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19 April 2013

I got my MTech Electrical Engineering degree Cum Laude!

The event was broadcast live on the Internet, so my brothers in Ireland and Germany could also watch. Pretty cool.

15 April 2013

I had new tyres fitted to the Prius. I cannot believe I did nearly 100 000km on the previous pair! It wasn't on purpose. The new Pirelli P1 Cinturatos are much quieter and smoother. I put back the type specified on the inside of the drivers door. Cost was R6050.09. Mileage is 183 000km.

1 March 2013

180 000km Service

180000km SERVICE.PDF

Not a single problem so far. Very reliable.

 

9 February 2013

I'm installing an FM antenna for the tube radio I built. To that end I needed a bearing from my house to the Tygerberg Hill transmitter. Using Google Earth I determined the direction and so on. I was surprised to find that the "Google Satellite" captured my car from space.

My Prius parked outside my house

I was driving to work recently and another white Prius passed me on the highway. The driver honked at me. Nice!

24 November 2012

I drove a 360km round trip today from Somerset West to Durbanville and then to Ceres and back. My dad and I went to visit my moms grave. The weather was crappy as it was very cold and stormy in Ceres. The Prius performed fine, but it's no long distance cruiser. My dad complained after a while that he was uncomfortable. Road noise was very obtrusive. I got very tired because I'm not used to long distance driving. I was apprehensive about driving Nuwekloof Pass and Mitchells Pass, but there were no issues with performance.

9 November 2012

Analogue Fun

A long time ago I purchased some Glenys Lynne records from a collector after placing an ad on Gumtree. I was looking for something relaxing to do after a rather stressful time so I decided to transfer the lot to digital. I first cleaned them using dishwashing detergent, a soft paintbrush and distilled water followed by a wipe with a new, clean microfibre cloth. This resulted in gleaming vinyl.

The transfers were done using a Sony PS-LX210 turntable with a 0.3 x 0.7 elliptical stylus. The turntable was fed into the phono input of a Yamaha AX-350 amplifier and finally into a PC running Audacity. Recordings were done at 96kHz/32bit float.

 

5 November 2012

When I arrived home this afternoon the master warning triangle on my cars dashboard came on just as I switched off. It stayed on for the next 3 or 4 starts and then went away. I took my car to Toyota and they pulled a P3110 "IGCT Relay Malfunction" and a B2799 "Immobilizer Malfunction" code. They reset, checked and cleared everything and the error hadn't occurred since. Cost me R530. Weird. The 12V battery was last replaced on 28 March 2008, maybe it's time for a new one. An unstable power supply can always make electronics behave strangely.

 

20 October 2012

Life has returned to a high degree of normality. My dad is back home and doing well after his stint in hospital. I'd like to thank all the FANTASTIC surgeons and doctors at Panorama Heart Unit especially Dr van Wyk. You guys rock! We truly have world class heart surgeons in South Africa.

My MTech supervisor also said I can hand in my thesis. I must just still write a paper based on my research for journal publication.

I've neglected this blog this year, but do you blame me. It was crazy and I'll be glad to see the arse-end of this year. Bye Bye 2012, now fuck off! On the car front all is perfect. Nothing to report. My Prius just goes on and on like a Toyota should. I saw the pictures of the new Auris in CAR magazine and I must say it looks awesome. So much better than the current (boring) model.

2013 Auris

23 September 2012

My experience with ICU Psychosis

I'd like to share with you my experiences with a phenomenon called ICU psychosis. On the 5th of September, after a 3 week wait in hospital, my 77 year old father underwent a TAVI procedure to replace a defective heart valve. A day after the surgery I visited him. He seemed very dopey and he was hallucinating. At the time my brothers and I assumed it was the painkillers he was getting and that his mind would normalize once the painkillers were stopped. It unfortunately got worse. In the following week he proceeded to become more and more delusional to the point where he had to be restrained to prevent him pulling out pipes. He was still hallucinating, seeing his dog on the bed and swatting at imaginary insects. Due to his severe agitation he couldn't be made to sit upright in a chair and it started to affect his breathing. His blood oxygen level was routinely falling below 86%. This was the 13th of September. His doctor suggested a "brain reboot". He would place my dad on a ventilator to allow his blood oxygen level to stabilise and give my dad Propofol to essentially shut his brain down. Up to this point my dad had very erratic sleep patterns. He had difficulty sleeping, if at all.

My dad was revived from his "siesta" on the 16th of September. There was some improvement in his mental state. He was much calmer, but still confused. The hallucinations were less. An MRI of his brain showed nothing unusual. Before my dad was woken up his doctor went to great pains to rule out anything that could make his confusion worse. My dad was given electrolytes, minerals and even a unit of blood.

My dad was released to a regular ward on the 18th of September. He was still confused and very emotional. He was also delusional but no longer hallucinating. On the 21st of September he was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital.

The moment my dad got out of ICU his mental condition started to improve slowly but surely. The more he slept, the more normal he became. I went to see him today and he is completely normal. No more delusions, nothing. I could have a regular conversation with him. The key appears to be sleep. In ICU he got completely disconnected from the real world. He also became severely sleep deprived.

To anyone who's experienced having an elderly parent suddenly act crazy in ICU, I understand that it is very scary to see. You think it'll never go away, but it does. I make sure my dad get the best nutrition possible by giving him ENSURE shakes twice a day. Sleep seems to be the cure as well as the re-establishment of a proper day/night routine. I also gave him his wristwatch.

My dads failing heart valve made him weak, but his mind is fine again after less than one week out of ICU. He's now gaining back his strength in the rehabilitation hospital.

I'd like to make another recommendation, talk to your parent. My dad wants to talk about his experience and how he feels. He would get very upset and I'd ask what's wrong. It would turn out that he's upset about something that isn't real. Once you explain that they dreamt some of these things and explain what reality is, they calm down. For example my dad was crying uncontrollably. I asked what was wrong and he said we shot his dog. I was surprised and explained that his dog was completely fine. He seemed surprised, then relieved and stopped crying.

It seems as though in ICU psychosis, reality, delusions and dreams all become one big jumble. It takes time for the patient to sort out again what is reality, and what was fantasy.

 

18 September 2012

It's been a long time since I've managed to update my blog. Things have been a little bit crazy. My 77 year old dad was diagnosed with a failing heart valve and was admitted to Panorama Medi Clinic on 14 August. On 5 September he underwent a very new and revolutionary procedure called a TAVI whereby a new valve is implanted through the vein in your leg. He's currently recovering in ICU, high-care. Technological advanced in medicine is certainly amazing. Ten years ago my dad would have been considered inoperable. The stress of sick parents certainly weighed on me along with work and having to finish my thesis.

The thesis by the way is 99% done. Even my Professor agrees. Hooraay!

The Prius had its' 165000km service on 12 September. The service was quick, clean and efficient. Sometimes the Toyota here in the Strand is freakishly busy, but this time they were much quieter. I was dropped off and collected which was nice. The car has given me NO trouble since I bought it. That's a Toyota for you.

The bumper respray is another thing I have neglected..

 

7 July 2012

Ready for the front bumper respray.

28 June 2012

I got more clips for the bumper repair. I'll be buying paint soon and Richard will respray it for me. He just completely rebuilt the engine of his Mercedes C220. Awesome!

The Joule is no more. After being unable to get further funding Optimal Energy has closed down. I thought this might happen, but hoped it would not. South Africa is not the right environment to develop an electric car. The bulk of the population need affordable and reliable transport. Not a super expensive EV. It was still a cool idea though. The car was gorgeous. The be honest I was surprised that Optimal Energy lasted this long.

Did you see the Hybrid Yaris on the German Toyota site. Wow! Very attractive car.

The latest issue of CAR magazine lists the 12 most fuel efficient cars in SA. They're almost all diesel. In addition CAR shoots down the idea of hybrids and extols the virtues of efficient diesels. The thing is that the World Health Organisation recently found diesel fumes to be a carcinogen. People are people and unfortunately they only think with their wallets. Yes diesels are cheaper to buy (compared to a hybrid) and run (fuel only), but what is the cost to the environment and your health? Hybrid petrol vehicles produce far fewer (and cleaner) emissions. Fact!

On 19 and 20 June I also went to the EEforum in Bloemfontein. We flew on a cool airplane. It was my first time onboard a turbo prop. I met some interesting people, especially David Callaghan from Durban University of Technology who helped built a radio telescope. How cool is that!

9 June 2012

In the last month I got the retaining clips for the radiator cover. (below) I've been freakishly busy with marking of exam scripts the last two weeks. Things are calming down now. I've organised for my cars' bumper to be resprayed. In anticipation of this I'm stocking up on all the miscellaneous clips that hold the trim items in place. These clips usually self-destruct when one tries to remove them.

Thanks to Andre and Frank for the e-mails. It's always good to interact with visitors to my site.

Frank had an interesting question regarding the behaviour of his Prius battery. Below is the e-mail and my response (blue).

I conducted an experiment. I drove to the shop about 1km or less from my house along a very slight uphill. Temperature was 19C. The Prius was cold. The aircon system was set to auto 20C. I drove out of the garage, blue battery, two bars from the top. It dropped to two purple about halfway, and the engine came on high. At the store the battery was purple. If I had kept going uphill the engine would have been "racy", but the purple turned blue quickly again. I went down a long downhill and was green at the bottom.

I drove from Somerset West to Cape Town to Durbanville and back to Somerset West, about 100km. Averaged 4.8l/100km driving pretty much any old way I want. Soo same behavior as Franks Prius.

Hi,

It could be psychological. You were simply driving more carefully at the beginning when you still had stars in your eyes and everything was shiny and new. I also did it.

When I go the store, which is a very slight uphill, I also get a quick battery drop soon after leaving. When I've driven the same distance as you, I'm also down to purple. When I get to the store, which is less than 1.5km away, I often have to idle the engine to recover the battery. It's always done that. It drops like a rock if the aircon compressor runs also.

The Prius is also sensitive to temperature. It looks like you're in Jo'burg, so it's likely VERY cold in the morning.  This means the batteries are cold too. This means they don't work as well as when they are warm. This also means that they cannot accept charge as quickly as they normally do. So the engine is warming up the "cat", but the batteries cannot accept the charge as fast so they run down quicker.

Bottom line, the batteries are fine. The computer will tell you if there is a problem by means of the red triangle and the "check engine" light. Also your fuel consumption would be MUCH worse. If you were always getting above 6l/100km I'd say have the engine and batteries checked out.

Keep well,


On 2012/06/04 01:49 PM, frank wrote:
Hello Albe
 
As a Prius owner I loved reading your site and some questions were answered which even the Toyota tech’s could not.
 
I do have a question, it would be great if you would have time to answer it.
 
In the early months of my prius I was averaging 4.8l, I now average 5.2, I have 121000km on the clock and it is 4.5 years old.
My question relates to the batteries, If I drive home now and drive like I normally do and I get home my battery level is near 100% (70%) actually because I know the display only shows 30-70%.
Anyway, When I get in the car tomorrow morning, the engine powers up almost immediately, By the time I have driven 600m, my battery level shows 2 purple bars and my consumption for the 1st 10min is above 12-15l/100.
 
whilst the following makes sense
When you press the power button, this display might come on depending on the temperature of the catalytic converter. In this case the catalytic converter is cold and the engine is running to heat it up. The engine spins the generator and the energy is put back into the battery. Catalytic converters only work when they're hot. By preheating the "cat", the Prius reduces emissions even it it means having to burn a little petrol.”
 
It seems to me the batteries are not holding charge as well as they used to!
Maybe it is just my mind playing games with me and it always did this, but for sure it has done this the last 18 months.
To me it does not make sense that it should drain so quickly.
 
 
any comment or thoughts from your side would be wonderful.
 
 
thanks and regards
 
Frank

9 May 2012

I removed the radiator cover (shown above) to clean underneath. I removed the clips carefully, but some of them still broke. Fortunately I managed to get more on ebay. That's always the thing with clips on cars. They invariably break no matter how careful you are. I found some useful information on Priuschat that helped me find the part number. People at Toyota here don't really have a clue what you want. If I'm going to have the bumper resprayed, I'm going to need clips of all kinds.

90467-08136 You need two of these clips, found at either end of the two-piece black plastic cowl cover.
90467-10183 Five of these clips are used to secure the engine under cover.
90467-07164 Many of these clips are used to secure the plastic fender liners.
90467-06133-C0 Six of these clips are used to secure the black plastic radiator cover.

4 May 2012

5 Years as a happy Prius owner!

No problems to report. Standard maintenance only.

154901 km Current Odo

 123141 km since 4 May 2007

  24628 km/year average

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