Thursday, November 22, 2012

Short Update On This Blog

I haven't been blogging here for quite a while as I have moved on with my life as a car blogger!
Actually the main reason is because I have sold my giant for almost 17 months now.
Yes, I have to part with my beloved giant because I needed a vehicle that I can use daily for my new job. I tried with the giant for few months on the road and it was tough to find parking every where I go. After careful consideration of my needs I decided to sell of my giant and bought a b-segment car to cater for my needs.

It was quite an emotional decision as I love my giant. I thought of keeping it and just buy another car but the place when I stay has limited parking facilities so it was really not convenient to keep the giant. I sold it to a guy who came all the way from Johor Bahru to view the car and then fly in the next week to take the car away. He is so serious about getting my giant because he know he found a good deal.

I started the blog because I own an Alphard so I can blog about anything related to my Alphard. After I sold my giant, I was travelling in the region regularly as part of my job requirements which mean I seldom have the time to sit down to write something about Alphard. Also without the giant, it was hard to find a topic to write about hence the lack of postings.

Another reason why I didn't come back to the blog was that the email account tied to this blog was spammed. So much so that the email provider actually blocked my email account. As I start to travel more often, I didn't really have time to look at that email account until now.

Yesterday I reactivated my email account again and to my surprised, I noticed that there are many readers who have left behind comments in my blog that need my attention. Of course having been spammed, my email account also has ton of rubbish (in the tune of > 10,000 mails) that I have to spent considerable time clearing time. After two days of clearing my mailbox, I finally left with the emails that are related the blog comments. I have spent the last three hours replying to each and every comments dated back to July 2011. I know some of the replies might be a bit too late but at least I have done my part to respond to them.

I also want to apologize to readers who have sent my private email and didn't get a reply from me because I wasn't reading this mailbox. For those who asked for help to purchase your giant, I hope you have found your preferred giant and you are enjoying your ride now. For those who asked me technical question, I hope you have found a solution to your problem or queries.

Now that my mailbox is back to normal, I will continue to reply to your queries or comments as much I have the time to do so.

As I don't own a giant anymore, I am not sure if I will be posting more technical or general information about this vehicle. Also this blog focuses mainly on 1st generation Alphard only. It would be nice to have some information on 2nd generation Alphard but not owning one, I can't do much. If anyone would like to contribute guest posts on second generation Alphard/Vellfire, plese feel free to contact me. If anyone has interesting discovery about their giant or modification that is useful to share with other owners, please send me your posts.

For now, this blog will remain as it is until I fould something interesting to write about.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Guest Post From A Reader

This is the first guest post from a reader. He shared with me his joy of how he managed to use the information I posted in this blog to help him to find his giant. I have edited some contents to protect the identity of the reader.

Dear Nighto Chan

Hi there! I’m Azlan from Tronoh, Perak!

My family and I would like to record my utmost appreciation to you as you’re my numero uno source of information when we decided to purchase the Giant!

We’ve take possession of the Giant recently on 28 June 2011. As you can see from the smiling face of my wife lovely wife, we’re definitely going to enjoy the Giant.

Over here is a picture of me together with the owner of the shop and my second youngest children.

I bought the Giant from Ah Bee from K. S. Used Car at Jalan Pasir Puteh, Ipoh.

My son and I posing beside the Giant in front of the shop before driving off to our home in Tronoh.

The Giant is a 2006 2.4L NFL Alphard V, first registered at Nagoya with a registration number “NAGOYA 399 ME 3019” in June 2006 with a serial number of ANH10-xxxxxxxx.

It is a DBA-ANH10W Model with a 2AZ engine with 8 seats. According to the Export Certificate issued by the Japanese Authority, it has clocked 98,100 km as at 21 June 2009 The funny thing is that the current trip meter clocked about 35,484 km, as at 14 June 2011.

The Giant reached in January 2011 with an AP from Sarawak.

Before confirming the purchase of the Giant, it was inspected by my respected and trusted mechanic Ah Foh at Tronoh.

The following pictures are taken during the inspection of the Giant by my mechanic. After checking Ah Foh recommended that the Giant to be fitted with a set of new tires for all four of them.

The right hand side of the Giant.

The left-hand side of the Giant.

The HU is not original and the Giant is not fitted with sonar sensor.

The Giant has only “Power Door Off” switch, though it has multi function steering.

The Giant has only “Left Power Door” switch.

My Giant Dash Board.
The rear end of my Giant.

That’s all from us at Tronoh.
Please feel free to share any tips and advice to us from time to time.

Nevertheless up till today, I’m not quite sure what is the exact model of my Giant either AXS or AXL. (Edit. I think this is an AX model based on the spec listed)

Another thing is that could you please direct me on how to change the middle seat so that they can face the third row seat.

Thank you once again for keeping the blog alive.

Best regards

Tronoh, Perak

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Burn a Playable DVD and Play on the HU

I was driving home today and was stucked in a jam so I fiddle with the HU. I usually listen to the songs I had in the HDD while driving. But today it suddenly occurs to me that I can probably use the DVD player to (at least) listen to some of the video recordings related to my work. Even if I can't watch the video I can still listen to the audio. Since I usually get stuck in a jam on the way to work and going home, maybe I should find a way to do that.

A reader has previously asked me the same question too. He burned some video files and try to play it on the giant's HU DVD player and couldn't get it to work. He tried multiple formats like VCD, DVD, MP4, AVI, RMVB etc but none seems to work.

So when I reached home I set out to do some online research to understand what format is supported by the giant HU's DVD player. I had a look in the manual and found that it does support DVD Video. So I read up a bit about DVD Video on the Internet trying to see if I can find some program that can do this easily. Well it seems someone already have found a simple way to convert videos into a playable DVD.

Instead of showing you steps-by-steps here I think it is easier for you to check out this page.

I choose NTSC format instead of PAL as that's the default format the giant HU DVD player support.

So I took some vidoe files I collected in my PC and drag them into the DVD Flick software. As mentioned in that post, the authoring of the DVD does take times. I tried to squeezed as much videos as I can into a 4.7GB single layer DVD disc and it took almost two hours for the authoring to complete! Also the program is very CPU intensive and it hover around the 100% utilization mark on my C2D E6750 2.66Mhz machine.

I chose to create an ISO file instead of burning it directly to the DVD. This allowed me to walk away from the PC during the authoring and when it is done I just burn the ISO file into a DVD.
After I burn the video files into a DVD+R with my favourite ISO tool, PowerISO, I tried it on my giant and it seems to play the DVD fine.

The DVD Flick software let you choose a pre-define menu page.

It also allow you the choose each video as a menu item. However doing it with the touch screen on the HU is quite a chore. I just decided to let it run on it own since my main aim is to listen to the audio only.

The DVDFlick program mentioned in the original article is for Windows platform only. If you have a Mac, try this page instead.

Have fun burning your own playable DVD.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

More on Bluetooth Function

I haven’t been using the Bluetooth function on the HU for a while. As I have recently gotten an Android phone (HTC Desire), I thought I would pair with the HU so that I can use the hands-free function again while I drive.

However when I tried to add a new device on the Bluetooth screen that button is gray-out. I was thinking is that something wrong with my Bluetooth function? After fiddling with the Bluetooth options for a while then only I realized the hands-free function can only be paired with a maximum of 5 Bluetooth-enabled phones. I have previously been testing and showing the Bluetooth function to other AOC members so I have maxed out the pairing.

I deleted all the old phones entry from the Bluetooth option screen and I can now add my Android phone. I also tried pairing my wife’s iPhone 4 with the HU without any problem. I was thinking how would the HU know which phone to pair with if both my wife and I turn on the Bluetooth function in our phone at the same time. Well the HU keep track of the last paired and connected Bluetooth phone. The next time when that same phone is found, it will be paired and connected. So if you find that you Bluetooth is not pairing with you own phone for whatever reason, you might have change the preference the last time you fiddle with the Bluetooth screen.

Given that the iPhone can pair with the HU, then the next question is whether an iPad can be paired with the HU and be use to control the HU function. Theoretically I don’t think it work. However I don’t have an iPad so I would need to “borrow” one to try it out.

An interesting discovery I had is that both the Android and iPhone can be paired with the HU but they can’t be paired with each other. Both are based on Bluetooth 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate technology but somehow during the authentication, the passkey entry screen is not prompted so there is no way for the pairing to complete.

I met an old friend at the driving range last Friday and we also tried to pair his Samsung Galaxy S with my HTC Desire. Still we can’t get the pairing to work. I have been doing a bit of research and I think there are many other HTC Desire owners are also having the same problem. I haven’t found an answer to this problem yet. I guess I will have to wait for the next firmware update from HTC to see if this problem is resolved.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Calendar Time In the NFL HU

I was fiddling with HU today and going through the calendar function to see what else can I use it for. Then I noticed the time displayed on the calendar screen is one hour ahead of the time displayed on my time clock.

As I scrolled through the HU screen, I just can’t find anywhere to configure the time for the HU. Then it occurred to me that the HU is probably are getting it time through some kind of sync over the air. The only way for the HU to sync with outside is through the GPS function. Even as I go through the GPS option screens I still can’t find any place to set the time.

It took me quite a while to figure out that the HU might be getting it time from the hidden GPS function in the diagnostic menu. Just as I thought I can see that there is a button to set the date and time in the hidden GPS function.

When you press the Set Date Time button, it will show you the following screen. From here you can set the date and time accordingly.

However I didn’t set it to the local time yet as I was wondering if the GPS is continuously syncing with some satellites to get the date and time. Is this how the HU is able to announce the day and date every time you start the car for the first time in any day? The time in the HU calendar function is actually the current Japan time which is one hour ahead of our time. I believed if I were to start the car after 11pm every night here, the HU might actually announce the next day. I will have to try this out to see if this is the case.

I will also need to spend some time researching on how GPS work before I can confirm if the GPS actually work in the giant.