Putting Some Smartness Into A Smart Fortwo

I have been a happy owner of a 2006 700cc Smart Fortwo since last Summer. But I have been want to put some automation to it for a while. I started my endeavor to making windows open even when ignition is off. There is easy to  follow instruction on the net.

I plan to have a spesific feature which for example a coupe BMW has. When door is opened, door window automatically lowers a bit and when closing the door, window goes automatically up. I want it because every time I close the door I feel overpressure in the cabin. It seems there is no pressure relieve valve like in more ordinary cars. Windshield is the biggest window in the car and because overpressure the sealing of it get much stress when closing doors. A very common problem with Smart Fortwo is a leaking winshield. My car had it also. I think that leaking is caused by overpressure. Luckily I managed to find leakage before my control unit got wet. By the way, that control unit controls pretty much everything in this car so it really should stay dry. It is located below dashboard so it easily get wet if windshield leaks.

That window feature is not implemented yet but I have made some testing. Maybe I’ll write something about it when it is done.

At the moment I just finished a very early alpha version of the control of seat heating. A small microcontroller(Arduino) controls with relays contact pads of seat heater switches. It puts them on automatically when head lights are switched on. After 30 seconds it puts them off and they stays off until lights are cycled off and on again. Convenient! Heating time is short because heating element is so powerful.

As I want more, I equipped control system with a rotary encoder, a temperature sensor and an LCD. My plan is that user can control various variables in the system, for example heating time. And of course temperature depended heating. When environment is warm enough one do not want his/hers seat to be heatened! LCD can display temperature readings and/or how much heating time is left.

Here are some pics taken during the process:

The initial plan was to install everything here.


Started to work by removing the Safety Triangle and dissassembling it.


The journey continues by re-engineering.


The very first version of connection board.


Here one can see it from another side. I planned to use PC817 optocouplers for isolation but along the way I switched to relays. More on that later. I took the liberty to use USB-connector for connection with car’s electric system. D9 is for rotary encoder.


This is a starting point for house making to rotary encoder. Black case is from an old wall charger for Nokia mobile phone. Knob is from an old car stereo or something like that.


Here is a rotary encoder soldered in place. When I was continuing this build I realized that I should have put rotary the other way around, three legs pointing to left instead what it is now. Well, it happens to all of us..


I also had to install capacitors to reduce interference. It still needs something, readings are not reliable enough.


There is something in the mess, I rarely see a workbench which is tidy and clean. Hmm, except Quin Dunki’s bench. Her work is amazing.

Anyway, some progress has achieved.


This is my power supply. In it’s early life it served as 12V mobile phone charger. Through this I can safely use my small embedded systems in electrycally noisy car environment.


This is my new connection board equipped with relays. As mentioned, previous plan was to use optocouplers. I did not managet to get them work, maybe because of some my stupid coding error. Anyway, I switched to relays.

Those relays “push” the triangle’s buttons when commanded by Arduino. Smart has conveniently system I like very much: Pushbutton is ON-OFF state information for car’s computer instead of some resistance change. This way relays can be used to “push” buttons.

From left to right connectors are: Black: Temperature probe connection, USB: Power to my system and controlling buttons and D9 is for rotary as earlier mentioned. Temperature connector in salvaged from an old PC’s motherboard. It is an audio connector. In the future there might be coming a minor problem with D9. In the end of cable is a quite heavy connector and stiff car’s suspension combined with that weight might do some issues by removing solder joints during time. That is to be seen.


This is a starting point for facade. The white plate is salvaged from an old laptop LCD monitor.


And here we are: Casing for encoder is ready, temperature sensor(red thing) is ready, main unit is ready. Now it only needs to be installed. And it maybe need some clever programming also. Now it is only a timer ) :


This is only temporarily mock-up.


From another angle. When thinking how to install main unit on top of dashboard wisely(read: do not drill holes in that dashboard) I got an idea: Why not make a console in front of gear stick and stuff the whole system inside it? That way there is room for that earlier mentioned window-control also.

Yes, that is a good idea. But then again that means a lot of work and no automated seat heaters yet. And Summer is coming. Also, I finally want to enjoy the work of my hands. It has been a long building process. What to do? Naturally install the system. Temporarily, of course. ūüėČ

Encoder is located beside the gear stick. Temperature sensor is on the floor, for now. Wires needs to be sorted. But it works. Hooray!


Here is a link for video

That’s all for now!





Honda Quad Starter Motor Repair


A friend of mine has a Honda quad. He told me that it’s starter motor has gave up a ghost. Naturally I had to crack it open. During dissassembly process turned out that my buddy had rolled the quad upside down a couple of times which explains the motor oil inside of starter motor. After some cleaning it was okay, except brushes which were totaled.


Especially the another one. It looks like there has been some sparkling if I interpreter those craters right. 20160302_005-craters

My friend ordered the spare parts and a couple of days later them arrived.


During the assembly process we cleaned the anchor’s contact pads with sandpaper and a cordless drill. Not worthwhile compare to the lathe, but with limited resourses one must do what is doable..


Of course test drive went south. At first it started and ran fine, but during the second flight it stopped and did not started at all. No power, no nothing.  A closer inspection told me that somebody forgot to connect the ground wire to the motor. After reconnecting the quad ran fine and we back in business. Hooray!

Golf IV Brake Pedal Switch

I have a -06 Golf IV Variant and in one day it lit some warning lights to my instrument cluster.


EPC and¬†Engine warning light¬†lit and cruise control¬†not working. Naturally I fired Google up and found that broken¬†brake pedal switch can cause all of those problems. Running Ross Tech’s VCDS’s¬†Measuring Values for cruise control¬†confirmed the case. As one may know, cruise control needs to know when brake pedal is pressed that you don’t fight the engine. In the link provided is info how to check (with appropriate¬†cable and downloaded VCDS-software) if the brake pedal switch is faulty or not. When I checked mine, it turned out that one of the two switches inside that brake pedal switch did not work. So I¬†went to¬†a local dealer and bought a new one for 20‚ā¨. After fitting that in place I cleared all the DTC’s with VCDS and measured values again. All passed!

Some pictures of the process.

Here is the old one in position.


To remove it, it has to be twisted counter clockwise a bit.


Then it can be removed.


Empty space.


In hands.





A new one.




VCDS: No braking.


Braking. When braking, last two digits in Bin Bits-section must be 1, as they are now.


Happy driving!

Changing Head Gasket for 2001 Clio

After I changed the cabin heater radiator to my ’01 Clio it was obvious that it was not enough. Overpressure in the cooling system was still a problem.¬† After driving, even if the car was not started in 12 hours, there was still so much pressure in the coolant system¬†that if¬†one opened it, a loud psssshhhh was heard.¬†Next thing to do was to change a head gasket. Here are some pics of the process.

This was the starting point.

And some progress.


Cleaning cylinder head with sandpaper.


Engine bay, top of the cylinders cleaned.


Old gasket was a bit worn..


Closer look.




Fitting a new one..


Tightening order.


After this point I kind of forgot to take pics.  But repairing succeeded and there was no more overpressure problems.

Sail on!

2009 Mini Fuel Leakage

A friend of mine was on a holiday trip with his friends. They were going through the city I live at the moment. Their -09 Mini decided to burst some fuel on to the road only a couple of kilometers away from the place where I stay. 

First inspection showed nothing. But when we started the engine, the¬†problem was clear: Pressurised rubber fuel¬†hose had worn itself out towards the other hose and¬†fuel was literally bursting out. It was Sunday and there was no place to¬†go to get a spare part. And if shops were open, of course they had to order the spare part, I guess. We got an idea: What if we put some copper tubing into the¬†broken area and secure joints with hose clamp? A quick Google search revealed that Mini’s fuel pressure¬†is 4-6 bar. A reference call to a friend¬†of mine confirmed that our idea was worth trying: The same trick has worked with a Mercedes, which has fuel pressure of¬†9 bar. My friend suggested that we should put two clamps per joint, total of four clamps. By doing that there¬†should not be any problems. We managed to find some copper tube and hose clamps, and voila!


Fixing parts, or what is left after the repair.


Fixed! A friend of mine showing the results of our work.

The replacement part could be quite expensive, those proprietary connectors smells like a good amount of money..


It was a kind of difficult to reach but we managed to get it right.

Testing revealed no leakage. Success! Friends could proceed their trip. I suggested to the owner of the car that he should order correct spare hose as soon as possible.

Later on I got a message from my friend that no leakages has found. Good!

1999 BMW E36 Compact Blower Resistor

I was at a longish trip with my E36. Weather was a bit rainy. During way home my blower decided to quit. At first I did not recognize it but eventually next day I got it: Blower was not working. (Or almost not working, highest speed was okay.) This is very common symptom when blower resistor has broken up. Blower resistor changes the speed of blower. Location of this resistor varies for every manufacturer and even in different models and year, so at first I had to locate it. I looked inside under the both sides of dashboard Рno luck. Then I got a hint from one of the forums: Pop up the hood and tear off some parts below windscreen at the engine bay. Couple screws and panels later I was back in business: long missing resistor was at sight. At first I had to remove pollen filter, resistor was under it, very near of the blower itself.

And then I realized why resistor was given up: Pollen filters was so dirty that practically no air could go through and thus resistor was not given any cooling airflow. Raining mentioned at first part of this post was the final key, it had blocked filters with water and dust..

Shiny new ones and old ones for comparison..


Location of pollen filters, new ones fitted¬†for clarity. Blower resistor lies down below the¬†another (right in this picture)¬†pollen filter. Connector was a bit tricky to get back, wire was quite short. But I managed to get it ūüôā


Broken resistor looks like this. I decided to try repair it, only problem seemed to be that small metal spring which has lost contact. (Two solder points between dark and light green areas.)




.. And progress. 35‚ā¨¬†saved!¬†Soldering was bit challenging so there is so much solder that next time in hot situations¬†it may not work as planned. (It is a thermal fuse). (If you do this kind of soldering you need a good and capable soldering iron, there is quite some copper to be¬†heated up..¬†)

But in our country very hot weather is rare occasion and I plan to change pollen filters more often than previous owners.. And there is always the another end of spring, which is untouched.


General view. At this point I drove a couple of days like this and tested how blower resistor worked. Everything seemed to be fine, so I proceeded. And I forgot to do another maintenance:  put some oil to blower bearings, at winter they tend to make some noise at higher speeds. Bummer!

But, on the other hand, now I know how to do it, so it is not a big deal. I just have to remember to dot it before winter..


Panels waiting to be fitted back.


Same panels upside down.


Almost ready.


And finally finished!


Changing 2001 Clio cabin heater radioator

My ’01 Clio leaked liquid to the floor. Closer inspection showed that cabin heater radiator had some problems. I decided to replace it. I ordered the replacement part¬†from local shop and after it arrived it was time to get hands dirty. The whole thing took from me about 4 hours.

This is from the early stage.

Since cabin heater radiator is deep inside the car, a whole lot of things had to got out. Steering wheel,¬†dashboard, passenger’s airbag, temperature and air flow controllers, etc.. I had to even loosen those iron bars to get radiator out..

After a bit disassembling we have a cause of our problems in our hands. The white thing shows that this really is our bad guy.

To make really sure, here is the bad boy itself.

Shiny new one:

New and old one for matching..

And all back together:

Further inspection showed that no leakage was found. Job well done!

After repairing it was time to see what was inside the broken one: Plastic heads, thin lamels, some piping and spirals that make coolant liquid really spin inside the piping.