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Comment: Re:Please, you are kidding? (Score 3, Interesting) 164

by AaronW (#48010675) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

My father had built a Heathkit H89 computer built around a Z80. As a kid I earned money soldering together boards my father had designed that under software control would double the speed from 2 to 4MHz. The H89 actually had two CPUs since it was also a H19 terminal. While it didn't do color and was limited to text based graphics it was a nice machine. My father's computer had something like 4 floppy drives and a hard drive hooked up to it. It ran both CPM and HDOS which was the first microcomputer operating system with loadable device drivers.

Later in college we used the Z80 for our microprocessor design class. The Z80 was trivial to wire up and included such things as automatic DRAM refresh support.

Comment: Re:Oh good (Score 1) 903

by AaronW (#47999655) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

I do the same thing with my credit card. My house is free and clear and until recently I had only paid cash for my cars. With the interest rates so low, though, it can make sense to take out a loan rather than pay cash. As long as your cash is earning more than the interest rate on the loan you're ahead. With my last car it made more sense to take out a 2% loan rather than pay cash. My credit card has a 18% interest rate but it doesn't matter since it is always paid off in full every month.

Comment: Re:Oh good (Score 1) 903

by AaronW (#47999617) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

When I bought my house I had never had a loan before. I had always paid cash for my cars. My only credit was my use of a couple of credit cards which I had maintained through college and several years after when I saved for a down payment. Despite this I still had a high credit score and was able to get a fixed interest 30 year loan after putting 20% down. I also had a steady job which I had held for several years. This is well before they started giving out insane loans to anyone with a pulse. Since then, rather than sell and move to a bigger more expensive house I put everything I had into paying down that mortgage and refinanced a few times to get a lower rate than over 7% I started with. After paying off the mortgage things are a lot easier.

I wonder if part of a credit score might be based on who you have your credit cards and loan with. Some banks may be better at reporting than others and some banks will just screw you (i.e. BoA). I also went through a mortgage broker rather than directly through a bank.

Comment: Re:Not a no-brainer given typical USA housing opti (Score 1) 56

by AaronW (#47960591) Attached to: Wanxiang May Give 2012's Fisker Karma a Relaunch

At least in California HOAs cannot restrict EV chargers and must approve them. I have a coworker who bought a Tesla model S who lives in a condo. He had no problem getting a charging outlet installed though in his case the parking was under the building and access to power was not difficult. I think in the years to come apartment complexes will start installing support for EVs.

Already some places like San Jose are requiring that all new parking lots run conduit and whatnot to make it easy to install EV chargers in the future.

Many workplaces are also installing EV charging stations in the Bay Area. The problem is that even with this there typically aren't enough so they keep expanding them.

Some apartment complexes are also installing chargers.

Comment: Thoughts (Score 4, Informative) 156

by AaronW (#47941905) Attached to: Dealership Commentator: Tesla's Going To Win In Every State

One thing is that in most states the laws were written to protect franchises against the car manufacturers but in this case there are no franchises to protect to often these laws don't apply.

This podcast gives a lot of insight as to why the dealerships are so anti-consumer blood sucking parasites.


One other thing to keep in mind is that the dealership model has changed significantly. It used to be a bunch of mom and pop dealerships throughout the country. These aren't the dealerships complaining about Tesla. Instead it's the huge dealership conglomerates that have gobbled up and consolidated many of the smaller independent dealerships. These are also huge political donors in many states, getting laws written to protect them, often to the detriment of the automobile manufacturers.

Part of it is the way the car manufacturers have the dealerships competing against each other, giving them huge incentives to sell a certain number of cars by the end of the month, etc. The dealerships also make a lot of their money off of service, whether it be warranty service or just plain service.

Tesla does things differently. The people who work at the showrooms do not earn commissions on cars sold. Their job is to show the car, not play all these silly games pushing cars that people don't want to get their numbers.

Also, Tesla generally does not maintain an inventory of cars. Every car is built to order with only the features the buyer wants. They don't have huge lots of cars that they have to push since every car is already spoken for.

Their service is also different. They have publically stated that their goal is not to make a profit off of service. I have had to have things repaired that were not covered by warranty (I broke some clips). The cost to repair was actually fairly reasonable and was much less than what the cost would have been had the same sort of thing happened to my Prius.

My biggest complaint about service is that there is often a long wait to get an appointment because they're having trouble keeping up with the growing number of cars out there.

Tesla took a cue from Apple with the Apple stores. They want to provide a consistent experience for their customers without all of the hassles and problems often encountered at dealerships. The company has also consistently bent over backwards in favor of their customers. When news of the fires hit they quickly extended the battery warranty to cover fires caused by hitting objects then actively worked on methods to mitigate it. They retroactively increased the drive train warranty to unlimited miles.

Comment: Re:Jailbreak (Score 1) 335

by AaronW (#47939947) Attached to: Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only

How about bluetooth pairing? I have a bluetooth adapter and all I have to do is hold my phone up to it and it's automatically paired with it. I have a little bluetooth sticker in my car. I just hold my phone up to it and my phone reconfigures itself to how I want it in the car. The one on my keychain basically gives some contact info if found (i.e. email and phone number). There are a lot of interesting uses for NFC besides payment.

Comment: Re:More importantly (Score 1) 393

by AaronW (#47933913) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

While I don't get snow where I live from everything I've heard the Tesla does quite well despite being rear-wheel drive due to how smooth the electric motor is. I also understand the 19" tires last quite a bit longer. The 21" summer tires are crap in cold weather and especially in snow. I had to drive from Reno NV to the Bay Area last March and hit snow coming down and it wasn't too fun, especially since the 21" wheels cannot use chains. The traction control on the Tesla is better than most cars since the electric motor is much more responsive. I read that the TC is able to monitor and control the wheels around 1000 times/second. My experience is my model S is a hell of a lot better than the Toyota I used to drive. That car would lose power for a good second if I so much as ran over a pothole and good luck if a tire slipped on snow. My model S P85 is able to keep the wheels just on the edge for acceleration.

When I was driving back the snow was starting to really come down. I had just beaten the chain requirement. It was not fun with my tires but none of the problems were due to acceleration or traction control, more just from the fact that the tires had no grip and given that fact the car still did fairly well. Driving up to the summit to try and beat the snow was fun though. That car doesn't seem to care if it's a steep grade or not :)

Comment: Re:Still pretty affordable (Score 4, Interesting) 393

by AaronW (#47933813) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

Much of the cost was the cost to replace the main panel which is something I have wanted to do for some time anyway since the old one was almost 50 years old. Additionally, the previous owners did a lot of less-than-legal electrical work on the house and I wanted it done right. I corrected a lot of mistakes but I wanted a licensed electrician to go over it as well (he found a few issues I had missed). I could have continued to use the 30A dryer outlet in my garage indefinitely or installed a 50A outlet for considerably less money but I chose to do it right. I might have been able to use my existing breaker box and just run the 6 gauge wire needed for a 50A outlet for a few hundred dollars but I chose instead to do something that is more flexible in the future. Besides, my existing breaker box was almost full. The upgrade allowed me to add some additional circuits for other things.

Afterwards I ended up rewiring most of the outlets in my garage and adding some new ones using a couple of 20A circuits since the previous owners had tied everything into a 15A circuit that the doorbell transformer was on. It's also nice now that my air compressor doesn't cause the lights to dim and I don't have to risk tripping a breaker all the time when using power tools. I also feel better running 10 gauge wiring on the long run between the main panel and my garage for those outlets. 50 years ago the power requirements for houses were a bit different than they are today and this allows me to continue to upgrade things as I see fit. The car charger uses 1 gauge aluminum wire for much of the run with 2 gauge copper in the conduit. I had a neutral line run as well so that the wiring could be used for other purposes in the future if needed such as putting in a sub-panel in the garage. I have a few more circuits I plan to add now that I have more room available in my main panel.

When I got the house I found boxes hidden under the sheetrock and splices made with just electrical tape without any boxes plus putting 20A breakers on circuits that can't handle more than 15A, light switches put on the neutral line, etc. Some people shouldn't be allowed electrical wiring.

Besides, my house is paid off in full. If it wasn't for that there's no way I would have bought that car, let alone run the charging circuit for it. Most owners just go for a 50A outlet, which is all the Tesla will handle without an optional charger upgrade.

Comment: Re:More importantly (Score 1) 393

by AaronW (#47933733) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

I rarely use the brakes and typically only at very slow speeds. Even with my previous car, a Prius, people typically got at least 100K miles without needing to change the brake pads and Tesla's regenerative braking is a fair amount stronger than what my Prius was capable of.

The pre-paid service plan covers everything but the tires, so for at least the next eight years even if I do somehow wear down my brake pads they are covered. The service plan covers everything but the tires. The service also includes applying various fixes and changes that have been discovered since the car was manufactured, including minor things that affect things like rattles and noises. It includes a wheel alignment and check and replacement of all expendables. Combined with the warranty basically the only things I have to pay for are tires and some tire rotations.

So for at least the next four years I will pay $0 for brake pads.

It works out to around $475 per 12K miles, which for a car of its class is quite reasonable, especially given the level of service I get.

Comment: Re:$50K would not be that out of line (Score 1) 393

by AaronW (#47931373) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

I replaced my 2006 Prius with a Tesla model S. I ended up selling my Prius because I just wasn't driving it. For those times when I need a car like that, it's cheaper to just rent a car than to pay the registration on my Prius, plus I no longer have it taking up space in my driveway. Surprisingly a lot of owners moved from non-luxury cars to the Tesla model S.

Comment: Re:More importantly (Score 3, Interesting) 393

by AaronW (#47931335) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

Brakes are different in the Tesla than in BMW. In the case of Tesla there is a lot of regenerative braking so the brakes should last a lot longer. Tires on the other hand... I have the performance version of the Tesla model S with the 21" rims. When I got my car there was no price difference between the 19 and 21" rims. Anyway, I managed to get a bit over 15K miles on the original tires. The negative camber Tesla uses tends to be a bit hard on the rear tires, plus I tend to accelerate rather hard.

Comment: Re:More importantly (Score 2) 393

by AaronW (#47931275) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

The battery should also last a very long time. I have read the post from one owner who has already racked up over 100,000 miles and still has over 95% of his original battery capacity. Tesla has a battery replacement policy where you can pay up-front to get a new battery after 8 years and get a $1000 rebate each year you wait beyond that.

Instead I decided to take some of that money and buy some stock when it was at $38. I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy more.

The electric motor in my Tesla won't need a lube job for another 10 1/2 years according to the person I spoke with when I had service done. While there is still coolant, many of the issues with ICE vehicles don't apply. The brakes will last much longer since most braking is regenerative. I still need tire rotations and the cabin air filter and the windshield wipers replaced periodically though. I suspect that even the coolant will last a lot longer since a gasoline engine generates far more heat.

A lot of other components should last much longer. There's no transmission, only around a dozen moving parts in the entire drivetrain and few friction points. The AC compressor is electric and completely sealed and there's no flexible hoses. Power steering is electric, not hydraulic which should last a lot longer as well.

Also, it is far easier to reach stuff than in an ICE car. Most things are easily accessible by removing the plastic frunk liner or removing a panel under the front of the car. The entire drivetrain is also easily removable as a unit. Similarly the battery can be easily removed. The car is far simpler to work on.

Comment: Re:Still pretty affordable (Score 4, Informative) 393

by AaronW (#47931043) Attached to: Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

I added a second meter for charging my Tesla. Other than paying an electrician to do the wiring I just had to fill out some forms to get a permit, add a second address for PG&E and pay for a disconnect-reconnect from PG&E. I don't think I paid more than $100 for the permit and second address. I pay around $0.12/KWh on my second meter when I charge between 11pm and 6am on weekdays or any time on weekends. It was trivial to set my Tesla to start charging at 11:05pm at whatever current draw I want (up to 80 amps in my case). Most EVs and plug-in hybrids let you choose the charging times. Now I did end up paying $4500 for all of the electrical work I had done, but this involved replacing the main breaker panel on my house, installing a second one with the two meters and running a 100A circuit around 100 feet to my garage with a fair amount of thick conduit and an emergency shut-off in the garage. The Tesla charger was another $1200, which as far as car chargers go is not bad especially considering that it handles 80 amps.

Before getting two meters I was able to get a special time-of-use EV rate so the cost wasn't that bad.

I typically pay $40-60/month for charging my car and I average around 15,000 miles/year.

He's dead, Jim.