Juke – Custom Paddle Shifters – Phase 1

Not satisfied leaving well enough alone, I decided to add custom paddle shifters to my 2012 Nissan Juke.  For those that aren’t in the know, the Juke has a sport shift mode where you can ‘bump’ the auto shift unit up or down to up/down shift.  ..but that’s no fun…   I wanted paddle shifters, and since there is no stock option, I decided to go the custom route.  Before jumping into the project, the main hurdle to overcome was to figure out how to add the paddles to the steering wheel.  In this case, the custom milled paddles I’m making would be mounted to the backside of the steering wheel and had to be wireless (for obvious reasons).  I am aware that this is not conventional and that many paddles are mounted to the steering column, but I wanted them on the steering wheel.  A suggestion led me to a RF wireless remote (pic) that fit the ticket.  The plan is to embed the remote into the backside of the steering wheel, mod the buttons for ‘A’ and ‘B’ by adding wires out to the individual custom made paddle units.

Phase 1 – enable functionality for controlling manual mode shifting using an RF remote.  This will be discussed here.

Phase 2 – Custom CNC milled aluminum paddle shifter units mounted to the steering wheel. Stay tuned

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Arduino Temperature / Humidity Sensor

The projects I do tend to fall in one of two buckets – either proof-of-concept (so I can learn new stuff) or items that have some sort of functional use.   The need for this project came about when my wife was prodding me about the humidity in the house and whether our humidifier was doing it’s job correctly.  Most people would just go out and buy a temp / humidity sensor and be done with it.  However, if you have a look around here, you will see that I don’t fit that mold.  Instead, I decided to build an accurate temp / humidity sensor with a Sensiron SHT11 to read the values, a RBBB Arduino kit to process everything and an Adafruit 128×32 OLED to display the results – all wrapped up in… LEGO!   Read on for more…

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Adafruit Monochrome 128×32 OLED graphic display

I recently got my hands on the Adafruit Monochrome 128×32 OLED graphic display for my next project.  This is a 128×32 OLED B+W graphics chip and it’s tiny!  Don’t let its size fool you however. Being an OLED display,  text/graphics contrasts well against the black background.  My initial intent for this display was to use it to provide information to you GPS Red Light Camera project.  It’s job would be to provide key information such as; the distance to the next red light camera location, the direction of the vehicle (and possibly direction of the camera later on), speed, # of satellites, as well as Lat and Log.  However, after some dry runs, I found that reading the information was too difficult if it was sunny out.  Of course the obvious holds true that I should not be taking the time to read this sort of info while driving anyhow.  The intent was more of an info display for viewing while stopped etc.   However, the purpose of this write-up is not to discuss the merits of these things, but rather the quality of this display. More info on the project will come soon.

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Review – Optek LED Strip

After completing my Juke footwell / glove box LED mod, I decided that the footwell LEDs just were not bright enough.   I came across these Optek 3 LED white lights from Newark that have just the right white light and luminosity.  These LED bars are built tough.  The LEDs appear to be set in a hardened liquid plastic.  Wires run in one end and out the other – it seems that these strips were built as a series set of 3x LED bars and cut to order.  I ordered 2 and both were joined together.  Before installing them above the footwell area, I had to do something about the white.   After masking off the LEDs,  I gave them a few coats of Plastidip to make them black.


I am impressed with the end result.  I was after something that would provide nice white light when I am looking for something down in the footwell area during the dark…  They cast a bright wide swath of light to illuminate the entire footwell area.  They also cast enough light to see under the seats as well.

Illumination with the Optek 3x LED Bar:



The original LED illumination:

Nissan Juke – Footwell & Glove Box LED Lightning

Next on the block – adding LEDs to the foot wells and glove box.   (Prev mods: LED Tails and Rear Passenger LED mods)

This mod can be especially useful this time of year up here on the 49th parallel since we are pretty much in darkness @ 5PM during November. All to often I drop something down near my feet and have to go looking for it.  The light that casts from the map lights does not reach the areas down near the front driver/passenger foot wells, so I decided to add a few tiny LEDs to shed some love in the area when needed.  In addition to this, the Juke comes with a MASSIVE glove box and no light.  So, it was natural to throw a small LED strip in there as well.  Both sets of LEDs are hooked up to a custom controller that uses an ATTiny85 and touch sensitive pins to control on/off states (I’m not one to go with status-quo, so the standard on/off switch would not cut it for me).

The switching unit (below) has 2 pairs of pins and 1 switch.  The switch is used to control the rear passenger LED and is discussed here.   Each pin pair make up a galvanic touch sensor that use the conductive abilities of skin to bridge the connection (reads – won’t work with gloves).  Touch them once and the LEDs ramp up (on), touch them again to power them off.  The top pair control the foot well LEDs, the bottom controls the glove box LED.

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Nissan Juke – Interior LED Illumination – Rear Passenger Light

I just finished adding LEDs to the tail lights, and now its time to move on to the interior. For those of you who have a Juke, you can sympathize with me on this – the Juke is a great vehicle, but it is lacking in some very basic necessities (e.g. armrest, removable cup holders, and… a rear passenger light!). This has been further compounded by the fact that I have 2 children in child seats that can’t quite do up their own seat belts yet. …and the seat buckles are buried flush with the seats! (NISSAN!) …and I can’t see squat! Here is my solution to the problem:

LED Rear Passenger Light

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Pulito – Beacon (Version 1) Internals






Charging Beacon



Charging Beacon


OLD Version Details:  (see new version here): The following is a picture of the charging beacon.  Although it looks quite plain from the outside, it is what is inside that resulted in this being a 5 month build (well that and things like kids! :-)  )  From the top there is a cutout for the LCD.  The purpose of the LCD is to display the change from 1200 to 600 Hz. The gray axle on top is used to swap between frequencies.  These frequencies are tuned to work with the HT IR Seeker V2 sensor on Pulito.  Together they allow Pulito to detect the beacon from across the room in many varying conditions (incl bright sunlinght).  As many of you know, IR is everywhere, so the 1200Hz is used to allow robots to tune into a specific frequency while ignoring other sources of IR.  At the front, the 2 charge bars can be seen.  These allow Pulito to dock to the unit and begin charging.  At the center in the front, the blue cylinder contains 3 IR LEDs.  These LEDs are connected internally to a Basic Stamp II Sx which drives a 1200/600 Hz pulse through a separate 555 timer that generates a 38Khz carrier wave.  Together the 1200Hz and 38KHz carrier allow the HT IR Seeker V2 to find the beacon.

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Fun with PHP, MySQL on Windows 2000 Advanced Server

I recently decided that it is about time to replace my old P4 server in the interest of speed, space and power reductions. Even with a P4, this sever is heavily underused.  My choice was a mini-ITX form factor system running the Intel Atom N330 Dual Core processor.  Although there is little improvement over CPU speed, I also migrated to an OCZ Indilinx SSD.  That’s a little background for you.  Now, my existing machine is my web/db server and is running Windows 2000 (yes, I realize its a 10yr old OS, but its working just fine for my purposes), SQL Server, MySQL, IIS5 and PHP.

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Sumovore Sumo Bot & Accessories – For Sale

A very slightly used, never competed Solarbotics Mini Sumovore Kit. When I bought this, I purchased the sumovore kit, the stamp stack microcontroller as well as the brainboard as I thought I needed all of them. I assembled the Sumovore, programmed and tested it and it works fine, but it has been sitting on a shelf for months not getting any use. So, it’s time for it to go. I am selling all three items below as a package. Total cost was about $180 USD with shipping, customs duty/taxes etc. Details as follows:

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