Wheel alignment

Tuesday 18 June 2024

A new toy - the Huawei Watch 4 Pro

The Huawei Watch 4 Pro unboxing

I've always liked nice mechanical watches, principally because of their elegant design; which appeals to me as an engineer. I still have the 54 year old Omega which was a 21st birthday present from my grandparents.  I also bought a TAG Heuer over 3 decades ago and both have served me well.  Smartwatches have never been of interest, although the rest of the immediate family have them for varying good reasons.  My view has changed over the last few weeks and I blame Bryan, my doctor!  Let me explain.

Apart from the normal age-related matters plus a bionic knee (soon to be both of them), I'm reasonably fit with good blood pressure numbers.  On the minus side, I've had Atrial Fibrillation (AF) for a few years.  Fortunately, the effects have been minimal and don't seem to affect my cycling or other physical activities.  On a recent routine visit to Bryan, he proudly showed off his new Huawei smartwatch, purchased during an overseas trip.  He gave me a lengthy demonstration of the manufacturer's health app which covers multiple aspects of cardio tracking.  I was particularly interested that it has an ECG function and could be a useful addition to monitoring my own cardio health.  This feature is currently  uncommon on smartwatches. Online reviews of this Huawei model are excellent.  After consultation with my Chief Financial Officer, permission to purchase was obtained and it was ordered through Amazon.  

This isn't going to be a full review of the watch capabilities as there are plenty of online reviews on YouTube and other platforms which do a comprehensive job.  What follows is my personal experience so far for the capabilities which interest me in case they're of any use to other potential users. Talk about being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.  Good job I love learning new stuff!


When the package arrived from Amazon, the first action was to charge it via the accompanying magnetic wireless charger.  It has a large titanium case with a 1.5" (38mm) display under sapphire glass.  Very easy to read and there is a magnification function too.  I downloaded the Health App to my Samsung smartphone via Google play - all straightforward.  Accompanying instructions are brief but the process is reasonably intuitive for a non-IT guy.  About 30 minutes was spent trying to pair the phone and watch 3 or 4 times without success.  I thought I'd followed the correct procedure every time but it eventually worked ok - bit of a puzzle.  The first thing I did was to change the watch face from space-age digital to an analogue replica to confirm old fart status.  There are heaps of choices, both free and at a minor cost so no-one will be disappointed.  The following photo is what I chose.  Time, day/date, percentage of charge remaining, local weather and number of steps/calories burned (not interested in steps etc but it's part of that particular watch face).

A clutter-free design

The setup allows certain functions to not be loaded and at this stage, I've bypassed a few features which don't interest me. How it's configured affects battery life.  Huawei claim 21 days if wifi is turned off, down to 4 days or thereabouts when all bells and whistles are activated.  With my current setup, I recharged it after 6 days for the first time, which is fine with me. It takes about 90 minutes to fully recharge the battery.  No complaints there either.  After initial setup, the watch informed me that some system updates were available via wifi. One or two were very fast but the update of the Harmony operating system most certainly wasn't.  It had loaded 53% in 5 hours before it was time for bed.  With some trepidation, I left it to its own devices, expecting to see a "failed to load" warning or "Blue Screen of Death" in the morning.  Needn't have worried - everything worked perfectly and we were ready to rock and roll.


First step was to learn how to navigate between screens, which was dead easy with the assistance of good old YouTube. Opening the Health App brought up requests for permission to access the phone for downloading data for storage.  All pretty standard.  It was then time to go digging, although not in any structured way.  The following photo shows one of many screens showing various options.  These can be enlarged as appropriate.  The heart rate shows current rate and a historical trend since midnight.  This can be accessed in far more detail and there are examples further on in this post.  Three of the dials are blank.  These are some which I'm not currently interested in.  The light blue symbol with the stethoscope gives access to the Health App. The Yin/Yang symbol covers breathing exercises.  The purple symbol showing 7.4 (hours) is sleep data.  I'll be covering this in more detail.

A typical selection screen

I set the watch up to continuously monitor cardio and sleep data without my intervention.  The phone can be turned off at any time, but will sync all the data when turned back on for a more detailed look at statistics.

The following photo is a 24 hour graph from midnight to midnight of my heart rate.  Between midnight and 0600, it's generally low during sleep.  The peak readings between 1100 and 1200 were when I was hill climbing on my mountain bike and it decreases quickly once the arduous part of the ride is complete.  The 91 bpm figure simply shows my heartbeat at that particular point in time by dragging the cursor to the required spot.

24 hour heart rate tracking

The following photo shows the mountain biking period in more detail by selecting the cycling part of the app before setting off.  Just by way of comment, my heart rate during the mountain biking was significantly higher than it normally is for an unknown reason and that's why data collection over time will be valuable. It was back to normal on a subsequent ride.

Cycling data

The next graph shows another ride with heart rate and a green/blue line showing altitude.  The heart rate is lower than the previous example, partially because the route doesn't have so much climbing in it. It may also be that my AF was behaving itself.  For the first 2/3 of the ride, it's reasonably consistent but drops significantly on the downhill section where I'm not putting much effort into pedalling.

Heart rate vs altitude

I was taken by surprise during the cycling by a male American voice periodically giving me various statistics, including when my heart rate was considered high - presumably because of some age-based algorithm.  It was relatively easy to hear when cycling along.

The ECG function takes about 30 seconds to perform and the example output below clearly shows my AF, which is normally not noticeable other than when I'm laying quietly in bed.  Even then, it's not really intrusive.  I'll be building up data for discussions with my doc as the basis for any future action.

ECG trace

The other function which I'm currently interested in is the sleep tracker.  I've been a light sleeper for several decades and it may be associated with the work I was involved with all that time ago. I'd like to improve the quality of sleep and getting objective data is the start of that process.  Here's part of the report covering a night's sleep. It suggests that Deep Sleep and REM states are far too short and that Light Sleep is far too long.  Although I haven't previously had objective data, the results come as no real surprise and opens the door to doing something about it....... further reading on the subject for starters.

Sleep tracking data


It's early days yet and it's risky to draw conclusions from such a small data sample.  Nonetheless, there are indicators to be chased down with further data acquisition and subsequent discussions with health professionals.  Also, it's fun learning something new and I'm a naturally inquisitive person.  Errrr.... bordering on anal or OCD if you listen to someone who is near and dear.  I couldn't  possibly comment.

I hope this post has been of interest to at least one person out there on the world wide web who isn't a techo tragic!

Monday 10 June 2024

Unplanned maintenance

Sometimes, we're just not sufficiently switched on to see warning signs over time that point to potential trouble.  We've owned the GT for nearly 3 years and apart from a rebuild of the carbs, expenditure has been in the routine maintenance category or minor improvements.  Overall, pretty good for a 52 year old car.

During ownership, there has always been a slight whiff of petrol, although no obvious source.  I just put it down to what one might expect from a non-injected engine.  However, that smell has recently been more noticeable after a drive when the tank is more than 3/4 full.  The baffles in the fuel tank are fairly rudimentary and with the relatively short filler pipe, I wondered whether it was possible that the fuel surges back up the pipe, particularly when cornering enthusiastically.  Time to jack the car up and have a good look round as a car fire is the last thing anyone wants.

Nothing obvious showed up until I noticed that some underseal was missing at the front of the tank - very hard to see in the narrow space.  That set the alarm bells ringing as a solvent such as petrol could cause underseal losses like that.  Time for a bit of research on the various MG internet forums and what I found was pretty worrying.  Apparently, the top of old MGB fuel tanks are prone to rusting over time, both from the inside and on the external upper surface where crap can build up.

Nothing obviously wrong at first glance

First job was to drain the tank.  Although there's a drain bolt at the bottom of the tank, I was worried about flow regulation and decided to siphon it instead into containers with a narrow neck.  Jennie was less concerned about me setting fire to myself than setting fire to the house so it was accomplished outside the garage with a fire extinguisher at the ready.

During the internet search, I found some excellent instructions for tank removal and replacement on a blog by US resident Eric Cloninger: Replacing an MGB Fuel Tank.  Very easy to read and also included a YouTube video link to an English chap who demonstrated how to do it.  Many thanks Eric - great when a plan comes together, eh?   I'm not going to give a blow by blow account but removing the tank was pretty easy, using the jack to support it, plus one or two well-aimed kicks to dislodge it from the threaded studs. As an engineer, I know when to apply brute force rather than careful leverage!

The following photo shows the tank being wheeled out on the jack.  The top of the tank had been undersealed but looking towards the top right hand side, it's clear that the underseal had been washed off over time by petrol leakage.  This part of the tank is close to the right hand rear wheel and I suspect that it collects more crap as a result.

Old fuel tank immediately following removal

One of the panels had severe corrosion pitting but the panel nearest the front edge actually had a number of small pin holes all the way through.  These are shown below.  It's a fair bet that as the underseal got progressively washed off, the leaks became significantly worse; particularly when the tank was fairly full and g forces caused the contents to slosh about.

Fuel tank right at the end of its life

Celestial star map of the tank top, lit from inside

A quick call to Paul Walbran Motors, the MG specialists in Auckland revealed that they had a tank in stock, together with a mounting kit. Not cheap at approx NZ$1000 (USD 610, AUD 927, GBP 479) but they're imported from the UK and being a high internal volume item, shipping costs are significant.  Not complaining though as Paul and his team always deliver outstanding service.  It was received in deepest Coromandel less than 24 hours after ordering.

Next job was to transfer the fuel gauge sender unit to the new tank.  Years of accumulated grime and corrosion on the locking ring required a bit more brute force and copious quantities of WD40 before it came free but a new locking ring and rubber seal made reassembly straightforward.  The original rubber strips to prevent fretting corrosion between the floor pan and tank were covered in sticky underseal.  The replacements were cunningly manufactured from the rear inner tube of Jennie's bicycle because it's been years since she used it.  Besides, it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.  Ummm... actually, it's better to say nothing at all.  The new seal round the filler neck and floor pan hole was cut from Jennie's yoga mat.  Not likely to get into grief with that as it's been some years since she last did any yoga and the mat was abandoned in the garage.  Fair game, I think.

New fuel tank being prepped for installation

Next job was to pop the tank onto the jack and gently raise it into place.  Not quite as easy as the previous sentence suggests as the filler pipe had to be eased through a hole in the floor pan at the same time.  Only a few obscenities uttered and 15 minutes or so wasted until the best method was discovered.  

Bolting up was no problem, apart from a 76 year old body laying on concrete for much of the day in a cramped position.  Connecting the tank filler pipe to the external filler pipe via a length of rubber piping which was an interference fit took some time to accomplish but all was well.  Hook up the fuel gauge sender unit to the power supply, connect the fuel line and that was the job done.

Connecting the filler pipe through the floor pan and filler cap assembly

Hooking up the fuel gauge sender unit

Refill the tank (outside because I know what's good for me), no leaks, no smell of petrol and all is fine and dandy.  Well, apart from the aches and pains of laying on a hard surface for a fair slice of the day - nothing that paracetamol can't fix. Kneeling is particularly uncomfortable after the knee replacement and with the other due in September, servicing the differential is a job that needs to be done fairly soon.  Keeps us from getting under our significant other's feet eh?

Ready to come off the axle stands