BigBoy writes: “I use my standard camera phone in two ways: to check IR-emitting parts — most camera phones can see IR — and to take pics of how something fits together before I take it apart.” He also sent us this link to an instruction set over on Instructables on how to repair your remote controls. (A camera phone’s used to test them before and after by capturing the brightness of the IR LED.)
This is one of those things I feel like I should’ve written about long ago. I remember the first time I did the drum (shudder) rear brakes on my ’78 Datsun 280Z. I gleefully pulled both sides apart — then spent two days trying to put them back together such that all the parts’d fit in and the car’d stop. Needless to say, it sucked.
Nowadays I’d simply take one side at a time apart. But when we were doing the Project Yukon engine swap, we used a digital camera to snap literally hundreds of pictures as we disassembled things. During re-assembly a month or more later, it was awesome to be able to scroll through the pics on a cheap laptop in the shop to see detail not available in manuals.
What’s great about camera phones is that you pretty much always have one with you — so there’s no excuse for not shooting a few pics before disassembly. Hey — if everything goes well, you can just delete them afterwards.