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Daily Hacks Vol. 1

During the summer, the air conditioning in my Saab decided to work on it’s own terms leaving me a little hot on my hour and a bit commute home. I got it re-gassed in-case it was low however the mechanic said they removed a fair amount of existing coolant, so it likely wasn’t that.

A little troubleshooting later and I’d narrowed the issue down to an electrical fault and then quickly found the culprit.


This relay switched two circuits, compressor and something else I can’t remember. As you can see, it’s a little mucky. Being enclosed with a metal lid carbon buildup covered pretty much the whole inside. I gave it a clean with some WD40 Contact Cleaner and tried it out. Although it was working, it wasn’t working well enough to run without tripping.

I found someone on eBay breaking a Saab 9000 and asked if I could take all the fuses, relays and other light switching units from the engine bay fuse box. From experience, the big orange headlight unit can go and is expensive to replace (if it can’t be repaired) so thought it wise to buy up the whole box and keep some spares on hand.

While I waited for the replacement relay to make it’s way to me I fashioned a temporary manual relay unit, or hard wire the AC on all the time. See below the fine craftsmanship.


The little fix worked extremely well and kept me cool until the proper replacement got delivered. One thing I did learn, was that when you switch off the engine the circuit is still on. Had to jump start one time I forgot to remove it after I parked up at work. I know the wire shown is rather thin (not sure on the AWG rating) but the switching side is at maximum an amp, which is fine for this application.


Not a particular clever hack, or fancy in any way but it simple and effective and got the job done. I like to think of Darwin’s quote “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.“.

Discovering ones niche

I’ve been reading stuff online to try and give me some idea on how to start writing for this fancy new blog. They all seem to start with exercises to ‘discover your niche’. What niche can I fill? There are plenty of blogs out there on software development, faffing with hardware and that sort of general technology stuff. Maybe I can break into (or even create) the as yet non-existent Saabist/Electronics/software-development/hacking/maker scene. I guess we won’t find out until I get someone reading this. If that happens to be you, welcome to my niche.