VAG’s “extremely complex” EPA-avoidance algorithm


Douglas Adams was a wise man

… it is easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all. In other words … their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws.

This becomes more and more applicable as time passes, I’m sure…

Model differences and other things I’ve learned when researching the 2003-2009 Kia Sorento

What sounds simple enough soon starts getting entertaining. I’d been asked “which Sorento is the best for…” questions more than a few times now, so I’ve decided to publish all that I know about them as there’s more than a few subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the models.

As ever, this is what I’ve found and what has worked for me. Do not take it as bible and do your own research. Please also feel free to tell me that I’m both an idiot and wrong by correcting my mistakes where you find them – I’m sure there’ll be some. Otherwise, hope this helps! Continue reading

Buh-bye apex seals, it was nice knowing you…

Well, the inevitable failure happened, albeit a lot sooner than I’d hoped – 49,700 miles and one of the rotors lost compression on two chambers, implying that one seal had given out. If it had waited until summer I’d have had alternative transport, but as it stood it managed to pick the worst bloody time to let go.

It was loaded on to a transporter (cheers Adrian!) and delivered to Rotary Revs where Ben and his crew performed a complete engine rebuild for me in under a fortnight. They really are a superb bunch of chaps up there and have consequently won my business for life!

The car is now feeling a deal better than it ever did before and is generally more eager about everything it does even though I’m still in the be-nice-to-it running-in period, implying it wasn’t exactly in rude health when I first bought it.

But I’m not bitter – the Zoom-Zoom is back, both literally and figuratively!

Laureline GPS NTP server review

My day job has had me fiddling around with network time recently, and in doing the research for how best we can get a properly robust, stable and non-internet-derrived time reference set up, I found the Laureline GPS NTP server on Tindie.

This thing is a neat little 50mm x 80mm board that will plug in to an active GPS antenna (3.3v / 5v selectable) and, ultimately, provide stratum 1 NTP service via a 100MBit ethernet port. At $128 it’s an order of magnitude cheaper than some of the commercial offerings from Symmetricom, Endrun and so on, so I decided to buy one to evaluate it. Continue reading

Step one of the ‘electric 8’ project has been completed

I actually have a working RX-8 now – a moderate-mileage PZ-edition that is incredibly pleasant to drive.



This will be used as a bit of a data donor, allowing me to record the CAN bus data over time so that when the internal combustion engine is removed from the car that will be turned in to an EV (not this one – it’s too good to mess with at the moment!) I can synthesise all the data required to keep the rest of the systems happy.

Identifying the 192 and 231 versions from crap seller descriptions

So it’s not always easy to work out which version of an RX-8 you’re viewing from the description the seller provides, and short of asking (which on an eBay auction can take forever) you have to go by visual cues. The major ones are summarised here and are valid for RX-8s between 2004 and 2007 (i.e. before R3 was launched).

192PS 231PS Notes
5-speed gearbox 6-speed gearbox
Halogen headlights, no washers Xenon headlights, headlight washers Tell-tale sign are the headlight washer pop-ups in the bumper below the headlights
Tach max of 9000RPM Tach max of 10000RPM
Usually cloth interior Leather interior

Also, just because it says it has HID / Xenon headlights doesn’t mean it has OEM lights – there are more than a few that have had the cheap’n’nasty aftermarkets fitted. In this case, it’s almost certainly a 192 and it won’t have the mandatory auto-levelling  and washers, meaning that it’ll be an MOT fail without refitting the original halogen lamps. Check for the washers in the front bumper and for the auto-levelling warning light on startup.

Perle IOLan DS not listening on port 10001?

I use these little Perle IOLan serial-to-IP adaptors for various applications, but had one instance recently where the device was not listening on TCP/10001.

Perle's incredibly useful IOLAN DS1 IP-to-serial device server

Perle’s incredibly useful IOLAN DS1 IP-to-serial device server

After a lot of head-scratching, it was a simple case of someone having toggled the Console / Serial hardware switch from the off (serial) position to on (console) – this prevents the Trueport service starting on the device and hence it no longer listens on TCP/10001 for incoming connections to the serial port.

Toggle switch in the correc (off) position to allow incoming network connections

Toggle switch in the correc (off) position to allow incoming network connections

Not one bit of googling actually mentioned this directly, and neither did the device’s very good manual. Hope it might save someone a few moments in the future 🙂