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This is a question DIY Techno-hacks

Old hard drive platters make wonderfully good drinks coasters - they look dead smart and expensive and you've stopped people reading your old data into the bargain.

Have you taped all your remotes together, peep-show-style? Have you wired your doorbell to the toilet? What enterprising DIY have you done with technology?

Extra points for using sellotape rather than solder.

(, Thu 20 Aug 2009, 12:30)
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MkIII Escort Mod
I melted the accessories circuit in my 1984 Escort (note to self: If fuses keep blowing, don't just wrap 'em in tin foil and shove 'em back in.) I was driving along and smoke started pouring out of the dash. I had to take the key out to prevent a fire, which locked the steering at around 30mph and meant I ended up on the pavement.

The wiring was totally melted, so I ended up powering the stereo through the accessory loop on my Moss* car alarm. I used this circuit to power a relay, which in turn worked the stereo. The stereo came on when the alarm was turned off, and vice-versa. A neat touch was that I'd also added an electric aerial, which went up and down as a part of the process.

When I finally came to sell the car (1990) I'm sure it was the remote controlled aerial that clinched the deal.

I later got a 1993 Mazda 323F and wired the alarm to flash the pop-up headlights rather than the indicators. I thought it was pretty funky at the time, but with hindsight it probably just made me look like a tosser.

Another tin-foil bodge I used a number of times was when I left my laptop mains lead at home while working away. The power brick took a standard kettle plug, but a lot of hotels have those kettles where the plug is moulded into the base. Unplug the kettle from the wall, tear up two metal strips of Kit-Kat wrapping, poke them into the holes in the socket, and then arrange for them to touch the power pins on the laptop power brick. Worked every time.

*Remember Moss alarms in the early 80s? Jesus, they were shit. I had the one with the interior ultrasonics where a fraction of a millimetre turn of the screw made the difference between the sensors doing nothing even if you jumped around in front of them, or setting the alarm off if a Peekingese farted at 50 paces.
(, Sat 22 Aug 2009, 10:15, closed)

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