Tuesday, May 30, 2017

3rd Service of Hero Duet

    We have been struggling with the leaking front fork seals for a while and Pratibha Motors Authorized Service Center didn't have the replacements for about a month. So I searched and found Mulraj Auto Authorized Service Center. Wife took the bike there for servicing. Next day we got the bike back. Actually previously we were looking only for seals replacement, but by the time the bike reached the service center it had covered about 3100KM, so we thought to get the 3rd servicing done. 
    The bill was INR 430/-. They had tightened the bike. Looking at the engine assembly it looked like it's all opened up and put together. The bike was cleaned, with grease applied to brakes etc. The leaking seals were fixed of course. The idling was tuned a bit and the scooter doesn't stop while idling. But still it idles like a haffing dog!!! I checked it out with a 5km short ride, and I could see the difference in pickup. Maybe they replaced the faulty crankshaft and flywheel. So the bike is very peppy now from idle. Previously the torque would come after you have crossed initial dog-zone where it was like 5yr old activa. Now it's comparable to Jupitor in terms of pick-up and acceleration. 
    To test it out further we decided on a long ride to Lavasa next saturday. The distance is about 100km. The traffic till Pirangut was light, and after that no traffic. We had fun riding the empty roads doing 60-70. Also we came to know about the engine overheating problem. The engine was almost fine till 40Km and we reached Temghar Dam fine. Since then it's uphill climb and the engine heated up and started knocking and puttering. But it was just few more km to Lavasa so we didn't stop. Just kept going. It was funny hearing the engine do putt-pott and have the bike do hee-haww. But it got us to Lavasa Entry gate. 
    We did not have any plans to go ahead and visit Lavasa. The 200Rs per bike entry fee confirmed our belief that Lavasa is not worth any repeat visit. So we had Chai-Poha in a nearby hotel and started our return journey. The Chai was awesome and we had two cups each. Also there were about 2 dozen bikers each on a Duke/Pulsar/Enfield etc. 
    By the time we left the bike had cooled off. So not much engine putt-pott till we reached Hinjewadi. Also the traffic kept us at low speeds of 30-40. By the time we reached Hinijewadi it was 10'o'clock and the heat had climbed up several degrees and so the engine started knocking a bit. But we kept to low speeds and reached home safely. 
    So after 3rd servicing the Duet is doing much better. But still there are issues. Also we didn't measure the fuel consumption this time. But I think I should start on the fuel part to see how much fuel efficient the Duet is after 3 Services. Lets see. Ciao!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hero Duet Silent Recall


So some news about our Hero Duet. Looks like hero motocorp has fucked it up for good. 

We have done about 3000 km till date. And the scooter has become kind of rubbish with leaky suspension and reduced pickup. Probably needs a service. So hearing this news I asked wife to dump it for servicing. 
Let's see if the servicing guys fix this turd. 

On the positive side - Hero did get some things right. Above 55kmph no vibrations. So good for highway riding. So is stability at high speeds - which may be because of the weight. But still with good suspension it gives you confidence. The light is not enough in night and needs tune-up for proper focus. But we keep on forgetting it every time we give it for servicing. Maybe I'll correct it when I start self-servicing the bike. Oil change and basic engine tune up doesn't look all that difficult. 
The seating is not that bad. We got a replacement seat cover that's made up of mesh like material which keeps bottom aerated and so saves on ass-burn on long trips. In India's hot and humid weather leather seats don't make much sense. 
The accelerator is easy on pull. Recently I rode an old active and the accelerator was murderous. After 10mins my wrist was burning like hell. The brakes are also fine, though being drum type they lack bite and you have to be cautious when riding at high speeds. 
Storage space works fine. The two hooks at front work great. The grip at the back is bit overkill but is comfortable. The styling like looks too much like Activa but works. Overall the Duet is a fine dream designed in a hurry. But seems like hero was not finished with the refinement. And still the rushed the product to market without enough testing. And so now thousands of units later, the black dots are coming to the fore. 
From my experience working in automotive domain, getting a vehicle working perfectly is difficult. The many parts sourced from number of suppliers often have their own issues and in the middle of it all maintaining the desired quality is difficult. Due to this an often given advice is to skip the first generation of any product. 
So where to from here? If hero can fix the problems and the bike experience gets better, then there is future for Duet. Or else people will avoid all hero branded bikes. And in this competitive bike market that can cause your downfall however big you are. 
Let's see what happens. Ciao. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Overheating Lenovo G580 laptop - various causes and solutions

Recently I noticed my almost 5Yr old Lenovo G580 laptop which comes with a dual core 2.3GHz Pentium B930 processor, was running hotter than usual. Generally I use my laptop for internet browsing, little bit of office documents and mainly watching movies and TV Serials. So it was not as much bother, but upon looking into it - I noticed with the help of HWMonitor program, that even on idle it's running at about 60 degree celc. This is hotter than average. Two problems I could see was 1. The thermal paste has dried out and become useless, 2. The fan is not kicking in.

After going through a number of articles on internet about thermal paste I decided to get the cheaper version abd try it out. Mind you the average ambient temps here are in 35 degree celc range these days, this being summer. So last week I ordered an el cheapo thermal paste for 130 INR, that about $2 - qty is 10gm. Got it yesterday. Went home and after unscrewing a dozen screws and getting nicked here and there, I managed to get to the motherboard. After removing the heatsink-fan combo, I used simple cotton to wipe out the old grease. It was indeed dried out. I wiped out the underside of the heatsink as well. Then fumbling about I managed to fix it on the chip. Then screwing a buttload of screws and then done.

It all took me about an hour. After practise it may be a 20 mins job. But good learning experience for me. So after all was packed in, I learned I have missed couple of screws. Put them in the thermal compound wrapper for next time. Then crossing my fingures I turned on the laptop. Apparently I managed to put everything back together in working order. After running it for about an hour, I could see some improvement - the temps were down by about 4-5 degrees. Now idle temps were hanging around at about 55-56 degree celc from the 60 degrees.

The fan though is acting like a turd. It just doesn't move fast enough to expel the heat. Maybe I need to see what's wrong with it. The only time it moves fast is when I run the dust expelling routine in Lenovo Performance Management app. Found couple of suggestions on the net - but the fan control is not available in my BIOS, and other ways to control fan speed didn't work.

So still something to be done. But some improvement too. Cheers!  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The fine points of various Mediatek SOC's

My last purchase of Panasonic P75 was a bit puzzling for me when I checked out the soc name and the specs. Point was, the soc was mentioned everywhere as MT6580. But my previously purchased phone Panasonic T44 also has the same soc. Plus the same specs, but when I used both the phones I could clearly tell which one was faster and which one was slower. 
As I saw in daily use Panasonic P75 is definitely faster, smoother etc with same 1GB of RAM, with same soc clock speed of 1.3GHz. So what's wrong?
Turns out the soc info for the cheaper phone was incorrect. It has MT6580m soc. This is what's a watered down version of MT6580. And so this is what's causing the difference in performance. Since from what I saw in actual usage - the mt6580 is faster so Android is smoother there as compared to mt6580m which feels only adequate. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tale of socket->deletelater

One of my test servers was crashing with multiple connections. Digging in I found out that I have used same object for QTcpSocket and disconnect signal was not getting received before getting new connection.
So client should send disconnect before connecting on new connection. So digging in client code, I found nothing. Okay. Documentation... Found out there's close() function in unistd.h which can be used to close a socket connection.
Okay, made a call to that with socketfd, and voilla! Bug fixed! Server's safe.

But going to have to add handling for rogue clients. Adios.

New Cellphone Purchase - Panasonic P75 - Hands on

I wanted an entry level android for my mother. Being entry level meant about INR 4000/- of budget. That is about $60. I looked at a number of phones in budget segment, but problem being there was no main-stream brand present here. All I could find was Micromax / Zen / iBall / Intex / Xolo. No Samsung / LG / HTC / Motorola / Lenovo / Xiaomi / Oppo / Vivo etc here. I found couple of old gen ZTE's and one current gen Alcatel ( Pixi 4  - retailing for INR 5000/- ). Not interesting enough. The oddball is Panasonic which offers decent Android phones from INR 3000/-. In fact I use a Panasonic T44 these days as my main driver - bought it for INR 3200/- or about $48. It serves me well with 2500mAh battery and all needed functions. The only thing I miss is IPS LCD, but for me battery anxiety is a thing of past now. Apparently we have too many other things to be worrying about instead of cellphone battery. Haha.
Anyway so for me the criteria for the purchase was set. Big battery, decent specs, and IPS screen - mostly 5Inch HD, but I would take a 4inch IPS screen too. Sadly didn't find one. The couple of ZTE had IPS screens but had smaller batteries, and older chipsets (and Kitkat Gaah!).
So after looking at all the options I settled on the Panasonic P75. Mainly because the reviews were not terrible - sometimes average can be good.

So I spent the sum and ordered it for next day delivery since I'm leaving for my hometown in couple of days. All this done on Amazon. Yesterday I received the parcel.
Lets take a look at the specs:

Panasonic P75 Full Specificatons

2G NETWORK     850/900/1800/1900
3G NETWORK     900/2100Panasonic P75
SIM         Dual Sim

DIMENSIONS     144.9 x 71 x 8.95 mm
WEIGHT         157 g
TYPE         HD IPS Display
SIZE         720 X 1280

3.5MM JACK     yes

CARD SLOT     yes Up to 32 Gb

GPRS         yes
EDGE         yes
SPEED         14.5 Mbps
WLAN         Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n

FEATURES     Auto Focus
VIDEO         Yes 720P

OS         Android 5.1
CPU         Mediatek MT6580 1.3GHz quad-core
SENSORS     Proximity sensor Accelerometer Ambient light sensor Gyroscope
GPS         A-Gps
JAVA         No
COLORS         Champagne Gold

Battery        5000 mAh
STAND-BY     1500m
TALK TIME     659min

So for INR 5000/- we are getting good specs.

After work when I reached home, I opened the retail box to check out if everything was alright. Thankfully it was. Inside comes the handset - Battery is mentioned as Non-removable, but I saw only a sticker over the battery. Maybe peel it off and put in a new one whenever this one dies. The charger provided is 5V 1.5A, which is better than plain 5V1A chargers we get with all others. There's a headphone with in-ear kind of tips. The micro-usb cable is long enough and looked to be of good quality. Also provided is a screen protector. That's it for the box.

The handset supports one micro-SD cards and two micro SIMs - no hybrid sim madness here. The back cover is wraparound type and the plastic is of low quality and wobbly. The champagne color is garish, but better than white at hiding abuse. The screen is good being IPS and of OGS variety.

So overall okay handset. I then turned it on and checked out basic operations. It was fairly fine - kind of about Snapdragon 400 kind of performance. Good enough.

Lets put it through a thorough review later.