Checking in

A long time has passed since I have updated ya’ll on my magnetic implants, but little has changed and been noteworthy. I still have both of my magnetic implants, and both continue function as a 6th sense. The more professionally installed disc in my left ring finger is definitely less responsive than the one in my right, but I have found its different orientation provides a way for me to sample a field at different angles. I still think the sensitivity difference is due to the deeper implantation of the left.

I continue to use the implants in my daily life, most of the time without even thinking about it. I’m always drawn to sample the field around big power cables or transformers, still fascinated by the intricate interactions of the magnet with the electromagnetic fields. I think the magnets have grown weaker over time, which was expected, which limits my ability to pick up a paperclip or drag a bottle cap, but doesn’t seem to have affected their vibration in response to magnetic fields.

Until next time!

Posted in Magnetic 6th Sense

New tail lights and an AFR gauge

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I had a brush with a tire wall at Barber Motorsports Park, which broke one of the tail lights.

Always looking to upgrade, I picked up some cheap and spiffy “altizza” tail lights from eBay.

I also installed an Innovate LC1 wideband and gauge.

Wideband on the far right, clip on camera remote just below it.

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Posted in Miata Race Car Build, RacLab Racing

Barber Motorsports Park, February 2014

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We made the 10+ hour trip to Barber Motorsports Park with NASA. The track and facility are amazing, and competition was fun.

Here’s a video of my favorite TT session of the weekend, chasing some quick Spec Miata guys and learning some tricks, then dropping back to set a flyer.


The weather cooperated for the most part. We unloaded in a downpour, but had clear skies on Saturday and Sunday for the event. Sunday morning greeted us with frosty tires:

The museum is very, very cool. Tons of motorcycles, and an incredible view of the track.

The red glare in the picture is my phone.

Huge expansive space and every kind of bike you can think of:

 

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Posted in Racing Events, RacLab Racing

Gauge panel and control switch do-over

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I was never quite happy with how the auxiliary wiring came together. The main engine harness was trimmed and neatly organized, but the auxiliaries were added quickly and with little regard to neatness. Now back in Houston, I have help and tools to re-do it right!

I gritted my teeth and tore into the wiring, removing everything.

Since I hadn’t documented the auxiliaries, I vowed to do it right this time. This meant reverse engineering the wiring I had put in over a year prior. I use OpenOffice Draw to generate wiring diagrams (it’s like Visio, but free!) I also went back to my hand drawn engine harness schematics and put them in the digital set. The results look something like this:

zebradiagram

 

The full engine harness and all auxiliary wiring now only takes up 7 pages. My hand-drawn diagrams were strewn across about 15!

I picked up some thicker plate aluminum from Amazon, and carefully cut the holes for switches and gauges. I used a bi-metal hole saw and drill press for the 52mm gauges, and as a bonus got some 52mm wide aluminum washers!

I used a wire brush on the aluminum surface, and installed the gauges:

The switches are from an electronic surplus store and must be pulled out to toggle. This helps prevent accidental operation of the switches. I wired all of the switches and gauges to pinned connectors, so they could be pulled in and out easily. On the left side of the dash, I got rid of the aircraft type switches and installed toggles with rubber boots on them. For the starter I tossed the Autozone special starter button, and installed an anodized aluminum push switch from the same store as the toggles.

 

Before…

After!

Much nicer, though I ran out of aluminum before I could make a nice trim plate for the Racepak Dash.

With all of the switches moved inside the dash, I had to re-mount the Racepak G2X brain. I re-used some parts from the original switch box to mount it on the original dashboard bracket at the front of the tunnel:

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Posted in Miata Race Car Build, RacLab Racing

Graphics and track maps

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I heated up the vinyl cutter to finish out the new graphics set

I also added a set of track maps. I’ve driven a few more since making these, so there’s a couple more to add. I make the designs myself using Bing maps satellite view.

They’re all to scale, oriented North. They’re also a huge pain in the butt to make!

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Posted in Miata Race Car Build, RacLab Racing

New stripes, numbers, suspension, bushings, DIY corner balance and alignment

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After a successful shakedown of the rebuilt motor, I started a new set of projects.

My original color scheme for the numbers made them hard to read, and my number was already in use in NASA Texas region, so I decided to strip off all of the graphics.

It looks so naked!

I re-zebra-ized with a new design. You can also see the new hood: a fiberglass clone of the FM Extractor hood.

I also changed the color scheme to something with better contrast.

During all of this, my Fat Cat suspension FINALLY arrived!

Are they worth the wait?

I took the opportunity to install the ISC Racing offset delrin bushings in the control arms. This allows me to add an additional -1.5 degrees of much needed camber on the front wheels, while stiffening up the other joints on the car. We also took the plunge and used a string box, toe plates, and camber gauge to DIY align the car. The initial outing on the new setup felt good, but was on an unfamiliar track. The car seemed to traction hop during heavy cornering, which may be a result of the rear sway bar being too stiff.

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Posted in Miata Race Car Build, RacLab Racing

Exhaust upgrade

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Up until now I had been using an eBay special header and a header-back exhaust that was crush bent at an exhaust shop. It served me well, but came unglued at Eagles Canyon. The header sheared at the weld!

The header was advertised as “stainless,” which it obviously was not!

I broke the bank and went for a Racing Beat header, coupled to a header-back Spec Miata exhaust from Mandrel Bending Solutions. After running for a while, the header turns pretty colors!

The new setup is still muffled, but has a different exhaust note. It fits like a glove and has plenty of flexibility, so shearing welds and breaking mounts should no longer be a problem.

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Posted in Miata Race Car Build, RacLab Racing

Return to Texas! Joining the hood pin club and blowing a head gasket.

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My first outing back in Texas was pretty rough. After pitting out, coming up to speed, WHAM! The hood popped up. Even though I had Aerocatch latches, I forgot to fasten them.

WHOOPS.

I was able to get the hood pressed back down and continue driving. I noticed that my catch tank was bubbling for a while after stopping the engine, and that coolant was not returning. The radiator had bubbles in it and would pressurize after a short time. Dang. Blown head gasket.

Hood carnage

While I could have replaced the head gasket with the engine inside the car, I opted to pull it in order to replace the oil pump. I should have replaced it when I rebuilt the engine, but didn’t think to do it at the time.

Time to pull the motor. At least I’m doing it in a garage with light!

The whole process took just a few days. I was held up for 2 days looking for an O-ring that was not included with any of the gasket sets or parts. The ring goes between the oil pump and block – if it doesn’t seal, then oil goes everywhere, and you have to pull the motor to get to the pump!

 

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Posted in Miata Race Car Build, RacLab Racing

Electric defroster

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After a few near-disasters involving a fogged up window, I set out to build an electric defroster. I deleted the heater core and removed the blower and duct work, so the factory installation was not an option. I purchased a cheap 12V electric hair dryer from Amazon and tested it, and it did not get hot enough or put out enough air. I continued searching until I came across the Power Hunt 12 V hair dryer. It requires a dedicated 30 A circuit and puts out almost 1500 BTU!

To direct the air across the window, I took a Shop Vac nozzle and fastened the dryer to the hose hole.

Hair dryer + Shop Vac nozzle = defroster?

Using materials around the garage and a lot of RTV, I messed around with a blocking plate until it felt like a car defroster should. It directs the air out of a small gap, and gets quite hot.

RTV and sheet metal complete the design.

Hot air shoots out of the slot!

Mounted by hose clamp to the dash bar.

I got to test it soon after. The current draw pulls down the idle very noticeably, it probably saps a fair amount of horsepower when running. It’s worth it. After running for a few minutes, a completely fogged window is clear, and stays clear!

The big black switch in the gauge hole is for the defroster. You can see the fog starting to dissipate! You can also see condensation in the fuse box being burned away by the heat coming off of the fuse. That thing really draws some current!

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Posted in Miata Race Car Build, RacLab Racing

Air box revision 2

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I wanted to improve the flow to the intake and block the engine air better, so I re-built the walls of the airbox. To gauge where it would hit the hood, I poked skewers into cardboard pieces and let them push in as the hood closed.

 

I used the carboard as a template, using smashed aluminum angle to make the 45 degree corner pieces.

Will it make a difference? Probably not.

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Posted in Miata Race Car Build, RacLab Racing