Monthly Archives: April 2024

Easter road trip to Brisvegas

I took a road trip to Brisbane over the Easter holidays. It was a good chance to try out my new BYD Seal Premium.

I drove from the Mid North Coast to North Boambee Valley (near Coffs Harbour) and charged at the Chargefox there behind the Gloria Jeans shop.

It took a couple of goes to squeeze next to another car which was already charging and finding the best way to park so that the charge cable could reach my car, but I got there in the end (after 5-6 mins). I had to scan my Chargefox card about 6 times as it kept saying “Invalid card” and it got me to unplug the charger. I plugged it in again and scanned my card again and this time it worked! It started charging at about 122kWh which was acceptable. While it charged I grabbed a coffee and sat for a bit at the shop. When I got back to the car after about 25 mins there was a guy (Phil?) who had just pulled in with his BYD Atto car. There were no charging spots left so I had a quick chat with him and let him know I was just about done charging. He said he was doing the same as me. He had left Port Macquarie and stopped at Coffs to charge, then was going to charge at Byron Bay Wildlife Sanctuary which was also my next stop. Not that I had to charge there but I was taking a nice, easy drive and trying things out. I said goodbye and hit the road again.

I got Waze to take me to the Sanctuary. However, being Waze, it often does not get the address correct. I do not know why because Google Maps has the correct address every time and Google owns both apps. Waze took me past the Sanctuary exit, up the road a few kms and off the motorway, around and back down on the motorway going south again?? Then, when I got back to where I previously was it said “You have reached your destination” — in the middle of the motorway where there’s no turnoff. I kept going further south and followed the offramp to the Sanctuary with Google Maps this time.

I got to the Sanctuary and plugged my car into the Tesla Supercharger, opened the app and selected my charger. Nothing happened. I tried a few more times and tried unplugging and re-plugging the charger, but still nothing. Then I realised there was a button saying “Update billing information”. Hmm. I clicked it and it wanted me to type in my home address.

Now, I’ve had the Tesla app for a few years since I have a Tesla Powerwall battery and it has my home address in my Profile in this app, but it also wanted the address again in the Billing Information section. Well, the only problem with that is for some reason it had locked my Billing Region to New Zealand!! I could not change it. The dropdown box for the Country was set to NZ and greyed out. I tried several ways to try to get it to work, but it was no good. I ended up phoning Tesla Support and got through to a Support guy and explained the issue, but he wasn’t sure what to do even after looking at my account. He said he’d have to ring me back — after I’d been on hold a couple of times already.

I realised I didn’t have a lot of time to wait and did not know when he could be calling back so unplugged the charger and headed off for Byron Bay town to go to a slow (50 kWh) Chargefox charger. After about 8 mins driving the Tesla Support guy got back to me and I had to find a place to pull over the car to use my app. We found that you cannot change anything in the app but you have to log onto the Tesla website. So I did that, but could not find anywhere there to update anything. It turns out you have to type in and go to that page and now you can change your Region to Australia! Woo! I did that and both the webpage and Support guy told me the change could take 1 hour to update. I thanked him for helping me and ended the call.

I opened the Tesla app and checked the Billing Info section and it now allowed me to set Australia for the region and enter my home address correctly. I drove back to the Sanctuary and plugged in then tapped Start Charge. There is very little cell tower signal even on Telstra at the Sanctuary but after a bit I got it to start, so I locked up the car and went into the cafe to have some lunch while I waited. It started at about 57 kWh and made it up to about 75 kWh at one stage. I only stayed for about 35 mins to charge to 80% and headed off again, happy things are now all working successfully.

Friday 29th April

I drove to Gasworks Plaza and plugged the car into the Evie charger and headed off to find breakfast. I had bacon and eggs and a coffee while I waited for the car to charge. I decided to give it a 1 hour charge which was up to about 97% and it delivered about 50 kW the whole time, which was nice.

We then went down to the Gold Coast and visited Skypoint for lunch. It was lovely to look at the Gold Coast from 77 stories above. After that, we headed to Game Over for some Go-Karting. I drove very aggressively and overtook everyone a couple of times to come out on top. I did 14 laps while the others only managed 12 or less in the same time!

From there we went back down the coast again to Infinity. It’s a fun visual spectacular experience. You put on shoe-socks to preserve the floors inside and white gloves — both shoes and gloves with glowing stripes. You walk through in the dark and there’s mirrored walls which makes you a bit disoriented as well as laser lights and claustrophobia-inducing dark rooms with bouncy rubber floors. It was so much fun and crazy inside. After that, we headed home and had some Pizza Capers pizza for dinner.

Saturday 30th March

I took the car to the Indooroopilly shopping centre to get charged up. I drove around, in and out of the car park half a dozen times before I found the Evie chargers. They also apparently have Tesla Superchargers there somewhere but I didn’t see them and Plugshare says they are for Teslas only but a few people with other cars have checked into them. I think perhaps they really used the Evie chargers and accidentally checked-in on the Tesla chargers section. I think the main reason I could not find the Tesla chargers is the app notes say to go straight ahead when you enter the car park but this was blocked off with a DETOUR sign so I could not follow the directions. At any rate, when I finally found the Evie chargers I was driving in a lane next to them and there were cars in all spots, but by the time I went out and back around the road to come in again one of them was now vacant. I plugged in and started my charge. Next to me was an ICE car taking up an Evie charger spot, preventing people who really needed it from using it. The shopping centre has a camera which scans your license plate when you enter so it knows how long you’ve been there. With all my going out and in again it popped up with a message saying “Returning to the car park counts as we accumulate your visits for a day to total up the amount of time you have been here”. I guess some people stay for the free 3 hours then drive out and back in again for another 3 or so.

I went into the shops and got my coffee and a chocolate eclair while I waited for the charging to be done. Once it was ready I drove up to the 4th floor to park and go to the cinema to see Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. I went to Gold Class and had ordered my food online so just had to get my seat. They brought so much food for the “Me time” bundle that I could not finish it all! Maybe 8-10 chicken wings (supposedly fire hot spicy but not even a little), fries, two mini beef sliders, a large popcorn, beer and a choc top icecream. I had to leave nearly all the popcorn and a coke I had ordered. The movie was okay but not as good as the previous one or the original two. After that I was heading back to the hotel and I got a call from my daughter to pick her and her friend up so I got them from the sushi place in Elizabeth St and headed back to the hotel. I was so full I didn’t have any dinner that night.

Sunday 31st March

I took this one easy since I’d been out so much. I didn’t go out of the hotel until around 12pm. I headed towards Ipswich where a friend lives (Hi Mr T!!) and grabbed some Oporto on the way. Sooo good! I spent a couple hours there and he also nicely tested my battery which he says is good. On the way home I popped into Mt Ommaney shops and got a new belt then headed back to the hotel. I bought a tub of Connoisseur Belgian icecream. Yummo!

Saturday 6th April

Took the car back to the Gasworks Plaza to charge up, ready for the trip home on Sunday.

Sunday 7th April

Drove the car from Spring Hill, QLD to Mt Gravatt Westfield for breakfast, then on to Coffs Harbour (technically North Boambee) and plugged into the Chargefox charger again. I decided to skip the Byron Bay stop as we had enough charge. Left it to charge for 40 minutes while I got some Red Rooster for a late lunch and grabbed a coffee at Gloria Jeans. There was a Volvo charging in the other charger. Left there with about 85% charged and headed home. Arrived home on the Mid North Coast with 41% left in the battery. So cool! Have plugged it into my home Zappi charger to get excess solar tomorrow while I work. A wonderful trip, in all.

Steam Deck-ing across the universe!

Suddenly, a new toy appears!

The Steam Deck 1Tb OLED edition.

This device is not yet available for shipping in Australia 😉 So I got it from Kogan who do direct import.

I decided I needed something to take when I go on holidays or just to have in the glovebox when I’m charging my car. I was tempted to get a Nintendo Switch, but you know.. I’d have to re-purchase games I already have bought on Steam and I would also not be able to sync my cloud saves. A Steam Deck would be perfect! They also have free games from time to time and Sales every season plus some monthly sales.

The other handy thing is you can install EmuDeck and play all games from retro platforms such as GameBoy, GameCube, Arcade games, PS1-3, XBoxes, Megadrive, NES, Supernintendo, etc. The list is too big to put here, plus you can also run emulators for old computers such as Ataris, Commodores (64, 128, Amiga, etc), MSX .. You name it since it also has MAME/MESS you can have hundreds of thousands of games at your fingertips easily installed and played.

I downloaded a bunch of games from my Steam Library and installed EmuDeck with a bunch of games and I have about 300Gb out of 1Tb used already 😀

I’ve been playing Balatro, Bioshock, Ori, Shattered Pixel Dungeon, Crazy Taxi, Insaniquarium, KeeperRL, Super Meatboy and more!

I also have recently installed the Decky plugin which lets you install other useful plugins such as:

  • ProtonDB – Adds ProtonDB badges to tell you how likely the game you own will run easily on the Steam Deck.
  • HLTB – How long to beat a game.
  • VibrantDeck – Makes your Steam Library view and games look more vibrant – particularly on the OLED Deck.
  • FreeGames – Notifies you when there’s free games to get from Epic, Steam, etc.
  • AutoFlatPacks – Automatically notifies and updates non-Steam Flatpack installs (eg Firefox)
  • AnimationChanger – Lets you add new themes to customise your Deck when it boots/shuts down, etc
  • ControllerTools – Displays your PS4/XBox/other controller battery status and more!
  • DiscordStatus – Adds the current game you’re playing on your Deck to your Discord status.

There’s several other useful addons to choose from.