Category Archives: How To

How-do-I’s and Do-it-Yourself

Tracking the shared car with Google Sheets and Forms

Wifey and I share the family car. I built a Google Sheet to track where the car is parked and also to record fuel top-ups, and put this as an icon on our phones.

When clicked, it opens the internet browser and takes us to the Google Sheet.

From here, we can see where the car was last reported parked, in this case, Level 1B at our local multi-storey carpark.

Clicking the link to record a new car location brings us to a Google Form, which pushes the input into the Sheet and updates the location in real time.

This allows us to inform each other of the car’s location without having to disturb the other – for example, if I came home late and she’s already asleep and will need the car for the early morning school run.

Another function would be to record fuel top-ups.

This allows us to track our actual gas spend, and also the fuel consumption of the car over time. Yes, ours is a thirsty one.

Front Fork Stand for Zwifting

As the spare wheelset was out of commission, I needed something to hold the front of the bike up while Zwifting. I got hold of some leftover 2×4 from a previous project, measured it up, cut some joints for strength, doweled the parts together, forstner’d a 12mm hole where the thru axle will go, and voila!

Shared some pictures on FB, and THEY WERE NOT IMPRESSED. Opinions ranged from me hurting myself, to breaking the carbon frame. Others thought it was cool; that the trainer supported all of the bike and rider’s weight. The stand, like the front wheel just held up the front… much like the Wahoo Climbr device (which I don’t have).

Had a few hours on the saddle now, and there were some lessons learnt. The bottom needs to be flat. If one side is higher, the steering will veer the other way. Flattened that out with a sander, and all is good. Had a couple of drops of sweat fall onto the end grain. I suppose that will lead to failure at some point. Maybe some finishing.

For now, I call it done.

Lego Watch Winder Mk2

It’s tested and finished!

This is the list of stuff that have been implemented, some planned, some improvements were reactive.

  • Direct stepper drive
  • LCD display
  • Rotary switch to control rotation direction, TPD settings, and turn on the LCD backlight.
  • Maxed out the RAM/processing power of the Arduino – revamped the source code
  • Re-arranged the board layout, cable management
  • Mounted on custom cut acrylic and Lego baseboard; 3mm acrylic cover

Finished pictures below; here’s also a video of it at work.

Lego Watch Winder Mk1

For those following my winder project 3 years ago… I’m sorry.

The acrylic rig binded and squeaked, the photointerrupter died… and as soon as I got myself in gear ordering replacements, etc… Wifey got pregnant, and being a first time expectant dad, I ran around like a headless chicken doing this and that.

And so died the Gear Winder Project…

Timmy is almost 2, and about 2 months ago I thought I should revisit this project. I got some a lot of inspiration from this guy. I can’t build something like that! I don’t even have 4 automatic watches! I also decided that this new iteration would be made using Lego – my childhood love.

I dug up the old Arduino, ordered the bits and pieces, and here is Mk 1.

Here’s a video of it working.

Mk 1 runs on an Arduino Uno, with a Easy Driver board and driving a stepper motor. The watch carrier is a piece of 2 3/4″ aluminum tubing painted black and a white line down it for a line sensor to detect and count revolutions. A left over real time clock shield is also in place for future expansion.

The belt drive system is prone to tension and slippage problems. This can be seen in the choppy watch carrier movement in the video.

I have torn Mk 1 down and embarked on Mk 2, which will have direct drive. Here’s a sneak peek.

Direct Drive

Changes planned for Mk 2 include a LCD screen, and some control mechanism. And a 3mm Acrylic cover, which should keep wifey happy. ;-)