Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Replacing starter motor in 1996 Toyota Corolla

October 14, 2012 Leave a comment

The starter in our 1996 Toyota Corolla went bad and here’s the process for how we replaced it. Symptoms of a bad starter are:

  • Car doesn’t start when key in Crank position (may be intermittent)
    • Doesn’t turn over engine
    • Doesn’t dim headlights
  • Hear clicking sound from relay

If you’re interested in how and why these starters fail, this video does a good job showing the internal parts of the starter and the way the brush contacts fail:

Locating the starter

The starter motor is easier to find from beneath the vehicle. Lift the vehicle and use 2 jack stands to get access to what you need.

  • Remember to set the parking brake and use wheel chocks.
  • Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery before beginning work.

The pictures below of the original and replaced starter motors may be helpful for reference. 

   New Starter
Original starter New Starter

From the top of the engine bay, the air cleaner housing needs to be removed to locate the starter and access the top bolt to replace it.

Mechanical Connections

There are two bolts needed to remove the starter. They are:

Lower bolt (view from beneath vehicle, socket wrench on bolt)

Lower bolt (view from beneath vehicle, socket wrench on bolt)

Upper bolt (view from driver's side engine bay, wrench on bolt)

Upper bolt (view from driver’s side engine bay, wrench on bolt)

Electrical Connections

There are two electrical connections, a positive and a negative terminal. The negative connection is a single contact connector with a clip to secure it. The positive terminal is a bolt, nut, and lock washer.

Electrical Connections

Electrical Connections

We removed the old starter and inserted the new one through the passenger side wheel well since the plastic skirting is flexible enough.

Categories: Uncategorized

Xbox 360 HDDHackr for WD Scorpio Black Series BEKT

August 15, 2012 Leave a comment

I have a hard drive form an old laptop that’s compatible with the XBox 360, so I thought I’d try out the HDDHackr firmware flashing program so the XBox 360 Slim would recognize my drive. Things didn’t go exactly as expected, so I thought I’d share my experience.

User InsaneNutter from the Digiex forums wrote a fantastic tutorial including screenshots and detailed instructions:

I followed these instructions, but needed a few more steps at the end because the drive appeared to be full and I wasn’t able to play games from the original Xbox (Forza Motorsport). A couple possible reasons for the differences from the tutorial are:

  • My hard drive was not empty – it had an old installation of Windows.
  • My hard drive model is a WD Scorpio Black Series BEKT (WD2500BEKT-75PVMT0)

The first sign of trouble I saw was the end of the partitioning process with HDDHackr. The program outputs:

Sectors 16-22 rewritten successfully!
Preparing [……………………………] 100 %
Partition 0/2/3 created successfully!

At this point, the program should exist. However, it hangs and won’t respond to any commands. The process did complete successfully, though, with the exception of needing to erase corrupted data on the partitions.

Copying XBox 360 Games to the Hard Drive

XBox 360 games can be copied to an internal hard drive for performance improvements, and this is one reason to install a hard drive in an XBox 360 Slim. To get this working, all I had to do was to format the drive under ‘Storage Devices’ in the system settings by pressing ‘y: Device Options.’

Running Original XBox Games

Some original XBox games can be played on the XBox 360 Slim only if an official Microsoft hard drive is installed (or a compatible hard drive is properly flashed and configured). Wikipedia has a good list of compatible games and limitations:

The official Microsoft page is here:

Microsoft’s instructions for manually downloading game compatibility updates had no effect and no errors. Their instructions seem to be out of date and incorrect:

Even with my hard drive installed and properly recognized to install XBox 360 games, I still got this error when trying to play an original XBox game:

Error when attempting to play original XBox games with hard drive flashed with HDDHackr

I was able to fix this problem using Xplorer360. These instructions from user Hoffman on the Digiex forums were very helpful:

Using these instructions, I found that Partition 2 was filled with corrupted data so the XBox 360 couldn’t download game compatibility updates from XBox Live.

Files saved on Partition 2 – this is the backup .bin saved from my hard drive

Categories: Uncategorized

Google Talk Shortcuts

August 3, 2007 Leave a comment

Google Talk recognizes in-text shortcuts to create smileys, bold, and italic text. These are very useful and I think more people should know about them.

Conversation Text

  1. A message can be 32767 characters long.
  2. Certain smileys are recognized by Google Talk and will be shown in blue.:-
    :-O 😡 😛 😀 😉 😦 : :O 😡 😛 😀 🙂 😦 ;- ;-O ;-x ;-P ;-D 😉 ;-( ; ;O
    ;x ;P ;D 😉 ;( B- B-O B-x B-P B-D B-) B-( B'( BO Bx BD B) B( B) And you can put
    a ‘ between the characters to get another one shown in blue.
  3. To write text in bold, put it between *asteriks*
  4. To write text in italic, put it between _underscores_
  5. You can insert special characters like ♥♫☺ with ‘Start / Programs /
    Accessories / System Tools / Character Maps’.



It’s very versitile and useful to note that bold italics can be created by any permutation of *’s and _’s. Bold italics can be achieved by typing “*_bold_*”, “_*bold*_”, “*_bold*_”, or “_*bold_*”.

Categories: Uncategorized