Reusing Tile as car tracker.

Ever since I switched to Samsung smart things I purchased presence sensors and had no more use for my tiles after the batteries died. I retired them to a box for a long time. Today I figured out a neat project for the tile. I am going to turn it into a tracker for my wifes car.

Supplies/Tools needed:

  • Pry Tool
  • Hot Glue gun
  • Voltage Meter
  • Dead battery Tile
  • DC to DC Buck Converter
  • Soldering iron
  • Wire stripper/cutter
  • Drill (optional)

Before we get started I just wanted to add a warning. In this circuit just like most, polarities are very important. I made the mistake of flipping wires and my whole setup overheated and melted the glue. Keep this in mind when testing and before plugging it into your car and before doing the final seal.

Wire up the tile

Start by prying open the tile carefully with the intention of resealing it. I already removed the cell battery in the picture below.

Break off the battery pins and solder on a small length of wire. Reinsert it back into the body of the tile and make sure the wires dont interfere with any plastic.

Drill or solder a hole at the top of the tile for the wires to exit. Slip the wires through then seal the entire enclosure with some hot glue.

Preparing the DC to DC Converter

Using a 12v power supply, attach the leads to the converters “in” pins and measure the power on the “out” pins using a voltage meter. Turn the adjustment until you are close to 3v.

Glue the bottom of the converter to the tile, then cover the converter in glue to seal it from the elements.

Powering the tile

Where you choose to tie in the tile is up to you. Some options include:

  • Direct battery leads
  • obd II adapter
  • 12v power socket

I already have a dash cam that uses a 12v obdII connector so im just gonna tie it to that.

I opened it up and located the pins. I soldered on my cables to the 12v pins.

Once thats all set I closed it back up with a hole drilled for the cables.

Reattached it to my cars obd port and hooked up my dash cam again.

To finish it off. Press the tile button down for 10 seconds to turn it on. Rename your old tile in the app and you should be set.

3d Printer Filament box done quick

Keep your filament dry! Filament used for 3d printers will absorb moisture from the air and damp filament prints very poorly. With Buffalo’s high humidity and our printer being run in a basement, we absolutely need a dry box for our spools. We ordered parts ahead of time, slammed this box together in an afternoon, and then baked our spools to rid them of moisture.

We’re using a large plastic bin for storage, teflon tubing to run from the box to the printer, and pneumatic connectors to ensure the filament feeds smoothly into the tubing without snagging. A large pack of silica gel keeps the box dry over time. Our basement also has an additional air dehumidifier that we keep at 50% to prevent mold growing on our wood/mdf surfaces.


  • Sterilite Air Tight Bin, fits about 8-10 reels. (Amazon)
  • 5-10 Meters of PTFE Teflon Tube OD 4mm ID 2mm (Amazon)
  • M5 Lock Nuts, 1 per reel (Amazon)
  • 5mm Male Thread 4mm Push in Joint Pneumatic Connector, 2x per reel (Amazon)
  • Scrap Wood Strip
  • 608ZZ Bearings, 4x per reel (Amazon)
  • DRY&DRY Silica Gel Desiccant Packet, Rechargeable (Amazon)


  • Power Drill
  • 5mm or 3/16″ Drill Bit
  • 1/4″ Drill bit or larger
  • Sander/Sandpaper (optional)
  • Rubber Mallet, Optional but makes it easier to fit bearings
  • Oven

3D Prints


Preparing the Feed Strip:

This strip is where the filament goes from dry air to the printer. Drill holes (3/16″ Drill Bit) about 2cm apart on a strip of wood. I drilled as many as I could to future proof my design.


Bevel the holes to clean up the edge and give the filament room to wiggle (1/4″ Drill Bit).


Sand to prevent splinters and clean up drill shavings.


Screw in the pneumatic connectors to the bottom of the wood strip. Threading the holes with an M5 bolt made this much easier. If you’re fancy you could make a real tap from a threaded rod or bolt but we don’t have time for that.


We mount it on our shelving with some more M5 bolts. It locks in just like the shelves.


Preparing the Bin:

Drill holes (3/16″ Drill Bit) through the bin lid. Clean off any plastic shavings that may be left. Our bin holds 8-10 spools depends on their width.


Screw in the pneumatic connectors from the top.


On the underside, use an M5 nut to secure the connectors. The coated nut also helps the filament feed smoothly.


Connecting the two together:

Cut tubing to connect the feed strip and the bin.


Cutting the tube caused some burs that interfered with the filament. Clean up the end with a blade. Slightly widen the end with a round tool (screwdriver, pencil, etc) to help insert the filament.

Connect the two ends.


Supporting your Reels:

Using the design from Thingiverse, print off as many spool rollers as needed. We picked this roller because the two halves are independent, allowing us to use the same rollers for various width spools. Another option is using a rod that goes through the length of the bin, but that would be a nuisance with so many spools. If your bin is only 1 or 2 spools then a rod would be a good choice. I may end up using double sided tape to secure them firmly in place if they move too much.

Use a mallet if necessary to fit the bearing into the guide.


Now that the spools roll freely, push the plastic into the tubing and out the wood strip.


Finishing off:

Adding your Silica Gel Desiccant Packet. I recook mine about every 6 months. Warning! Not all packets are reusable, please read the instructions for your specific packet.

  • Packet Reactivation:
    • Oven for 2.0 hrs at 200°F
    • Oven for 0.5 hrs at 250°F
    • Microwave for About 10 Minutes at DEFROST.
    • Bonus: Free packets located in shoe boxes, and other items. I date them and toss them in there. Just trash these after 6 months.


  • Reel Dehydration:
    • ABS: 4.0 hrs at 180°F
    • ABS: 6.0 hrs at 160°F
    • PLA: 6.0 hrs 100°F (your oven may not go this low, you can try a food dehydrator, untested by us. Let us know in the comments)
    • PLA: 4.0 hrs 105°F (your oven may not go this low, you can try a food dehydrator, untested by us. Let us know in the comments)


More images:

433MHZ More Things for Smart Things

Finally – off the breadboard and into a working environment. It’s currently working for 433mhz sensors, I will possibly be adding more frequencies later. For now I will continue refining the code to release it on github.


Day 1:

A few issues. I accidentally flipped the polarities on the siren. I will eventually implement a 12v regulator to up the voltage for the siren for the full 120db power.


Day 2:

My cat set off one of the motion sensors at 6AM, activating the siren. I need to adjust the sensitivity or get pet-friendly motion sensors.

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