Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Converting an expired US License To Victorian License

I was holding an expired license from Florida when I arrived in Melbourne-Victoria last year.I was thinking of going through all the tests to get a Victorian license when I found in one of the internet forums that we can get a US license converted even if it is expired. The only thing is it should not be expired for more than 5 years. Mine had few more days left to reach the 5-year mark. I immediately went to one of the VicRoads customer service centers. You will have an officer waiting at the entrance to help you with tokens for each service. Please let the officer know that you are for license conversion. He/she will give you a token number.Please reach out to the counter based on your token number. They will give you an application for license conversion and an appointment. My appointment was 10 days after. You need to pay a fee of AUD 18.20. On the appointment date, please make sure that you are there at VicRoads customer care center 10 minutes before your appointment.Also please have your US license, completed application for license conversion, and identity documents as listed. I had my bank statement which clearly showed the Victorian address and my passport.Just let the customer care officer at the entrance know that you are there for license conversion appointment. This time you don't need a token.They will ask you to take seat in front of the officers. One of the officer will call your name and purpose.You can head to the officer. They will inspect your US license, verify it online and then request you to pay the victorian license fee.You can find the fee details here. I paid the fee for a 10-year license to avoid the renewals frequently.Afterwards, I had a quick eye test, they just asked me to read a couple of lines from a board and then they took my photo and gave me a temporary document to drive until I receive my full license at my home address.It took maybe around 20 minutes to complete the process. Later my full card license reached my home in a week. That's it !. You are fully licensed to drive on Victorian roads. But I would better suggest you go through VicRoads youtube videos and VicRoads drivers manual which is called Road to Solo Driving Handbook before you drive in Victoria. You can download a pdf copy of this book here Here is a link that you can follow to get details on overseas license conversion process https://billing.vicroads.vic.gov.au/bookings/overseas

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Auto Clutch - Dump That Clutch Pedal



Sensor and system switch on gear knob
I own a Maruti Wagon R 2006 model and has driven it almost 120000 KM. It was during 2012 that I came to know about the technology to get rid of your clutch pedal and the main advantage is we can free our left leg.I went for the one which is manufactured by Automate India. This one is working well so far except that I had to change the cable associated with this system ones.

One of the important questions people ask me about this system is what happens on uphill road if we have to stop in the middle and then move again. Actually the system works almost similar to Automatic cars except that we have to change gears.It has a button on the gear knob which is a sensor. When pressed the sensor will get activated which in turn will trigger the associated motor that controls the clutch.So when you want to change the gear, all you have to do is to make sure that your hand is pressing the sensor on the gear knob so that the clutch gets activated and when you remove your hands from the gear know the clutch get deactivated.The clutch also gets activated when you apply breaks and gets deactivated when you release the break.The speed with which the clutch gets activated can be adjusted using a knob supplied with the system. Now coming to the question of stoppage at uphill,once you stop the car, you may have to apply hand brakes, put into first gear and then slowly release the hand break while you accelerate. There is no option for you to idle the car in half clutch.
Clutch speed adjusting knob

Now coming to the advantages with this system

1. Your left leg is always free. Some people develop muscle/knee pain on left legs while driving long distances . The system is very good for such people as you don't need to bother about pressing the clutch anymore.

2.The system doesn't interfere with the existing manual clutch. You may switch off or switch on the system and continue to use or disregard the manual clutch anytime even while you are driving which means even if the system fails, you can continue with the manual system and drive the vehicle.

3. There is no noise associated with this system except the beep while you switch the systems.

4. Fuel economy of you vehicle can increase slightly(I have not noticed it much) in theory as the time you hold the clutch is very less when compared to manual system.

5. The vehicle does not require any modification and there is no approvals required from RTO(as on 6/21/2017)

System components inside the hood
6. The system can be ported from one vehicle to another.

7. Not much maintenance cost as compared to automatic cars.

Examining the disadvantages

1.We just have limited number of service centers.So this system drops to be a nice to have feature.as this automatic system cannot be reliable for someone who is solely depended on this for driving.

2.Changing just a cable which is just a 30 minute job costed me Rs1200/- which means that the service center is charging as per their wish and you don't have a choice.