How To Fix a Hitachi Leaf Blower

A few months ago, I picked up a killer leaf blower on Woot. Our yard is devoid of leaves.

Last week, I tried to fire it up to clean the pine needles off of our steps…no dice. The thing wouldn’t fire up. I checked everything obvious…pulled the spark plug to see if it was flooded…ensured the kill switch circuit was intact…checked the fuel line for a vacuum…nothing. I came to the conclusion that the issue was with the primer bulb, as it was ‘pushing’ but not ‘pulling’ air when depressed. I was getting a bunch of pressure in the fuel tank, but no fluid was making it to the primer bulb itself.

Time for leaf blower surgery.

hitachi leaf blower

well, this blows

I figured that I could take apart the air filter and figure out how to bypass the primer bulb somehow. It turns out that the filter assembly is pretty accessible. Directly behind the drop-down filter cover, there are two inviting phillips head screws…

hitachi two stroke gas blower repair

well, screw this

I backed said screws out enough to see a disconnected tube staring right at me. Sure enough, it was the rubber tube that feeds the primer bulb. See below—-v

hitachi fuel line disconnected leaf blower

well, this is hosed

It looks like the engineers at Hitachi sunk a spring in the end of the hose to avoid kinks, and relied upon friction to keep the hose in place. It looks like a design flaw, as the two-stroke’s vibrations had the thing rattled loose in much less than an hour’s worth of operation time.

Quick fix though…the unit fired up immediately upon reconnect and priming. Back in business.

It might get old pulling the filter assembly off if this hose becomes a nagging issue. On the plus side, this thing was a steal and is crazy overpowered. I hate to say that I would still recommend this even with the flaw…it really does blow.

DIY Minority Report

Spoiler1: This is awesome.
Spoiler2: I’ve never seen Minority Report.

I do know that there is some sort of hands free interface, and that is what I have put together.

minority report

+1 dizzy

Long story short, I have extended upon my PING))) project to include some sweet touchless home automation. I have the ultrasonic sensor interfacing with my garage door and a lamp, utilizing a servo and a PowerSwitch Tail, respectively.

Hit the bump for an awesome video of this thing in action, and for my spippet.

Continue reading

Arduino Servo Fan Control

Before you try to dr this, I have included a video to combat the tl crowd. You’re quite welcome. See below.

Now I’ll explain. I may even toss in a snippet…who knows.

Basically, I found myself with a few free hours, an Arduino, a bunch of random components in my lab (read: garage) at my disposal, and no real plan of attack. Result? Arduino/servo motor controlled fan.

Jump off component…silver spray painted Altoids can. Nice…chop that sucker up so I can smash a servo motor in there.


+1 minty

Well done. See…

works well

dang, son

Lady Ada uses these for some random projects. If you can stomach a whole bunch of crappy mints, you have a nice little Arduino-sized metal casing. Of course, it poses a grounding threat, which I experienced working with my motor shield a while back. That said…keep a few around. I have put this one to use before.

Next step…testing the servo


wires for the win

For this, I broke out my motor shield. It doesn’t have any features that would benefit this project…the servo areas are basically just power, ground, and control. Control pumps into the 16B 10 port, like a jumper…that works for my debug.

Next, implement a fan.

big fan

I'm a big fan.

I snagged this fan from an old tower, I think. I really don’t know. It seemed to react well to a 9V battery, so I tried it with a 5V source…same deal. Awesome. I used a zip tie to fasten this to that, that being the Altoids enclosure.

This thing needs a base…man-clamp to the rescue:



I picked this up, to use it as a soldering base. That ‘x-tra’ hands piece of shit that I have previously posted in pictures didn’t cut it. This is the manly version. And, it works great for this project, I believe…you can decide based upon the vid. Here is what it looks like, with some more detail.


clamp in action

Let’s add some code…oh no…sounds like we’ve reached the BALLIN ASS SNIPPET ZONE


Servo myservo; // servo opbect

int pos = 0; // initialize

void setup()
myservo.attach(10); // digi pin 10

void loop()
for(pos = 0; pos < 180; pos += 1) // from 1 to 180 { myservo.write(pos); // moves servo delay(20); // waits 20 ms } for(pos = 180; pos>=1; pos-=1) // sweeps span between 180 and 1
myservo.write(pos); // moves servo
delay(20); // waits 20 ms

If that looks familiar, it is because it pretty much the sweep example from the Arduino IDE. No changes necessary…I like when that happens.

Here is the final product:


I'm a big fan of this little fan. Sorry.

Not bad, for a quick slam-together exercise. It isn’t really robotic, since it has no sensors. I could bump this up a notch with some IR LEDs, or my PIR sensor, but that is for another time.

Blah blah blah, stay tuned, blah blah. Until then.

How to Hang a Heavy Bag

This is not a chipper tale of how-to boastery. Far from it. I cartoonified the shit out of the following pics, in order to further convey the surreal darkness that was involved in this seemingly trivial task. Buckle up…it is not likely to be pleasant blog-reading.

The mission objective was simple enough: hang a heavy bag. The mission-turns-out-to-be-a-little-cooler-and-a-little-more-involved moment came when I realized there was approximately one punching bag length between the ceiling in my garage and the spot where I wanted the top of said bag. I’ll let the pictures tell the story, for the most part. My knuckles are all sorts of funked up, which is an indication of the title’s eventual success. Or aptness. Or giant fail…I’m still very confused.

Enough rambling…first thing I know, I’m standing on my Honda Trail 90, wondering how I ended up with a heavy bag (and Honda Trail 90) before I managed to end up with a goddamned ladder.


Unsafe at any Speed

When in Rome…snap a pic. It’s pretty much all about the photo-documentation at this point.

smoove criminal


“Uh” is incredibly right. That sucker was bouncing around looking down…not so stable when my arm and or both arms were above my head. Good thing I’m limber. Huh?

My grand idea involved two threaded rings. Innocent enough looking…

oh, nice

oh, nice

…fucking wrong. Far from innocent, when said threaded ring is dropped into spider-central…

darkest hell

darkest hell

Well, I managed to knock most of those webs out of place with my trusty framing hammer. Unfortunately, I knocked them right on that stupid shiny thing I was attemping to arm-fish out of the hole between the particle board, studs, spider poop, drywall, and darkest hell.

I got the stupid thing, did the weird shudder thing with my shoulders/neck for a half-minute, and got back into gear. Survival mode at this point. Darkest-hell-been-and-back-survival mode.

Either my creeped out spider dance brought me luck, or my engineering was sound. Or both…but it worked out, against most odds.


Position 1


Position 2

It works, and there is a box of delicious OML in the frame. So I guess I’ll count that as a win???

Improving Existing Products: A How-to

Improving Existing Products: A How-to

Improving existing products is a snap! Start with a product. Here, I used this product, a dog poop receptacle.


boring old product

Pretty boring, huh? The first rule of thumb when improving existing products, is to make sure to improve upon the improvable, regardless of how improbable it is to improve appropriate items theoretically unprovable. Unlikely.

Here is my improved product:


much better

Turds FTW!

Mastering MS Paint: A How-To

Mastering MS Paint is not as difficult as one may think. In fact, with a little practice you too can become a champion MS Paint-er.

For maximum awesomeness, I employ a simple three-step approach:

1) Find an awesome picture to start with. Nintendo PowerGlove? Check. Kid from the Wonder Years? Check. Open that sucker up in MS Paint.

sort of awesome

2) Personalize. Chop your face out of another picture, using MS Paint. Paste it on the awesome picture from step 1, and drag the image to scale.

getting more awesome

3) Accessorize! This is the best part. See how the little shit from picture 1 has on sweet purple shades? Chop those suckers out, and throw it on that guy ^ you made in picture 2.

as awesome as it gets

See! It is just that simple!

And for the record…I’m all over those Warp Whistles in Mario 3. I’ll be in World 8 before you can say racoon tail.