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jmiller
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Platinum
Re: TOYOTA HIGHLANDER climate control, etal.
jmiller   2/27/2012 8:55:24 PM
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With all of the great logic that we are talking about I can't wait to let my car just drive me to  work.  Sign me up for that.  For some reason I see my 35 miles trip to work taking an hour and a half as I go back and forth throught the one way road maze of downtown nowheresville.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Another pointless automation
Rob Spiegel   2/27/2012 3:53:49 PM
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I agree, Ann. It's that old line, "Not all change is positive any more than all movement is forward." In the shift from analog to digital, there has been plenty of assumption that digital is superior simply because it's digital. A good example is the audiophiles who insist both the CD and the MP3 reduced the quality of recorded music. Steve Jobs was supposedly one of those stick-with-vinyl music lovers in spite of the iPad.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Auto climate control & other computer idiocys
Ann R. Thryft   2/27/2012 12:42:05 PM
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That's a great story. It reminds me a bit of some of the changes Microsoft made to Word way back when, and also of some really stupid, totally non-untuitive things about figuring out how to print stuff in Excel.

I've seen way too many dumb changes for the sake of change. Many of them were in the semi industry, which I used to cover. But many of them were in hardware and software I actually use. In software, usually they are just for the sake of releasing another rev since that's what the company's business model says it must do. I remember when Word was a great tool for writers. It hasn't been in ages. Microsoft is an easy target for complaints about stupid changes--but also a deserved one. There's something inherently wrong about a business model that says you have to keep changing stuff, even if those changes don't make sense, in order to charge the customer yet again to stay in business.


William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Auto climate control & other computer idiocys
William K.   2/26/2012 9:38:21 PM
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I would agree with toolmaker about the difficulty often found with prematurely released operating systems. That is why I have not chosen to purchase the latest version, which offers no benefits that I would choose, and a lot of changes that I absolutely do not want.

The heating and cooling systems in cars all seem to be competing for an award for being "the most automated and command anticipating of all", with more features that anyone else. How else could the expense of a microcontroller possibly be justified? What makes it far worse is that the interlocking of functions has been done by somebody who seems to believe that I am too stupid to understand what I want to do. I agree that the choice of inside or recirculated air should be available at all times and for all modes, and likewise the choice of heating or cooling. I had those choices on my 1976 Dodge Aspen, and they were able to provide exactly what I wanted all of the time. All that in a car that cost less than $6000 new! The only change that I consider to be worthwhile in my newer Dodge Caravan is an option to be in the cooling mode with the compressor off. INstead there is a whole computerized system that is much more complex, probably has a hundred times more parts, and would probably be very hard to repair if something failed. Twenty blower speeds may be a bit nicer than three, but I would prefer a blower that only ran the speed that I set it at, instead of deciding what it wanted to do. And I am certain that it added quite a bit to the price, as well.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Another pointless automation
Tool_maker   2/24/2012 3:33:52 PM
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Ann "just because we change ..." That is the perfect setup for this totally unrelated story. We have been using an old version of AutCad (14) which we could not load on the latest version of Windows, so we were dragged kicking and screaming into AutoCad 2012. We also replaced our plotter. We had trouble getting our plots to size on the roll of plotter paper.

The plotter guy said it was a CAD problem and the AutoCad guy said it was the plotter. We made an appointment when we could all meet on line and/or in person. The day came and when I had dialed in the offsite guy to my computer I brought up a drawing in V 14 and gave it the plot command. I was offered (15) sheet sizes plus user, which I could define as 36 x any length. The drawing plotted and then cut off 1/2" after the last line. Which by the way was the same way it was done clear back to V. 11, when I first started using AutoCad and the default scale is 1:1.

 I then opened up a drawing in V.2012 gave the plot command and was offered (62) sheet sizes plus any custom size I choose to define. The plot uses the entire sheet, regardless of how small the plot is. I discovered this when I walked out on a 30 inch plot to find 150" peeled off in the basket. On top of that the default is now "plot to size'. So if I forget to enter 1:1 it plots whatever it takes to fill the sheet length and truncates top and/or bottom to accomplish this.

I told the AutoCad guy I wanted to set my plotter up like it was in V 14 and was told that I had to define each and every sheet size anytime I wanted to plot and to specify the scale. I have drawn dies as short as 6" to longer than 120". I do not want to have to continually redefine sheet sizes, so I asked, "How is that an improvement?" The answer, "I didn't say it was better. I just said it was different."

I really am not against change, but I object to stupid changes for the sake of change.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Another pointless automation
Ann R. Thryft   2/24/2012 1:23:02 PM
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Tool_maker, your description of those stupid tiny sound control buttons in the car's dashboard is very funny. I gave up--I adjusted them years ago and left 'em. So Bach, Beethoven, Segovia and Metallica all have the same settings. Oh well.

I don't see how wanting to have more control and less automation makes either of us old fashioned. Not all changes make sense. Just because we can change something doesn't always mean we should. And in this case, it doesn't make sense, but sensor makers are making a bundle.


Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Another pointless automation
Rob Spiegel   2/24/2012 10:33:10 AM
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Ah, Tool Maker, that's a perfect description of how a lot of these electronic systems work. The funny thing it, if you really do want to adjust the bass, treble or balance, you have to spend 45 minutes with the owners manual. Twice a year I have to get out the owners manual to change the time. It's a series of about eight moves, all of which are counter intuitive.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Another pointless automation
Tool_maker   2/24/2012 8:25:38 AM
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Ann you are so correct. I guess I must just be old fashioned, but I prefer to be able to control things by myself. If I want to recirculate the air I will and I do not feel the need for something making the decision for me. I also prefer single function knobs and buttons. In my wife's vehicle we have an aftermarket, Sony, radio.

When I want to change the volume heaven help you if you inadvertently push it in. It then adjusts the bass, push again for treble, again and it is now balance, and the next push takes you to fade. It takes a fifth push to adjust volume and you just have to pray you do not hit a bump or you get to start the cycle all over again. I know there must be someone somewhere who thinks this is cool, but I surely do not know why.

Hackna
User Rank
Iron
Re: Seems right to me
Hackna   2/23/2012 8:08:09 PM
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The industry tests are done both in the lab and field. 110F ambient with 140F interior soak temp and solar load, usually at idle. (This is the worst case for A/C.) The recirculated cab air cools every time it passes through the evaporator. Cooling the same air over and over again will get it down pretty low quicker than continually drawing in 110F air.

Manual system engineers will usually only test hot temp A/C pull down, cold temp windshield defrost and cold temp heat up. If it can handle those the driver can make anything in between happen.

Automatic system engineers will test a range of conditions. But there is a time and budget limit. Your winter day/hot interior condition is common enough that it should be something they account for. But then they would have to predict how cold a winter day it was and how long the interior has to heat up and how hard is the wind blowing. So they compromise and the driver wonders why the system works counter-intuitively.

Ask 10 people what comfortable is and you will get 11 answers. HVAC system engineering is an art and a science that usually doesn't please everyone.

Some of the other posts have great tricks to improve HVAC performance.

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Another pointless automation
Tim   2/23/2012 8:01:10 PM
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Yes, I guess it was more of detents than ratchets.

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