Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pistonhead to Audiophile

I can't believe it's been one whole year since i last posted on this blog. Perhaps it's time to greet the loyal visitors, if any, and update them with how stuff is going on my side. First, a somewhat interesting chart.

I'm surprised this blog is still getting pageviews, averaging 200-300 of them daily. Thanks to you!

So where am i these days? The Dog is still here with me albeit a lesser priority, mildly speaking. I'm having less and less time to work on her with me preparing to start a family of my own. The urge to build something is always there, however. I can't stand doing nothing with my free time, no matter how little it may be. There's always that need to balance the stress from work and building something works for me.

As you may have guessed from the headline, DIY Audio is what i do lately. I personally believe DIY Audio is what got most of us solder-slinger, tin-fume-breathers started on electronics, me including. It's definitely not something new for me. I still remember the first time my AM radio and my tiny speaker made that sweet old tunes when i was still in junior high.

Isn't DIY audio as time consuming as working on cars? Well, yes and no. Yes it can be time consuming but not if you have more time-window to do it. You see, working on engines, bikes and cars for me means being in the garage and doing it at daytime while DIY audio means this..
That's my bedroom floor and the photo is taken nighttime. You can now see that shifting my hobby closer to my bed allows me to work on it more! The nagging from mom to clean up the room is more intense though..

Anyway, here's what i have finished so far..
Quite lovely isn't it?

Here's what i finished first when i started (or re-started) this DIY audio thing: a CD player from an old PC DVD ROM.


It plays CD only, so no MP3 nor DVD, but it's been working flawlessly so far. I only use it for transport purpose, feeding the digital output to the TDA1541 Digital-to-Analog Converter below.

I got the DAC pre-built from Ebay and coupled it to my DIY Aikido tube preamplifier. Here's the internal shot.


From then it's goes to the Hybrid Power Amplifier below. It's basically a common cathode tube stage followed by a MOSFET source follower, having a BJT buffer in between to cope with the MOSFET input capacitance..

Those bulbs above are part of the circuit, providing bias for the MOSFET stage. Cool, eh? It glows dimly, just beautiful for late night listening session. The power-amp then finishes its job with a pair of customized "bookshelf" speakers. It's a Thonet & Vander KURBIS speakers, customized by bypassing the internal chip-amp and feeding the drivers directly to the hybrid.

Currently i'm still finishing an OTL headphone amplifier. It uses TV-sweep tubes and back-to-back power transformer to provide the isolation from mains.

I doubt this blog attracts any fellow DIY-audio hobbyist but if it does and there is request for me to detail the build, i might start another blog focusing on DIY audio. That's a big maybe.. but hey anything can happen.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

UNO

Just got this in the mail.

Let's see what's in it.. Yup! It seems my order of Ebay Arduino Starter Kit has arrived from Hongkong.

I'm still totally new to Arduino or the whole microcontroller programming world in general so there's not much i can tell you other than that i'm hoping this kit will open up a whole new experience and skills for me. Who knows that this will be the first step to making my own standalone ECU? *fingers crossed*

Above you can see the main microcontroller board. Basically you write your program on a computer, download the program to the microcontroller, connect all the hardwares such as the servos, sensors, motors and let your creation do the work you intend it to do. There's far plenty of info on Arduino you can browse so i won't risk misleading you by explaining it myself.


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Four Eyes

Here's something i'm sure you've contemplated while looking at your worn out headlamps and having trouble finding replacements. Jefry, a fellow Daihatsu Charmant Community member, finally did it. He adopted early E70 Corolla quad lamps on his Charmant. It's not exactly a neat job yet but at least you know it can be done.





Anyone done a better job? Send me the pics!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fanny's Rusty-Charmer

Fanny is a good friend of mine and fellow Charmant enthusiasts that i met while i work in Lampung. He emailed me early 2012 asking about Charmants after he saw my blog and was interested in getting one. Apparently it was my busy moment and i replied his email a bit later. It seems that he already got his mind set on getting one as he already got his Charmant when i finally replied. I wish more people are as easily convinced on Charmant as Fanny.

Anyway, as i mentioned, we become good friends and he decided to join Daihatsu Charmant Community as well. As time goes, it was obvious that he has very different preference from me in building cars as you can see in just a bit.


Fanny is less on performance and all about styling. He got his ride for a bit more cash than you would pay the average Charmant but then his car isn't really what you'd call average condition as well. I'd say he got what he paid for. The interiors are like new, all the emblems are there, the lamps are original parts and the engine purred like a kitten. Perhaps if i got The Dog with the same condition, i wouldn't even think of thrashing it and throwing away stuff from the interior just to make it lighter. It's just too good to be ruined.



I am not really familiar with this Hella-rusty thingy styling that he's got going so perhaps it's better that i just write the details i know so that you'd cringe less at my explanation of his car.

The wheels were just like my first ones, a set of Work Equip 03 replicas called Axis OG 15x8. He had them painted red and fit 185/55 for that mandatory stretch.


The stock side mirrors were kept safe in his closet while a pair of fender mounted ones take on the vacant position.

Knowing the history on how he got most of the stuff he put on the roof rack, i'd say Fanny is very dedicated in getting his style correct. Some of the stuff you can find there are traffic cone, old suitcase, spare tire, fishing rod and a gallon of drinking water.. A fishing rod?! Really? Man, i seriously really don't understand you Rusty/Rat guys LOL..

Interior-wise, it's near mint with the exception of some sticker-bombing on the dash panels and Nardi replica steering wheel.


A pair of Recaro "fish-nets" add to the comfort of the cabin.

Inside the trunk, you can see the nicely made shelves for wrenches and to hide that ugly spare tire well and jack. That is where he also keep his 10 inch sub and power amps.

His engine bay looks mostly stock with the exception of some custom strut brace and painted valve cover. Fanny isn't too mechanically inclined on engines but he's learning. He still sometimes contact me to ask about some problems on his car as i'm no longer working in the same town as Fanny. I guess the pic below just shows himself admiring the engine without really having any plans for it.

Here's Fanny!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bye Steelies

Remember the widened steelies i made earlier? It turned out they were ridiculously too wide for The Dog and if i kept them on, i'd be buying tires and fixing fenders like crazy. Those steelies were sold just a few weeks ago to a KE70 owner and he promised me to send me pics with them on. Well, the guy kept his promise.







Here's what would happen to The Dog if i kept those steelies on her. The owner is planning to get some fiberglass overfender so he doesn't really mind the damage.

Those rims were part of a huge pile of stuff left over from building The Dog. I really gotta start selling those stuff before my house turns into a junkyard.. T50 gearbox anyone? Or a complete S-series diff? and I have too many small parts for me to remember.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Dog Goes Retromantic 2012

A few years ago, a number of various pre-90s auto clubs decided to form a way to unite themselves in order to better communicate ideas and to strengthen solidarity. It was then Japanese Retrocar Forum (JRF) was born and Daihatsu Charmant Community is amongst the JRF members. One of the annual events by JRF is Retromantic which is basically a huge meet up of all the clubs where all the members discuss upcoming plans, show off their cars and awards for cars with outstanding features are held. This year marks the third time for the highly anticipated event and is the first for The Dog to attend.

This year's Retromantic is held on December 8th at KM72 Rest Area on Cipularang high way in Sadang, Purwakarta just 50 kms shy of reaching Bandung from Jakarta. Exhausting 4 hours of driving and 3 hours of ferry ride didn't seem to matter anymore once i reach the meet up area and witness this spectacle.

That's about 700+ old Japs crammed into the open parking lot on the Highway Rest Area. Definitely the biggest event i've attended for now!


Some of clubs that attend this event are Datsun Jakarta, SL Never Die, Retro Galant Indonesia, Bogor Corolla DX Community, Tangerang Retrocar, Oldskool Syndicate and of course our beloved Daihatsu Charmant Community. You can see the club logos on the stickers given away on this event.

The event was held for the whole day from early 9.00 AM until 15.00 PM, gathering even more beautiful cars as the joyful hours go by.


With so many nice cars showing up at the show, it was very difficult to pick some to be shown here. However, here's some of the interesting ones. First, as you perhaps realize first is that there are a lot of E20 and E30 Corollas so here's some of them that manage to tickle my fancy, starting with this flushed one.

Rat/shakotan/bosozoku/whateverthisis from Triple C autoclub.


Moving on to the rarer ones such as this Levin with Castrol livery, a member of TRC (Tangerang Retrocar).


Or this station wagon E20.



Now this is a rather familiar looking sticker, isn't it?

It belongs to this nice KE30 riding some Enkei wheel which are commonly referred to "starfruits" here.

Let's move up a generation shall we? Here's some E70s..


Normally, i'm not easily impressed with E70s with them being the go-to retro car preference but here's one that caught my attention. This Sprinter looks sweet riding on those Equip 01s..

.. add this huge Garrett snail and 3S-GTE and you have an impressive package overall.

How about some A170 Lancers from SL Never Die?


Of course, being a Lancer, we need one rally-look to complete the deal.

This one is also from Mitsubishi, can you guess what model is this?

This angle should give you a hint..

There were quite a number of Datsuns at the event as well, as evidently shown by some of these pics. It's quite nice to see some Bluebird 510s with such mint condition.


Some were sporting these 2000cc beasts underneath their hoods.


Here's a slightly lesser seen B310 (that's a B310 right? lol not really sure..)

Some of those that showed up really is one of a kind at the event such as this Toyota Kijang KF20 pickup.


Definitely one that managed to steal the show, a Supra Mk.II.


A sixth gen rat-look Toyota Crown, with a huge Southern cross on the hood. LOL.. Some people really have questionable taste. Well, as long as it works for them, it's fine i guess..

A shark-nosed shakotan Accord.


Some of the guys decided to make some cash at the event..

Really dig that 15x9 Watanabe.. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it's not that time for me to be spending any cash for The Dog.

Here's the award trophies..

Here's a Daihatsu Charade that apparently got me feeling that car crush again. Took many shots of this G11 as i love every angle of it.





Ah.. here's a familiar sight.. My fellow Daihatsu Charmant Community members.. There were only less than 10 of us coming to the event but we had a good time, nevertheless.

Or course, last but not least, The Dog to complete this post.. My girlfriend accompanied me to the event as well. We were still tired from the long hours of drive and reached the event area late so we had to park The Dog a bit far from the other participants.