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3. Build Own House – Foundation

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This is the most important part (at least for me). The foundation.

“A foundation (or, more commonly, foundations) is the element of an architectural structure which connects it to the ground, and transfers loads from the structure to the ground. Foundations are generally considered either shallow or deep.[1] Foundation engineering is the application of soil mechanics and rock mechanics (Geotechnical engineering) in the design of foundation elements of structures.” Source :

There are many method/type for foundation, it depend on various of aspect, soil type, equipment, cost etc;, I’m not claim my foundation is perfect, it’s just work for me. If your study further more, even the soil investigation will  make your head spinning, all about time and money, in my case, I’m not do the mega-structure, so, experience playing the rule here and all within the spec.

Level the Ground

This is the important part, mostly because the uneven soil surface or has hills. This process will tell how different the ground level from stake to stake and how deep we need to dig every pad footing locations. From the previous post, I marked the pad footing with the wooden stakes.

Randomly mark the highest ground level wooden stake, for example in picture below, I mark stake B (I named the mark with the ‘black line’), so, stake B will be reference for all other stakes.

I used the traditional way, Bernoulli’s principle,  fluid dynamics. Using water (or any fluid that minimize/terminate the air bubbles), clear PVC tube flexible hose pipe (length = The longest distance of the building+a few meters spare) and need at least two peoples to do this job done. Filled the tube with the fluid, reserve about 1 feet, make sure there is  no air bubbles.

Person B will hold the end of the fluid at stake B, While the Person A will hold the end of the fluid at stake A. Person B will make sure the end of the fluid precisely parallel with the ‘black line’ at the B stake (I know that is not a wooden stick, just for demo only).

After that, person B will telling at the person A. Then person A will mark the stake A exactly at the end of the fluid. repeat this process for all the stakes, make stake B as reference.

Pad Footing

At this point, this is your decision, how much your desired height from ground to your building floor? From the lowest or the highest ground level? In my case, I measure from the lowest ground level, from the lowest level ground I want to build 1.5 feet ground beam (between length 1), from the ground to underground I need to dig about 3’x3’x0.5′ for pad footing (length 2).

So, how deep you need to dig every pads footing? Length 1 + length 2.

Yes, I dig it by hand. 

This is the trials.

The advantage of excavation by hand is you didn’t need to make the pad footing formwork, since the ground itself will be the permanent formwork.

This procedure below for ready-made-pillar only. No need for stump procedure.

Prepare the rebar (short for reinforcing bar), 3’x3′. Using Y10 BS 1.02 reinforced steel.

Prepare the concrete. Ratio for the foundations and footings that I used is, 1 part of cement with 3 parts of sand and 6 parts of aggregate (1:3:6). This concrete mixer is more than help, worth to buy. A slump test is a method used to determine the consistency of concrete.

Powered by Honda! 

Pour concrete half of the pad footing then put the rebar then fully cover it with the concrete, so, no need for spacer, rebar will be permanently embedded in center of poured concrete to create a reinforced concrete pad footing structure to support the ready-made-pillar.

Ground Beam

Ground level beam foundation is common type of foundation to support the building and the loads that are within or on the building, and this is the type of foundation that I will apply, T-shaped foundation.

The general rule of thumb: 

  1. The depth of a strip foundation must be equal to or greater than the overall width of the wall.
  2. The width of the foundation must be three times (or greater, depend on others factor, such type of soil, lab analysis, etc. ) the width of the supported wall to allow for enough concrete to get a good bearing.

I Dig a trench between pad footing (about 2 ft. width ((4 inch brick width x3)+ 1′ reserve for formwork)), level the depth parallel with the each pad footings.

Stand the pillars at the pad footing locations.

Repeat the last post procedure, just change from the stakes to the pillars. Measure the length between pillars, level it with the spirit level then use 1″x2″ woods to make sure it steady at the placed.

My father check for the accuracy.

Prepare the rebar using Y10 BS 1.02 reinforced steel. R6 steel as rebar ligatures to provide shear reinforcement in concrete beams.

The picture will tell better.

My brother using the traditional way to consolidate the concrete, to reduce the amount of air pockets inside the concrete mass. Use the brick to make sure the rebar in the center position, then remove before the concrete reach the brick.

Prepare the rebar cages for the ground beam. Using Y10 BS 1.02 reinforced steel as well and R6 steel as rings.

Prepare the ground beam plywood formwork.

I apply used engine oil at the formwork surface as release agents.

Enclose rebar cages in formwork. Make sure the formwork is strong enough, as though as you didn’t want to remove it anymore. Level it using spirit level. If you notice, in-front of level spirit, there are small wooden stick, I used that to hang the rebar cages, tied with string, remove that after pouring the concrete.

Pouring the concrete and consolidate it.

Make sure to leave an in-and-out internal access for the last part.

 I think this is the hardest job to be done, need a lot of effort, money and time, and I glad it done well! 

2. Build Own House – Setting Out

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To make it simple, setting out is to transferred the actual scale (100%) of floor plan to the site using string lines and wooden stakes. The purpose is to know the boundaries and to know where is the location of pad footing and this gives us the location of the house for inspection by local authority building inspector, for approval. I found this video is very informative for beginner,

This is the time we need to use what we learn from our secondary school, Theorem Pythagoras! 3-4-5 trick, if A = 3, B = 4, the C will absolutely be 5.

Apply for every corner, then measure the blue and red point length for accuracy, they should be equal.

Then, repeat this process on all sides of your home…sound simple right? The orange box is our pad footing location.

I used wooden stakes to mark the pad footing location.

Helped by my father.

DIY : OBD 1 to OBD 2 Alternator Plug Converter

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Now-days its seem hard to find the B16a OBD1 alternator from the junkyard, luckily, B-series OBD2 alternator is compatible but not just plug and play, there a different type of socket (OBD1 = round, OBD2 = square) and luckily again, I found 5 unit B20b alternator from Honda CRV, take them all! So, the problem is, how to convert it into OBD1 car without cutting any wire? The answer is plug converter! But, unluckily, not available in my place. Give up? no.

Wait! Don’t throw away your broken heart OBD1 alternator, take out the voltage regulator.

and modify into this…with great patiently of course…

With the OBD2 alternator plug that stick at the alternator, I soldered it with the OBD1 voltage regulator socket (don’t forget to check the continuity with the multimeter before soldering) , seal with the epoxy and  cover and secure it with flexible split tubing. Here the outlet diagram.


1. Build Own House – Location and Planning

Posted in My House Construction | No Comments » section! This is the first page for my new category, just to sharing building my own house experience. Any Advise and question are warm welcome .

First, of course, location, I’ve the land that suitable to my vision, and first step is to really clear up my vision.

Proper planning is essential! With my limited budget, I need to carefully with the planning, failed to planning is planning to failed. After calculation, I come out with the floor, foundation and roof plan, maybe will modify it time by time…

DIY : Honda Civic/Integra 92-00 Condenser Fan Motor Carbon Brushes Replacement

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This is could be another good preventive maintenance that we overlooked, after your car run over 150 000km, the condenser fan is very important part for the heat exchange system to help the condenser dissipation heat efficiently from hot compressed gasses supplied by the compressor, if it failed, it may cause idle problem when you turn on the air conditioning system.

First thing is to remove the fan by remove the bolt that hold the fan (blue circle).

Unplug the fan motor socket and remove the few relay (for the space) and remove the bottom right bolt…

and the bottom left side.

I also remove the exhaust manifold heat shield for the space…

and the radiator fan too! (this is a good change to replace radiator fan motor carbon brushes). By removing 4 bolts that attached the fan to the radiator.

To remove the motor from the casing and the fan blade is a piece of cake.

Here we go.

Remove the 3 locking tabs by using chisel or flat screwdriver (not proper, but it’s work!) with hammer.

Cleaning time!

The carbon brushes seem at the dead end. Unfortunately, I did not found the perfect shape for the replacement, so, I modified from the alternator carbon brushes using file (I mean…a tools file) and small grits sand paper.

Need a patient booster…

Cut the middle of the old carbon brushes wire, and cut the new one exactly same length with the old one, soldering together, put back everything, fortunately, there is spring holder pin (red circle), important : Don’t forget to release it back after you Insert the rotor.

Polishing the commutator using small grits sand paper.

Check for the worn bearing, replace if need, mine like the new one!

Reinstall everthing, important : don’t forget to stake back the motor casing locking tab using chisel or other method, I believe it will go for another 150 000km and save your precious money from buying the new motor.