ಬುಧವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 27, 2011

My Syma S107 Helicopter Video Hack

Some time ago I got one of those awesome little IR controlled helicopters, a Syma S107.

Then, I saw a guy on eBay selling keychain video recorders, similar to this one. Of course, I thought I maybe could mount the guts of the micro video camera under the helicopter, and record my flights.

First, I dis-assembled the video camera. It isn't hard, there are 4 screws, 2 on the outside and 2 on the inside. Then the board pops out of the shell.

I also partly disassembled the helicopter, to get to the power wires.

Next, I cut the original battery leads on the video camera. Both batteries are 3.7V, so the helicopter battery will run the camera.

I soldered the power wires together, red to red and black to black, to form a parallel circuit. I wrapped the joints with a little electrical tape, to make sure there wouldn't be any short circuits.

Then, I put the helicopter back together. I slung the camera pod under the body, slightly forward of center, and used a rubber band to hold it.

One problem I found was that the camera vibrated wildly on its ribbon, and needed support. I glued a short bit of coated wire to the board, bent the end, and glued that to the back of the camera.

Here's a short sample movie, of me flying it around my small laundry room. The camera gives reasonably good video (cell phone quality) in bright light. The sound is interesting, you can gear the whir of the helicopter gears and the wind noise from the rotor wash.

The toy still flies reasonably well, though the added weight does make the helicopter noticeably slower to react. The weight bias is slightly too far forward, the way I have it, so copter tends to drift forward, and I need to add some weight to the rear to balance it better. You can't mount the camera pod too far to the rear, because if it blocks the view of the IR sensor (which is located between the rear tail struts) your helicopter will lose touch with your controller frequently.

The effect on runtime is significant... my stock helicopter would fly for around 5 minutes or so (I never really timed it carefully). The modded helicopter will fly for around 3:00 or so. I blame two factors: the weight of the camera causes you to use more throttle (and more main rotor), and the drain from the camera recording.

My next step is to locate a small, easy to detach power connector, and install it, so I can easily remove the camera pod if I don't want to record.

Forbes Worst Cars List for 2011

2011 Jeep Wrangler


2011 Jeep Liberty


2011 Dodge Nitro


2011 Dodge Dakota


2011 Chrysler Town and Country


2011 Chevrolet Aveo


2011 Chevrolet Colorado


2011 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid


2011 Cadillac Escalade


2011 Smart for two


2011 Nissan Titan


Mercedes Benz S 550


Seat's IBX Crossover based on Audi Q3

seat ibx concept

Seat was granted the internal contract to build the Audi Q3 at its factory in Martorell. Jobs aren't the only benefit the Spanish subsidiary may get but it will also receive a production version of the IBX concept on the same platform.

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Free Motor Oil Coupon: G-Oil

I was offered a chance to give away a free mail-in rebate good for a 5 qt. jug of G-Oil motor oil, so here it is.

G-Oil is an interesting new product from Green Earth Technologies. It is billed as a superior motor oil, as good as any synthetic or crude based product, however G-Oil is made from cattle. It comes in 5w-30 weight or racing formula.

Yes, beef.

G-Oil "recycles" beef tallow into motor oil, which is also bio-degradable. It is made in the USA.

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 25, 2011

Schmidt Revolution's Light Tune for Porsche Panamera 4S


The Porsche Panamera continues to draw attention from Europe’s aftermarket tuners, only this time, Schmidt Revolution’s proposal for the sports saloon is far more subtle than what we’re used to.

The German tuner starts with a standard Panamera 4S, which leaves Porsche’s factory with a 4.8-liter V8 engine churning out 400-horses and 500Nm of peak torque. The performance modifications, courtesy of Rennsport, include a software optimization (€990 or about US$1,443) that increase output to 425HP and 535Nm, along with a suspension module (€390 or around US$568) that lower’s the ride height by 40mm and sport exhaust system (€590 or about US$860).

Source: http://carscoop.blogspot.com/

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2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe gets 507-hp 6.2-liter V8


The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG debuted at last week's New York Auto Show sporting a 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated V8 packing 451 snorting ponies. On the heels of that debut comes a report that AMG's upcoming C63 AMG Black Series will arrive packing just over 500 horsepower from a tweaked version of the same engine. With that much grunt on tap, the Black Series two-door should go from zero to sideways faster than you can say "new tires."

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Politics: Gas Pump Activism

A bit if gas-pump pinup activism, a blogger is advocating pasting up these fliers at gas pumps, to blame Obama for rising gas prices.

To be fair, Obama was talking about his hypothetical (and never enacted) cap and trade plan, and I think he was talking about electricity, not oil.  See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2009/06/27/flashback_obama_says_cap_and_trade_makes_electricity_rates_skyrocket.html

The current run-up in oil prices has a combination of causes, which include war in the middle east, speculation, cheap dollars, and reduced exploration due to Obama environmental policy.  

ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 19, 2011

Kia's K2 Sedan debuts at Shanghai Motor Show

kia k2 sedan

Kia has launched a new small-car assault, the 2012 K2 Sedan at this year's Shanghai Motor Show. K2 will be offered both in four-door and five-door configurations and would compete with other premium small-cars offered in the market. Kia says that this is the latest vehicle that can better match products with local market tastes, and that the K2 was specifically designed inside and out for Chinese buyers. That means that the vehicle wears a new set of headlights and a slightly-altered grille.

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Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class

Mercedes Benz Concept A Class

Fresh off of its unveiling halfway around the world at the Shanghai Motor Show, Daimler graced the squeaky-clean floors of its brand-new flagship showroom, Mercedes-Benz Manhattan, with its striking Concept A-Class.

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ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 18, 2011

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Pictures Released


The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will be unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show. General Motors would be making the big deal of the event, and it has started releasing teasers. Those were followed by a full-on, high-resolution pic of the Malibu in red on Thursday. And now? Another picture of the China-spec car in blue has been released.

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Mercedes-Benz's 125th Anniversary Scale Models


Mercedes-Benz has announced introduction of its new collection with and branded products to mark its 125th birthday. Its collection includes collection of legendary vehicles produced by the Stuttgart-based car-maker.

The 1:43 models are chosen to celebrate the milestones the company has reached. The selection also includes the first motor car in history; 1886 Benz Patent Motor Car, the 1902 Mercedes Simplex and the superb 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Special Roadster. The Post World War II models which were included in the collection are the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe, the 1972 S-Class and the contemporary CLS.

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ಗುರುವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 14, 2011

2012 Soleil Anadi Images Released


Ugur Sahin Design has revealed more details of its Chevrolet Corvette-based Soleil Anadi supercar ahead of its release at Top Marques Monaco. The Anadi carries a long line of Italian-bodied sports cars packing American grunt.

Soleil Anadi started life almost two years ago as the Ugur Sahin Corvette Z03 Concept. After that, the car has undergone some changes, and this is the first detailed shot of the car. The car's rump has also taken a giant leap forward, from a traditional four-taillight arrangement familiar to Corvette fans, to a sleek, gloss-black rear panel concealing the brake lights.

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Peugeot's Sexy SXC Crossover Concept

peugeot sxc crossover concept

The Chinese market has a high priority for Peugeot. Every year the French automaker is committed to introduce a new model in the Asian nation, Similarly it will be rolling a new model in the Shanghai Motor Show.The model to be introduced is the Peugeot's Sexy SXC Crossover Concept.

The SCX crossover concept was not only designed for Shanghai, it was designed in Shanghai as well. The shape bears the hallmarks of contemporary Lion-badged show cars in a svelte crossover shape which is shorter in length and height but wider than a BMW X6.

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CU burned by Leaf

Consumer Reports bought a Leaf.

Thinking that a range estimate of 30 miles meant close to 30 miles, Jon Linkov left home with a kid to drop off at daycare and a commute to the office.

17 miles later, he was in turtle mode.

About 17 miles from startup, the potential range indicator had become three blinking dashes. I realized I was not going to make it to work, and decided to get off the highway. As I exited the Leaf entered "Turtle" mode, complete with a small, green turtle indicator light. I proceeded to limp the next 1.3 miles into town. The final humiliation came when a highway department mower passed me.

I can hear the true believers yelling at me already, since I didn't charge the car overnight. The thing is, we're charging all the plug-in cars at our facility, on 220-volt chargers that can log exactly how much just our cars are using. Planning a 46-mile round trip when the car suggested I had 60 miles available didn't seem too much to ask.

Range anxiety isn't a bugbear invented by the oil lobby.  It's real.  And Nissan really needs to refine their range estimation algorithm, because this is the sort of thing that fuels consumer backlash.

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 11, 2011

Best Performance Values

Over at Forbes, there is a post listing the ten fastest vehicles under $30,000.  The results are interesting, but they are sorted by 0-60 times.

What if we resort the list based on "value"?  I'll define value as the number of dollars it takes to get incrementally better from 10s 0-60 (in other words, price/(10-T60))?

Here is the value ranking:

1.) Ford Mustang V6 5.6 $22,145 $5,032.95 
2.) Subaru Impreza WRX 5.2 $25,495 $5,311.46 
3.) Ford Mustang GT 4.8 $29,145 $5,604.81 
4.) Hyundai Genesis 3.8 R-Spec Coupe 5.9 $26,750 $6,524.39 
5.) Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 6.4 $23,700 $6,583.33 
6.) Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart 5.8 $27,695 $6,594.05 
7.) Hyundai Sonata SE 6.6 $24,345 $7,160.29 
8.) Kia Optima SX 6.5 $25,995 $7,427.14 
9.) Honda Accord Coupe EX-L 6.3 $29,730 $8,035.14 
10.) Mazda6 s Grand Touring 6.4 $29,320 $8,144.44 

The top 3 don't really change, but the Mazdaspeed 3 improves relative to its previous ranking, while the Lancer Ralliart falls.  

As before, if you want bang-for-the-buck, it's Mustang or Impreza.  And Camaro?  Where is Camaro  V6 is too slow, V8 is >$30k.  

World’s Top 10 Fastest Cars: 2010 – 2011

It’s not easier to find the world’s fastest cars available in the market now. Lets have a look at the top 10 street legal fastest cars in the world. Due to the economical meltdown this list actually did not change from the end of 2008. Lets hope that manufacturers will produce more faster cars in the future!

10. Pagani Zonda F; 215 mph, 0-60 in 3.5 seconds.

pagani zonda c12f

Pagani Zonda C12f

9. Jaguar XJ 220; 217 mph, 0-60 in 4.0 seconds.

Jaguar XJ220

8. Ferrari Enzo; 217 mph, 0-60 in 3.2 seconds.

Ferrari Enzo

Ferrari Enzo

7. Ascari A10; 220 mph, 0-60 in 2.8 seconds.

Ascari A10

Ascari A10

6. Gumpert Apollo; 220 mph, 0-60 in 2.7 seconds.

Gumpert Apollo

Gumpert Apollo

5. McLaren F1; 240 mph, 0-60 in 3.2 seconds.

Mclaren F1

Mclaren F1

4. Saleen S7 Twin-Turbo; 248 mph, 0-60 in 3.2 seconds.

saleen s7  twin turbo

Saleen S7 Twin Turbo

3. Koenigsegg CCX; 250 mph+, 0-60 in 3.2 seconds.

Koenigsegg CCX

Koenigsegg CCX

2. SSC Ultimate Aero; 257 mph, 0-60 in 2.7 seconds.

SSC Ultimate Aero

SSC Ultimate Aero

1. Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport; 267 mph, 0-60 in 2.2 seconds.

Bugatti Veyron

Bugatti Veyron

Source: worlds top10 fastest cars

ಗುರುವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 7, 2011

Audi Q3 pictures released before Shanghai debut

2012 Audi Q3

Audi has confirmed that its 2012 Q3 crossover will be launched at the Shanghai Motor Show. Before its release, Audi has released its pics hinting what we can expect in a few weeks time.

The 2012 Audi Q3 crossover will sit on Volkswagen Tiguan underpinnings, but will be considerably more shapely than its less costly cousin. If these pics are true, the Q3 owes a little somethin' somethin' to Audi's Cross Coupe Quattro concept.

Chevy HD Video Fishiness

A guy at work pointed this out to me.  If you watch closely, in video #5 of Chevrolet's HD truck HD2HD video series, the Ram truck changes from a single mirror model to a dual mirror model.  Which means that Chevrolet isn't showing just vidoe of the official test, but is also showing video of another vehicle.

The single mirror shot can be seen at around 3:30, the dual mirror can be seen in a few shots, this one is at 3:52

In general, I think the whole "passing the truck before hitting the slowpoke" thing was pretty lame, as in contrived.

Also, for some reason, videos #1, and #2 are now missing from YouTube.

ಬುಧವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 6, 2011

Toyota sold one million Prius hybrids in U.S

2011 Toyota Prius

California Toyota dealers may not be running out of Priuses, but the hybrid is still popular. Toyota has just announced that one million of the iconic fuel-mizers have been sold in the U.S.

In 2008, the company said that it had sold one million Priuses around the world. It took five years to reach that landmark. It was the second-generation Prius introduced in 2003, that really sparked sales. It only took two more years for Toyota to sell another million Priuses, and now it has sold over three million total hybrids as of October 2010.

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2012 BMW M5 to debut at Frankfurt Motor Show

2012 BMW M5

Pictures of the BMW M5 Concept have been moving around the Internet for the past few days now, but the fierce four-door hasn't even motored at the Shanghai Motor Show yet. Though its production-ready appearance and the Bavarians' propensity have been released we haven't had a clear bead on where the salable F10-based BMW super saloon will show up. We have found that the 580+horsepower production M5 will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

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ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 5, 2011

Suzuki produces X-ITE 2011 Swift Supermini

2011 Swift Supermini

In an effort to target buyers looking for individual looks, Suzuki has developed various factory accessories for its 2011 Swift Supermini in Germany. Its marked as the “X-ITE” brand which includes a variety of styling parts for both the interior and exterior.

The exterior has a new body kit which includes a front apron, side skirts, a roof spoiler and a rear apron. The wheel arches can be filled with 17-inch alloy wheels shod in 205/40 R17 performance tires, while the exterior has contrasting stripes with the “X-ITE” logo. Interior has an aluminum sport shift knob, stainless steel door sills and black floor mats with silver stitching and an embroidered logo.

Prices for the new Swift “X-ITE” Accessories products range between €65 for the door sill sets and €620 for the light alloy wheels.

Prior Working on BMW 5-Series F10

BMW 5 Series F10

While BMW works on the production version of the new V8-powered M5 sports saloon, tuners across Europe continue to roll out packages for the standard versions of the F10 5-Series. This one comes from Germany and Prior Design, which recently teased its tuning kit for the new 6-Series Coupe and Convertible models as well.

Prior Design isn’t letting out much info on the tune, but it is evident that the package will include an aerodynamic kit comprising of a very M Sport-like front bumper with a lip spoiler, hood vents, side skirts, fender vents and a new rear bumper with a diffuser that incorporates the quad tail pipes.

Source: autoblog.nl

ಭಾನುವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 3, 2011

1965 Ford GT40 Roadster to be auctioned

1965 Ford GT40 Roadster

One among the five 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster is to be auctioned at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in Cernobbio, Italy on May 21. The car was built in 1965 as a prototype by Ford's Advanced Vehicle Operations center in England, and is one of the four surviving examples.

This Linden Green car was raced by John Whitmore and Bob Bondurant in the 1965 Targa Florio, later it was forced to quit after being damaged. The car, chassis GT/111 was lost after the Targa Florio, waiting to resurface until 2006.

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2012 BMW M5 Concept leaked

2012 BMW M5 Concept

Here is the 2012 BMW M5 concept form that will make its official debut at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month. This photo has been leaked from an embargoed preview event held this weekend in Germany. This is exactly what the production car looks like. This is the best-looking BMW M vehicle since the E39 M5, and whatever BMW's has cooked up.

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ಶನಿವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 2, 2011

Saab, Beats Porsche, Still In Trouble?

Interesting nugget in the just released sales numbers... Saab sold 830 cars in March, compared to Porsche's 771. However, Saab is having trouble paying suppliers, and needs to come up with a new infusion of cash soon, or sell itself off again.

Japan auto sales drops by 37% after the earthquake

Automobile sales in Japan dropped by about 37% as compared the same month last year, after the country was badly hit by the earthquake and tsunami last March 11, 2011.

According to the report from Japan Automobile Dealers Association released on Thursday, March 31, Japan automobile industry suffered a 37% drop on March 2011, as compared to March 2010.

Last month, Japan auto sales recorded to only 279,389 vehicles sold, including cars, trucks and buses, while for sales for minicars were not included in the report.

Toyota car sales was said to have declined by 46% or have only sold 110,667 units excluding the Lexus-brand cars, while Nissan fell by 38% or have sold 45,700 units only.

Source: batangastoday.com

ಶುಕ್ರವಾರ, ಏಪ್ರಿಲ್ 1, 2011

Tomahawk - World’s Fastest Bike

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4's guts

Lamborghini Aventador

The 2011 JEC Composite Show would be taking place in Paris and the eyes of spectators would be treated to see the naked beauty that is the Lamborghini Aventador's rolling chassis.

Bally's, D.O.E. and GM Collaborate

Breaking news! Exclusive to Autopophet:

Bally's, the U.S. Department of Energy, and GM are announcing today that they are forming a collaborative joint venture called "Sweat-n-Volt(tm)".

Sweat-n-Volt will be installed in several Bally's Fitness locations to show the feasibility of recovering exercise energy as usable transportation fuel. Treadmills, stair-steppers, and stationary bicycles will be modified to generate 12v DC current using left over alternators donated by GM. The 12v feeds will be joined at a 12 to 240v transformer, which will then feed a free plug-in hybrid charging station in the parking lot.

"We're very excited to harness the exercise energy of Americans to provide transportation fuel", said Joe White, the D.O.E. project manager. "We expect California to be especially productive. The mid-west not as much, although we anticipate more miles generated after the 1st of the year."

GM's spokesman, Bob Lawrence, "This is a historic opportunity to combine America's health kick with American's transportation needs. We're also looking at the feasibility of marketing a portable version, so people can pedal their way to a fully charged Volt, and a thinner waistline, in the comfort of their own home"

Bally's Tammy Silverstein said "We were already looking at doing this to help lower our electricity bill. Now, we can help our patrons get home from the gym, too."

(April Fools!)

BMW bringing lightweight sedan for Nurburgring M Festival

bmw m3 sedan

In addition to officially debuting the M3 pickup here in Munich, BMW trotted out a lightweight version of the M3 sedan before its debut at the M Festival at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring race later this year.

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