Sunday, April 26, 2015

The LR4 Plays Video

I discovered that my new car plays video.  It plays DVDs and also plays video files stored on USB media.  This is the first car I've owned that does this.

As you can see in these photos, it will play a DVD in either a small window, or full screen.

Only a few video files were recognized on my USB flash drive.  I tried several video files (mpeg4, mpeg4/h.264, avi, divx) and it only recognized the .avi and .divx files.  The AVI container files had DiVX encoded video.

After a little testing, I discovered that it only recognizes files below some max size.  I haven't found that size limit, but files less than 60 MB played, while files larger than 260 MB failed with a read error.  Video doesn't play while the car is moving, but the audio continues.  There's probably more things that I haven't discovered about this feature.  I barely did a couple tests.

This isn't a valuable feature for me.  When I'm on the road, I watch videos I've loaded onto my iPad.  I'd rather drain its battery than the car's.  Plus the screen is bigger.

Monday, April 13, 2015

LR4 Hidden Screen

The 2015 Land Rover LR4 has an easter egg!  Cool.  I found a few videos of this online, but they were wobbly so I decided to post something here.  The infotainment system has a hidden screen named "E Mode Main Menu".

To access the hidden screen:
    1) View the "Home menu" on the big touchscreen LCD.
    2) Press and hold the "Valet" button in the upper left corner for 20 seconds.

The E Mode Main Menu is displayed with the following options in a scrollable list:
  • Video
  • Software Version Info
  • System Info
  • CAN Signals Info
  • Application States Info
  • USB File Browser
  • Infotainment Complete
  • CVBSVideoProperties
  • Change HMI Language
  • MOST Info
  • Touchscreen Test
  • Steering Wheel Switch Info
To be honest, I don't know what most of those mean.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I Finally Drive It

Today I introduced my new car to its new home, the Mojave Desert.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Gtechniq: Final Thoughts

I'm finally finished applying the various Gtechniq products to protect my new car so here are my final thoughts about the experience.

I don't want to apply C1 again.  There.  I said it.  I'm confident that C1 will provide the protection that I want.  The problem for me is: it's quite difficult to apply well and mistakes are very costly.  A professional detailer with experience using these products is probably much more skilled and works in a very well lit bay, so they are much less likely to make mistakes.  Having said that, I don't think it's worth paying them over $300 to apply C1.

I enjoyed applying EXOv2.  I'll be buying more in about a year to reapply over the C1 because Gtechniq says EXOv2 lasts 12-18 months and C1 lasts much longer.  After the C1 wears off, I may use EXOv2 again without the C1.  I'm wondering if it can be applied on top of wax (after the wax has cured, of course).  In the past I've used Zaino CS in that way to get a nice long lasting wet look.  Update: Rob Earle of Gtechniq has informed me that EXOv2 bonds to the layer below it (paint or C1 etc) and so applying it atop wax will not have the same effect.

I'm a little concerned about the effects L1 had on my cotton T-shirt applicator.  So I'm waiting and watching to see how it wears on the leather.

I'm not impressed with G5.  It leaves marks from any touch after application, even days later.  Weeks later I was still buffing the glass.

This was relatively easy to apply.  I'll hold my judgement until I see how it performs and how long it lasts, but I wouldn't dread applying it again.

G4 worked as advertised.  It's a very fine polish for glass that's relatively easy to use.  I plan to use it again as the glass on my car gets dirty and abused over the coming years.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Gtechniq C1 Mistakes

Now that I'm finished applying Gtechniq C1 and EXOv2, I'll show some photos of my mistakes.  I've been trying to take photos of the mistakes for days.  It's super hard.  The photos never end up showing the blemishes.  It's hard to get the light just right so you can see them.  I guess that's a good thing.  Problem is, the paint finish is very reflective, so it reflects all the surrounding environment.  And if that environment is not a single color, then the blemishes get lost in the clutter in the reflected scene.  When you're looking at it in person, the mistakes are more visible beause you are aware of the surroundings and your brain can filter out that visual noise.  Photos lack that context.  Anyway, here are some of the mistakes. 

Here's one on the corner of the hood.

It's a patch of linear streaks.  I appeared to have dragged a mf cloth across the C1 when it was partially cured.  Here's another angle.

This is the passenger side of the car.  This one is in the middle of the front passenger door.

And a few more on the passenger door.

In places where I failed to completely remove the C1 residue, it looks like a patch of faint mottled spots.   It's only visible from some angles, when the light hits it right.  It's smooth to the touch, but that's due to the EXO top coat.  There are another 6 that didn't photograph well.

I'm out of C1 so I won't be repairing these.  Luckily, they're not very noticeable.  

ps: I'd like to think that pro detailers who charge over $300 to treat your car with these products do not make these mistakes.  I think I'd be upset if I paid that much and had my results.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Gtechniq G1 / G2 ClearVision Smart Glass

So far, I'm unimpressed with the Gtechniq G5 Water Repellant Coating.  So I decided to not apply it to the windshield.  I then bought the G1 ClearVision Smart Glass product.  It comes with G2 Residue Remover.  That usually gives me pause, when a product requires another special product to remove its residue.  But I'm willing to give it a try.  There's got to be something good that lasts longer than Rain-X.  It's not as though it rains much where I live.  But the product isn't expensive, and I'd rather test it on a factory-new windshield.

The application instructions and video seemed easy enough.  They key parts being: (a) wait 5 minutes & no more after the 1st and 2nd coats on the windshield, (b) wait 15 minutes & no more after the 3rd coat.  

Before applying the G1/G2, I used the G4 Nanotech Glass Polish.  G4 is easy to apply.  The trick to buffing it off is to first wipe it gently with a damp cloth, then buff off the remainder.  

I followed the instructions and put 3 coats of G1 on the windshield in the sequence described above.

G2 removed the residue as described.  It evaporates fast after applying to the glass and it smells like it might be IPA.  The trick is to apply G2 to very small areas at a time.  For me, this was about 1/9th of the windshield.  If you wait too long and G2 evaporates, then it's hard to buff off the residue.  If you apply G2 to a small area then, before it evaporates, it's super easy to gently wipe off the residue.

I also cleaned the wiper blades (as instructed by Gtechniq), although it's a new car so that was easy.

My first drive after treating the windshield showed only a few spots where I needed to buff a bit more.  I hope it lasts as long as advertised (30,000 miles).

Sunday, April 05, 2015

LR4 Has a New Spare Tire Winch Control Boss

The spare tire winch control boss on the 2015 LR4 is different than on my previous 2008 LR3.  On the 2008 model, they used a hex head sized to match the lug nuts (22mm) so you could use the lug nut wrench from the OEM jack to raise and lower the spare tire.

On the 2015 LR4 they changed this to a loop end and you use a hook bar provided with the OEM jack to raise and lower the spare tire. 

I suspect that this change is intended to prevent damage to the winch that occurs when people used pneumatic drivers on the previous hex head.  The manual warned against this practice.  One of the reasons is because using a pneumatic driver will run the spindle faster than desired and the cable will not play out properly when lowering.  Another reason is because when you turn the spindle without any load on the cable, then you risk causing the cable to get tangled inside the spindle housing.  Using a pneumatic driver increases the likelihood of this happening.

With my 2008 LR3, I was always careful with the winch, but mine still failed.  I showed here how easy it was to replace.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Trash - A Planet Money Podcast

I listened to a new Planet Money podcast about trash.  It was very interesting.  I learned a lot about the recycling industry.  Some things I had never considered.  It made me want to know more.

Here's a companion post about MIT researchers tracking trash after you toss it out.