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Archive for June, 2010

Kindle

Yesterday, I noticed the price of a Kindle had dropped from $259 to $189. Ran it by the wife (for her) and she liked the idea. Ordered Amazon Prime overnight (an extra $4). It arrives today.

1 July 2010 update: It’s been about a week now since my wife got her Kindle. So far, so good. She really likes its simplicity. She’s glad it doesn’t do “a bunch of unnecessary things,” which is how she thinks of the iPad. Exactly what I love about the iPad is what she dislikes about it.

Amazon is buying Woot and today the woot is a brand new (current model) Kindle for $150. I’m returning the one we bought from Amazon a week ago for $189 and replacing it with this cheaper but identical Kindle from Woot.com.

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Building on my previous post, today we installed the new (repaired but new to us) ECU from Sergei in Brooklyn (eBay ID “chkengine”).

It’s immediately obvious that the power of this car is greatly improved!

We’ll drive it a few days and see if this improvement persists. We are cautiously optimistic. There’s still a new fault code (P1135) and I’ll check that every night to see if it goes away or any new codes come up.

1 July 2010 update: The power seems to suck again. So maybe when we replace the parts pointed to by our two engine codes (P1136, P0161), the power will come back.

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Building on my previous post, today we installed the new (repaired but new to us) ECU from Sergei in Brooklyn (eBay ID “chkengine”).

It’s immediately obvious that the power of this car is greatly improved!

We’ll drive it a few days and see if this improvement persists. We are cautiously optimistic. There’s still a new fault code (P1135) and I’ll check that every night to see if it goes away or any new codes come up.

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Some months ago, our 2001 Toyota Rav4 (2WD, automatic) had a problem where, late one night in Tampa, it started from a light extremely slow. Turns out it was in third gear and this was a common problem with 2001-2003 Rav4s. The computers frequently go bad and send bad signals to the transmission.

I didn’t find this out until the transmission rebuild was already done, which was unfortunate. Maybe the transmission wasn’t yet dead as my wife pulled over as soon as possible and we had the car towed.

We had someone in Minnesota repair the computer for $69 over the long Christmas weekend. He said they had trouble with the computer but didn’t provide any details and eventually told us it was done.

After rebuilding the transmission and getting the computer repaired at the same time, the car wasn’t the same. Power would drop out if you took your foot off the gas, it just seemed strained and its top highway speed was reduced. And if you went to pass someone starting from 60mph on the highway, there was just no power anymore.

There was a persistent Check Engine light even before the computer/transmission problem came to our attention. We were assured it was an outgoing O2 sensor (P330, I believe) and that it wouldn’t impact the car’s performance in any way. So we didn’t fix it right away.

Last week I spoke to Sergei, another person who fixes these computers (eBay ID: chkengine) and we discussed that the power problems might be the computer or they might be the mass air flow sensor (MAFS) or something else. Then, on Friday, I spoke to his tech, Vladmir, and he suggested we start from a known-good computer before we try to debug it further. So I bought a repaired-by-them ECU for $300, which included Express shipping. USPS delivered it this past Saturday. Nice. These guys so far have just been very helpful and, for whatever reason, I have confidence in their Rav4 ECU repairs.

Today my mechanic was unable to get a code off the car with the old ECU installed. That’s a new symptom. I gave him the go-ahead to install the new ECU anyway. They installed it and the old code (O2 sensor) was gone, replaced by a new code, P1135, bad fuel/air mixture sensor heater.

We’ll drive it a few days and see if the O2 sensor fault code recurs. I’ll pull codes each night when I get home to see if there is any change.

And I’ll look into that P1135 code. Maybe it’s the MAFS after all and it just needs to be cleaned, which I’ve seen reference to on the internet since first talking to Sergei last Wednesday.

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Last weekend, we had our daughter’s first dance recital, which was spectacular, a baptism for the twins and a birthday party. Packed.

I shot the recital with my 18-200 VR. It did okay.

I shot the baptism with my 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor. It was so great for all the group portraits.

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