Stop at Stop Signs, and record, under 1TB

The third time’s the charm. After over a week of trying to get the Tesla DashCam to work, a USB Stick arrived yesterday. After again formatting with a GUID Partition Table, a FAT32 file system, and adding the /TeslaCam directory, I plugged it into #CO2Fre.

USB Stick
Installed a USB Stick with GUID Partition Map, FAT32 drive format and /TeslaCam in its root folder.It worked! © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

When I then looked at the screen, lo and behold, the DashCam was restored!

DashCam Restored
The TeslaCam is back! The USB Stick did the trick © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

But that wasn’t all! Turns out I also got the 2020.12.6 TeslaOS. Eager to install, I hit the install now button because I knew this update would be adding auto-stop at stop signs and stop lights. The quirk with the update is that it will even stop at green lights, so if you want it to keep going you need to keep your foot on the accelerator to get it to run the green light. It’s probably okay, though, to let it stop on yellow or red. Also, it won’t turn for you; to do that, you need to take control of the wheel.

Finally, once that was installed and Stop at Traffic Lights was activated, I decided to have another go with my 2TB SanDisk Extreme SSD. Because it was also formatted properly and had the same directory structure as the USB Stick, I had a hunch it was because the drive was a whopping 2TB that the Tesla couldn’t recognize it.

With a little work, I re-formatted the drive as GUID, with one FAT32 partition with 996GB and another 1TB of free space. After adding the /TeslaCam directory, it worked like a charm!

In conclusion, although the 2TB SanDisk Extreme SSD drive works with Tesla, Tesla cannot understand drives above at least 1TB. This seems like a failing of the TeslaOS, but one I can live with. After all, my long-term plan is to have a Raspberry Pi Zero W installed and use the 2TB drive for portable backups.

Now that I have my DashCam back, and have the automatic stopping at stop signs, I can’t wait to take #CO2Fre for a spin. I hope to be cruising on a cloud soon!

DashCam Fail Code

TeslaCam, Tesla Can’t, 2.0

I really wanted to have my DashCam fixed by today. I really did. But then the hypochondriac got involved, called Tesla, and have them tell me some least common denominator information information that they wouldn’t accept there was a problem with my Tesla unless I tested it with a USB Key [sic]. As I didn’t have any USB Sticks handy, I ordered one that was Tesla branded, as well as a faster, High Endurance MicroSD Card and new adaptor.

The USB Stick won’t arrive until later in the week but the flimsy excuse from the hypochondriac threatened to call the police if I didn’t cancel my service request and wait for my USB Stick order to arrive. She said some lawn care folks would be here today but of course they didn’t come, so I ended up cancelling my appointment for nothing.

However, not wanting to give up, I got my MicroSD Card and tried it in #CO2Fre. It was formatted as exFAT so I formatted it as FAT32 and plugged it into #CO2Fre. Nothing.

I did some more research and realized that most drives come formatted with an MBR to allocate its partitions. I pulled the SanDisk Extreme SDD #CO2Fre and it too had an MBR. Since Tesla recommends using a GUID Partition Table, I opened up DiskUtility and reformatted the entire drive with a GUID Partition Table and a FAT32 File System.

GUID Drive
This is what DiskUtility shows for the SanDisk Extreme SDD 2TB Drive. Under the heading, you can clearly see the drive is formatted as a GUID Partition Map, as requested by Tesla

This went quickly and in the end I had the system correctly formatted as per Tesla’s specifications. The drive was formatted with 2TB of free space.

FAT32 Partition
This is what DiskUtility shows for the one partition on my SanDisk. The Partition is called TESLACAM as FAT32 only supports uppercase names. Below that, you can see the format is indeed FAT32, as requested by Tesla

Finally, I added the TeslaCam folder.

Drive Contains TeslaCam Folder
This is the root folder of the SanDisk drive. You can clearly see a TeslaCam folder in the root, as required by Tesla

With the drive reconfigured to Tesla’s specifications, I donned the rubber gloves and tried the SanDisk SDD in #CO2Fre. Finally, I got a camera in the toolbar. Only there was an X on the Camera and a warning label. When I clicked the warning, #CO2Fre gave me a mysterious UI_a078 error,

DashCam Fail Code
Despite doing everything right, using an externally verified SanDisk Extreme SDD with a GUID Partition Map and a FAT32 filesystem with a TeslaCam folder, this is what #CO2Fre tells me. I was unable to verify what the UI_a078 message means and more conversations with Tesla recommend I schedule another appointment

Because the hypochondriac doesn’t want them to come to my house to fix #CO2Fre, she insisted I call Tesla’s tech support. I reiterated the issue to the support staff, including the note about UI_a078, and told him about my problems obtaining a USB Stick, and he recommended I make a new appointment as the Tesla Mobile Team Member would have a USB Stick he or she could use to test the USB ports of #CO2Fre.

Of course, the hypochondriac vetoed this idea and instead she ordered a couple, cheap USB Stick that should get here by Sunday. If they don’t work, I may be able to get support to come out next week to help me finally resolve this most vexing issue.

Alas, until then, I won’t be cruising on the cloud.

Happy 50 Years of Earth Day

Today we celebrate fifty years of our beloved planet Earth; it’s Earth Day. Many celebrations are occuring today to celebrate half a century of environmental movements and cherishing a planet we’ve taken for granted in our 100,000 years of evolution. Even the Sierra Club is celebrating in tandem with the the Electric Auto Association and Plug-In America with a live Facebook event earlier today.

Now, as you may remember, I was giving a demonstration of #CO2Fre on Saturday with Drive Electric RVA. Unfortunately, we didn’t even get a dozen folks to watch #CO2Fre go from 0–70 practically in the blink of an eye and show you all the cool features of my ride—sans Summon or my DashCam.

Happy Earth Day, y’all and hope someday soon you can cruise upon a cloud with me in person!

TeslaCam, Tesla Can’t

I haven’t been able to use the TeslaCam since 27 July 2019. That’s because, around TeslaOS 2019.28.1, Tesla broke most USB Sticks used for Dashcam functionality, because, it claimed, they were too slow.

Not having a DashCam and having such a mysterious and incomprehensible error—my USB stick was fast enough—I was afraid to buy a new USB stick to see if I could get it working again. For months I dithered on the issue, totally unsure what Tesla wanted, and wanting so badly not to waste money on a device that would fail with Tesla.

Compound that with, in December, 2019, thanks to an AutoPilot, #CO2Fre failed to stop when a vehicle with California plates cut me off by jumping into the exit lane ahead of me at the last minute, causing $4,000 worth of damage I can’t remotely afford to pay. The scratches, therefore, remain to this day. And as no solace, I don’t even have the Dashcam video to go over the details even if I wanted to make an Insurance claim. So, I have scratches but still no Dashcam.

Then TeslaOS 2020.12.5 came out, which added support for watching Dashcam videos within #CO2Fre. Since I had the time off thanks to Covidapolis, I decided to try again with the Dashcam, and found this neat video:

Thanks to that video I decided to buy a 2TB SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD drive, a SamSung SXDC UHS-I EVO Select Card, and a Raspberry Pi Zero W.

I didn’t have access to my car because of the hypochondriac until the day of my #CO2Fre demo. I plugged in the SanDisk drive with its USB-C to USB-A adaptor and… nothing. I had the drive plugged in, but no camera was showing, and I couldn’t show off any of the Dashcam features during my entire presentation, including Dashcam footage of the speed test on the main screen after I parked, despite having the drive plugged in. The demo still went well, but I’m annoyed how hard I tried to get this working and still failed.

No Camera Icon
Sometimes the Camera with an X appears, but usually there’s no camera icon whatsoever, as can be seen here. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

Afterwards, I tried to play around some more. Doing so requires me to go through decontamination because, for some reason, the hypochondriac thinks #CO2Fre has SARS-CoV-2. Meaning, I have to keep changing my clothes every time I go to the car because sitting in my car contaminates my clothes.

The drive was exFAT, so I reformatted it as FAT32. The drive did flash on the screen after some cord giggling, but it said it wasn’t formatted properly despite having the TeslaCam folder and being named TeslaCam. Since I’ve read that Tesla supports exFAT, I formatted it back as that, and it sits now, unable to connect.

2TB SanDisk
I have a 2TB SanDisk Solid-State Drive USB 3.1 compatible 10GB/s Drive plugging into #CO2Fre with a USB-C connector and a USB-C to USB-A adaptor hooked into #CO2Fre, yet #CO2Fre can’t see it! © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

I also tried my MicroSD chip with an adaptor. Originally, the chip was supposed to be part of the Raspberry Pi, but I wanted to test to see if it could be used as the TeslaCam directly. No dice. I’d hook up the Raspberry Pi and try with that, but I have to finish updating my Résumé and fix my broken Zone File updater for Reston Writers first. I just have too much going on to worry about going any further with this nightmare of Tesla‘s.

The way I see it, the drive works in a PC, the drive works in a Mac, it just doesn’t work in #CO2Fre. When you’ve tried everything else, the simple answer it so blame Tesla. So, I made a Mobile Service Request and they should be here Friday morning.

Why must Tesla make this so hard!?!?

In any case, unless I find another set of clothes to wear, even without my Dashcam, I shall very much miss cruising on a cloud.

Join Me Today to see #CO2Fre in Cyberspace

I’m excited to show off #CO2Fre to all of you today on Zoom. My friend Charles Gerena has organized an exciting event where I will be lecturing on the advantages of EV ownership and my love for cruising on a cloud.

I love showing off #CO2Fre for Drive Electric Week and I love working with Charles. Each year, Charles organizes an EV Event in Richmond during the main session of the General Assembly of Virginia and 2020 was no exception. I was down there on Tuesday, 14 January showing of #CO2Fre to everyone who cared to stop by.

I was very happy to give a ride to Delegate Joshua G. Cole that day. He is someone we’ve been following for years, hoping to see him in office. I was so happy when he was finally, fairly elected to represent Fredericksburg. VA. He’s also a great singer!

2020 RVA Drive Electric Day in Richmond
On Tuesday, 14 January, 2020, I was back in Richmond to show off #CO2Fre to the various staff, Lobbyists, and of course, when opportunity arose, Delegates and Senators. 2020 was no exception and this year I gave a ride to none other than Del. Joshua Cole from Fredericksburg! He’s someone we have been fighting to get into office for years and it was so great to see him on his first year serving us as Delegate!

I was so happy to give Joshua a ride in #CO2Fre that day. That day was bright and sunny and although this day has started out with dreary rain, I’m hoping to have better weather when I show you around #CO2Fre and show you what #CO2Fre can do!

Join us on meetup and follow our Facebook event for updates and a video of our event, to be posted after we finish.

I look forward to cruising on a cloud with y’all, today.

Electric Cars from near and far

At today’s EVA/DC meeting, we used Zoom to connect with our fellow Electric Car enthusiasts both news and old. I’ve been part of the EVA/DC for ten years and there have been many friends I’ve made through my time there. It was great seeing so many longtime friends once again thanks to the EVA/DC Zoom chat.

Some on Facebook complained that using Zoom for the EVA/DC meetings was insecure. But, as I’m literally a professional white hat hacker, I knew all too well the early and unfounded FUD against Zoom and what it is and is not appropriate for, and how it’s improved. Though I’ve written about it at length, the short answer is: secure enough for EVA/DC, not secure enough for COMSEC TS/NOFORN. Nobody is talking about issues of national security, so please, come join us on Zoom!

My good friend and fellow Eclipse enthusiast, Scott Wilson, shared with us an invitation to the Drive Electric Earth Day event with Plug-In America. The Drive Electric Earth Day Tribute: EVs Making a Difference will occur on 22 April, at 14:00 EDT / 11:00 PDT. You can RSVP here. I should put a disclaimer here that I have asked to be nominated for Plug-In America’s Drive Electric Awards this year, but to be honest, I don’t think anyone nominated me so no worries about a conflict of interest.

Then my longtime friend Eric Cardwell in Tennessee showed us his burgeoning Drive Electric Tennessee page and his new logo. Of course, we wish him well and hope when he’s got it set up to maybe attend one of his meeting on Zoom. Your logo’s looking sharp, my friend!

But the pièce de résistance has to be seeing my longtime friend and first Smart Electric Drive (Smart ED) owner in the US, LTC Mindy Kimball. She shared with us this classic clip from Dan Rather Reports.

Brava Mindy! Was wonderful seeing you again and getting a glimpse of this blast from the past. And you know, though it’s not exactly the same Smart ED owner, her current Smart ED is now driven by the young man in the videos. Look how far we’ve come!

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t invite all of you to join me this Saturday on Secure Zoom where I will be presenting #CO2Fre. Please, come cruise the cloud with me.

An Electric Ford Model T?

My good friend Charles Gerena is organizing a special Zoom event on Meetup where we get to meet the owner of a Ford Model T. Now, if you know anything about the old Ford cars, their engines were only built for about 25,000 miles. After that, you’d have to rebuild the engine, replacing worn parts from a very limited supply, and build it back up again for the next 25,000 miles. As I do almost 25,000 a year in #CO2Fre, that’s not much driving for me at all.

So, why, you may ask, am I promoting a Model T Meetup? Simply put, this is no ordinary Model T—this Model T has been electrified! Today, we are going to learn how the owner converted his classic Model T into an electric car, complete with batteries and electric motor. I hope you can join us!

1914 Model T Hack
Electric Cars aren’t always OEM, sometimes they’re converted. Here in Virginia, someone has converted a Ford Model T into an electric car!

Although I’ll not be cruising on my cloud to get there, hope to see you today at 14:00 EDT!

TeslaOS 2020.12.5, or so I’m told

Thursday, I was so busy with updating my Science Book Club book nominations list, which I will discuss Friday, that I forgot to transmit this piece on time. I have, however, fixed the release date to correspond to when it was relevant.

That out of the way, I am very excited about TeslaOS 2020.12.5. Well, I would be if I could access #CO2Fre. Unfortunately, I am disallowed from entering #CO2Fre because of fears that, after the scam service from last week because someone things everything in the world has SARS-CoV-2.

One thing I hear is that you can now view your Dash Cam on the big screen. So, what? I’ve been struggling to find the right and reliable USB storage device that can allow me to sync my recordings to my capacious Google Drive but am completed paralyzed when it comes to finding a replacement for my original, failed device that stopped working many months ago. I just wish there was an out-of-the-box solution that didn’t require external DC Power.

And I still haven’t figured out what Game Controller to get. If only there was an official list of supported devices.

As for actually stopping at Stop Signs and Stop Lights, that’s yet to be seen. I’ve not seen it mentioned on any sites about TeslaOS 2020.12.5, so I’m dubious it has that.

But, I guess I’ll find out next week.

All this is bad enough it it weren’t for the fact that I was originally scheduled to give a demonstration of my Tesla #P㆔D and all the new capabilities of the vehicle this weekend with the RVA Electric Vehicle association meetup on Saturday. I’m really hoping to switch this to next week as if we hold it on Saturday, I will be presenting #CO2Fre without #CO2Fre!

But at least there’s TeslaOS 2020.12.5, in theory.

TeslaOS 2020.12.5
Apparently, #CO2Fre is now running TeslaOS 2020.12.5. Unfortunately, I have no way of verifying this in the automobile or see what’s in the update as I’m prohibited from entering my vehicle until next Saturday because of unfounded fear of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Still waiting to return to cruising on a cloud…

#CO2Fre come Home

Last week I mentioned my struggles about eliminating the squeak from #CO2Fre. Then, of course, I was forced into a one-room cell as a hypochondriac put me into lockdown. On Sunday, I was released. I would say I finally had a clean bill of health but the truth is I was always healthy and just had to deal with irrationality. But that’s yesterday’s story and today I want to talk about how I wanted to finally pick up #CO2Fre… and couldn’t.

I got a ride to the Tyson’s Corner Service Center and used the Tesla app to find #CO2Fre. She was parked in the back, against the side of the building. I had to open it with my ancient iPhone 5S. We sanitized #CO2Fre and then my ride left. There was a large Tesla Model X in front of her. Much as I try to inch her out of the space, I can’t do it. I get within a couple centimeters of the car next to me only to have to give up as impossible.

Trapped #CO2Fre
#CO2Fre is trapped at the Tyco Blvd Tesla Dealership. Her service plan was agreed to, her repairs made, but she couldn’t escape the clutches of Tesla. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs.

I scanned the QR Code and indicated I was there for pickup. I also called Tesla and left a message. I told them I couldn’t move #CO2Fre and my key wasn’t inside. Then I asked my ride to return as I waited for the callback that never came. I figured it wouldn’t because it was Sunday, but then it never came on Monday either, so I was rather distressed.

Finally, I called them on Monday and they agreed to move #CO2Fre to an accessible area where I could pick her up Tuesday morning before opening. They also arranged where I could pick up the key. I just hope my ride wakes up in time. After all, she was also my jailer…

#CO2Fre Moved
#CO2Fre was moved on Monday to a location where she could be safely retrieved and finally come home.

Hopefully soon, I can get back to cruising on a cloud.

Tesla tried to bankrupt me during Covidapolis

Recall back at the beginning of the month, I had to deal with a nearly $2,000 tyre bill from Tesla? Well, that’s not the end of the story…

After I got #CO2Fre back from Tesla, my coworker and I noticed some squeaking sounds as I would drive the car at low speeds, making turns under humid conditions. So, I made the soonest appointment available to both me and Tesla, which was today, 31 March, 2020, which is therefore going to be the topic of my 50th day in of quotidian postings.

Of course, then SARS-CoV-2 happened, and all the crazy things that came with it. I haven’t left the house since my job went to 100% telework apart from a couple outings to the grocery story and stroll inside my housing community. So, when Tesla reminded me of my appointment, it wasn’t so much that I was eager to get out (at least I don’t have to fear a physical abuser) as I was eager to finally get this over with in terms of having to deal with Tesla and a potential fault in their repair.

I got up early this morning, ready to head over to Tesla. I was, alas, so tired, I ended up locking my CAC Card. The details aren’t important, but I will just add that resetting it required a long drive to work and a long drive back just to restore access. But that had to wait until after I dropped #CO2Fre off.

Anyway, I got in #CO2Fre and noticed a software update. Not wanting to delay my appointment at the Tyson’s Corner Service Center, I headed straight over and initiated the update as I arrived.

Arrived at Tesla, March 2020
I arrived at Tesla a little past 08:00 for my schedule appointment to resolve a squeaking in my steering and suspension, mainly observed in highly humid weather. What are those signs, covering the windows? © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs.

I arrived at Tesla a little after my 08:00 appointment and spotted some interesting signs on the windows. After waiting a bit for folks to pass, keeping a social distance from anyone, I made my way over to the door.

Use the QRCode to Login
Sorry this picture is blurry as I took it from inside a ziplock bag. But you can see the notes on the windows advising customers to scan the QR Code and fill out the form to register their arrival. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

The signed contains a QR Code that I could scan with my phone in order to check into my appointment. I scanned the code and opened the web page associated with it. The page contained a list of questions: who I was, why I was there, and did I have an appointment. I filled it out and got a message saying I should wait for a call to confirm my appointment.

Tesla Service Registration Complete
Registration for service was easy as cake. Just fill in your name and your reason and if you have an appointment and they’ll call you when they’re ready.

I went back to #CO2Fre; the software was still updating. I got the call and we agreed to leave the car where it was. I got some Uber credits but had a ride home already and so used that to get home, then get a ride to work to fix my CAC, and then back home again. Phew.

Then I got a text from Tesla saying they sent me over an estimate and said I needed to replace some tyres. Are you freaking kidding me!? Didn’t I just drop almost $2,000 on tyres at the beginning of the month!?

Needless to say, I was not amused.

Tesla Service Estimate, Inflated Estimate, March 2020
When I got this in my mail, I was shocked. I took the car in, after waiting 3 weeks for a follow appointment to the tyre replacement at the beginning of March, to resolve a squeaking issue with my tyres and front suspension. I thought it’s be just, at most, $100 to do the diagnosis, only to be sent this behemoth of a bill for just over $2,000. Having just paid almost that amount at the beginning of the month and facing a 1 week suspension in addition to docked pay, I could never in a million years afford this estimate and I complained to Tesla until I was blue in the face. Not shown is the $84 in tax and the total of $2,043.75. Oy, gevalt!

Looking over the estimate I saw they recommended replacing all four tyres! Seriously? I had just replaced two rims at the beginning of the month, but, as I looked over my meticulous history of tyre replacements, it turns out I replaced a tyre just three months ago on 3 January 2020, and another on 4 November 2019. Both tyres were relatively new and there could be no possible way they could both be so worn to need replacing. It was bad enough the other two tyres were April and May of last year, but some of the tyres were less than six months old!

Looking over the costs, not only were they charging me for four tyres, but they were also charging me for a $160 Tyre Setting and a $302.25 Tyre Alignment, for a total of $1946.25 in tyre repairs! That would have been a total of $9,647.95 on tyres for 42,695 miles of driving over 19½ months!

It took a number of texts for me to get through to Tesla. I was quite frank. I didn’t agree to any tyre replacement and demanded they generate a new invoice for me without the tyre replacements. Furthermore, if they though my tyres were showing wear, I demanded they show my the tread depth to prove they had wear given one tyre was just three months old, and another only five. Thankfully, the obliged.

Tesla Service Estimate, without Tyres, March 2020
After many irate texts, they agreed to remove the tyres from the invoice which made it a manageable $97.50. I did ask them for Tread Depth readings though, just to verify that maybe some of the tyres needed replacing.

The new invoice was quite reasonable. Less than $100 for a diagnostic check which so far turned up nothing. I agreed to that and then my service advisor sent me photos of the tyres with the tread measurements.

Clearly, two tyres were at around 8/32 inch depth, which is pretty nearly as good as new. The other two hovered around 5/32 and I agreed they probably should be replaced. I therefore agreed to a new invoice where only those two more worn tyres would be replaced. Tesla kindly obliged.

Tesla Service Estimate (Revised), March 2020
This is the revised service estimate for the two low-tread 5/38 depth tyre replacements. Not included is the $42 tax, which was the perfect answer to this issue, for a total of $939.50.

Although the cost jumped to nearly $1,000, I agreed to it as the best course of action. They dropped the wheel setting and alignment which also lowered the cost quite a bit. I’m hoping I can get the alignment done elsewhere when the Covidapolis is over. It still brings my total lifetime tyre costs to $8543.70, with seven tyres and seven rims, but it’s much better than $9,647.95!

Plus, I got a software update.

Tesla OS 2020.12.1
The morning of my drop-off I noticed there was a software update. I set it going when I got to the dealership and it was done by the time I got home.

I’m not happy that it will take me a month an a half to pay for this repair as I sink further into debt, but mainly I miss driving #CO2Fre. Die SARS-CoV-2, die!

Until next time, I’ll be cruising on a cloud.