Sunday, January 21, 2018

Walmart, A dish of empty calories for the hungry shopper

There is something extremely unfulfilling for me in shopping at Wal-Mart.  I will go out of my to avoid it at all costs!

Of course, since the the small town, big box store is great at monopolizing the market on goods, and running lesser retailers out of business, it is sometimes the only option in town...

I am not one to idly bash business, and even very large, profitable ones. However, Walmart is probably THE most evil corporation that I know of.  Right up there with Enron, and Sallie Mae, and the like.

The difference is, Walmart performs its particular brand of evil in very subtle ways.  By giving us low prices, instead of major accounting upheavals....

At first, we think we are getting a good deal, but when we get home, we discover that the lower cost product we thought we smartly saved money on, is in fact a moderately cheaper made product, at a minor cost savings.

I have discovered time and time again, that the special  products sold at Wally World are slightly different from the marginally higher cost items sold in other places.  I used to leave the store feeling good in smartly saving money, only to feel ripped off later.

Walmart is running grocery stores out of business as well as other retailers like, hardware stores, clothing stores, electronics stores.  etc.

Again, the consumer thinks they are getting a good deal, but we only need to wait until the "competition" falls, and then we find that not only to prices go up, but selection goes way down.

How about an entire shelf of just one brand of kerosene heater?

"Take it or leave it bastards!  You don't like it go some where else!" Oh but wait, now we can't!

There are certain towns across American that are smarter than most, and wisely have chosen to keep walmart out of them!

What happens when walmart decides to close a certain store?  Well, now you have a huge empty parking lot, with this huge building just sitting there.  It will be sitting there forever, making your town look like a slum, because Walmart owns the property...

Not to mention, that Walmart is one of the worst environmental polluters there are.  How you ask?

Because there are 6333 Walmarts in America alone. 

Walmart likes to set lawn and garden items like bags of fertilizer out in the rain in the parking lot.  Bags of this almost always has small tears in it, so the rain comes, and washes the fertilizer right off the parking lot, into the drain, which eventually connects in an indirect way to a stream, which connects most of the time to rivers, wich connect to other major bodies of water.  Even if it seeps into the ground, it pollluts your water table.

You know, I have rarely met a walmart employee who wasn't miserable.  It makes me miserable just to go in there.

Sorry, but I really hate walmart!

Dinner and a "magic show"....

So friends of ours kindly invite us out for dinner last night.

After dinner entertainment was provided, which at first seemed like a nice bonus, as we had no idea a magic show was included in the dinner!

I found the magic trick rather unimaginative, so I heckled them. I normally wouldn't do that, but I felt the trick was really that bad!

The trick went like this,

"watch this amazing trick, I have 5 stickers in my hand"

Then the magician leaves the room and throws four of them

"Now I have just one sticker!"

The other attendants in the audience were exuberantly clapping in amazement!

Me "Booo!"   You know to help them to become better performers!

If they are going to make it in the showbiz industry, they need to learn to perform in front of a
hostile audience....

The trick was simply unimaginative.  My booing had nothing to do with the fact that the magician kept coming to the table and interrupting our conversation.

Pretty much on a minute to minute basis.......

See my friends kids normally have a very enthusiastic audience that shows them their amazement no matter how bad the trick is!

...and I think they are pretty bad.

I feel though if those kids don't learn to step up their act, they simply won't make it in an over-saturated field of work that they seem to love so much!

It is tough out there, and I felt I did my part to help them succeed in the industry!

The tough real-world criticism didn't seem to harm them any thought in the end.  It didn't stop them from wrestling with me before we left the "magic and comedy club", that is our friend's house.

It was like I was on the outside of the ring at a WWE show just minding my own business, and from the top rope one of the wrestlers jumped off and pile drove me into the ground!

I am not going to take that, I have some wrestling skills of my own, so a wrestling match ensued, and again they lost!  I was victorious, and I am pretty proud of that!

Those punks didn't know what they had coming to them...

Even though I was in a tag team battle between myself and two wrestlers I still prevailed!

They might need some more polish as magicians, but they seem to have the professional wrestling gig down pat!  As wrestlers, they fight like seasoned champs....

I wonder if we will get invited to that particular dinner club again?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My "feet are wet" in areal photography, but what I am standing in, doesn't smell so nice...

This is a follow up to the post about getting my feet wet in the genre of areal photography via the Syma X1.

In an earlier post, I said "I wanted to get my feet wet in areal videography"  I have jumped in, and my feet are now wet.  The trouble is, they are wet from standing in a substance that is less translucent and odorless than I would like.....

So, after making sure my finances are suitable to afford some expense, I purchased the Blade Helis, 350qx over the Chinese competition.

I did this because I want to buy American, helping to maintain American jobs, and I know there is no way to maintain a strong nation without a solid manufacturing base.

That, and I wanted to deal with people that spoke my native language clearly, so there wouldn't be any misinterpretation.

After doing my part, I am not certain the American company I have dealt with are holding up their end of the bargain...

There are several entries into the 350 size quadcopters, with the most well known being the DJI Phantom. There is also the Walkera, The Parrot, AR Drone, and many, many others, including ones that are custom made like Whitespy.

This little guy was around 1000.00 complete with transmitter, but
with the introduction of the craft I bought, the Blade 350Qx, you
can pick one up for 479 with transmitter.

I bought the Blade 350QX for a few reasons.

A.  It really does not give me a good feeling to give a Chinese company so much money.  I feel guilty enough about buying the really great SYMA X1.

B.  I did not like the user friendly, toy like feel of the transmitter that came with the DJI, I wanted a real hobby grade transmitter.

C. I want support from an American company.  I have heard support for the DJI phantom is basically none existent.

So, I took the plunge, and was immediately underwhelmed....

I get the Spektrum DX6i, and it is everything I wanted it to be.  A big, professional feeling, and complicated RC transmitter

However, the actual 350qx is underwhelming.  It is smaller and lighter than I imagined and has a chintzy feel to it.

Underwhelmed, but not phased, I take it out for it's first flight after programming the DX6i transmitter that is NOT the manufacturers poorly made "tutorial" video.  It is the one that says something like "programming the DX6i for the blade 350QX in under 4 minutes"

NOTE:  There are questions people are asking on the Blade tutorial video, and blade never goes back and answers them.  Legitimate questions...

Since my Sony AS-15 action cam didn't arrive, I have no choice but to Velcro my 808 # 16 to the belly of the 350qx craft, forgoing the anti-jello mount that is to be used for the higher quality action cameras like Hero, and Sony.

 I am kind of glad I did use the 808# 16 directly on the belly so I can see how the craft sounds like it is going to rattle apart. At a price of 419.00, this type of lack of quality is unacceptable as far as I am concerned.

Non Jello mount or not, it shouldn't run like this. 

Jello(wobbly video) is one thing I understood, but the vibrations coming out of the craft, are like ordering a Cadillac, and discovering it came new from the dealership with two bad wheel bearings....

How would you feel if you plunked down the money on a brand new Cadillac, and had this happen?

My 32 dollar SYMA X1 is more smooth than this very expensive, yet not very refined air vehicle.  Smoother if you just spin the propellers, and smoother in flight.

Yes, they are not the same, with one being an apple, and the other being an orange, but when you pay 419.00 for a video platform, you have the right to expect a much higher quality point, than some 32 dollar Chinese toy...

Try to imagine you forked over the money out of pocket for a Cadillac, and discovered a 15,000 dollar KIA had better quality... Wouldn't you feel like an idiot?

In addition to the main point, which is how much of a rough rider the American made, Blade 350qx is, I want you to also understand, that Smart Mode is really underwhelming.

In Smart mode, the left stick(on mode 2 transmitters) throttle, or lift, becomes "altitude adjustment"

Smart mode altitude adjustment really isn't that nice. the engines on the 350 qx are constantly cycling up and down, so that the engine pitch is constantly changing, sending oscillations into the craft, which makes the video EVEN WORSE.

Smart mode is basically un-useable for video.  On the transmitter end, the craft is slow, and rough to respond, and feels like it is fighting you the whole way.

Less tight control of altitude within a window of a few feet after maybe 10 feet of height would actually yield a smoother flying mode. To do this, gain could be high when the vehicle was close to ground, and gain could slowly turn down as the vehicle gains height.   This is possible to do, as the 350qx has GPS receivers, and a barometer that calculates height, which is how altitude adjustment works in Smart Mode.

For the 350qx, you will find some really unhappy people, and some that are singing the praises.

The unhappy people I think are people who want to shoot video,  and the people singing the praise are old hobby people that just want to fly, with the only reason they would attach a camera, would be to record their awesome flight.

That, and I think some people are blinded by the idea of heaping praise on an American company that is trying to compete in a really tough world.

For me, I do try to go out of my way to buy American, but when I do, I expect some quality. I am not going to blindly throw my money away for the sake of patriotism.

I just am not really happy...

I spoke with Chad at Horizon Hobby, and he is going to have 2 new motors sent to me free of charge.  I am happy enough with that resolution.

Mark :(

About the author

My experience in the world of RC.

15 years ago, I was pretty deep into RC(not like some of the fanaticism you see for  a lot of RC people), but I had my vehicles..

A 60 inch trainer, with a .40 OS motor, 3 electric planes(2 two channel, and one 3 channel), a 60MPH Traxxas Nitro 4 Tec, and a 1/8th scale, Duratrax, Nitro Thunder Quake( the quality just wasn't there for this vehicle either, the 2 speed transmission never worked)

Why I got this.

Not to get back into RC, but to have a unique video camera platform, to make unique nature videos.

I also came up with the following theory today, the day after the first flight...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Getting my feet wet for the world of RC areal videography

I want to get into the world of RC areal videography, because I desire to make better vacation videos of the cool places we see.

Since I plan on spending some serious money in the future, I thought it would be best to buy some cheap toy, and a small mountable camera to learn how to fly quadcopters, and to learn the ins and outs of video taken from this platform.

So, I purchased the 32 dollar(as of this writing) Syma X1 quadcopter, and a forty dollar 808, 16 keychain camera to mount onto it.

I specifically bought the UFO version because I intended to mount the camera right on top of it. However, the angles were too steep, and I had to cut out the center part of the dome to mount the 808 keychain camera.

See the Syma X1 here, by clicking this link

The HD keychain camera that I bought for it is here, click me

Once I received the toy, I was immediately pleased. 

That is of course until after I wrecked it a few times, and one of the motors became weak...

Then I had to find replacement parts, and had to start thinking about if my soldering iron had a small enough tip to do the soldering on the surface mount, wave soldered control board to replace the broken motor...

After I damaged the motor, I was able to max the trim out on the radio control, and with that, and some major dynamic stick input, I was able to fly the RC without the camera.

With the camera, it is a whole different story though.  I have to wait until I get my new motor from until I start major flights with the camera.

So, while I was waiting, I started the process of learning how to bond the camera to the Syma for flight, and the following is that process, with an additional mod that helps me tell what direction the model is flying in.


Although I ultimately wanted a bottom mount camera, I decided to first mount it on the top so when I
crash, it won't destroy the camera.

The camera is stuck on top there with the provided velcro


The toy flew better(more balanced) with this setup, but it still wasn't completely
what I wanted.  I will include a link below to this flight after I upload it.

Onto REV 3

The canopy is reversed so it is on the bottom.  I put some small pieces of Velcro to help hold the camera

I believe this is the final rev for this setup.  The camera Is stuck on with Velcro, and the rubber band.
You can also see the lifting suspension I came up with to elevate the model, and maybe soften

With this setup, you can reverse the setup for top, or bottom mounted cameras.

Other modifications

This of course is made up of plastic tie wraps.  I used a hair dryer to heat up the tie wraps until they
were shiny, bent them into the form I wanted, and let them cool in that configuration. I am not sure if this softens
the landings, or just shifts the phase of the impact.  For example, instead of getting a sharp spike in acceleration, It
turns the landing into more of an oscillation.

When the model flew away from me, I couldn't tell which direction it was facing in the distance, so I added a red LED in the back of the craft.

I cut holes in the body with a push pin spaced at the same distance as the LED leads.

The LED I got from Radio Shack.  It is a 25mA, 3 volt.  I soldered a 1/8th watt, 100 ohm resistor in series with it
which should source 12mA of current at full battery charge(4.2 volts)
I soldered the led supply wires to the power pads on top of the board

You know, it is harder than you might think to find a level surface to let the quad calibrate "level" on before you fly it...

So I came up with this case, and screwed levels in the X and Y axis so that I can tell when it is level.

Not only is a good launching platform, it is also a great carrying case!



Action shot

New Camera Mount

This is cut out of a Talene Custard container.  It allows not
only a flat surface, but also enables me to replace
the battery WITH the camera already mounted.

NOTE: I had to trim the battery mount a little with some diagonal pliers to get the mount to fit flush.

I glued on the plastic platform with hot melt glue.  I also filled in
the sides, so when I put on the rubber bands, the platform has
a solid piece to be wedged against.

This is what it looks like with the two rubber bands holding it in place.
I could have centered that platform a little better...



Sunday, January 12, 2014

The deadly addictive drug of Facebook and how I kicked the habit

Like any recreational drug, facebook at first entices you with some euphoric highs, and then before you even have time to realize it, you are hooked.  You have a hopeless addiction, that like any other addiction is destructive to your well being.

In the Beginning,

Facebook was there in the corner of the web for years without me ever trying the drug.  People would sometimes point to it, and try to entice me to take a hit.  "Oh I am on Facebook, maybe you should get an account so we can keep in touch".

A little fun never killed anyone,

At first, I was just a recreational Facebook user.  I could take it or leave it anytime I wanted to.  Very infrequently I would drop in to check on it, and then I wouldn't look at it for weeks.

At first the intense high,

Very slowly over time, I started to check my facebook pages more and more often.  As people joined my network, and laughed at my "witty" remarks, the satisfaction became greater and greater.  The validation was intense.  "I am funny", "I am smart", "people like me"

I became a more regular user without really even giving it a second thought.

Then the quest to maintain the high,

Later, after people stopped commenting on my witty remarks, probably because I posted so often, people were tired of feeding my ego with the polite "lol" and thumbs up, I decided I needed to have a purpose on Facebook.  I needed to change the world and enlighten people with my "wisdom"

I started pages like "The coalition against foreign control"(blushes), which was a webpage I started to bring to light the alarming fact that we were giving away our countries power and strength, by giving China all of our manufacturing tasks, and borrowing money from them...

Onto the next stage in any addiction,

Which is the daily habitual use, without the pay off of the extreme high, but necessary all the same, just to maintain your sense of normalcy.

Actually for me, I had to use the drug in the morning, and several times at night.  Like smokers with their cigarettes it was the first thing I did when I got up.  Then when I came home.  Then before dinner, then in the evening, then I would check it right before I went to bed.

I didn't enjoy it, it is just something I had to do...

A look in the mirror,

At some point, I decided how ridiculous it was to come home and tell Facebook how my day went...

Instead of talking to my loving wife, I would log onto facebook first thing when I came home to post what "funny" thought I had that day, or what quirky circumstances came up at work...

Making the decision to make a change,

I would say this is the final stage, but like any addict, I think it is a constant battle to  never rebound back into drug use. Why do I say that?

First when I went to delete the account, I caved and just "deactivated it"  I thought I was safe, but then I realized that I had somehow been posting to an account that I tried to deactivate by logging into a completely different site that I had linked to Facebook...  I got a message that the review I just wrote was "posted to my wall"

I thought, "how the hell did that just post to my wall?" I deactivated that account... WRONG!  If you deactivate you account, and post to a site that at some point you linked to it, it reopens your account without warning.

Then, I was determined.  I "deleted" the account.  Oh, but it doesn't delete right away, it schedules a deletion two weeks from the time you decided to delete it...

So then I open the account just to confirm it will delete by what date it originally stated, and it had moved the date back five days.

My wife suggested it was because I logged on just to see if in fact, it was still scheduled for deletion.

If you log on to confirm deletion, it resets the waiting period!

All of your "friends" disappear,

Just like your buddies you used to drink with, or perhaps the ones you used to smoke pot with, once you decide to quit the habit you will find your facebook buddies aren't really your friends after all...

They are just fellow enablers...

They won't come looking for you, to ask, "what's going on buddy, I haven't read your posts in a while?"  No one really cares.  Facebook friends don't care if you are, or are not there.

They, like you, only care that people read their witty remarks like, "I am so addicted to coffee, I may need to go to rehab!  Seriously, I need it"...  LOL, that is a good one!

Will I be successful in maintaining sobriety this time?

Only time will tell.. As of right now, it is scheduled to be deleted in the future.  Please wish me good luck, and send your positive thoughts, and hope that I can maintain strength.

You know, I didn't realize how the drug had taken away joy.  Colors now seem brighter to me.  I see the world again like I did before I got hooked on the drug.

I think I have my "artistic eye" back for my photography.  It is like the world popped back on, and I hadn't even realized what had happened to me.

Drug addiction is like that I have heard, it happens slowly over time until you hit rock bottom, and decide to make a change.

I solute those who can take it or leave it and use it occasionally, but I am not one of those people, so for me, it is cold turkey!

Mark :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The 15 Minute Wood Gas Camping stove!

I was bored today so I decided to make something I wanted to make a long time ago, when I was into "survival/prepping" experiments.

Now a days, I really no longer care about these things, but I was bored, so I decided to try and make one.

I used just a few supplies, and only two tools to make it.

A. One Coffee tin
B. One Chai Tea tin
C. One Leatherman
D. One pink Sharpee Marker
E. One pair of old kitchen scissors(to make the pot holder)

It took me 15 minutes to make. The idea was to not use any modern power tools.

The temperature outside was 32 degrees, and the water was probably 40 degrees when I started it.  It took the stove 10 minutes to boil a pot of water, but I think it could have done it faster if I knew that I had to keep feeding it.

It burned very cleanly, once I fixed the problem with the pot holder(pictures as bottom)

Pictures not enough?  There is a video on this at the bottom!

Step One

Cut a hole in the coffee tin lid with a knife that is slightly smaller
than the tea tin(inner chamber)


Make the hole in the lid slightly smaller than the smaller tin

Step 3

Poke several holes in the bottom of the inner(Tea Tin) chamber

When completed, it should look like this

Step 4.

Poke holes all the way around the bottom side of the inner tin about 3/4 inch from the bottom. Make
large holes, these(shown( ended up being too small)

These hole I am putting in the sides of the tins are rather small.  It made the stove smoke a lot, and it didn't burn well.  It took me 5 minutes to go back with my leatherman, and twist it into the holes to make them larger.  Make them as large as you can.  Don't break your knife, but you should be able to twist it back and forth to make a decent sized set of holes.

Step 5.

Add hole at the top 3/4 inch near the open end of the inner tin. Again make the holes large.
The ones shown were too small.  Turn your knife a little in the hole


After your done with the inner tin it should look like this

Step 6.

Cut large holes the whole way around, 3/4 of an inch from the bottom
of the outer(coffee) tin.

Step 7

Place the inner(tea) tin inside the outer(coffee) tin lid

Step 8

With your multi-tool push the inside of the steel lid tabs up against the inner tin
as much as you can to make a tighter seal

Supplies and tools used

One tea tin, one coffee tin, one leatherman, and one pink sharpee(to mark
the circle for the hole for the inner chamber)

ALMOST finished product

It turned out the pot holder(lid for the tea tin) was too restrictive in its current form

"Finished" with better pot holder

Cutting up the lid in this way made a pot holder that didn't smother the fire. I had tried using little rings of
3/4 inch copper pipe that I had cut to about 3/4 length in height and all though they worked okay, they kept falling
into the stove.  


Right before this, it was a strong rolling boil, but I let it calm down because it fogged up the camera lens...

I actually did the cooking using 4 copper rings I cut out of 3/4 copper plumbing pipe.

This worked well with the exception that the copper rings kept falling into the
wood gas stove.  After removing one with my leatherman, I tried to pick it up,
burning the finger print off of that particular digit

Later the same night, I made the following version.

Again, the idea is to use as few tools as possible.  I could make a better pot stand for sure with a few machine bolts, and my power drill, but the idea is to do this on the primitive, so to speak...

It took me about 10 minutes.  What is that you say?  I should have used more time...

Step 1 of the improved pot holder

First draw a pattern with a sharpee.  If you knew Geometry, this would be a snap!
I don't know my geometry.....

Step 2 of the improved pot holder

Cut the pattern out with your knife.  BE CAREFUL!!!

Step 3 of the improved pot holder

It's "done"

Final product

It actually held the standard pot up pretty well!  Looks like garbage, is garbage, but it works!
You can cook your hobo stew on it!!

See the video tutorial at this link, and watch me boil water!

See the free 15 minute wood gas stove VS snow!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Technical Side of the Continuously Variable Transmission(CVT)

Belt type CVT transmission have really been around for ever.  In fact, my 1981 Arctic Cat, Snow Mobile had a continuously variable transmission that operated on the very same principle as the one in our new 2013 Subaru, XV Crosstrek.

Shown is a snow mobile, rubber belt driven CVT

However, since we just bought a vehicle equipped with a CVT to use to tow our tear drop camping trailer, suddenly I was interested in finding out every detail I could about how reliable the CVT is, what can happen to it, and if anyone has had any problems towing with one.

This new interest was brought about because of one time when I was pulling the trailer, gave it too much gas when it was cold, and felt what I would later find out was a "shudder"

It's easy to understand how the belt and variators( variable belt pulleys) work to give you an infinite number of gear ratios allowing you to always get the most torque out of the engine, no matter the speed.

Shown at the link below is the belt driven CVT.  This model is driven by a fiber reinforced rubber belt.

Below is a white board tutorial I did to try and explain the concept of the cvt

However, once you add a STEEL CVT belt instead of the normal rubber one, things become much more interesting...

The advantage to the steel belt is that it is stronger, and since it is bathed in oil, it never needs changed.  Similar to a timing chain in an engine.

Suddenly you have to start to think about the fluid dynamics of the CVT oil with its additive pack.

Wikipedia has a misquote on how the belt driven CVT works.  I have not only read the Wikipedia article, but the original masters thesis that the Wiki author plagiarizes to write the page.

In this wiki, it is stated that the "CVT fluid is there to ensure that the steel belt "never" touches the variators or pulleys"

In fact, the CVT fluid is there to ensure that the belt never touches the variators WHEN THE GEAR RATIO IS CHANGING.  Meaning when the CVT belt is traveling up and down the variators vertically to find the right gear ratio.

After the transmission finds the appropriate gear ratio, the oil film of the cvt has to get out of the way, and allow the steel belt to lock up directly with the surface of the variator to propel the vehicle.

Companies put additives in the CVT fluid to protect the variators and belts when this happens. One additive they can use is zinc-chemical, which on the molecular level, forms little pads on the cvt variators so that when the belt gets pressed into the surface of the pulleys, there is not metal to metal damage that occurs, scoring the variator surfaces.

So, the first question is, how reliable is it? 

Well there have been some reported problems with these transmission for sure.  There have been many slipping belts(causing sure failure), there have been instances of the quick lube oil change shops stupidly putting in the wrong Automatic Transmission Fluid after a "transmission flush", and many instance of shuddering. 

However, there has also been wide use with the CVT transmissions and especially in Europe.  That means there are literally millions of these transmissions on the road, and only a small fraction of them that are problematic or fail.

So what can cause a slipping CVT belt?
Many things, but a few sure ways would be gunning a cold transmission from a stop, not allowing the CVT to engage before switching form reverse to drive before giving it throttle to drive off, and exceeding the listed towing capacity in general, and under certain situation like high heat, prolonged hill climbing and such.

A: Gunning a car with a cold CVT transmission:  Before the CVT fully warms up, the transmission fluid can be thick, which means it doesn't pump as well.  This in turn means that it is possible that the transmission might not be able to apply the needed horizontal clamping pressure on each side of the variator onto the steel belt to ensure it locks up tight between the surface of the belt, and variator, producing a damaging metal on metal slide. 

B. The CVT takes more time to situate itself when switching from Drive to Reverse, or vice versa.  While it is performing this task, the transmission drops horizontal pressure to the variators.  If one tries to switch out of reverse and quickly gun it, it is possible that the transmission might not be able to apply the needed horizontal pressure in time to lock the belt to the pulleys and once again, you get a metal to metal slide.

In this type of slide, it is possible, or even likely that the steel belt(think chain) can rub on the variators causing it to chew up the surface of the pulleys.

C. When you exceed the listed towing capacity, you are putting a lot more strain on the belt and pulley(variators) in the direction perpendicular to the horizontal clamping force of the variators.  You can overwhelm the friction caused by the horizontal force on the belt, and have shearing. Meaning there is too much strain and the belt can tear loose of the pulley, and slip along the variator, causing damage.  This is more likely on prolonged up hill climbs, and in hot weather.

The quick lube stores putting in the wrong ATF fluid, what can happen?
Standard ATF fluid for cars with planetary(regular) type gears is much thinner than CVT oil.  The thinness of the oil will not prevent the steel chain from touching, rubbing on the variators and chewing up the surfaces when gear ratios are changing.  In essence, you are letting the metal CVT belt file down the surface of the variators, which will absolutely lead to a transmission pan full of metal shavings, and catastrophic failure.


In the end you are likely not saving yourself money, you will cost yourself thousands of dollars in repair bills.  If you want someone to do something to your CVT, seriously as much as I hate to admit it, take it to the dealer!

CVT shuddering, what can cause it? 

In short, microslips.. These aren't like the a slip that can necessarily cause major damage to the transmission.

A. Not letting the transmission warm up(thick CVT fluid not allowing enough horizontal pressure to be placed on the variators.

B. Worn out CVT fluid that additive pack suspended in the oil is past its useful lifetime, thereby  preventing a high belt surface to variator surface high friction coefficient.

Press your palms together as hard as you can, then try to slip them back and forth.  Now wet them, and try the same thing... This is like the belt slipping on the pulleys(variators).  Except unlike your hands, the belt slipping on the variators(pulleys) will damage them...

A. The phenomenon that makes it so your hands don't slip easily is a higher friction coefficient.

B. When the engine is cold, think of not being able to press your palms together as hard. They will slip easily.

C. When you are towing a trailer that is too heavy, think of someone else grabbing your hands and pulling them apart at a right angle to the direction you are pushing them together.

Of course, the transmission puts A LOT more pressure on the belt than you are capable of on your hands.  Also, instead of a nice soft rough surface like your palms, inside the transmission, the surfaces are extremely hard, ultra smooth steel that had a film of oil in between the surfaces, right before it was pressed out to lock up the surfaces.

Are you gaining an appreciation for the forces involved to propel a roughly 3500 pound car towing a trailer with a smooth steel belt, and pulleys?


I. Warming this car up before you drive it hard is way more important than on a manual transmission, or even a standard automatic transmission car in order to allow the CVT fluid to flow correctly applying the proper clamping force to the steel belt.

II. Under hard use like towing, constant extreme acceleration, driving in extreme heat, and up and down large mountainous hills, you will want to have your CVT fluid changed, BY THE DEALER earlier than is recommended.  You don't want the oil to thin out loosing viscosity thereby allowing the steel belt to rub the variators while the car is hunting for the proper "gear". Plus, once the additive pack wears out, the anti wear materials are rendered useless.

III. The steel belt driven CVT really is a thing of beauty. The car will almost always be in the right "gear".    However, it will not stand up to the abuse that other transmissions can take.  There are no gears with teeth that lock the drive gears and engine torque together like in other transmissions.

IV.  High heat on this transmission plays a more critical role because for one, the CVT fluid can thin out, which once again will allow the belt to rub off material on the pulleys(variators).

V. The torque converter(what allows your car to idle while it is in gear) locks up much quicker in these transmission over a standard auto trans.  This prevents heat build up, and makes the car more fuel efficient.  The torque converter is able to do so because of the infinite, and very high gear ratios possible in this type of transmission.  The transmission is capable of a really "low granny gear" as well as an overdrive capability all in one.  It is like having a 20 gear transmission!

I have a robust all wheel drive Subaru which has a CVT, but Nissan is putting CVT transmission's in their 245 horse power, Murano SUVs, which should indicate how strong the CVT really can be.

The CVT really does drive BETTER than a standard Automatic with gears, however for reliability, I would still choose a standard Automatic over one.  Having said that, our only choice in our new XV Crostrek was either a CVT(which they had lots of), or a manual transmission, which they only had one of.

We chose the CVT for my wife.

technical ariticles

first article

Second article

Yale course on fluid dynamics I found helpful