Search found 465 matches

by tortoise84
Fri Apr 19, 2024 7:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help with Computer Storage Issue
Replies: 16
Views: 1199

Re: Help with Computer Storage Issue

OneDrive is setup automatically in Windows if you login using a Microsoft Account. It's the default location for your Documents, Pictures and Desktop folders. So if you delete or move files out of those folders, you also need to empty the separate OneDrive Recycle bin to free up the space. To do this, click the OneDrive icon (looks like a cloud) in the system tray in the bottom right. Then click Recycle bin, and it will open your web browser to the OneDrive Recycle bin. It might ask you to login with your Microsoft Account. Then click Empty recycle bin.
by tortoise84
Wed Mar 20, 2024 7:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing Xfinity (Comcast) modem
Replies: 39
Views: 3347

Re: Replacing Xfinity (Comcast) modem

PSA: Comcast recently increased their speed tiers for no additional cost. If it applies in your area, all you have to do is restart your modem.
https://corporate.comcast.com/press/rel ... -customers

I'm on the Connect tier on a promo deal of $30/mo, and it got increased to 150 Mbps but it actually speed tests at 180 Mbps down/24 Mbps up.

For modems, I don't have phone service so I just have a $55 Arris SB6183 DOCSIS 3.0 16x4 modem and it has been rock solid. However, if you need telephony, then your choice of modems is much more limited and they are in the $200 range.
by tortoise84
Fri Mar 15, 2024 5:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: I will need a new car or repair one
Replies: 46
Views: 2456

Re: I will need a new car or repair one

I have a 2012 BMW 135i and a 2012 Audi A6 and love them, but the maintenance and repairs are what drove me to become a DIY mechanic. They both needed new shocks and an independent shop quoted $2,370 + shop supplies and tax to do them on the Audi. So instead, I bought the parts: BMW: $320 for Sachs shocks, Audi: $250 for Bilstein B4 shocks, and a $110 spring compressor and did them myself over 2 weekends. Also did some control arm bushings on the Audi which were $10 each and $90 for the bushing press tool, and some gaskets on both cars for around $10 each. So the parts and even the tools aren't that expensive, but most of the cost is in the labor, even if you find a good independent shop. So the only economical way to keep these luxury Germa...
by tortoise84
Tue Mar 05, 2024 9:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: When to switch from dealer to independent for service
Replies: 52
Views: 4567

Re: When to switch from dealer to independent for service

60k service is new spark plugs, accessory v belt, air filter, cabin filter and oil change. I'd guess the dealership wants 1k or more, unless there is another audicare package available (couldn't find anything) If you want it done at an Audi dealer, there is actually an Audi Care Select package available for $1,599 for 2 consecutive services. https://www.audiusa.com/us/web/en/service/audi-care/2017-2019-models.html It may still be cheaper at an independent mechanic. Just give them that list of items that need to be done and ask for an estimate. The Audi maintenance schedule also requires the brake fluid to be changed every 2 years regardless of mileage. For the accessory belt on the 3.0T, the supercharger belt has to be removed as well beca...
by tortoise84
Wed Feb 21, 2024 6:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Advice Needed
Replies: 34
Views: 3443

Re: Car Advice Needed

Unfortunately I'm seeing more and more that the only way to maintain a high mileage car economically is to DIY. I have a 2012 Audi A6 with 95k miles and a shop wanted $2,700 to replace all the shocks. I did them myself for $250 for Bilstein shocks and a $110 spring compressor. I also did the upper control arm bushings for $10 each and a $90 bushing press kit, $16 for the timing chain cover gaskets, $60 for the serpentine belt and tensioner. Car now rides like new. So the point is these parts and even the tools aren't that expensive, but most of the cost is in the labor. If you can't DIY then I think your best bet is to try to sell your Civic Si privately to an enthusiast who is able to DIY the clutch and hopefully they will only discount th...
by tortoise84
Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do diagnose a router issue
Replies: 69
Views: 10066

Re: How do diagnose a router issue

I think you've been messing around with this for too long. I would just get a new router, preferably from a different manufacturer.

It's possible that you have too many devices or traffic and you are overloading the router. I have a low end $50 TP-Link Archer A7 that would bog down when using Quality of Service prioritization with around 15 devices. The CPU in the router would go to 100%, packets and connections would get dropped, and yes, sometimes the GUI would stop responding. Perhaps you should try stepping up to a higher grade router like a Ubiquiti or TP-Link Omada.
by tortoise84
Fri Feb 02, 2024 5:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bedroom air circulation - jumper duct?
Replies: 38
Views: 4042

Re: Bedroom air circulation - jumper duct?

I have jump ducts from 4 bedrooms going back to 1 central duct in the hallway. The AC air handler is on a stand in a louvered door closet in the hallway and draws return air directly from underneath itself with no return ductwork. This setup works fine to allow air circulation when the bedroom doors are closed. But what I don't like about the jump ducts is they basically make holes through your attic insulation, while the flex ducts used only have R6-8 insulation. This might be okay for the supply ducts because of the velocity of the air being pushed through, but the jump ducts don't have much velocity so the air inside them gets heated up by the hot attic. In fact, I've measured the temperature in my central hallway jump duct at 95F in the...
by tortoise84
Thu Jan 25, 2024 1:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 10 Patch Tuesday problems
Replies: 30
Views: 5789

Re: Windows 10 Patch Tuesday problems

Yeah that update totally bricked an old 2013 laptop that I have and it wouldn't even boot anymore. Luckily I only use it for car diagnostics software, so I just did a complete wipe and a clean Windows reinstall. I finally got that laptop running again and it actually wasn't due to the KB5034441 recovery partition issue because after the clean install, it stopped booting again after installing some other Windows updates. Instead, it was the Cumulative Update KB5034122 causing issues with Secure Boot on my Lenovo IdeaPad Z580. So I disabled Secure Boot and it worked again. Oh and with the clean install, Windows setup made the recovery partition only slightly larger at 546 MB instead of 500 MB previously, so now KB5034441 completes successful...
by tortoise84
Thu Jan 11, 2024 8:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 10 Patch Tuesday problems
Replies: 30
Views: 5789

Re: Windows 10 Patch Tuesday problems

Yeah that update totally bricked an old 2013 laptop that I have and it wouldn't even boot anymore. Luckily I only use it for car diagnostics software, so I just did a complete wipe and a clean Windows reinstall.
by tortoise84
Wed Jan 10, 2024 5:54 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: CD Player for Honda CRV 2022
Replies: 34
Views: 5596

Re: CD Player for Honda CRV 2022

You can get a portable CD player with a Bluetooth transmitter like this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BXRK48GR/
by tortoise84
Thu Jan 04, 2024 8:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Advice caring for new black car?
Replies: 76
Views: 10573

Re: Advice caring for new black car?

I have a black 2012 Audi A6 with 95k mi. Still looks great after a wash, but it shows dirt quickly so I have settled on hand washing it every 2-4 weeks because I want to find an acceptable balance of time and money that I spend on this thing. Here in Florida, I have to wash in the shade to prevent the black paint from getting too hot and leaving water spots, and even then I still have to do a final rinse, and dry the car off immediately to prevent water spots. Don't get the ceramic coating from the dealer because it's probably marked up a lot, and you're also meant to polish and prep the surface first to remove all scratches before applying the coating which the dealer probably won't do. But I still think ceramic coatings are good because s...
by tortoise84
Thu Jan 04, 2024 7:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The "Hot Upstairs" Topic
Replies: 90
Views: 15386

Re: The "Hot Upstairs" Topic

Would you consider window ACs? I bought three Midea 8,000 BTU U-shaped window ACs for my house and my parents' house. They are very quiet and efficient because they have variable speed inverter driven compressors. In fact, they are so efficient that I use them instead of my central AC and reduced my electricity usage by 13%: viewtopic.php?t=399895

Midea 10,000 BTU U-shaped AC for $319: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0866Y33PL/

Midea 12,000 BTU (non-U) window AC with heat pump (only works >41F) for $499: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B3NJGSKL/
by tortoise84
Sat Dec 30, 2023 7:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency DEC 2023 UPDATE 13% reduced electric usage for full year
Replies: 61
Views: 9575

Re: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency DEC 2023 UPDATE 13% reduced electric usage for full year

I didn't provide any updates until now because temps have cooled off so I'm not using the AC, but in Oct 2023 I got the Midea 12,000 BTU window AC with heat pump and started using it in Dec for the few nights when temps drop below 50F overnight in South Florida. Note that this unit will only operate down to 41F, but that's fine here and it has been working great, pumping out 105-115F air and only using 275-500W with its variable speed inverter driven compressor. Much less than a conventional 1,500W space heater or my 9,000W central electric heat which I never use because I'm afraid of how much electricity it will suck down. So my electric usage in Dec 2023 actually went up by 2.2% vs Dec 2020 because before I used to just wear more layers, ...
by tortoise84
Tue Dec 19, 2023 6:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Laptop ugrade...............
Replies: 47
Views: 5248

Re: Laptop ugrade...............

I've had several relatively cheap $350-700 laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP, and the Lenovos seem to be the best. - 2013 $360 Lenovo IdeaPad Z580. Still works and I'm using it in my garage to run Windows-only diagnostics software connected to a car's OBD port so I don't need to worry about knocking or dropping the laptop or getting it dirty. Upgraded it with an SSD. - 2014 $350? Dell Inspiron 15-3542. This was for my Mom and it was fine for her usage of just web browsing, etc, but most of the letters wore off the keyboard. I also upgraded it with an SSD and she was using it until 2022 when she spilled a cup of tea on it. Oh well, she got 8 years of use out of it and at least it wasn't a $1,000+ MacBook or something. - 2016 $680 HP Pavilion ...
by tortoise84
Mon Dec 04, 2023 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: heated towel rack: smart outlet and other install tips
Replies: 10
Views: 866

Re: heated towel rack: smart outlet and other install tips

Anything you plug into a GFCI outlet will be GFCI protected, so just use a plug-in style smart plug.

If you really want to use a smart wall outlet and have it GFCI protected, then you can wire it up to the load side terminals of the GFCI outlet.
by tortoise84
Fri Dec 01, 2023 8:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Window heat pump for NYC?
Replies: 10
Views: 1214

Re: Window heat pump for NYC?

There's a window heat pump from Midea, model MAW12HV1CWT, and it's not U-shaped like their other popular models. It's hard to get and is currently out of stock on Amazon (don't take the risk with a third party seller):
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B3NJGSKL/

I got one in Oct 2023 for $490, but because I live in South Florida where it only goes below 50F for maybe 5 nights a year, so I haven't had to use the heat pump mode yet. I did a short test run anyway, and it seems to work well pumping out 105F air and drawing between 275-500W with its variable speed inverter drive. Note that there are warnings on the product webpage and labels that the heat pump only operates down to 41F so it may or may not work for you in NYC.
by tortoise84
Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: USPS labels: cover with clear tape or not?
Replies: 32
Views: 4413

Re: USPS labels: cover with clear tape or not?

tibbitts wrote: Wed Nov 29, 2023 4:48 pm I should qualify the question by saying that I'm sure there is industrial-grade toner for my laser printer that would survive a category 5 hurricane. I don't have that. I print labels about once a year. So a drop of water will instantaneously destroy my shipping label.
For a laser printer printing directly on an adhesive label, you may need to set the paper type to 'Labels' in the printer preferences. This tells the printer to make the fuser extra hot to make up for the increased thickness of the labels. Otherwise the toner will not adhere properly and just rub off. At least that's how it is with my HP LaserJet.
by tortoise84
Thu Nov 23, 2023 3:41 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Mega Backdoor Roth 401k logistics with Empower
Replies: 38
Views: 5993

Re: Mega Backdoor Roth 401k logistics with Empower

2. I requested in-service withdrawal of after-tax contribution online, but there was only an option to withdraw to Traditional IRA (not Roth). So I ended up transferring $1500 to Fidelity Traditional IRA, and then transferred it to Fidelity Roth IRA. Is this the correct way to do this? (a similar question is on this Reddit page , but no definitive answer there) My employer used Empower in 2018 but now they use Fidelity. If I remember correctly, yes, Empower only had the option to withdraw after-tax contributions to a Traditional IRA. So I chose that option but deposited the rollover check into my Vanguard Roth IRA anyway. My Empower 1099-R showed: Box 1 Gross distribution: The total amount rolled over. Box 2a Taxable amount: $0 Box 2b Taxa...
by tortoise84
Wed Nov 22, 2023 2:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Photo sizing app
Replies: 3
Views: 609

Re: Photo sizing app

1. Crop the image to a square 1:1 aspect ratio, then resize it to 1000x1000px and save it.
2. If you're on Windows, open the Paint app, or if you're on any other system, whatever is similar.
3. Set the blank image size to 6000x4000px. In Paint, you go File -> Image properties.
4. Copy and Paste the image multiple times up to 6x across and 4x rows down. In Paint, you go File -> Import to canvas -> From a file. You can then drag and drop the image where you want it but only while it still has the selection box around it. If you accidentally click somewhere and lose the selection box, just Undo (Ctrl+Z) and paste it again.
5. Save the image and send it to CVS for printing.
by tortoise84
Fri Nov 10, 2023 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Implication of the Microsoft transition of Hotmail to Outlook
Replies: 13
Views: 1320

Re: Implication of the Microsoft transition of Hotmail to Outlook

It sounds like you are asking about the transition from the Windows Mail app to the New Outlook app. They both work very similarly and can be used to access multiple email accounts. Each email account will show up separately in a column on the left with a separate Inbox, Sent Items, etc. You just have to follow the process to add your Gmail account.
by tortoise84
Tue Nov 07, 2023 6:25 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!
Replies: 1358
Views: 144712

Re: PC Build Thread - 2020... and beyond!!!

Be sure to check the motherboard for integrated graphics support. If so, I could use the Intel Core i9 14900KF which leaves out the graphics controller. You don't want to be stuck with a bad GPU and not be able to see what's going on. So, be sure you can do video from the motherboard. I think you are misunderstanding something here. Almost all motherboards (for both Intel and AMD) support integrated graphics, although they often differ in the type and number of ports--DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA, etc. But all these ports do is connect to the integrated graphics on the *CPU* if you have it. There is no GPU on the motherboard. So you need to get a CPU with integrated graphics. For Intel, anything with an 'F' in the model name does NOT have integr...
by tortoise84
Mon Oct 30, 2023 6:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Are there important long-term benefits of parking a car in the garage?
Replies: 130
Views: 13570

Re: Are there important long-term benefits of parking a car in the garage?

We've had many burglaries where they just walk around the neighborhood and check to see if any cars on driveways were accidentally left unlocked. Sometimes just small items are taken, but one time an entire car was somehow stolen with a remote key duplicator or something! I actually live in a gated community so when two of my neighbors had small items from their cars burgled we all checked our security cameras. They had Ring cameras which didn't catch anything, but my PoE system records 24/7 so it did, and it was actually some kids who live further up the street! I always park in my garage which goes a long way towards mitigating this risk, but then you also have to remember to close your garage door because I see many people accidentally l...
by tortoise84
Sat Oct 21, 2023 8:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any consumer benefits from FedNow or Real Time Payments yet?
Replies: 13
Views: 1467

Re: Any consumer benefits from FedNow or Real Time Payments yet?

Hi thanks, I do have a few questions: Did those RTF's happen anytime, or just business day? Any fee? Difference b/w RTF and wire? Dollar limit on RTF? Other financial institutions besides BOFA or Wells, such as Fidelity or Schwab or local credit union? Does any institution on the Zelle network participate? FedNow seems to be more widely available... Okay I looked into it some more and it appears that Chase has been doing this since 2019, so I don't think this is FedNow: https://www.doctorofcredit.com/chase-checking-accounts-offer-instant-ach-transfers-to-other-banks/ The screenshots at the bottom of that Doctor of Credit post are still the same as what I see on chase.com today. - Transfers can be done at any time including weekends. - No f...
by tortoise84
Sat Oct 21, 2023 7:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Refrigerators. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Replies: 115
Views: 15792

Re: Refrigerators. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

I have a Whirlpool Gold side by side, stainless steel, ice/water dispenser that has been running fine since 2006, so 17 years and still going. If it broke today, well first I would try to fix it since the parts look very basic. I would even recharge the R-134a refrigerant if needed since I already have a manifold gauge set. But if I can't fix it, I would definitely buy another Whirlpool.
by tortoise84
Fri Oct 20, 2023 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Any consumer benefits from FedNow or Real Time Payments yet?
Replies: 13
Views: 1467

Re: Any consumer benefits from FedNow or Real Time Payments yet?

bogswenbern wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2023 1:17 pm I would like to know what the status of this is with Chase. Would be a second reason to open checking/savings after the first reason: $ bonus.
I've made real-time transfers from my Chase checking account to my Bank of America and Wells Fargo checking accounts. The transfers were initiated on chase.com.
by tortoise84
Fri Oct 20, 2023 7:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I trade in my BMW X5 for Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid Limited?
Replies: 48
Views: 5731

Re: Should I trade in my BMW X5 for Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid Limited?

I have a 2012 BMW 135i with 52,000 miles and a 2012 Audi A6 with 95,000 miles and love them, but I would not recommend owning one out of warranty unless you are able to DIY all the maintenance. They both need new shocks and an independent shop quoted $2,370 + shop supplies and tax to do them on the Audi. So instead, I bought the parts: BMW: $320 for Sachs shocks, Audi: $250 for Bilstein B4 shocks, and some tools (spring compressor, pass through sockets, etc.): $240. I already did the BMW in one weekend, and will do the Audi next. The BMW actually rode okay on the old shocks so you might think they were fine, but when I removed them and compressed them, they indeed did not extend back out so they were definitely shot with only 52,000 miles. ...
by tortoise84
Thu Oct 12, 2023 5:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Extra A/C for southside-facing room
Replies: 26
Views: 2595

Re: Extra A/C for southside-facing room

- The Midea U-Shaped window ACs are very quiet and energy efficient because they're variable speed inverter driven. I have 2 x 8,000 BTU units and my parents have one. But they only work in single or double hung windows that slide vertically. The 8,000 BTU unit was on sale for $250 before: https://www.amazon.com/Midea-Inverter-Conditioner-Flexibility-Installation/dp/B08677DCKN/ - There are ceiling mounted mini splits e.g. https://www.pioneerminisplit.com/collections/cyb https://www.pioneerminisplit.com/collections/cyk https://mrcool.com/diy-ceiling-cassette/ But they are more expensive than wall mount mini splits, which are still fairly expensive at around $1,000 + $1-2k installation. - Like others suggested, I tinted two South facing windo...
by tortoise84
Sun Oct 01, 2023 7:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency DEC 2023 UPDATE 13% reduced electric usage for full year
Replies: 61
Views: 9575

Re: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency SEPT 2023 UPDATE 14% reduced electric usage

I gifted my GF a MIdea U_shaped unit, and she replaced an ancient window unit with it. It cools most of her 1000 sq ft townhome. A second window unit kicks on during extreme periods. She says she is saving >$100/mo on her electric bill during the summer. And has for 3 seasons now. Inverter tech is awesome. My next whole house HVAC will use it. Yep these U-shaped inverter ACs are amazingly quiet and efficient. In fact, I just ordered a Midea 12,000 BTU inverter heat pump (not U-shaped) for Winter. Note that they only operate down to 41F, but that's fine for me in South Florida. https://www.amazon.com/Midea-Cooling-Inverter-Window-Conditioner/dp/B0B3NJGSKL/ I'll also definitely consider a variable speed inverter for when my central AC needs ...
by tortoise84
Sun Oct 01, 2023 7:24 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency DEC 2023 UPDATE 13% reduced electric usage for full year
Replies: 61
Views: 9575

Re: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency SEPT 2023 UPDATE 14% reduced electric usage

ekid wrote: Fri Sep 29, 2023 10:26 am " But I don't want to run the fan all the time because I measured it at 2.1 Amps or 500 Watts so it uses a fair bit of electricity on its own."

The air circulation alone is worth a lot in comfort...
Well I already have the two window ACs providing cooling and circulation in the rooms I use the most--the family room and master bedroom. They only use 100-800W each, or an average of 4-5 kWh/day each.

The central AC fan is just to circulate a bit of cooled air from the window ACs to the other rooms so that they don't get too hot, humid or stale. It's not for comfort because they are unused. Also, running the fan all day would use 12 kWh/day, which is more than the window ACs, but it's not even doing any air conditioning.
by tortoise84
Fri Sep 29, 2023 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency DEC 2023 UPDATE 13% reduced electric usage for full year
Replies: 61
Views: 9575

Re: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency SEPT 2023 UPDATE 14% reduced electric usage

SEPT 2023 UPDATE I'm now comparing 2023 window AC usage to 2020 central AC usage because from Aug 2021, my central AC started running low on refrigerant and I didn't recharge it until Aug 2023. May 2020 21.4 kWh/day Jun 2020 29.8 Jul 2020 31.2 Aug 2020 33.7 Sept 2020 31.3 Oct 2020 23.4 May 2023 19.0 -11.2% vs 2020 Jun 2023 22.2 -25.6% Jul 2023 28.9 -7.6% Aug 2023 30.0 -11.1% Sept 2023 25.7 -17.8% The total for May-Sept is around -14% for 2023 vs 2020. But there are now a few confounding variables: - I was also using a Toshiba 14,000 BTU inverter dual hose portable AC (rebranded Midea Duo) but it broke down. Luckily I bought an Asurion 4 yr extended warranty with it for $45, so they reimbursed me for the purchase price with a $300 Amazon gif...
by tortoise84
Wed Sep 27, 2023 6:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Picture Transfer : Laptop to iPhone
Replies: 9
Views: 1106

Re: Picture Transfer : Laptop to iPhone

Assuming this is a Windows laptop (otherwise on a Mac, it's very straightforward), I don't think you can copy from PC to iPhone via the cable without third party software. Instead, you can go to icloud.com on your PC's web browser, upload your pictures there, and they will automatically sync to your iPhone. Or you can get the iCloud app for Windows, then you'll have an 'iCloud Photos' folder on your PC that you can copy pictures to and they will automatically sync to your phone through the internet. Either method does not require connecting the iPhone via the cable.
by tortoise84
Tue Sep 26, 2023 12:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low cost cellular phone service plans
Replies: 52
Views: 6872

Re: Low cost cellular phone service plans

This website has some pretty nice comparisons of all eSIM options: https://esimdb.com/ Can anyone comment on the following eSIMs if they have used them? Mobimatter 35GB/365 days - this seems to have > 500ms latency which can be problematic: https://tinyurl.com/mm5mj3ts Mobimatter 25GB/365 days - this is a new option, not sure if it also has the latency problem: https://tinyurl.com/ya95nbxj Ubigi $9/month 5GB plan - this roams on T-Mobile 5G and seems to be a good low cost option: https://tinyurl.com/yx83z3k4 (need to scroll to the option) - requires minimum 3 months but probably have to be on it for 4 months since you need to cancel "after" 3 months I have the first one for 35GB through 3 Hong Kong. It connects to T-Mobile here i...
by tortoise84
Tue Sep 26, 2023 8:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: TV, Internet, and Phone Bill- Thoughts on Current Price and Suggestions to Lower Bill
Replies: 50
Views: 5785

Re: TV, Internet, and Phone Bill- Thoughts on Current Price and Suggestions to Lower Bill

For my internet I have Xfinity 90 Mbps for $30/mo, autopay from checking, 12 mo contract, and yes I do have to call/chat every 12 months to get the contract renewed but they have always done so, probably because there's also AT&T Fiber in my neighborhood. I use my own equipment: a $55 Arris SB6183 cable modem and a $50 TP-Link Archer A7 AC1750 Wi-Fi router. Both have been rock solid. I also put them on a UPS battery backup to prevent them from rebooting every time there is a power flicker. This not only prevents the minutes of lost connectivity every time the equipment reboots, but I have also found that unintentional reboots can cause problems with Wi-Fi devices not connecting even when the router comes back up. It seems like the confi...
by tortoise84
Fri Sep 08, 2023 7:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency DEC 2023 UPDATE 13% reduced electric usage for full year
Replies: 61
Views: 9575

Re: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency AUG 2023 UPDATE 30% reduced electric usage

I have two of those Midea U-shaped A/Cs, and their exterior air infiltration is very poor... this is despite spending A LOT of time prepping the window they were used in (high quality seals and weather-sealing tape and cutting the provided foam blocks perfectly. The air is infiltrating through the INSIDE of the unit as whatever they did to pass the coils from front to back is not well sealed so a very significant amount of cold air blows in during the winter even with the perimeter sealed tightly and a winter cover on the outside of the A/C. Which means that you're also losing a significant amount of cool inside air during the warm months due to air exfiltration. They are wonderfully quiet and cool nicely, but they leak air like a sieve ev...
by tortoise84
Tue Sep 05, 2023 11:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency DEC 2023 UPDATE 13% reduced electric usage for full year
Replies: 61
Views: 9575

Re: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency AUG 2023 UPDATE 30% reduced electric usage

I updated my electric usage numbers in the post above for the peak of Summer in August and they were down 30% compared to 2022, so these U shaped window ACs were definitely much more efficient than my central AC. I also got an EPA 608 Universal certificate for free from SkillCat so now I can DIY work on my central AC. I got some R-410a and gauges and when I hooked them up, I found my system was extremely low on refrigerant. 75 psi on the low side which equates to a saturation temp of 18F and the suction line temp was 82F so superheat was way too high at 64F. High side: 250 psi = Sat Temp 84F, liquid line temp 84F, subcooling 0F (it has a TXV). The air coming out of the vents was only around 74F. So I added some R-410a and brought the syste...
by tortoise84
Sun Sep 03, 2023 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Mesh WiFi Speeds
Replies: 53
Views: 6700

Re: Mesh WiFi Speeds

You can try moving the repeaters. Right now it appears that you have them on wireless backhaul which means that they communicate back to the main router via wireless so there needs to be a strong signal between them. Try placing the repeater at the midpoint between the main router and the outer wall of the room that you want to cover.

The alternative is to use a wired backhaul of a Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cable between the main router and each of the repeaters. In this case, the wireless signal strength back to the main router won't matter anymore, and you can place the extender anywhere in the room that you want coverage in.
by tortoise84
Fri Sep 01, 2023 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Europe eSIMs
Replies: 79
Views: 7508

Re: Europe eSIMs

I'm not traveling anywhere but my data plan with Xfinity Mobile is a bit expensive at $12/GB, so I signed up on MobiMatter for the 3 Hong Kong eSIM that serves US, CA, UK, AU, NZ. $40 for 35 GB and 365 days validity. https://mobimatter.com/travel-esim/3-us-ca-uk-au-nz-35-gb-esim I did get a fraud alert when I tried to pay with my Chase Amazon card because they bill you from the United Arab Emirates, but I just said it was okay and then tried again. I have an iPhone SE 2020. I just added the eSIM by scanning the QR code in the purchase email from MobiMatter. It connected to the T-Mobile network and everything seems to work fine. I did a speed test and it was 150 Mbps but with 300 msec latency because it appears to be routed through Hong Kong.
by tortoise84
Fri Sep 01, 2023 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Windows 10 upgrade to Windows 11 is Stuck?
Replies: 10
Views: 1381

Re: Windows 10 upgrade to Windows 11 is Stuck?

I had this issue on a Dell Vostro 5581 laptop. It got stuck on the progress screen when upgrading to Windows 11.

https://www.dell.com/support/kbdoc/en-v ... windows-11

It was due to an obscure driver for the Intel Integrated Sensor Hub that wasn't compatible with Win11. The temporary fix was to get to the recovery screen, boot into safe mode, then disable the Intel Integrated Sensor Hub in Device Manager. Then the proper fix was to update to the latest BIOS version. Then Windows 11 would boot like normal and the Intel Integrated Sensor Hub could be reenabled.

So make sure your BIOS and all your drivers are up to date before upgrading to Win11.
by tortoise84
Wed Aug 30, 2023 6:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency DEC 2023 UPDATE 13% reduced electric usage for full year
Replies: 61
Views: 9575

Re: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency AUG 2023 UPDATE 30% reduced electric usage

liberty53 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2023 4:00 pm Too funny - I did the exact same thing and got my 608 universal last month from that app as well. Was able to top off my 410a system and plan on keeping it topped off until the R-454 residential air sourced heat pumps are more readily available. Either that or I will find the leak and fix it.
Yep that's my plan as well. I'm already starting to research how to DIY install a variable speed inverter heat pump to save a bunch of money.
by tortoise84
Wed Aug 30, 2023 6:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency DEC 2023 UPDATE 13% reduced electric usage for full year
Replies: 61
Views: 9575

Re: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency AUG 2023 UPDATE 30% reduced electric usage

"I'll probably use my central AC to supplement the window ACs now that it is working effectively again." I have a 3 year old Midea (well, just starting its 3rd season) Is it better to use it as primary? it's only 8k BTU; it'd likely work on high speed mostly... Yes I'm still using my 8000 BTU U-shaped window AC as primary, but I have actually had a few days when it could barely keep up in my ~550 sq ft master bedroom/bath. Like this day when it was reading 104F outside, but I think that's hotter than actual because it's in the sun and the heat from the condenser and compressor may have been feeding back to the temp sensor. It was running at full speed drawing 800W, and condensation was even overflowing out the back. That's why I ...
by tortoise84
Wed Aug 30, 2023 5:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency DEC 2023 UPDATE 13% reduced electric usage for full year
Replies: 61
Views: 9575

Re: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency AUG 2023 UPDATE 30% reduced electric usage

I’m really enjoying reading your posts and updates; thanks for posting them. I’ve been saying for some time if ever need to replace my AC again I might just go to mini splits around the house as they seem more efficient. I have lived in my west coast FL house for 26 years and just had the highest electric bill ever not just cost wise but consumption wise of which most is AC use. Glad someone found it useful. Yes I think mini splits are good because most of them are variable speed inverter driven, so they can ramp up and down for better efficiency. They also avoid the cooling losses through ductwork, especially if the ducts are in a hot attic in unconditioned space. But have you also checked if your AC is low on charge and not operating eff...
by tortoise84
Wed Aug 30, 2023 9:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency DEC 2023 UPDATE 13% reduced electric usage for full year
Replies: 61
Views: 9575

Re: Using window air conditioners to improve HVAC efficiency AUG 2023 UPDATE 30% reduced electric usage

I updated my electric usage numbers in the post above for the peak of Summer in August and they were down 30% compared to 2022, so these U shaped window ACs were definitely much more efficient than my central AC. I also got an EPA 608 Universal certificate for free from SkillCat so now I can DIY work on my central AC. I got some R-410a and gauges and when I hooked them up, I found my system was extremely low on refrigerant. 75 psi on the low side which equates to a saturation temp of 18F and the suction line temp was 82F so superheat was way too high at 64F. High side: 250 psi = Sat Temp 84F, liquid line temp 84F, subcooling 0F (it has a TXV). The air coming out of the vents was only around 74F. So I added some R-410a and brought the system...
by tortoise84
Wed Aug 23, 2023 6:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Attic Insulation benefits.
Replies: 115
Views: 13254

Re: Attic Insulation benefits.

Thanks for the pics. That attic looks very similar to ours. I'm assuming you were supplementing here? What did you have in place originally and what R did you bring it up to? If I were to go the cellulose route, the thing I would need to figure out is how to dam off some of the soffit vent/overhang areas. As well as this one steep area that leads down to the front entrance of the house where there's a covered patio and light. It's pretty steep and steeper than the picture makes it out to look: In the 15 years since my house was built, the original cellulose had settled or got blown away to around 6". Plus I moved a lot of it off the catwalks, top plates and lights when I did the radiant barrier, duct insulation and air sealing. So I a...
by tortoise84
Tue Aug 22, 2023 4:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Attic Insulation benefits.
Replies: 115
Views: 13254

Re: Attic Insulation benefits.

Was it more economical for you to buy the rolls vs batts? Did you cut them up into batts or keep them rolled out in a continuous line? The rolls were cheaper and also easier to fit in my car (a sedan) and through my attic hatch which is only around 22"x36". They were also Kraft faced so I had to peel that off but it wasn't too hard. The catwalks run perpendicular to the joist bays so the width of the insulation doesn't matter. This is the insulation I used: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Johns-Manville-R-13-Kraft-Faced-Fiberglass-Insulation-Roll-15-in-x-32-ft-B1284/100317834 Since each roll is 32 ft long, that was pretty much enough to cover one catwalk in a continuous roll, but sometimes I still cut them to fit around truss members...
by tortoise84
Fri Aug 18, 2023 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Attic Insulation benefits.
Replies: 115
Views: 13254

Re: Attic Insulation benefits.

jplee3 wrote: Fri Aug 18, 2023 2:17 pm Hey that's a really clever idea! Do you find the cellulose spilling over and making a mess onto the catwalk when having to pull up the batts to access it? Or did you put up some plywood/foamboard "dams" to keep the cellulose off the plywood?
The fiberglass rolls are 15" wide, so they are much wider than the 7" catwalks and keep the cellulose far enough away that it doesn't spill onto the catwalks.
by tortoise84
Fri Aug 18, 2023 1:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Attic Insulation benefits.
Replies: 115
Views: 13254

Re: Attic Insulation benefits.

The one thing I really don't like about the blown-in is not easily being able to navigate up there afterwards. We could build out a catwalk or extra scaffolding or something but that just feels like to much additional effort/work at this point (and that would add into the overall cost of doing blown-in as well). I would just want to supplement what's up there with something relatively easy to work with AND that would allow/provision for an easier time finding the joists to walk on. Seems like batts would fall into this category. I have a 40'x40' truss attic and the builder put in six catwalks perpendicular to the trusses, each made of two pieces of 2x4 laid flat on the bottom chords of the trusses. Since the trusses are also made of 2x4, t...
by tortoise84
Sat Aug 12, 2023 2:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Downsides to AFCI Circuit Breaker?
Replies: 15
Views: 3292

Re: Downsides to AFCI Circuit Breaker?

The main downside is nuisance tripping. Funnily enough I am retrofitting AFCIs this weekend because I have some window and portable ACs that draw a heavy load and I want to protect them and the wiring. It can done at the breaker, or in some cases at the first outlet but this won't protect the upstream home run against parallel arcs. You can also get AFCI on its own, or dual function AFCI/GFCI. Here are some things I found: - The ACs trip the GFCI part of a Leviton dual function AFCI/GFCI outlet because the ACs already have Leakage Current Detection and Interruption (LCDI) built into the plug. I then tried the ACs on a Leviton AFCI only outlet temporarily via an extension cord and they were fine, so I installed an Eaton BRN115AFCS AFCI only ...
by tortoise84
Wed Aug 09, 2023 12:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: PC Device Manager--Disable or Uninstall Devices
Replies: 2
Views: 358

Re: PC Device Manager--Disable or Uninstall Devices

They look like motherboard or chipset components that are missing drivers. SM Bus is the System Management Bus used for monitoring of voltages and temps. USB 2.0-CRW sounds like a SD card reader. The PC as a whole will still function without those drivers but obviously those components will not work. If the computer is from a major manufacturer like Dell, HP or Lenovo, you can look for the drivers on their website. If not, then you can look for drivers from the motherboard manufacturer, or you can generic ones from Intel or AMD that have not been customized for your specific motherboard. For Intel it's the Intel Management Engine Drivers but beware that there are different versions for different processor generations so make sure you get th...