Friday, July 23, 2010

DIY Optical Parking Sensor upgrade

My 2008 Volkswagen Touran came with Parking Distance Control, beeping to indicate the remaining distance to objects when the car is in reverse gear. The control unit that I had was of an old type, and I had the impression it wasn't functioning 100%. So I got a new module from Kufatec, to replace the old one.
Kufatec explains that you need to run a wire from the back of the vehicle to the front, but as it turns out this is not necessary when the old module is already at address 10 on the CANBUS network. If the old module is at address 76, then you do need the new wiring. I already ran the wire to the front of the vehicle and connected it before realizing that I didn't need it. Result: countless electronics error messages in the on-board diagnostics. It could have been a simple drop-in replacement, if the documentation would have explained this correctly. Clearing all the error messages took quire some time, but was succesful in the end.
The new module works well now, and as a bonus, it gives me visual status of the four individual parking sensors (OPS) in addition to the beeps (regular PDC). This Youtube clip shows what it looks like after the upgrade.

Monday, July 19, 2010

death grip

Yes, my phone has a "death grip". No, it's not a v4 iPhone, it's a Nokia E71. But the comforting thing is, Nokia documented it in the manual all along (page 16/17). That indicates that they knew this while designing the phone. That figures, because covering/connecting both antenna areas would require a very awkward grip. Whereas the reaction Apple displayed recently has a distinct "Oh f*ck, we forgot about that" feel to it.

Friday, July 9, 2010

VMware tools on RHEL/CentOS: the easy way

VMware pre-compiles the VMware tools for selected OS kernels. The stock RHEL kernels are included, but not the intermediate updates. If you can live with that, you can simply add the VMware tools YUM repository:
# cd /etc/yum.repos.d/
# wget http://bert.debruijn.be/linux-stuff/vmwaretools.repo
and download the VMware RPM signing key
# cd /etc/pki/rpm-gpg
# wget http://packages.vmware.com/tools/VMWARE-PACKAGING-GPG-KEY.pub

Then install the tools packages:
# yum install vmware-tools-nox
or
# yum install vmware-tools

vCenter will report the tools version as "Unmanaged" rather than "OK", but you have heartbeat (so HA and alarms can detect guest OS crashes), balloon driver, etc.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

DIY carkit replacement

The factory-installed UHV carkit[0] in my Volkswagen Touran worked well with a normal cellphone-holder, but in combination with the Bluetooth Touch Adapter[1], it became a very unreliable combination. I've read many succes stories with the Touch Adapter, but the flaky communication between the TA and the UHV was a nightmare sometimes.

To fix that, I ordered a replacement carkit from Kufatec[2]. The module replaces the simple factory UHV with a newer one (also original from VW). The new module does not only bluetooth sound, but also address book, call lists, etc. It doesn't offer cellphone specific holders for power and antenna connections.

Installation was quite easy, as there are many howto's describing VW Low-to-Premium modding. In the Touran (1T0), the UHV is under the passenger seat, and requires removal of the lowest drawer. A T15 Torx screwdriver does the trick. Then you can open the floor cover, get the original module out, and the new module in. Replace the drawer, and that's it. You'll just need to program the module, so that it knows how to talk to the rest of the car. You'll get phone menu's on the MFA+ display in front of the driver, and on the RNS/RCD navigation system in the central console. Any VW workshop with VAS or VCDS can do that for you.

  • [0] Factory installed unit: 3C0 035 729G. Only does sound over BT. No screen output.
  • [1] VW Bluetooth Touch Adapter: 3C0 051 435 TA. Does address book, call list, and sound with a phone, and passes the sound through to the UHV unit [0]. Has its own little touch screen.
  • [2] VW replacement part from Kufatec: 1Z0 035 729B. This does address book, call list and sound natively, and displays it on the MFA+ and RNS510 screens.
P.S. I didn't remove the passenger seat for this mod. If you don't already have a VW carkit, or you're changing to the VW Premium car kit (the one that does rSAP, and has its own antenna), that's probably a different story.