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Car key fob issue?

The keyfob that came with my car was not working. A problem with one of the buttons, I've mentioned this before when discussing hacking the lock.

So the replacement was a little three-button dodah that is used instead. Only two buttons work - the newer Aixam have an electronic release for the boot, but mine is a manual knob that I pull on. Not a big deal, the open and close buttons work. That's the important thing.

Last weekend, I went to my car on Monday morning and prodded the button. Nothing happened. Of course my first thought was "oh crap, the battery is dead". Followed by wondering how late to work I'd be, and should I take the charger with me?
Then I realised that the little blue light wasn't lighting up. So the battery is dead, just not the important one.

I popped open the thing and saw it wanted two CR2016s to make a 6V power supply. Ordered a pack from Amazon, fitted them, normality resumed.

This morning, I went out and prodded the button and... nothing. Really?

Yup. The new batteries were only giving out 2.4V instead of 6V. Um.

I popped an old CR3032 into the original fob, and ordered a pack of switches from Amazon to fix the broken one. For some peculiar reason, the keyfob doesn't want to register with the car's unlocking system. It's pretty simple to set up - just switch the ignition from off to contact (that's the position it is in while the engine is running) five times, straight off to on to off. For the final time, leave it at contact, and the indicators will blink twice. Press the keyfob to code to the car, and the indicators will blink twice. After ten seconds, or if the key turned away from contact, the indicators will blink three times to signal the programming is over.

Well, nothing I do will make the original fob work. As can be seen from the hacking info, it does appear to be generating a valid bitstream. The battery is old but it's giving out a good 3V.

It's not a total loss with the pack of switches. Little switches are always useful things to have handy, and the Select (left) button on the mouse I use with RISC OS is a bit 'dodgy' so replacing that would be a good idea.

As for the unlock dongle, the biggest surprise is that it actually works when I shoved a CR2032 in there. It's only running off 3V rather than 6V but it locks and unlocks the car. I wonder how long it'll last for.


Front light again

I found a 100W LED bulb that was a regular size. Cool white rather than warm, but can't have everything. I went up and delicately swapped bulbs.

Big difference.

Brighter front light
Brighter front light.

The bulb was expensive - €12-something. So I hope it will give a good many years of service so I don't have to touch those wires again. Some day I'll replace the thing with an LED floodlight - lots more lumens.


No pasta maker for me

The price on Amazon is currently €180,89 (aren't I glad I didn't buy it last week for €265!?), which I suppose is a good deal, you save €84,11 (or a third off).

The problem is... it's a hundred and eighty freaking euros. For a thing that does a rather simple mix of flour and water/egg and then pushes it through an extrusion disc. This one doesn't have a built-in weighing system (that costs more), so it basically runs through one of two cycles. A one/two person (300g?) mode and a three/four person (600g?) mode.
That's... all it does.

As much as I like the idea, I can't help but think that it's a step price to pay given for less than that, I can buy a two-stroke strimmer twice, or something I'm actually considering which is a PVR surveillance system with a number (usually four) wired cameras, and a way to connect to it remotely so I can keep an eye on this place while I'm at work.

Or a machine to push dough out some holes in a plastic disc.

I don't want to belittle Philips here, but I think it's really pricey for what it does. So... nope.


My Philips HD4726 multicooker

I used this twice over the weekend, and both times doing stuff that my older rice maker cannot do.

The first thing I tried was a stir fry. Well, it's a pack of frozen chicken and pasta with a mushroom sauce. You dump it into a frying pan, stir it for about 12 minutes to heat it up, and it's done.

The problem I have is that when it is cold in the kitchen (it's currently about 5°C), the butane wants to stay in the bottle and not make a happy flame. Weak flame, no frying action. So it's a case of routinely switching the camping stove off, shaking the gas bottle, and putting it back in until I need to repeat. Which is often. It's annoying.

I have a proper stove, by the way. It can run off of... propane, I think. There are gas bottles out back. I believe they're empty. Have been since 1998. Which is about when all the tubing should have been ripped out and replaced. Such a bother... ☺

So I thought I'd try the new multicooker since it has a 'fry' option. My initial thought was "no chance". I mean, it's only able to dump around 800W into the bowl. It'll cook it, sure, but maybe in half an hour with the lid shut, right?

Uh... actually the default setting was for 15 minutes and I left it at that. And while it started badly (didn't seem to be doing anything for several minutes), I kept on gently stirring with the rice paddle and... that was it. The cooker kept an eye on the temperature and by the time the fifteen minutes was up, it was perfectly cooked. The bowl was actually less hassle to wash than the frying pan.
So surprisingly, it was a success. I can look at these frozen ready-meal packs now I have a really simple way to cook them.


The second test was something neither of the Moulinex multicookers can manage. It was using the fully manual setting.

Don't forget the honey, mummy!
Don't forget the honey, mummy!

The problem with cold is that a lovely runny honey cristalises to something that would bend a spoon. So, three hours at 50°C (which was about 45°C according to my thermometer) was just the right temperature to make the honey runny again without overheating it and destroying the enzymes or, worse, leaching chemicals from the plastic (so should be <60°C).

There's a lot of total bollocks on the internet (quel surpris!) which talks about just popping the honey into a microwave. Yeah, you know what, you can do a steak in the microwave too. But anybody who does deserves to be shot in the a cow. Any cow. The entire species will take offense at somebody committing a crime as heinous as microwaving a steak.
Microwaving honey isn't much better. It needs a low temperature (in the order of 40-55°C) for a long time in order to heat it through without destroying it. Just don't put it anywhere near a microwave.


A productive Saturday

Today, I ached in all sorts of places. But... Saturday. I could either go to Big Town and buy a bunch of stuff I didn't need, or I could stay home and do "some gardening".

Yup. "Gardening".

Those who are regular readers will know that word is in scare quotes because I'm not delicately tending to daffodils. Maybe one day, but much of my "gardening" involves burning hydrocarbons.

In other words - several hours with the strimmer and yet more time with the hedge clippers, and a big pile of brambles slain. I'm quite pleased with this. I'm even more pleased that I didn't have to pull sharp things out of any of my extremities.
Since it was a nice sunny day, even more hours with the first mow of the year and... and then it was practically evening.
Busy day. But happy with what I did.

Here's a FullHD video:

Now, I have two spuds in the halogen cooker that are almost ready, so... I'll stop here and go sort them with some cheddar. ☺
I suppose I should proofread this, but meh I'm hungry. *BYE



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