All posts by Parker

Leaf Spring Rebuild for the Checker: Part 2

Worked on the rear leaf springs on the Checker today. This is what the brackets and leafs looked liked after coating with Metal Prep and using a brass wire wheel to remove the Metal Prep crust. Metal Prep is a zinc phosphate based solution that promotes adhesion to the primer and protects the surface by leaving a thin zinc coating behind. Primer can go directly over it if its not all flaky.

Here is all the parts hanging after I sprayed them with 2 coats of Mastercoat SPRAYABLE SLIM Ultimate Permanent Rust Sealer.

Now the rear leaf spring hangers have welded in bolts where the bushings ride. The bushings will just rub through the paint eventually so I am going to zinc plate the bolts and threads. Will zinc plate the leaf spring center bolt as well.

This is my simple zinc plating setup. Chemicals are from Caswell. I use inexpensive sous vide heaters to agitate and keep the chemical baths at proper temperatures.

Here is the leaf spring hangers and leaf spring center bolt before plating. These have been blasted with 220 grit in the vapor hone, treated with Metal Prep, and then wire wheeled.

Now I only want to plate the bolt and threaded section of the hangers and then paint the rest of it. I used a special 3M tape (3M 470 Electroplating tape) to mask off the sections I didn’t want to plate.

Here is one of the parts in the electroplating bath.

Here is the leaf spring center bolt after zinc plating and black chromating. The hangers are currently having the rust sealer painted on the none zinc’d parts.

Cat Feeder Unreminder Breadboarded

I got the entire project onto a breadboard… mostly! A combination of evaluation boards and breakout boards and I was able to verify all the subsystems are working correctly together.

The entire system draws ~5.6uA at 3.3V from the super capacitors. Measured through the uCurrent.

Here is the breadboard with the subsystems called out.

Up next is to complete the enclosure design and then the board layout!

Leaf Spring Rebuild for the Checker: Part 1

To get new leaf springs for the rear suspension on the Checker, I would have to get some custom made. For some reason, no one stocks leaf springs for a 1965 Checker! Instead of getting custom leaf springs made, I am going to rebuild the original set. If we are to believe the odometer, the Checker only has 56k miles on it which means these leaf springs have a lot of life in them yet.

First we need to disassemble the springs, I used a clamp to hold the pack together while I used an impact gun to remove the leaf spring center pin. Once the leaf spring clamps where removed, I slowly opened the clamp which allowed the pack to be taken apart without an explosion of energy.

Between some of the leafs, I found some old canvas like material that was soaked in a moly/graphite type grease. These are probably the original leaf spring sliders.

Removed the old bushings with probably one of the first tools I ever bought. A ball joint / u-joint removal clamp. This tool is about to kick the bucket ever since I replaced the ball joints on the wagoneer (will have to post that adventure in the future).

The leaf springs did not fit into my vapor hone machine but I decided to send it anyways.

Here is halfway done with the main leaf.

One leaf completely blasted.

The leaf will get painted with the AG111 chassis paint system.

To replace the bushings I found these parts that look to be correct.

I am looking into these, to replace the leaf clamps. Seems hard to find nice 2.5″ wide leaf spring clamps.

DG469 Analog Switch

The DG469 is an analog switch that can be controlled with digital signals. The switching part of the chip is bi-direction which is perfect for switching analog signals.

The DG469 designed in Eagle in the SOIC-8 package.

I will be using this IC to switch which segments on the TN LCD get powered up. The NC (Normally Connected) will send power to the “Don’t feed” notification state. The NO (Normally Open) will send power to the “Feed” notification state.

It also has very low power requirements which will be perfect for my project.

Here is the schematic for the DG469 for the Cat Feeder Unreminder.

I put V- to ground through a jumper because the datasheet isn’t very clear on how to set it up for unipolar power supplies. Gives me a chance to change what that voltage is.

Custom Headliner for the Wagoneer

The original headliner for the Jeep Wagoneer was moldy and sagging. To fix this, I had to build my own complete headliner. I didn’t take any photos during the build but I will explain the process and materials I used.


  • Coroplast Plastic Sheeting
    • 2-4mm thickness, thinner is better
    • This is the new backer material for the headliner, it is the same material political yard signs are made out of
    • You can order this from a local sign shop
  • Foam-Backed Automotive Headliner
    • Try to find a Made in the USA material as the imported stuff tends to fall apart
  • DAP Products Weldwood Landau Top & Trim HHR Solvent Type Spray Grade Contact Adhesive
    • You want this stuff and not the kind already in spray cans
    • Need a spray gun that can handle the thick glue, I used an HVLP gun with a 2.0mm nozzle
    • You want a really good paint respirator when spraying this stuff
  • A high quality fabric you want to put over the foam
    • I went to my local fabric store and picked enough out to cover everything
    • Make sure its wide enough!


  1. Take the old headliner out of the vehicle.
  2. Remove what is left of the foam material off the old backer material. Be careful to keep the original backer in tact, it will fall apart if you let it.
  3. Use the original backer as a pattern and trace it out on the Coroplast. Orientate the Coroplast’s corrugations so they go lengthwise (Front to Back) to the vehicle.
  4. Cut out the Coroplast with a utility knife.
  5. On the parts where the Coroplast needs to bend or curve, cut through only through the top side of the Coroplast. This way it can bend or curve downwards. You might need to make multiple cuts to get the curve to match the original.
  6. Lay out the headliner foam and cut it to match your Coroplast, leaving about an inch all around the border.
  7. Spray down the contact adhesive in sections and press the headliner foam into the Coroplast. I tried to do it without stretching material.
  8. Let the contact adhesive dry.
  9. Trim the headliner foam to match the Coroplast.
  10. Lay your fabric over and trace it out, again matching your headliner and leaving about an inch all around the border.
  11. Spray down the contact adhesive in sections and press the fabric into the headliner foam.
  12. On the edge of the fabric, glue this with the contact adhesive to the backside of the new Coroplast backer. You might not be able to fold over the edge if you are using thicker (4mm) Coroplast as it wont fit into your trim pieces.
  13. Wait 24 hours for full cure and install!

Wiring up the CFU Display

The CFU (Cat Feeder Unreminder) will notify the user that it is safe and timely to feed the cat through a use of a TN style LCD. These are typically a 7-segment style instead of graphical. The CFU also needs to notify the user that the device is still operating.

Part Number: VI-422-DP-RC-S

The common (COM) pin of the display will be directly connected to one leg of the oscillator circuit. Depending on where the other leg of the oscillator is routed, the display will either show “FEEd” or will light up the S1 segment.

LTC2956 Schematic for the Cat Feeder Unreminder

Based on my testing of the evaluation board, this is the schematic for the LTC2956 I am using in the Cat Feeder Unreminder.

The resistor from RANGE to LONG pin is set to 100K ohms. This is specified in the datasheet.

To set the actual time for the timer to activate the EN pin (t PERIOD), You need to first select the range resistance from the chart below. In my case I want to activate every 22hrs. 162K ohms is the resistor I chose which sets NRANGE to 262,144.

To calculate the period resistor, this is the formula provided by in the datasheet.


For 22hrs, tPERIOD becomes 22 x 60 x 60 x 1000 = 79,200,000. This gives an R PERIOD of 120,849.609 ohms. I picked a 121K ohm resistor.

To send the device into the sleep state, I tied the SLEEP signal through a switch to VCC (3.3V). This brings SLEEP high on button press. When the button is released, SLEEP has a falling edge which is what the LTC2956 is looking for to send it into the sleep state.