A new front bumper cover

My master cylinder failing left some damage on my front bumper cover.



I really didn’t want to use a body shop, because I always feel like it’s super expensive. I was searching around ebay and found that you can buy prepainted bumper covers for only $200, whereas I thought a front bumper repair at a body shop could cost easily $500 and upwards of $800. It seemed like putting a bumper couldn’t be that hard, probably a few screws and a ton of clips. It arrived yesterday, and here’s the install log.

First, it arrived packed extremely well with baby powder to keep the paint job clean, a layer of foam, then several layers of bubble wrap, followed by a layer of cardboard and another layer of plastic.


After unwrapping everything I decided to remove my old bumper which left my front looking like this.



The most difficult part was removing the clips without breaking them, but after my power lock install (to be posted), I was an expert at that. Then I installed the new one. It took all of one hour end to end and turned out great!


I learned a couple of things from this. One, this is the golden age of repairs. You can find videos that tell you how to do anything on the internet. I got instructions on doing the removal and install from youtube. Basically, all that is needed is the confidence to risk breaking the thing you are fixing more than it already is. Second, the paint blending process that body shops do seems to be totally unnecessary. My old paint job is 10 years old and the company painted to factory spec. The match is perfect. So, if I ever use a body shop again, I might tell them to forgo the blending them and save some money.



Refurbishing my NES

The original Nintendo was to me, like many others, a major part of my childhood. It all started with my sister and I begging a NES out of our parents for Christmas. My fondest memory is probably spending several months of 4th grade obsessed with beating Legend of Zelda. I have many less nice memories of the NES like when one of our controllers stopped working and more persistently, psychosomatic blowing on cartridges (now I know about the 10NES chip). The purpose of this post is to document my current fixes to those bad memories.

I have been watching too much Angry Video Game Nerd, and as such, I had a hunkering to play Ninja Gaiden. I recently visited my parents and imported a CRT monitor and my NES. Unfortunately, my NES was in sorry shape.

It is well known that the ZIF slot on the toaster-type NES was a massive design flaw. I could not get any games to work, so I ordered a ZIF replacement. Disassembling and installing the replacement was super easy. 

DSC_6367-1wpid-wp-1440828655693.jpgThe system worked perfectly after this.

The other thing I needed to fix besides the ZIF slot was my dead controller. It was completely dead, and I really didn’t have a clue why. After doing some research it is clear that the NES controller consists of wires, switches and a shift register. I look apart the controller and checked all the connections and they seemed to be happy. I also decided to give the controller a bath in soapy water.

After the controller was clean, I tested it some more with my oscilloscope and basically found that the chip was dead. So I decided to order a replacement. It is basically a 4021 or 74LS165. I also ordered a solder sucker and removed the old chip. After replacing the chip, it worked as expected, thus completing the loop with my childhood and ensuring many more hours of happy Nintendo time

My endeavors with the NES are far from complete. I’d still like to try my hand at making my own game for the NES. I also am interested in producing physical reproduction cartridges and perhaps a multi-game cartridge that uses flash as memory to feed the real system.