. (Visitors can purchase a daily permit at the visitors information center for $5.)

In September of 2016, the Memory Mall parking lot was the site of construction, so check on that before heading for it. The spots in Parking Garage A may be occupied during the day by UCF employees/students. Continue reading

Saving Space with an overhead shop vac

I have a 12 amp wall mounted shop vac, but I’m not allowed to screw into the walls of my rental garage. I also want to use it at the same time as other high power tools, like my table saw or drill press. This is a problem, because if the tool and the vacuum are both running on the same 15 amp circuit, the breaker trips. My rental garage has a single 15 amp circuit for all of the outlets. Except this one, which is on the same circuit as the lights.

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I doubt I’ll be opening or closing the garage door at the same time as I run the shop vac, so putting the vacuum on the lighting circuit solves a lot of problems.

I bolted a 2×4 to the metal rail with 5/16″ screws and nuts and then mounted the vacuum to that.

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My countsink bit was too small to fully fit the head of this 5/16 screw, so I drilled a 1/8″ pilot hole, then used my 5/8″ spade bit to drill a small impression before drilling with 1/4″ and 5/16″ bits and then using the countersink bit for the bottom of the conic section.

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I needed somewhere for the hose, and the mount needed stabilizing along the Z axis so it doesn’t wobble when you turn the vacuum on or off, so I put another 2×4 on the other side for the hose mount and connected them together with deck screws for stability. I wired up a switched outlet that I can (just barely) reach from the ground, with an extra outlet in case I want to plug anything else into the secondary circuit.

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Now I can run the vacuum at the same time as other high current shop equipment because they are on different circuits, and it’s off the floor and out of the way.

A video of the same content on YouTube:

 

Building a lofted storage shelf

The new garage I moved into does not have an attic to store all of our boxes. But, it does have 10.5 foot ceilings. I am converting some of this overhead space into usable storage by building a series of lofted overhead storage shelves and platforms (the largest is 4′ x 8′, or a piece of plywood in size).

This post will explain how to build a single lofted shelf (to go over a table or desk for example). My primary support material is 2×4 studs, and the shelf material and some sheathing brace pieces are made from 3/4″ (nominal, 23/32 actual) subfloor plywood.

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Continue reading

Improve your photos by using professional framing choices

The two photos below are of the same subject. The first photo was taken by an amateur photographer, making rookie mistakes. He decided to use a vertical layout to capture the pool, but this chopped off the near corners. He does not include the sky or a visible horizon, and the background is an uninteresting wall of green. The center of the photo falls in the water, with no interesting details.

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Below is the same subject photographed by a professional photographer. Notice how the landscape orientation she has chosen complements the vertical layout of the pool. By moving to the other end of the pool she includes sky and an implied horizon. Notice also how she has placed the vanishing point at the splash of color inside the pool shed to act as a focus point. Simply by changing the focus point, orientation, and camera location the subject is made to sparkle!12 1293 Berkeley Pool

Sexist Google Image Search filters

I was sitting next to my wife who was goggling for images of haircuts. (I have to admit,  I’ve never performed this type of search before tonight….)  She showed me a few of her search results, and I noticed that she had some super cool search filtering options across the top of her Google image search results that I had never seen before. (I had thought I knew all the tricks of how to use Google image search…..I was wrong.)

As it turns out, I just hadn’t been using the right search terms, like “for women”. Here is an image of what I’m talking about.

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That’s right, when you search for “short wavy haircuts for women” you can filter by “over 40”, “over 50”, or face shape!  But why can’t I filter images of men by age or face shape when searching for  “short wavy haircuts for men”?

For that matter, how come I don’t see any men when searching for “short wavy haircuts”… Continue reading