Cool Garage Tech–Today

Ottoscan Software

You may have to wait a decade or two for your garage to automatically diagnose your car’s ills, but the array of technology below only seems futuristic. It’s quite possible today to demystify the Check Engine light on your car’s dashboard and schedule your lawnmower to trim your yard automatically. Here’s how to do all that and more.

Whether your oil-filter wrench uses a gripping strap or a cuff vaguely shaped to fit the can’s flats, it’s no match for an over-tightened unit. S-K Facom’s strap wrench gets the job done with a meaty, ratcheting handle and stainless-steel strap that you can tighten using a knob on the heel of the wrench–hugely useful in tight quarters. Besides, the Ferrari Formula 1 team uses nothing but Facom tools.

Diagnostic Systems
Save yourself a pricey trip to the car dealer the next time that hectoring Check Engine light flashes red. With Ottoscan software, a Pocket PC and
a cable that attaches to your car’s onboard diagnostics port, you can read more error and performance data than you’ll ever know what to
do with.
$389-495, depending on PDA model;

Power Generation
Solar roofing panels don’t have to be hideous, as evidenced by U.K.-based Solar Century’s C21 photovoltaic roof tiles. Except for a slight bluish tint, they look like a traditional roofing slate. And unlike most other solar panels, the electric links between tiles are so simple that any roofer–not just a solar panel specialist–can handle the job. Enough tiles to provide half the power for a 1,400 square-foot home cost about $14,000. The break-even point is a decade or two.

The extremes of ambient temperature that would melt ice cream or freeze soda in a typical refrigerator don’t faze Gladiator Garagework’s Freezerator. It keeps food frozen even at 110