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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Springing into fitness

Okay, well, it’s time to get started now. I’ve signed up at the gym close to where I work – V Club in Druitt St in Sydney. It’s a great gym and I’ve been a member there before.

This morning, though, it was such a nice day I thought I might start the ball rolling by getting back on the skateboard and going for a skate around Darling Harbour.

Lots of fun, great to be back and loving skating. However, it’s been a while so my muscles weren’t quite as happy as I was to be outside doing stuff.

My thigh is killing me and I’m walking like a cowboy, but it should pass soon. However, I am happy to be kicking the fitness stuff. Hopefully my muscles will join in the new regime.

But – it’s the beginning….

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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Fitness/Weight Loss, Skateboarding

 

Drawing 19/9/11

Okay, a bit of an off night, but below is a couple that turned out okay… I’m going to try to post up at least one or drawings after each Arthouse session. Hopefully it will show me getting better….

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Drawing

 

Concreting

This weekend gone saw the next phase of getting the support ready for the deck.

As last I left it, the drainage had been placed in but needed to be concreted in place. I also have decided to put in the supports for the posts at the front of the deck at the same time, creating support for the drainage as well as ensuring the post supports are in the right spot.

To start the concreting, I decided to spend some time to save more. I wanted to cover the parts that weren’t going to be covered in concrete with plastic so that I didn’t end up with something really messy looking.

I ended up using painter dropsheets which were inexpensive, but not water permeable and therefore shouldn’t allow concrete to get through. To prepare, I wrapped each of the drainage grates in plastic and replaced them.

The next step was to work out where the post supports would go and set up a way to concrete them in. I ended up using rocks to contain the concrete that will support the posts and they end up being concreted into them later on.

The next two photos are how I’ve worked out where the posts will go, and how I’ve limited the space to be concreted.

Next I went through and made a plastic “skirt” for the pavers. The idea was that I didn’t want to get the concrete mess all over the pavers and have to try and clean it off later. The day started off clam, but got more windy, but I held the plastic in place with rocks.

Once all the plastic was in place, it was time to start the concreting. I started with the post supports as that would push the drainage into place and also be the difficult part to get square.

Once the supports were set up in place, the next part was the gap between the pavers and the drainage. This was going to be time consuming and back breaking, but was important. I would fill with concrete and then pull the plastic out, smoothing the concrete back down again as I went. The result was a pretty neat finish and no mess on the pavers.

And then below is the finished product for now. I ran out of time and energy, but happy with what’s in place. The next step is to fill the rest of the trench (between post supports). I have put a bunch of large rocks into that area and also will be putting but blue metal rocks in there as well. The integrity isn’t a huge issue for that part, but coverage is. I don’t need it to be too solid, but I do need it to be filled in to some extent to relive a little pressure of ground movement over time.

From here, the next step is to bolt support beams into the stirrups and then put a bearer across the top. Then I need to put a couple more supports in to to the bearers on the fence side and then I can start building the frame!

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Decking [COMPLETE]

 

Getz POWER! Part 2

Right. Now that we have a way through the firewall, we really need some sort of tool that will help get the power cable through. There is one – it’s called a grabber. You push it through and “grab” the cable and then pull it back through the hole.

I don’t have one. Neither do most people. So I made my own.

Three coat hangers cut and then straightened out with pliers, then taped together. Hey, it’ll work. Now, the theory is that you stick the coat hanger tool into the grommet the same way that you did the screw driver (same angle and everything), and in theory, it should come out the same.

Once the coat hanger tool sticks through into the cabin, it’s a matter of undoing the end piece of tape, sticking the cable in there with the three tines surrounding the cable, tape it all up and pull it back through – gently.

So, as you can see in the above picture, the sticking through bit went okay. Again the key is to be gentle but firm. In the photo you can also see how I’d coaxed some of the grommet out of the housing. We’ll put that back later when the cable is in there.

Excitedly running around to the cabin, I saw that it had indeed made it through. That’s exciting stuff right there. Now that it’s through, all we need to do is attach the cable as I described.

And there it is, all nicely taped up and ready for the journey. If you have two people available, it’s a good idea to have one person pushing/guiding and the other pulling the cable through. It was only me, so I just had to be careful.

Success!! You can see the cable poking out of the grommet now! Joy and happiness ensued! This means we have the cable through – the hard part is done, but there is still work to do.

Cut the tip off the power cord (close to the coat hanger wire as possible) to release my marvelous coat hanger machine. Pull through as much cable as you think you would need and then try to push the grommet back into place as much as you can. You’ll need to next run the cable around the engine bay to get it to the battery.

This is the path I chose (above) and it seems to work okay. The golden rule here is to keep it tidy. Tidy means cable ties. Tidy means not burning on the engine. Tidy means not in the way of other machinery.

Once you’ve established the path cable tie it in place so you don’t lose it.

Now, I haven’t yet spoken about fuses. All electrical devices in you car should have a fuse in place. The idea is that if there is a power surge, the fuse takes one for the team. However, if your car gets hit and the power cord gets severed, well… let’s just say it would be shocking. The fuse in that instance trips and your life is saved. Because of the last reason, “they” recommend that the fuse is within 30 cm of the connection to the battery. The closer the better, though.

This is a fuse holder stand that I kinda threw together very quickly. It’s a bit of scrap metal that is screwed near the battery. You may want to be more imaginative, but this is fine. Make sure you get the right holder and fuse that is right for the power going through your car. But, MOUNT the fuse holder – don’t just cable it somewhere to hang.

This is how it all looks when in place. Notice I haven’t connected to the power as yet, that will be the very last thing I do. But this has all worked out nicely and is now sitting in the engine bay.

Okay, the above photo shows where I’m up to right now. The power is connected (red wire), black is the grounding. They are both connected to the amp, but not the battery – I’m just getting it ready. Also I haven’t yet done the ground from the amp. It will connect under the handbrake, and you can just see it at the top of  photo above.

So, that’s it for the time being. I had to stop the install there. However, next time it’s all about the head unit. 🙂

 

Getz POWER! Part 1

Okay, this is the hardest part of the whole project so far and very necessary.

For an amp to work, it needs power. Power comes from the battery of the car. The battery sits in the engine bay, which is outside of the interior of the car where all the stereo equipment is. Therefore, I need to run a power cable from the battery to the inside of the car where the amp is.

Not easy.

I’ve done some research and got some weird answers, but after really putting my mind to it I have worked out a way! And I’m going to share it with you.

Before I get in to the power, something needs to be said. Your battery has a positive and negative terminal. The power cable itself is connected to the positive terminal, the negative just grounds the electricity. The ground is as important as the power. Otherwise terrible things happen.

Firstly, I have increased the amount of grounding from the battery since I have increased the amount of power I’m taking from it.

So on the right hand side you can see the extra ground I have connected. On the left, you can see the wire I’ve used, the connector and the sleeve. All you need is the wire, and two of these connectors and you can make a ground. However, remember that for the ground to work properly, you need to make sure that the grounding point (under the screw and connector) is bare metal. Scrape it back with wet and dry sandpaper, or a dremel if you have one.

Also, you can go the next step and put another cable like the one I put there from that bolt to another on the body. It really does help and you should always do this stuff properly.

Okay, on to the power.

Okay, this is the engine bay. The engine itself is on the left, the big thing behind the battery is the air box. The air box is connected to the rest of the engine by the big black tube coming out of it. While peeking around, I happened to notice something hiding behind all of that…

A sneaky little grommet leading through the firewall into the cabin! Sure, it’s hard to get to and jam packed with wires, but it’s an in that I can use! However, getting to it is going to be a problem.

I know! I’ll pull the engine apart!

Okay, it’s not that drastic, but looking at it, if we move that air box and pipe out of the way, I reckon I have a good shot at it.

Okay, to remove the top of the box, there are four clips (you can see the two on the right hand side in the photo above). One of the clips is upside down under the hose going to the engine.

WARNING!! The top part of the air box is where the air goes to the engine. That filter on the right stops dirt and dust getting into the engine. If you get dirt or dust on the exposed side of the air filter (that you can see in the photo), it will get sucked into the engine. And that is bad. Just be mindful of that.

To remove the hose is pretty easy. There is a hose clamp that is tightened with a screw. Unscrew the screw like you can see in the photo above and then the hose will pop right off when you pull it.

However, when you undo the screw, take it out of the hose clamp and put it to the side. Otherwise you have to crawl under the car to retrieve it when it falls out. Trust me on this.

With the hose off, as you can see in the above picture, you can now easily get access to the grommet. Okay, not EASILY, but it is now possible. In the photo above you can just see the edge of it. The grommet is held in by a plate that is black, but has two red screws sticking out of it. The red screw in the photo that is right next to the open metal tube where the air hose was, is part of the grommet.

Now, I experimented to see if the grommet would actually lead into the cabin, and it does, but I recommend you do the following anyway because it’s good to get a feel of the path of the cable.

What I did was get a flat head screwdriver and try to prize the grommet out of the housing. I did this fairly successfully, but not easily. It takes a little bit of perseverance, but you can get enough out to stick a screwdriver through it. I got the screwdriver and tried to find the path of least resistance.

It worked! The photo below shows the screw driver in from the engine side, the photo below that shows the tip of the screwdriver sticking out inside the cabin. Even though this is a very blurry photo, it gave me much joy to see it. 🙂

Proof that it can go through. But, that still presents a problem. The power cable is flexible and the screwdriver isn’t. How can I possibly push the power cable through !! Find out in the next exciting post!

 

 

Getz sub wiring

While we have the panels off doing the dynamat, let’s take the opportunity to lay some wiring as well.

Firstly, I have to say that the amp I’m using for this can be a 2, 3 or 4 channel amp. Firstly, a “channel” is one speaker, or splits because splits are really one speaker split into tweeter and woofer. This is an over simplified definition but it works for the moment. So, 2 channel means that the amp runs two speakers (usually the front two), 3 channel is 3 speakers (usually the fronts and a sub) and 4 channel is two sets of speakers – front and rears for example. In this set up, I’m using the 3 channel option.

Now, for this to work, I need to get the output from the headunit to go to the right place. For this project, I’m going to use the front speaker wire to send output to the front (duh) and the rear speakers to send output to the subwoofer. The trick here is knowing when to pass the high frequencies to the front and the sub-range or low frequencies to the sub. Luckily the amp has a switch which indicates low pass or high pass.

So all of that is a bit technical, but I wanted to explain why I’m going to steal the wires from the rear speakers to run to the sub.

Firstly, we need to steal the rear speaker wire. We can assume that the headunit sends it’s output to the rear speakers directly through wires. We want the headunit to send that signal to the amp and the amp to then pass that signal to the sub. Therefore, we want to send the wires from the headunit not to the rear speakers, but to the amp.

Conveniently, the rear speakers have the rear speaker wire attached to them. If we take those wires and plug them into the amp, that’s the rear inputs. To do this, we need to remove the wire from the rear speaker and then connect that with a wire to the amp.

Step one: Remove the plug connected to the rear speaker.

Step 2: Work out where the wire will go from the rear speaker to the amp so we can lay it under the carpet, out of sight. (In the photo below, I’ve laid the black speaker cable on top of the carpet to work out where it will go.)

Step 3: Prepare. Get all the stuff you’re going to need to join wires together. I have an old camping mat piece of foam thing that I lay near the car door to kneel on. I’ve lined up all that I’ll need so I don’t have to get up when I’m half way through something.

In the above picture, on the right hand side is the soldering iron, plugged in and hot, ready to use. On the left from top to bottom, I have: Speaker wire, heat shrink, a sharpie, a roll of red electrical tape and wire strippers. At the bottom, that’s my foot. I’ll probably need that, maybe even two of them.

Step 4: Be fastidious. By taking a couple of extra seconds to do stuff properly, things are a lot easier in the long run. Take the speaker wire, strip the ends. Then write on a piece of electrical tape which wire it’s connecting to and that it’s for the rear speakers. Every wire in your set up should have a label on it. If something goes wrong in future, this is the easiest way to know which wire does what. Then cut some heat shrink and slip it over the end ready for once it’s soldered.

Now, do the same with the wire that was connected to the speaker. Cut the connector off, join the wires, solder them to help the connection and then heat the heat shrink over the top. I haven’t shown this step here, but earlier in the tutorial, I went into a fair bit of detail….

Step 5: Run the wire under the carpet in the same way it was laid on top. Use strips of dynamat to hold the wire down if you have some left over. Stick the wire out near the amp (there’s a convenient hole where the wire to the seat goes) and label those ends too. You’ll need to know that stuff when it comes to connecting them to the amp.

In the photo above, you’ll see that I’ve done both rear speaker wires and labelled them with IN. Then I’ve also run the sub wire while I was there and had the trims off. I just ran a decent length of it to the boot following the other wiring paths. I’ve labelled it as well.

So now that’s all done, we can start to put things back together. All you need to do is pretty much everything but in reverse.

Two things I wanted to point out though. Firstly, as you’re putting the rear quarter panel on, think about how we’re going to get the wiring to the sub. I found a nice little cover inside the shelf area that I thought would be a nice neat way to run the wiring. I drilled two holes in it, stuck the wiring through and then replaced the cover. These wires will then be connected to the sub. I’ll show more about that later when we actually hook it up. For now at least the wires are there. (Note the below photo shows them, but prior to me labelling them).

Secondly, as you’re replacing the trims, but before you put the spare tyre back in, why not fix up the dynamat in the place where it needs it the most? The area where the spare tyre goes is usually pretty flimsy and resonant. Ideally, you would throw 4 or 5 sheets at this area to stop it vibrating, but if you can’t (or don’t want to) afford that, cut some strips and go for it. I used about three quarters of a sheet in the picture below…

This should be enough to go a long way to stopping vibrations coming out of there.

So, now everything is back together, we only have two things left to do. 1) Pull out the head unit and run the wiring to the amp, and 2) POWER!!!!!

The next post will be all about getting power!

 

Getz Dynamat up the rear

Since there will be a decent amount of bass coming out of the boot, there will also be a decent amount of vibration. This vibration will love to bounce around off large thin metal panels and distort the sound. The idea is that adding dynamat (or similar sound deadening product), the panels will vibrate less and provide a more punchier bass response.

The generally accepted theory is the 35% rule. That is you get the best value for money benefit from well placed dynamat with around 35% coverage. If you put more than this, the value for money decreases for smaller margin of gains. For example, let’s use an arbitrary sound deadening value. At 0% coverage (no dynamat) you have a deadening factor of 10. At 20% it raises to 20 (twice as much) and at 35% it raises to 30. Now if you go to 100% coverage, it will only raise to 35. Therefore, spending three times the money on an extra 5 points isn’t value for money.

However, if you have lots of money or care about the extra 5 points, do it! But I’m working on the 35% coverage rule and trying to save some money, but still make a difference to the sound. To do this, you need to try and find the parts that most need help (the more hollow sounding places) and not put any on the solid parts (that have a high sounding note when tapped). This is also a time versus money factor since it takes a lot longer to find the right spots, but it saves you money.

The following will show how to apply dynamat in this fashion. Others may put more or less in different spots, but this is how I did it. Firstly, cut the dynamat into strips – either with a stanley knife or scissors.

Then take the strips and cut it into the right little pieces to go in the places it needs to go….

For larger panels, you can get a lot more coverage as it will probably need it. For the large cavity (the inside of the outer panel) I think it’s better to give more coverage as this one is going to be the main surface to vibrate. Since we have to do the same on both sides, I just cut a sheet in half diagonally.

I’ll use one half to cover the passenger side and the other for the drivers side. I can then make up the gaps with strips from another sheet.

The following two photos show how I did it. There is no right or wrong in this process, just preference. When you think you’ve done enough then you’re finished.

Okay, when you’re done, reverse the previous instructions and put the top and rear panels back on, but leave the middle panel off because next comes the wiring.

In the mean time, turn around and have a look at the pile of interior stuff and chuckle a little….

 
 
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