Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Tamiya Mini 4WD Chassis

Tamiya Mini 4WD has been catching a lot of my attention nowadays. It's an interest from my childhood that I could not really fulfill back then. The popularity is back on the rise lately, and with a better understanding of the mechanics as well as available online resources, Tamiya Mini 4WD interests me even more now.

One of the first things you'll notice is that Tamiya manufactures quite a number of different Mini 4WD chassis to choose. They have an introduction page in their website on this subject with characteristics describing each chassis. However, I like to see how things are related to each other, so here's my tree diagram classification of Tamiya Mini 4WD chassis:

Tamiya Mini 4WD chassis can largely be grouped based on the motor type to be used with them. Most chassis use single-shaft motor, while some use double-shaft motor. Double-shaft-motor-driven chassis all have the midship layout. MS Chassis is the first double-shaft-motor-driven chassis. Tamiya and SMC Motor co-developed and co-produced the double-shaft motors for the new chassis, resulting in 50/50 power transfer. The batteries are now moved to the sides of the chassis. The basic MS Chassis components would later be reused and redeveloped in the MA Chassis. MA and MS Chassis belong to the high-performance Mini 4WD PRO car line-up.

Single-shaft-motor-driven chassis can be differentiated into front-motor and rear-motor chassis. Currently, the only front-motor chassis is Super FM. The front motor gives Super FM Chassis an advantage for balance in up-and-down courses.

Rear-motor chassis can further be grouped into short, medium, and long-wheelbase chassis. Short wheelbase is great in the turns, long wheelbase translates into stability, and medium wheelbase falls in between. Super-II, VS, and Super 1 chassis fall under the short wheelbase category. AR, Super TZ, and Super TZ-X chassis are medium wheelbase. Super XX and Super X are long wheelbase chassis.

  • There are chassis other than the ones listed above (Zero Chassis, Type-1 Chassis, etc.) but they have been discontinued.
  • As can be seen above, rear-motor chassis has the most population.
  • Short-wheelbase chassis are the most common (MA and MS Chassis wheelbase are also 80mm), the second most common is medium-wheelbase, followed by long-wheelbase chassis. Super FM Chassis has a wheelbase of 83mm which is between rear-motor medium and long-wheelbase chassis.
  • The newest chassis is MA which was released in 2013, second newest is AR (released in 2012), followed by Super-II (released in 2010). Type-1 was the first chassis that Tamiya came out with when it launched its Mini 4WD series.
  • MA Chassis is the heaviest to date.

Why is chassis knowledge important? Relating that question to what we have here in Indonesia, Tamiya Mini 4WD races are categorized into different classes. And if you look at the Tamiya Mini 4WD Chassis Information Guide, you'll see that based on their radar charts, MA and AR Chassis seem to be the superior ones. However, based on my observation, they are not always the chassis of choice, because each race category favors different chassis than the other. Hopefully we'll look more into this in my next post.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Essential Oil Usage and Safety

My wife and I love aromatherapy. My parents have a Lampe Berger lamp and we always light it up during our visits. We once bought an aromatherapy candle and used it for a while. However, I started coughing, and it won't stop even after I took the medicine prescribed by the doctor. One of our suspicions was the use of the candle, which turned out to be true. Once we stopped using it, my coughs got milder and eventually disappeared.

My sense of smell seems to be towards the sensitive side. I once got a roll-on fragrance to use before praying. The scent was of a soap :D and my son also loved it. But then I started coughing again, and yes... it stopped after we stopped using the fragrance.

So because I have no problem with Lampe Berger, we've been wanting to get one, but hesitated due to the high price. Then we found out about essential oils with more versatile use: it can be applied topically, inhaled directly, diffused to the air, and even ingested internally for various positive effects. We're interested to give it a try, but have been delaying because we have no urgency to get it right away, not to mention that they're also expensive.

Recently, Balikpapan is affected by the haze caused by forest fires in the island. My 5 mo daughter also has a runny nose and coughing, partly due to the polluted air and partly caught it from her mother who's also not feeling very well lately. She seems to be getting not enough rest due to the discomfort and it probably contributed to her gaining lesser weight. Our thoughts went back to the essential oils. We're thinking of diffusing it to help purify or at least freshen the air inside our house and rooms, also applying it topically to our daughter to boost her immune system and calm her down to help with her discomfort so she can sleep better and get well sooner without the use of chemical drugs unless completely necessary. It's time to give these essential oils a go! However, recalling some of my unpleasant experiences above, it's also time to be more cautious. Here's the result of my internet research.

Many people are under the misconception all essential oils are risk-free due to their being a "natural" product. Concentrated substances are rarely intended for use "as is" -- and essential oils are no different. Using too much essential oil can sometimes have a boomerang effect and aggravate, rather than soothe, symptoms. Essential oil dilution is important for 2 safety reasons:

  1. To avoid skin reactions: irritation, sensitization, and phototoxicity.
  2. To avoid systemic toxicity, such as fetotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, carcinogenicity, and neurotoxicity.

Adverse skin reactions are obvious when they happen, but systemic toxicities may not be. Some essential oils even should not be used, internally or externally, at least without the express administration by a qualified aromatherapy practitioner.

What age is safe to use essential oils?

Some say that essential oils are even safe to use for newborns and infants. According to TheHippyHomemaker, based on the Essential Oil Safety - By Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, it is not advised to use essential oils on babies less than 3 months of age because their skin is not mature yet and therefore more permeable and sensitive to essential oils. Learning About EOs prefers to avoid essential oils altogether for children under 2. However, if absolutely must, you can use essential oils for children of 6 months of age.

What essential oils to use?

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or using the essential oils on or around young children, it is especially important to be sure the oils you are using are safe for you to use. Grapefruit, lavender, mandarin, and neroli are commonly considered safe for children (including babies) and pregnant and/or nursing mothers by Learning About EOs, TheHippyHomemaker, as well as Keeper of the Home.

How much to use?

Learning About EOs says .25% dilution for ages 6 months - 6 years which may be increased up to .50% if your child is sick, 1% dilution for ages 6+ and pregnant women, while 2% dilution is the ideal for most adults in most situations.

Practical measurement (equivalents): 1 tsp (5ml) = 100 drops. For a 1% dilution, add 1 drop of essential oil to 1 tsp of carrier oil. To increase or lower the dilution ratio, add more essential oil drops or use more carrier oil, respectively.

Based on these guidelines, I personally might limit essential oil use to diffusion only for my daughter starting from when she reaches 6 months of age and wait until she's 2 before applying essential oils topically for her (in a safe dilution ratio), keeping some 1% dilution handy for my nursing wife and older son, while avoiding ingestion altogether because certain essential oils could be toxic if ingested. Ingestion of essential oils has its place, but must be approached cautiously under the guidance of trained aromatherapist.

Other Important Points

  • Peppermint is safe to use at 6+ years but ALL eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils should be avoided until 10+ years of age because they contain a chemical constituent called 1,8-cineole and menthol.
Menthol and cineole stimulate cold receptors in the lungs, and this triggers a reflex in young children which slows breathing significantly, sometimes dangerously. This is the reason that it is suggested to avoid the use of these essential oils (and others containing a high content of these chemical constituents) in young children.
  • Thieves blends should be avoided in children under 10 years due to its contents (which includes eucalyptus and rosemary).
  • It is recommended that you not use the same essential oil every day for a long period of time. If you are dealing with a long-term issue, it's best to rotate different essential oils every 2 weeks or so to minimize the chances of becoming sensitized to the essential oils.
An update on eucalyptus and peppermint oil and children safety (posted on Robert Tisserand's Twitter account - 4 Sep 2015):

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Sparring Triangle

My son's taekwondo instructor told him to compete in his club's invitation championship scheduled on the 1st week of next month (November 2015). He has been studying the art for only less than a year (and just now expecting to be promoted to the yellow-stripe belt), so it's a somewhat exciting shock to hear the news. Trying to be as supportive as I can, I intend to help him learn some of the most important aspects of a taekwondo sparring match.

I only learned karate until the blue belt rank when I was in junior high, taekwondo until the green belt rank when I was in senior high, competed in a taekwondo tournament just once, and lost in the 1st match (against a red belt while I was a green belt, to my defense). I am nowhere near a black belt and it has been ages since I practice any martial art at all. Hence, although I know a thing or two, my insufficient authority for my own plan to help my son. So to get started, I did a research on the internet as I normally would.

During a match, an athlete is required to make quick informed decisions regarding his actions on the arena's mattress. In order to do that, I think a clear and simple concept is required as the basis for evaluation as far as the opponent in particular and the match in general are concerned, as well as processing the information gathered from the evaluation to make a decision about what's the right response for the situation. I have no idea if anybody ever put it like this before, but based on my comprehension upon studying several references on the internet, I think there are 3 most essential aspects in a sparring match related to each other like the sides of a triangle: distance-technique-timing. This could be the concept to hold on to in sparring and I'd like to call it: the sparring triangle.

Maintaining distance with the opponent is of paramount importance in a sparring match. For a particular distance, there's a set of techniques (sliding, kicking, evading, blocking, punching moves) suitable for that distance. Once the most appropriate technique(s) is selected, the correct timing must be taken into account for successful execution of the technique(s).

You might as well "pick any two" corners of the triangle to decide the 3rd. For instance, you know what's the best time to launch an attack to your opponent and you're comfortable in a particular distance. If you want to stick to these 2 options, it means that you are now limited to a (set of) technique(s) that's possible for successful execution given the constraints. Another example: maybe the techniques you're confident with is already limited, but you know the perfect timing to use them, then you'll have to use your footwork to get the appropriate distance for the execution.

Now stamina is not part of the triangle, but it's there because once your stamina drops, you won't be able to do any of the above effectively. In order to sustain the fast pace of a sparring match, you will need to build up your stamina. This also means that economical use of energy over the duration of the match is essential. You must clearly decide when it is appropriate to conserve energy and when it is necessary to oppress the opponent.

So those are my thoughts! The decisions along the 3 corners of the sparring triangle might change along the match (at least to make you not so predictable), but this concept can still be elaborated a lot more and used whether you are in the offensive or defensive position, attacking or counter-attacking, etc. More complex application of the concept can be taught along with the athlete's knowledge, skill, and experience gain increase. But the very same concept remains as the solid foundation of the long-term training.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

School Boat

School Boat

A grandmother selling fruits from her boat in Lok Baintan floating market, Banjarmasin, on her way taking her granddaughter to school.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Choosing a Scooter

My wife's currently expecting our 2nd child. After she (that's what the doctor predicts) is born, it'll be too much of a hassle to get the whole family go with me drive to my office, then my wive continues to drive our son to his school, and go back home every morning. It will be much better if I can get our son to his school, then myself to the office, while the wife and our baby stays at home. But ideally, our car also stays home in case of emergency *knock on wood* and for my wive to drive to the hospital for our baby's scheduled visits to the pediatrician for vaccinations, etc.

So we need another vehicle. For efficiency, functionality and versatility reasons, our choice goes to a scooter. Now we're in the hunt for one!

We're not looking for the fanciest scooter available. Based on our friends' experiences and suggestions, we think that an entry-level scooter with CVT transmisson will suit our needs just fine. Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda are battling against each other in this massive market with their newest products: Address, Mio M3, and All New BeAT eSP & All New BeAT POP eSP, respectively. Kobay in his blog KobaYogas.COM compares them all comprehensively in 1 post without actually concluding which one is best as, at the end of the day, it boils down to personal preferences and requirements. However, let's try to quantify his analysis.

Here's his comparison between the scooters–in terms of engine, features & accomodation, as well as pricing–translated into English:

Power and Torque
  • Address 113 cc: ±9 PS – 9.3 Nm
  • Mio M3 125 cc: 9.2 PS – 9.6 Nm
  • New BeAT 108 cc: 8.68 PS – 9.01 Nm
I'll give 3 points for Mio M3 as the winner here, 2 points for Address at the 2nd place, and just 1 point for New BeAT coming last.

  • Address: 97 kg
  • Mio M3: 92 kg
  • New BeAT: 95 kg
Now 3 points for Mio M3 being the most lightweight, 2 points for New BeAT at the 2nd place, and 1 point for Address being the heaviest.

Fuel Consumption
  • Address: 53 km/l (ECE R40 method)
  • Mio M3: 55.5 km/l (eco indicator mode)
  • New BeAT: 63 km/l (with ISS - ECE R40 method)
This time, New BeAT is the winner (3 points), Mio M3 comes 2nd (2 points), and Address last (1 point).

Features & Accomodation
  • Suzuki Address has the largest fuel tank (3 points), Yamaha Mio M3 comes 2nd (2 points), and New BeAT last (1 point)
  • Suzuki Address' baggage capacity is the largest (3 points), the New BeAT duo comes 2nd (2 points), and Mio M3 last (1 point)
  • Address and Mio M3 have the seat opener feature (1 point each) while the BeAT duo don't
  • Brake feature; won by the BeAT duo (1 point)
  • Only the BeAT duo have the ISS active/dynamic fuel saving feature (1 point)
  • The BeAT duo and Mio M3 have SSS (1 point each)
  • Only Mio M3 has the Eco Indicator (1 point)
  • Address has the biggest front pocket (1 point)
  • Only the BeAT duo have the ACG silent starter (1 point)

    • Address: Rp. 13,890,000 – Rp. 14,440,000 (MotoGP Livery)
    • Mio M3: Rp. 13,080,000 – Rp. 13,980,000 (CW type)
    • New BeAT: Rp. 13,850,000 (standard BeAT POP) – Rp. 14,950,000 (top variant New BeAT eSP)
    Looking at the top variant prices, 3 points for Mio M3, 2 points for Address, and 1 point for New BeAT.

    In summary,

    Based on this scoring system, Yamaha Mio M3 comes out as the winner with a solid extra 3 points above the others. Surprisingly, Suzuki Address–which is somewhat the underdog in this competition–is at a tie with the All New Honda BeAT eSP. If we only look at the features and accomodation (the 1 segment where Yamaha Mio M3 comes last), Suzuki Address is even the star with a subtotal of 8 points, mainly due to its large fuel tank and baggage capacity. The All New Honda BeAT eSP is by no means inferior. It never comes up as the best in any of the categories above, but it always falls in the middle. We might even say that it has the most complete feature among the three, but as a consequence, this is also reflected in its high price.

    As shown above, Yamaha Mio M3 has the highest power and torque with a very decent price along with various other features. One downside of it is the tires that are considered out of proportion. However, I still think it's fair to crown Yamaha Mio M3 as the champion, since we need to take 3 points off of it to bring it down just to be equal with the other contenders.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    My Beginner Gym Routine

    Today was my 1st day going to a gym, so it's special. :) I mean I do exercise, i.e. I cycle quite regularly, I swim sometimes, I even just started Neilya Rey's From Walking to Running program, but I've never gone to a gym before. I'm trying to exercise at the gym regularly and find out what a proper gym routine should be like. So here's the result of my internet research for an easy and effective beginner workout (I'll update this as necessary):
    1. Warm up for 5 minutes on the elliptical.
    2. Weight training: Use 6 machines for 20 minutes. Rotate among upper body, core (mid-section), and legs. Curls are not needed. Arms are worked indirectly by chest, back, and shoulder exercises.
    3. Cardio: Hop on the elliptical for 10 minutes and optionally switch to the treadmill for another 5 minutes.
    4. Cool down for a few minutes, then stretch.
    Some more points...

    A few common rep ranges for beginner programs are 5 sets of 5, 3 sets of 8, or 3 sets of 10. One set of 10 or 20 can also do. The more repetitions of an exercise you do, the fewer sets you should perform, and vice versa. Vary your repetition range--adjusting the weights accordingly--so that you stimulate every type of muscle growth.

    Rest for 2 minutes after each set.

    Use a tempo of 31X1 for most exercises:
    • 3 counts during the lowering (eccentric) part of the movement.
    • 1 count pause in the stretched position
    • Go as fast as possible (X) for the actual lift of the weight
    • 1 count pause at the top of the movement (contracted position)


    Monday, June 23, 2014

    Choosing a New Car (2)

    On my previous post, I wrote about how my wife and I came to choose Suzuki All New Swift GX M/T for our new car. This is a sequel to that post as we still needed to decide whether we're going to buy it here in Balikpapan or Jakarta/Bandung, and new or used.

    New VS Used

    The advantages of buying a new car is pretty obvious (e.g. free service, warranty) but it's not without disadvantages where higher price is the main downside. A new car will also undergo a high depreciation especially in the 1st year. In 2 years of ownership, it may lose up to around 30% of its initial value. If we're going to sell a car in just a few years, buying a quality used car is more economical than buying a new car.

    A properly maintained 2 year old car, on the other hand, doesn't differ much from a new car; while if we buy a new car, we pay the extra 30% which is a significant amount just for the smell of a brand new car. So based on these considerations, we were open to purchase a used car which is 2 years old max to avoid the problems that older cars may have. Of course, buying a used car is also not without any downside. It's not going to be as flawless as a new car, and more importantly, it might not always be easy to identify, for instance, if a used car was involved in an accident, went through a flood, etc.

    When we paid a visit to the Suzuki dealer, we were informed that 2 units from last year's stock (in silver and grey) were available with 8 mio cashback offer. We immediately think that this is attractive since we'll get the advantages of a new car but with a lower price point. If we're selling the car say after 5 years, the resale value difference with the 2014 units should be lower than or at least not significantly higher than 8 mio anyway.

    Jakarta VS Balikpapan

    We live in Balikpapan, and lots of people purchase their car from Jakarta/Bandung (or other major cities in Java), have it shipped here, and still consider it more cost-effective compared to buying here with the higher price tag. Suzuki officially listed the All New Swift GX M/T with a 182.5 mio price (on the road). The shipping fee from Jakarta to Balikpapan for this type of car is around 4 mio including insurance. The extra cost of administration and legal paperwork is around 3 mio. This equals to a total cost of 189.5 mio. Compared to Balikpapan price which is 193.7 mio, there is a 4.2 mio difference!

    Being 4.2 mio cheaper, buying from Jakarta is again not without its disadvantages which are at least:
    1. We'll have to wait longer due to shipment before it arrives in Balikpapan for us to start using.
    2. There's always a risk during shipment, be it as simple as the car getting scratched to more scary stories of parts stolen and replaced with lower grade aftermarket products. Even if we have it insured, it certainly won't be part of the happy story of a new car purchase.
    3. We even still have to go through the hassle of paperwork and administration once the car arrives to meet legal requirements.
    Moreover, we're interested in the 2013 stock units available in colors we prefer with the 8 mio cashback which equals to price reduction down to 185.7 mio. This is already cheaper than the total cost of buying in Jakarta plus shipping to Balikpapan alone! Sure if we could manage to find 2013 stock unit(s) in Jakarta, the price will be under 185.7 mio, it should even be under 182.5 mio which is the brand new price, but were we going to succeed in finding one? My brother in law asked a Suzuki dealer nearby his office in Bandung and got a 184 mio quotation for the new 2014 unit with no cashback promo. He was also told that there's no 2013 stock unit left. Another risk is that even if we manage to find one, will the available color suit our taste? No one can tell. Considering further the convenience of purchasing the car in Balikpapan, we agreed that this is our preferred option.

    Negotiation and Conclusion

    In order to maximize our benefit, we scheduled for a test drive and intended to negotiate for the price. Two separate sessions of negotiation resulted in increased cashback up to 12 mio with floor mat and vent visors as included accessories. So we got the price down to 181.7 mio plus around 0.7 mio worth bonus. I guess it's not bad after all!

    In my previous post, we learnt that once we have set our priorities straight and clearly defined requirements, the one fulfilling all or most of our criteria might not be the most expensive. In fact, it might even be the least expensive if economical price is one of the criteria!

    Secondly, we were probably just lucky to have the 2013 stock units available in the colors we like. But this proves that fair deals can also be found in Balikpapan, especially if you're willing to work it out and maybe pay just a little extra for the convenience and your own peace of mind.