Part 4: Connector Pinouts

Connector Pin-out Diagrams

C90 – Engine Loom to Main Junction Box


  1. 5-EC7D (BU/RD)
    5-EC7C (BU/RD)
    5-EC7A (BU/RD) – DURATEC 2.0L – HIGH CAN-
  2. 91S-RH15 (BK/YE)
  3. Not Used
  4. 31S-BB16 (BK/RD)
    31S-BB16B (BK/RD)
    31S-BB16A (BK/RD) – DURATEC 2.0L – Starter Relay Trigger Ground (PCM controls Ground for Starter Relay Coil, supplied from IGN Switch START position)
  5. 91S-RE8 (BK/YE)
    31S-FA11A (BK/YE)
  6. 91S-RH5 (BK/BU) – DURATEC 2.0 – Fuel Pump Relay Trigger (Grounds coil for fuel pump relay via inertia switch is fitted. Connects to PCM on C690 Pin 19)
    91S-RH5A (BK/BU)
    91S-RH5B (BK/BU)
    15S-PE8 (GN/RD)
  7. Not Used
  8. 15S-LG23 (GN/WH) – DURATEC 2.0L – Brake Pedal Detection (Ground for the Brake light Circuit connects to PCM via C690 Pin 39)
    15S-LG23B (GN/WH)
    15S-LG23A (GN/WH)
  9. Not Used
  10. 15-LG28 (GN/WH)
    15-LG28A (GN/WH)
  11. 50-BB12 (GY)
    50-BB14A (GY/RD) – DURATEC 2.0L – Starter Solenoid Power (via Transmission Selector switch to starter motor, Controlled by Starter Relay)
  12. 15-RJ15 (GN/BU) – DURATEC 2.0L – PCM +12v via Power Hold Relay
    15-RJ15A (GN/BU)
    15-RR1 (GN/RD) – DURATEC 2.0L – Ignition Coil Power (+12v via Power Hold Relay. Coils ground by PCM for ignition)
    15S-RL42 (GN/BU)
    15S-RL50 (GN/BU)
  13. 30-RE8 (RD)
    30-RE8A (RD)
    30-RE8B (RD)
    30-TA55 (RD) – DURATEC 2.0L – Transmission Control Unit +12v Battery (Connects to Transmission Control Unit via C117 & C414)
  14. 15-RN3A (GN/BU) – DURATEC 2.0L – Injector Power (via Power Hold Relay, injectors Ground controlled by PCM)
    15-RN3C (GN/BU)
    15-RN3 (GN/BU)
  15. 4-EC7D (GY/RD)
    4-EC7B (GY/RD) – DURATEC 2.0L – HIGH CAN+
    4-EC7A (GY/RD)
  16. 8-EE14 (WH/BU)
  17. 31S-FA11 (BK/YE) – DURATEC 2.0L – Wide Open Throttle Relay trigger (PCM grounds coil to activate)
    91S-RE8A (BK/YE)
  18. 15S-FA6 (GN/YE) – DURATEC 2.0L – A/C Compressor Clutch via WOT Relay
    15S-FA6A (GN/YE)
  19. 8-FA88 (WH/VT) – DURATEC 2.0L – A/C Pressure Sensor Signal (From PCM to pressure sensor)
    91S-PA13 (BK/BU)
    8-FA88A (WH/VT)
    8-FA88B (WH/VT)
  20. 30-BA10 (RD) – DURATEC 2.0L – +12v Battery to Alternator
  21. 91S-RH9 (BK/BU)
    91S-RH9A (BK/BU) – DURATEC 2.0L – Power Hold Relay Trigger (Grounds coil for Power Hold Relay) Connects to PCM at C690 Pin 35.
    91S-RH9B (BK/BU)
  22. 91S-LG45 (BK/GN) – DURATEC 2.0L – Reverse Light Relay trigger (Reverse light relay coil triggered when in Reverse by Transmission Control Unit)
  23. NOT USED
  24. 15S-RD15D (GN/OG)
    15-TA55 (GN/BK) – DURATEC 2.0L – Transmission Control Unit +12v via Power Hold Relay
    15-TA18 (GN/OG) – DURATEC 2.0L – Transmission Range Sensor +12 via Power Hold Relay
  25. 15S-RD15C (GN/OG)
    91S-BB6 (BK/YE)
  26. 15S-RD15B (GN/OG)
  27. 15S-RD15A (GN/OG)
  28. 10-RJ30 (GY) – DURATEC 2.0L – Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor Signal (From Accelerator pedal unit)
  29. 7-FA88 (YE/VT) – DURATEC 2.0L – A/C Pressure Sensor VCC (PCM to pressure sensor)
    7-FA88A (YE/VT)
  30. 8-PF36 (WH/GN) – DURATEC 2.0L – Auto Transmission Shift Up (Connects to Transmission Control Unit via C117 & C414)
    8-PF36A (WH/GN)
  31. NOT USED
  32. 9-FA88 (BN/WH) – DURATEC 2.0L – A/C Pressure Sensor Ground (Connects output of pressure sensor to PCM)
    9-FA88A (BN/WH)
  33. 10-PF36 (GY/OG) – DURATEC 2.0L – Auto Transmission Shift Down (Connects to Transmission Control unit via C117 & C414)
  34. 49-PA6 (BU) – DURATEC 2.0L – Radiator Fan Control trigger (PCM grounds coil of relay to trigger radiator fan)
  35. NOT USED
  36. NOT USED
  37. 15-RE17 (GN/BU)
    15-RE17A (GN/BU) – DURATEC 2.0L – PCM Power +12v IGN in RUN or START (Connects to PCM via C690 pin 46)
    15-RN2A (GN/BU)
    15-RN2B (GN/BU)
  38. NOT USED
  39. 15S-LG9 (GN/BK)
    15S-LG9A (GN/BK)
  40. 15-RJ14 (GN/YE) – DURATEC 2.0L – Rear O2 Sensor Power (+12v via Power Hold Relay)
    15-RJ25 (GN/RD) – DURATEC 2.0L – Front O2 Sensor Power (+12v via Power Hold Relay)
    15-RR4 (GN/BU)
  41. 15-RE21 (GN/OG)
    15-RE21A (GN/OG) – DURATEC 2.0L – PCM Power (+12v via Power Hold Relay)
    15-RE21B (GN/OG)

 C200 – On-Board-Diagnostic Port


  1. Not Used
  2. Not Used
  3. 4-EC10B (GY) – HIGH CAN-
  4. 31-RA1 (BK) – Ground
  5. 91-RA1 (BK/OG) – Ground
  6. 4-EC7L (GY/RD) – HIGH CAN+
  7. Not Used
  8. Not Used
  9. Not Used
  10. Not Used
  11. 5-EC10B (BU) – MID CAN-
  12. Not Used
  13. Not Used
  14. 5-EC7L (BU/RD) – MID CAN+
  15. Not Used
  16. 29-RA1 (OG) – +12v Battery

C391 – PATS Key/Transponder Reader


  1. 15-GL37 (GN/BK) – +12v START / RUN from IGN Switch
  2. 91-GL1 (BK/YE) – Ground
  3. 10-GL37 (GY/OG) – Sensor (Connects to Instrument Cluster via C809 Pin 5)
  4. 8-GL37 (WH/GN) – Sensor (Connects to Instrument Cluster via C809 Pin 3)

C456 – Ignition Key Switch


  1. 15-DA1 (GN/YE) – +12v START/RUN (Distribution)
  2. 30S-LE29 (RD/GN)+12v Battery
  3. 31S-TA32 (BK/WH) – Ground Key Inhibit (Connects to C809 Pin25)
  4. 30-BB9 (RD) – +12v Battery (20A Fused Supply)
  5. Not Used
  6. 75-DA1 (YE) – +12 Accessory (Distribution)
  7. 50-BB16 (GY/BK) – +12v START Only (Connects to Starter Relay)

C648 – Accelerator Pedal Unit


  1. 7-RJ30 (YE) – +5v Constant Voltage (Connects to C809 Pin31)
  2. 8-RJ30 (WH) – Accelerator Pedal Position Validation Sensor+ (Connects to C809 Pin14)
  3. 9-RJ30 (BN) – Accelerator Pedal Position Validation Sensor- (Connects to C809 Pin 13)
  4. 91-RJ30 (BK/YE) – Ground
  5. 10-RJ30 (GY) – Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor (Connects to ECU Directly via C90 Pin 28)
  6. 15-RJ30 (GN/YE) – +12v START/RUN (Connects to IGN Switch via C456 Pin 1)

C732 – Fuel Pump Connector


  1. 15S-RG2 (GN/OG) – +12v START/RUN via Fuel Pump Relay (10A Fused)
  2. 8-GA7 (WH/RD) – Fuel Level Sensor+(Connects to C809 Pin 8)
  3. Not Used
  4. 9-GA7 (BN/RD) – Fuel Level Sensor Ground (Connects to C809 Pin 9)
  5. 31-RG2 (BK) – Ground
  6. Not Used

C809 – Instrument Cluster


  1. 15S-LD13 (GN/OG)
  2. 91S-GE56A (BK/YE)
  3. 8-GL37 (WH/GN) – PATS Key Reader (Connects to C391 Pin 4)
  4. 15-GG14 (GN/RD) – +12v START/RUN Cluster Power (Connects to C456 Pin 1)
  5. 10-GL37 (GY/OG) – PATS Key Reader (Connects to C391 Pin 3)
  6. 91-GG14 (BK/OG) – Ground
  7. 9-GA7 (BN/RD) – Fuel Level Sensor Ground (Connects to C732 Pin 4)
  8. 8-GA7 (WH/RD) – Fuel Level Sensor+ (Connects to C732 Pin 2)
  9. 29S-GG14 (OG) – +12v Constant Power
  10. 91S-BB6 (BK/YE) – Ground
  11. Not Used
  12. Not Used
  13. 9-RJ30 (BN) – Accelerator Pedal Position Validation Sensor- (Connects to C648 Pin 3)
  14. 8-RJ30 (WH) – Accelerator Pedal Position Validation Sensor+ (Connects to C648 Pin 2)
  15. 75-GG14 (YE/BU) – +12v Accessory Power (Connects to C456 Pin 6)
  16. 15S-LD7 (GN/BU)
  17. 5-EC7H (BU/RD) – MID CAN+
  18. 4-EC7H (GY/RD) – HIGH CAN+
  19. Not Used
  20. Not Used
  21. Not Used
  22. 5-EC10 (BU) – MID CAN-
  23. 4-EC10 (GY) – HIGH CAN-
  24. Not Used
  25. 31S-TA32 (BK/WH) – Ground
  26. Not Used
  27. 91S-GG6 (BK/RD) –
  28. Not Used
  29. 91S-PG6 (BK/YE) – Ground
  30. 91S-GE56 (BK/YE) – Ground
  31. 7-RJ30 (YE) – +5v Supply Constant (Connects to C648 Pin 1)
  32. 29-GG14 (OG) – +12v Battery Supply (Connects to C456 Pin 4)

Part 3: Donor Vehicle Connector Locations

Connector Locations

Due to the modular design of the Ford Focus wiring loom there are only a small number of connectors and components critical to independent engine operation.


Located in in the main engine bay fuse box this is the link between the engine specific wiring and the power supply, fuses and relays to control engine ancillary devices.

C90 C200 & C809

C200 – Located on the drivers side, below the steering column.

C809 – Located on the back of the instrument cluster.


C391 & C456




Part 2: About the Duratec Wiring Guide

About this Guide

This guide has been developed to assist in converting the Ford/Mazda Duratec engines from standard factory configuration to other vehicles. It covers the methods and techniques used to perform a transplant keeping only as much of the donor vehicle wiring as required for successful operation of the engine. Chassis related systems such as donor vehicle lighting, ABS, Air-bags etc. are typically not required for most transplants and are not covered by this guide. The Passive Anti Theft System (PATS) is retained for simplicity and the lack of any proven low-cost techniques to bypass the system.

The guide is specifically based around the conversion of 2006-2009 Ford Focus wiring, however the majority of concepts, connectors and wire colours are the same in the Equivalent range of Mazda3 vehicles.


All engine operating fail-safes are the same as the OEM installation

Engine emissions are controlled at OEM levels

Integrated immobiliser meeting all national standards

Turn-Key OEM reliability


The author of this document and any agent providing this document provides this Document as a resource only. No warranty is offered on the accuracy or appropriateness of the information within this document to your particular circumstances.

As with any technical document many of the concepts described require an appropriate understanding and technical skill. If you do not understand the processes and information described it is recommended that you seek the services of a professional to complete the the procedures described.

Key Principles

The basic control of the vehicles electrical system is carried out by a separate chassis wiring loom. The chassis loom should the following functions;

Lighting (Headlights, Parkers, Indicators etc.)


The Ford Focus/Mazda3 wiring loom is made up of a number of main segments with a number of design features that make it ideal for the conversion.

ECU & Engine sensor wiring are all on the same one piece wiring loom that can be removed from the Engine Bay of the donor vehicle in one piece.

ECU/Engine system wiring terminates via a single fuse/junction box in the engine bay of the donor vehicle.

Only three components in a matched set from one donor vehicle are required for trouble free operation with factory reliability and performance.

Engine Control Unit

Instrument Cluster


The Fuel Pump unit, Accelerator Pedal Unit and PATS Key Reader are not “coded” and can be sourced from an appropriate donor.

The addition of a basic power distribution panel with five relays and associated fuses are all that is needed for successful operation.

In this guide a relay is used in place of the donor vehicle Cooling Fan Control Unit. It is preferable to use the donor vehicle fan controller, however as this is mounted with the cooling fans at the front of the car it is likely to have suffered damage in any frontal impact. The Fan control unit would take the place of the Cooling Fan Relay in this guide.

Part 1: About the Duratec


Engine Description

The Ford/Mazda Duratec family of motors offer a lot of performance potential in a small and light package. The alloy head and block contribute to a bare weight of 90kg and lightweight plastic covers and intake components ensure the weight is impressively low when fully dressed..

The ~107kW output in factory 2.0L trim can be boosted with the addition of a wide range of performance parts but most important to builders of kit cars it’s also a “clean” motor easily meeting Euro4 emissions rules in its later Drive-by-Wire configuration.

Drive-by-Wire allows for a greater freedom to mount the accelerator pedal unit as well as introducing a number of fail safes not offered by traditional cable throttles.

Getting Rich on 2.4 cents per day

After reading yet another “wow look at me I’m a digital nomad living on a beach comfortably” article I decided to have a bit of a go at seeing just how much money could be made “passively” – after all the idea is to be sitting on the beach sipping pina coladas not slaving away at a keyboard.

the idea is to be sitting on the beach

Naturally my own creative lassitude means that setting this up couldn’t take a large single investment of time nor could the activities required to produce this income be “unpleasant”.  Becoming a crime-scene cleaner one day a week wasn’t the plan.

So I thought about my half-hearted efforts with YouTube over the years.  Here was a medium that had little to no start-up cost.  The time investment was completely manageable and most importantly it would let me try something new and get a tangible personal benefit – i.e. the few hours of footage accumulated over the years of holidays cars and cats could now get collated into viewable moments for our own consumption.

Yes YouTube was going to be the wealth creation vehicle

So I started by moving a few of my early video efforts into a clean and shiny new channel.  As my skills with video are limited they struggled for views, but I was at least getting the channel set-up and most importantly pushing myself to actually process our stock of footage.

It’s now taken a couple of months, but between a successful automotive themed video and some new content collected during our recent Vanuatu trip there’s a solid 30-40 views a day happening.

Through the editing and creation of the 33 videos currently online I’ve pushed myself to learn new skills, getting a handle on iMovie and how to cut together scenes that suit the content.  Let’s face it we want to see cats bounce & pounce, the idle time in between is just time that people will take to click away!

The travel videos on the other hand are longer and often not trimmed so that the whole presentation is given, but they’re chasing a specific audience, viewers like Kitty and I who are trying to research holidays or catch something we missed out on.

But moving back to the subject, 2.4 cents per day.  Yes on a rolling 30 day basis Youtube Analytics indicates a typical $0.70-$0.90 yield.   I’m a long way off being self sufficient on this, but I it would pay for one green coconut a day on Espiritu Santo!


The New Year Spiel.




Happy New Year!

I’ve lt the transition to 2014 sink in for about 32 hours before writing this post.  I’ve never really made resolutions or pushed myself to a course of action just because it’s been a new year, however for 2014 I have set myself some activity goals.

  • Temora Aviation Museum –
    Attend one or two of the days.
    These are pretty much fortnightly starting on the 1st of February
  • Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum –
    As one of the few regularly open (non flying) aviation museums within a short drive of Canberra it’s a shame I haven’t visited this sooner.
  • Chryslers on the Murray –
    I last checked the show out in 2011.  The focus for 2014 is on the VH, VH, VJ models which are some of my favourites.  It’s a solid 4 hour haul to get to the show but will be a great opportunity for Celeste to stretch her legs.
  • NSW All Chrysler Day –
    It’s probably been 6 or 7 years sine I went to this show, so it’s about time that I make it happen again.
  • South Coast Nationals –
    Went for the first time last year and thought it was a great show, the setting in Moruya makes it even more worthwhile.
  • Gunning Fireworks Festival –
    After attending in 2013 I’m not sure a year should pass without going.  It’s an awesome display, this year I think the GoPro needs to attend as well.

So there you have it, just a few things I’m hoping to get myself to, starting in a few weeks, it should mean that almost every month there’s a day trip to get some video and photos and generally enjoy.

6 Months in a Renault Megane GT220

Ok so we haven’t been living in the car since we picked it up on the 14s of June 2013, but we have covered almost 7000km!

Celeste wearing a smart bow for her delivery.
Celeste wearing a smart bow for her delivery.

Along the way we’ve covered a few highway trips, a lot of short round-town commuting and shared some interesting experiences like visits to the service centre and running out of fuel.

Operating Costs

I’ll be honest I track fuel use in a spreadsheet, each tank is carefully entered and the average cost per kilometre is calculated.  Sure it’s dependent on fuel pricing and the driving style but over time provides a real understanding of the “variable” costs.

It’s easy to say I’ve visited petrol stations 14 times in the past 6 months, but the numbers below (up to the last refuel a few days before the 6month mark) tell us the real story.

Total Distance (km): 6531.6
Total Fuel (l): 610.7
Average Consumption (l/100km): 9.28
Average Fuel Price: $ 1.72
Average Cost/KM: $ 0.16

I should say for the record that I have been “driving like I stole it” for about 90% of this distance.

On the servicing front we had a basic Oil and Filter change done at around 3000km to ensure any crude from the run-in process was flushed out.  This was carried out by our local dealer, and not without it’s own quality glitches with oil spilt into the under-engine panelling and ultimately pouring out over my garage floor.  The service itself was just shy of $300 – the main cost being the genuine oil filter and the Elf oil, which accounted for over half the bill.

The next three future services at 10000km/12 month intervals are capped at $299.

It’s a Renault, What’s fallen off it?

OK You got me.  I’d love to say that my experience has been flawless, and it hasn’t been.  All said though I have some minor issues.

  • The roof rail cover fell off, the clips broken, I had flashbacks to my old RenaultSport Clio at that point.
  • The bonnet is missing its leading edge seal, it never had it, I’m still waiting for it.  So much for Renault having parts in Australia.
  • There’s a rattle in the passenger side area of the cabin.  Maybe something loose in the door, I’m not sure.
  • The felted door seals make noise unless they’re heavily lubricated.  I’m dealing with this myself, the Goss Dri-Lube stick works wonders for about 8 weeks at a time.

Other than that there’s been no issues, not mechanical maladies and no weird “Starts second time every time” annoyances.

Is it hard to live with?

I don’t think so, it’s a wagon and immediately that makes it way more useable than just about every size comparable sedan.  When we started out car hunt we were frustrated that most sedans had boot openings that made us feel that we were “posting” our luggage into the dark unreachable corner and recovery required a rope tether to climb in and get it.

In a way stuff can still end up way deep in the back against the rear seats but at least large, odd shaped or long things can be slid straight in.

The rest of the car is just conventional, the Keyless system is truly Keyless, a few times the proximity unlock function hasn’t as it’s been snug against a mobile phone in a pocket, but it’s never failed to lock, nor failed to start.

The stereo is functional, it works and sounds OK in the “driver” mode, but just about every other sound field adapting mode is useless.  The fact that the tweeters are only driven in Driver mode probably has a lot to do with this.  Renault doesn’t have a fix, “they’re all like that” isn’t really a good enough response but that’s what we got.

The real annoyance was running out of fuel.  Yeah something that can be averted by the addition of well aged liquid dinosaur to the tank, however I do partly blame the car for it.  See it gives distance to empty down to a 50km range.  From that point it doesn’t give indication of range.  So making a decision on which petrol station to fill up at isn’t really about choice, it’s about what’s closest.

Interestingly as it died and tried to auto-start a few times it came up with “ESC” disabled, something that isn’t possible to do as a driver, only the traction control can be turned off.  I’ve got to investigate this more.

There's nothing to see here!
There’s nothing to see here!

Is it really a RenaultSport?

It’s definitely more than “just a regular wagon”.  Despite the ESC that cannot be over-ridden there’s lift-over oversteer available on-tap, the lateral grip on flowing corners is outstanding and when the curves tighten into tight bends there’s enough “slip” available before the traction control cuts the fun that careful throttle application can keep things moving.

On the highway it’s a competent almost effortless cruiser.  This is naturally aided by our relatively low speed limits keeping the engine slightly “on the boil” at the expense of fuel consumption.  At a steady 130km/h (the French national limit) consumption drops off by about 10% compared the 110km/h we have here in Australia.

On country roads – that is the kind that traverse the majority of rural Australia something spectacular happens and the chassis absorbs the lumps and bumps firmly but with a edge of suppleness that even Australian designed large cars haven’t delivered when fitted with their factory “sports” suspensions.  The harsher ride around city potholes and undulations isn’t as pronounced with the addition of speed, the somewhat “on stilts” stance of the car is now working in our favour with the longer suspension travel suddenly coming into play.

Incidentally even with a few hundred kilograms of cargo in the back the suspension doesn’t seem to sink into a “dog-with-worms” bum dragging stance that many Japanese and Korean wagons do, it’s obvious that a despite the very limited nature of the production the RenaultSport engineers have managed a pretty good balancing act between a practical family tourer and a “hot hatch”.

Inside the car there isn’t an excess of noise, the engine has a gruff note that becomes a melodic bellow at higher rpms, it’s not unpleasant but I suspect removing the intake resonator which transmits some of this into the cabin could be a good thing.  The exhaust is very muted, the large pipe dumping well under the car, roughly half way between the rear axle one and the rear bumper.

Tyre noise on the other hand is noticeable, partly this will be the Dunlop SportMax, a tyre not known to be a quiet runner and partly reflecting a lack of luxury car-like sound deadening.  A $30 roll of deadener in key areas and some quieter rubber would probably not hurt.  On smoother (concrete & hot mix) the noise is very well suppressed and the noise of the air swirling around the roof-rails becomes far more obvious, it’s not unpleasant, yet it does make me wonder what the car would be like without them.

Would the car need an LSD?  Certainly it would help with the grip under power, as would the PerfoHub arrangement (which would also bring Brembos to the party) but I’m not sure I would have found the extra $10000 Renault Australia would probably charge for a car with that.  Naturally I’d hope that they’d find more than 220hp for it too once those grip and traction matters were addressed.

Speaking of power, we did run Celeste up on the dyne at Ultimate Tunes here in Canberra and got a very respectable 147kw at the front wheels.  I’m happy enough with that for now.

So where to from here?

Driving, more driving and some more driving.  At the moment we’re not considering modifications, by the 30000km/3 Year mark we will have to make plans for servicing that avoid cost blowouts.  To this end there are a number of high-quality Renault approved oils available that aren’t the relatively hard-to-get Elf (nor are they as expensive), Genuine “Service Kits” are available from the UK and mainland Europe for very reasonable prices and there are at least two good French specialist workshops in town.

But swinging back to the modifications topic.  I’d be lying if I said I haven’t done research, but considering the car is largely a bespoke combination of RS265 driveline and GT-Line Estate/Wagon/Sports Tourer some things will require custom fettling.  Cat-back exhausts don’t deliver major power, and changing the cat will bring up the power levels but like most emissions controlled vehicles that will likely trigger warning lights, boost cuts and other weirdness.  The only remedy for that being a tune.  The tunes themselves delivering up to 80hp more than stock on the GT220 are already proven (basically it’s a RS265 power tune) and there’s a few companies that can do it.  Shame all of them invoke locking the ECU to a specific tuner or tuning tool.

Intake modifications seem to deliver nothing of value, Blow-Off-valves etc certainly can help manage higher boost levels but lets be honest, the factory unit will be fine for a modest boost increase (and the reality is that at least half of my power gain is simply in extending the current boost level further up the rev range as it tapers off quite significantly compared to the RS265 boost map.

Anyway there you have it.  6 months of living with a Renault Megane GT220.

Dlink DAP-1513 – My most disappointing IT purchase of 2013

A few weeks ago we grew tired of the glitchy and intermittent performance of the Netgear Ethernet over Power device that was feeding the Internet goodness from one side of our townhouse to the other.

It was time to try something new.

Well along came the DLink DAP-1513 purporting to offer all the speed ports and convenience to make our WDTV Live, Foxtel, Xbox360 and DVD Player all network connected in the blink of a hat.

DLink DAP-1513
The DLink DAP-1513. My worst IT purchase of 2013

Maybe I should have twigged when the DLink website didn’t show a firmware update, and the product harked back to 2011, but no, I figured it’s a simple device with a simple premise.

And for $66 from MSY how could I go wrong?

Quite a bit is the answer.  From the first moment the DAP-1513 fought the good fight.  I plugged my MacBook Pro into it and waited for an IP number to be assigned so I could access the configuration pages.

No, guess what, not DHCP service out-of-the-box.  Time to read up and set the IP on the MacBook to match the defaults of the DAP-1513.  Ahh that’s better “we’re in”.

It was immediately obvious that user interface design didn’t really feature on this products radar.  The clunky interface had me stumbling about trying to connect to the 2.4 & 5GHz networks in the house, eventually we achieved a working connection to the 2.4GHz 802.11N network and with another restart I was connected to the house LAN, and the greater Internet beyond.

The performance was pretty good, not stellar, but pretty good.

It was only after plugging the DAP-1513 into it’s final home in the media cabinet that it’s evils came to light.

I had tried streaming a 720p MKV video via the WDTV and it started playing, even the FF/RW functions worked better than with the defunct Netgear Ethernet over Power setup.  So we settled in to catch up on some viewing.

Then it stopped.

The lights went out, well not all the lights, just the important one.  The WiFi link LED.  It didn’t come back either.

What ensued was a two day (on and off) ordeal of changing settings, moving devices and generally working out that in our home it’d run for 10 minutes before dropping out.

Only a disconnect from power (aka a hard reset) would restore the connection.  Unfortunately watching things in 10 minute chunks is never going to fly in this household.

The final nail was when the MacBook Pro could stream video via WiFi to a location right next to the DAP-1513, it was rock solid, sure we knew that already, but it’s what made it very clear.  The DAP-1513 for all the promise was either faulty or useless.

I gave it the benefit of the doubt and returned to MSY to debate over refunds or replacements.

In the mean time a spare 20m cable was tacked down the stairs and across two door ways to give us what we wanted, seamless data flows.

I quickly stuck a spare Western Digital MyNet N900 on the end and boosted the effectiveness of the household wireless as well.  Now we have brilliant WiFi speed, flawless streaming and no stutters pauses and disruptions.

Thanks DLink for building a device to remind us all just how little hassle it is to drop cable across our homes and not spend money on poorly supported products.

GoPro Stuff – Coming to grips with it

When I was gifted a GoPro for my birthday last April I was like all “it’s so cool” but despite some tinkering around with making cat videos I didn’t really stretch its legs until recently.

Two things are immediately apparent;

  1. I need to make more and “better” raw video, the more video I can choose from the more interesting things I may capture.
  2. GoPro settings are important but they’re not the main factor, having a couple of “goto modes” and an understanding of the framing they provide is really all it takes.

To address the first problem all I need to do is actually use the GoPro.  Sounds simple but it’s true.  Sometimes a degree of self-consciousness can tip in, other times it’s too weird to carry around or have strapped into or on the car.   Then there’s the “how many times do I do the same thing” problem to get different angles or views.

The second problem is addressed through use, but also through excellent resources like Abe Kislevitz who seems to have tried enough of the settings in practice and then is able to write about them in a realistic comparative way. is essential reading for any new GoPro owner, and a thorough browse through his Blog & Portfolio, especially the user comments where Abe actually drops great succinct tips in response to questions will go a long way to unlocking the magic of these cool little cameras.

So back to my video efforts thus far, I’m most proud of my first bit of real underwater footage – It gave me an understanding of the cameras capability and captured memories that previously just weren’t possible. I’ve got another couple of hours of raw video to edit from a different day, and I’m expecting it to reflect the increased comfort I had with the camera after the first 30 minutes use in water that made this video.

The second video here is just an edit together from a single drive.  It’s the footage where I started to realise that the mounting of the GoPro really is the most important factor.  The camera was secure, but with a couple too many pieces used to position it I got shake, not much but enough.  Still, the video quality worked out OK, probably thanks to the bright sunny day.

Next challenge is to do some more on-car footage and see if we can get a complete 2-3 minute video with a number of angles and action sequences.

Setting up this Blog – aka How Awesome is WordPress?

When I set out in my mind to create a bit of a travel back in early 2012 for Kitty and I to use while travelling through Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong I quickly threw one together using the “Build me a WordPress Blog” type function within my GoDaddy account.

The result was functional and quite neat.  However the automated offering meant that it didn’t update as cleanly, nor did plug-ins work exactly as expected.  Probably because of the version/update lagging.

So upon our return (and despite the lack of use) I jumped onto and grabbed the latest release and ran the install over the existing one, suddenly we had a cleaner interface, and every plug-in we wanted just worked.  We still hardly used it though 🙂

So when it came time to make this Blog dream a reality I reached for the same tool.

Well lets put this into a timeline:

  1. 3pm – Decide today I’m “Going to do it”
  2. 3:15pm – Buy Domain using GoDaddy (already have an account so that’s just a few clicks)
  3. 3:30pm – It probably didn’t take 15 minutes but there’s always a minute or three between clicking the “Shutup and take my money” button and having the domains available to bind to the hosting control.  Anyway I did it.  Now I can hear you screaming “You host with Go Daddy? What are you?  Stupid?” – Yeah it’s cheap and somewhat cheerful, but it works for me.  I have more hardcore Hosting through which has been excellent for a number years.
  4. 3:45pm – The Domains are bound to the file system, the permissions set so the config script can do its thing.  The MySQL Database created.
  5. 4pm – I’ve hit the Install page and bam the famous 5-minute process works.
  6. 6pm – I’ve tweaked the design, set up my preferred initial plug-ins, written a page and a couple of posts.  I’ve also fed the fleet of cats and tinkered with settings on our other WordPress site.

Yeah it’s safe to say that 3 hours go-to-whoa for anything in IT is not too shabby, especially when it’s multi-tasked around other things.  The result, while not bespoke is neat and clean, much better than my stagnant design skills could achieve and best of all everything is just a one-click config away.

So yes, I rate WordPress, and I rate it highly.