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Saturday 9 September 2023

Bat boxes

I've fitted two new bat boxes. 

Our previous attempt was too close to the house where there is too much light. A professional ecologist confirmed that the previous position did not have any bats. These two are fitted as far away from the house and our neighbours houses, as is possible, to minimise both light and physical disturbance.

Beaumaris Woodstone bat box. These are very heavy, it was tricky getting it high enough. I have it mounted on a home made bat box, so the bats get more choices.

Kent type bat box. What is not obvious in this photo is that there is a design feature on the rear of the Kent box. That is, that it is deliberately raised away from whatever it is secured to, giving another place for the bats to roost. That would have a different microclimate to the other two slots in the front.

Let's hope bats find these more desirable homes.


Thursday 7 September 2023

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Defender hazard and indicator light diagnostics

Defender 1984 to 2016

Hazard and Indicator Lights Diagnostics

“Many problems with the indicators are actually faults with the hazard switch.”


Wiring Differences

The various models of Land Rover Defenders from 1984 through to 2016 have similar wiring but have slightly different colour wires connected at the hazard switch.

The wiring colours are written as the main colour first with the stripe colour after. As an example, a light green wire with a white stripe would be written as Light Green/White (LGW). A grey (slate) wire with a brown stripe would be written as Slate/Brown (SN).

After 1998, the colour of the ignition feed changes to White/Green and the permanent feed to Purple/Brown.


To better understand the significant functions, only the indicator operation is described in the following. The panel lighting and tell-tale light functions are not noted here:

When off (not depressed)


Indicators can be used.


+12V to the flasher relay is supplied from the ignition feed.

The ignition has to be in position two for the indicators to work from the column controls.


+12V ignition, Dark Green or White/Green, depending on the model year, is connected to the Light Green wire to the flasher unit.


When on (depressed)


Hazard lights in use.


+12V permanent feed is connected to the flasher unit.

The return from the flasher is connected to both the left-hand and right-hand side indicators.

Both sides indicators will flash.


Permanent +12V Purple or Purple/Brown wire is connected to the Light Green wire to the flasher unit.

The Light Green/Brown return wire from the flasher unit is connected to both the Green/Red and Green/White feeds to the indicator lamps.




Make up a test wire using an inline fuse. This is to avoid mistakes accidentally shorting out a live to earth. A 5A fuse is suggested. It needs to be less than 10Amp to avoid the fuse box fuse blowing first.

Most indicator faults can be diagnosed via the hazard switch connector.

To Test


Expected Result

Indicator wiring


At the hazard switch connector.

Connect the permanent live, Purple or Purple/Brown, to the Left and Right indicator wires, in turn.

Left is Green/Red

Right is Green/White


The indicators on one side would illuminate. Not flashing.


Flasher unit and indicator controls


At the hazard switch connector.

Connect the permanent live, Purple or Purple/Brown, to the Light Green flasher feed.


Operate the indicator stalk switches.


The appropriate indicators should flash.


Ignition light feed


At the hazard switch connector.

Repeat the above two operations using the ignition feed Green or White/Green wire, in place of the Purple wire.

The ignition switch must be in position two.


Same results as above.

Indicator stalk switches


At the indicator stalk pins.

Bridge the Light Green/Brown common wire from the flasher to the indicator wires, in turn:

Left is Green/Red

Right is Green/White


The appropriate indicators should flash.


Just in-case anyone notices. The photos are from a 1998 300TDi re-wired to use the switches from a newer 2002 onwards TDCi.


Bridging any of the wires at the connector works but using the switch fails.


Clean the connector pins on both the connector and out the back of the switch.


If the above fails to resolve the issue, it will be necessary to replace the switch.


Either bridging of the permanent or ignition wire tests fail.


Check the appropriate fuse.


The indicator lamps illuminate when connected to a live but do not work through the flasher unit.


Remove the flasher unit from its socket and clean the pins.


If the above fails to resolve the issue, it will be necessary to replace the flasher unit.


Cleaning Connector Pins

This can be done with a pencil rubber or more commonly with fine sandpaper. A needle file can be useful to get into confined spaces.

Where the electrical interface is inaccessible, a chemical contact cleaner can be used, however this often also needs the connector to be inserted and removed a few times to assist the cleaning process.

If the connector pins do not hold tightly, small, pointed nose pliers can sometimes be used to gently close up the female portion of the connector pins.



Ignoring the main fuses and links because there would be other symptoms if they had blown.

Up to 1998



Permanent Feed, Purple – Central interior fuse box Fuse 1 (15A)

Ignition lighting feed, Green – Central interior fuse box Fuse 3 (15A)


1999 to 2001

Early TD5


Permanent Feed, Purple/Brown – Central interior fuse box Fuse 31 (15A)

Ignition lighting feed, White/Green – Central interior fuse box Fuse 21 (10A)


2002 to 2016

Late TD5
TDCi Puma


Permanent Feed, Purple/Brown – Central interior fuse box Fuse 31 (15A)

Ignition lighting feed, White/Green – Central interior fuse box Fuse 21 (10A)



Switch Types


1983 to 2001

TD, 200TDi, 300TDi and early TD5

YUF101490 Lucas switch



2002 to 2016

Late TD5 and TDCi Puma





1996 to 2002



The early Freelander hazard switch body is the same as the late Defender. It uses the same wiring and connector but the key cap is different.

In the event that a Defender hazard switch is not available, that era Freelander switch can be used as an alternative. In order to make it fit the dash panel, the key cap needs to be carefully removed and swapped over with the Defender key cap. It is held on by two plastic clips, one top and one bottom.



I'll add to this if I discover any more tips.

I only have direct experience of a 1998 300TDi and a 2009 TDCi. All other information is taken from manuals and third-hand information. There are likely to be exceptions and some cars, like my own, will have been modified.




Saturday 5 August 2023

FreeCAD Tips: positioning sketches and an error

I'm in the process of creating a somewhat awkward shape. It is to fit in the space of a vent in a car. There is not a single square angle on it to use as a starting point for measurements.

I've been using some techniques in FreeCAD that I rarely use and it's worth a reminder for myself for next time.

Positioning Sketches

Did you know that you can move and angle a sketch. It's a very handy feature.

As several of the edges are not square to anything, I have picked an arbitrary horizontal. This roughly equates to how the original vent sits on a table. To draw some of the surfaces, I have drawn them all on a flat plane and then repositioned the sketches so they all rest on the same point and at the same angle.

That is an example of a sketch at an angle. It's hard to show on a 2D image.

Selecting the ellipsis (...) at the end of the Map Mode property for the sketch, brings up a dialogue panel to change the position of the sketch.

This is the dialogue box I used to get the sketch in that position. It's worth noting that the directions and angles are all relative to which plane was originally selected as the base for the sketch. That means the Z direction is always along the normal vector out of the drawing.

Using the Part Design workbench, I have copied and pasted many of the sketches to use as the basis for other sketches, or even to position at different distances to form symmetrical shapes. When the sketch is copied it retains the position of the copied sketch.

When the copy dialogue appears I have found it necessary to unselect the original plane, otherwise I end up with lots of duplicate standard planes.

Hidden Object Errors

I don't get this very often but it can be confusing. Sometimes a sketch will just not work as a pad or a pocket. Refusing to compute.

In the case I have in mind, I luckily remembered that when I had tried to create one circle, nothing had appeared and I had to repeat the process. What I know now is that the circle had been created with a zero radius!

I found it by going into the sketch and selecting each circle element in turn to see which one did not change colour. I deleted the rogue circle from the list of elements. In this case, I also had to recreate some of the conditions and I was back to a working sketch.

[FreeCAD: 0.21.0]


STL and STEP format vent model (Zip)


Sunday 9 July 2023

Renovate garden benches

Over the last year I've brought three garden benches back into good repair.

In each case, I've sourced pre-cut oak slats and replaced all the bolts with modern equivalents.


Tuesday 27 June 2023

Lime Hawk-Moth

 I managed to get a couple of very nice pictures of this moth in our garden.

Lime Hawk-Moth.

Essex, UK
Google Pixel 7.


Monday 29 May 2023

And then there were three

Holme Grove Boxter arrives at ours to join Holme Grove Constable, Tom, and Holme Grove Gwygion, Henry.