Sorry, I have been a bit lax with the blog posting, I have been pottering about as usual but the whole COVID-19 thing, work etc has had me a bit down. I have spent a fair bit of time recently working on clearing my Uncle’s old shed in the hope I could use it for some of my stuff but so far that doesn’t seem to be a plan that works for me. This was partly motivated due to some news that Aster who manage the council garages in my area are doing some refurb work on the one I rent so I would have to move out.
Aster offered me the option to move garages so I took that option and moved all my bikes and an assortment of spares from one to the other. But this then led me to think about how I can secure the bikes and garage from would-be thieves. So I started to hatch a plan.
I bought a 100W Solar Panel and a 10A PWM Charge Controller from eBay. Though I did make the mistake of failing to order a cable to go from the Solar Panel to the charging unit. This gave me some power, and thankfully I had two 12V batteries that my UPS said were no good but so far have held a good charge here on the bench.
As these days more and more things require less power I can use this to my advantage, after a bit of searching I found a Huawei E5576-320 which is a cheap enough WiFi unit that has a 4G SIM card slot so that I could get internet into the shed. Its got an internal battery that lasts a few hours and its also powered by USB, and the Renogy Charge Controller has 2 ports.
Then came the idea of CCTV, in a perfect world I would have a constant recording unit there that beams the footage home to me but that is rather data-intensive and could cost me a fortune in data costs. So I have elected for the BlinkXT cameras sold by Amazon. These are motion-activated, and record footage only if there is movement is detected. The cameras themselves use 2 x Lithium AA batteries and claim to last 2 years, the controller is the only item that needs constant power. Oh and look there that uses USB so no need for mains power.
Now I have this set up and running I still have work to do which includes adding some lighting, which I have built today after making the mistake of buying what was described as 12V Shed Lights but actually they are mains powered, and even worse the LED strips I think are 48V so I can’t even bypass the wiring and go direct. I have a fuse and simple rocker switch for that to do tomorrow.
Then I have to look at the long term fix for being able to charge the various motorcycle batteries that may be in there. That may be done with some relays, a few buck voltage converters and an Arduino, as I would like to log and record the charging system and also charge a different bike/battery each day.
Oh I also fitted some shelving and 2 benches with the idea I can store some of the stuff that is assembled but is in the way if in the home shed.
I have been told not to amphomorphise motorcycles as they don’t like it. But I do like giving vehicles names just to have a bit of fun rather saying Yamaha TRX850, the red one. Why am I talking about this well I have just visited some friends in Cambridge to take on the ownership of Trixie the Yamaha TRX850. This bike has been within the mailing list of Ixion for many years going from Mike (mlh) > Iain (McSatan) > (Dr) Fong > AndrewP > NeilR > Me with various owners making modifications, racing and even just taking the bike out for a damned good ride you can say this bike has had an interesting life.
Neil has been doing various bits of work to this bike over the past year or two some of this has meant he had to buy spares, well spare bikes. I agreed that it would be best if I took on these spares. I hadn’t quite realised how many spares he has managed to collect.
I am now the owner of 3 Yamaha TRX850s in a graded scale of disrepair, Trixie is all OK and just in the need for a bath and maybe some tarting up. The next is The Colonel (named after one of its owners) which is fairly up together other than it had a mishap at some point and the wiring loom has melted a bit and so requires some work to get it back on the road. Then there is Fozzy (again a previous owner) which is down to a frame and a pile of bits where NeilR removed parts to fix Trixie. The names the last two aren’t set in stone yet, just a way for me to compartmentalise them in my head for now.
I hired a van and with my trusty side-kick aka Dad, we drove the 4hours to Ely where we met NeilR at JamesD’s place where some of the “spares” had been kept. Thankfully I hired a big enough van.
Other 4 hours drive home and it was now 9 pm and we had to just get all this stuff away as I had to get the hire van back. The next day I tasked myself with sorting out the insurance on the bikes and later after the rain slowed I progressed to getting the bike stored away neatly. I need a bigger shed! To make room I had to get rid of a bike that I have had for more years than I can remember, my trusty Yamaha TY80. It was sad to let it go, as me, my sisters and my cousins all learnt to ride on it, but not to worry as it is gone to my Niece and Nephew to look after on the proviso it is never to be sold, as its a family hairy loom.
I did plan on trying to tackle the pile of bits I have that are preventing me from getting to the shed but the weather is damp and I am not in the mood for it yet.
I feel like it could be fun to make an E-book of the travels of Trixie and her various owners over the years. “Trixie’s Great Adventure” sounds like a fun title. But before I get too far I needed to do some admin work such as get some of the info I need for the bike, so I created a folder and added some of the pics I took when I bought it, NeilR gave me some of his pics and a Yamaha parts list and a colour wiring diagram. I then tracked down the manual for it etc. and joined the TRX850.com forum.
Then I started to look at graphics, and I found a font that seems to be similar to the one for the TRX so I mocked up an image for the forums but also so that I can later use it on artwork for the bike.
Yeah, I am that sad. The font btw is Sofachrome and its not the same but damned close.
For a long time, I have been interested in the weather and like my father, I also enjoy watching lightning listening for the thunder. One of the internet projects that I found very enjoyable to view was the https://www.blitzortung.org or https://www.lightningmaps.org which is part of a large community project to track where lightning hits the ground. After a period of lightning storms a few years ago I signed up to the waiting list on Blitzortung to see if I could get my hands on a kit to rung from home. Well, several years later I got an email from Egon, offering me the option to buy the kit. I pondered the idea for a few days and then replied with yes. A few weeks later a parcel arrived and due to it being a wet weekend I eagerly opened it up and started work.
Parts from Blitzortung.
I ordered the full kit for the latest board called System Blue 19.5. The kit is the board, the case, USB power supply and 3 ferrite rod antennas. As you can see most of the surface mount stuff if already done but its sold as a DIY kit so I had to get the iron out and solder the last few items on. This isn’t very hard and it is fairly obvious how the bits are attached the most confusing bit for me was the manuals, there are a few guides and manuals and they are written for the ever-developing kit. This manual is for the older Sytem Red but is rather informative but has been superseded by this manual.
I ordered 3 ferrite core antennas and the 3rd is an optional one. For now, I am running just the two and will design and build a holder for the rods at a later date. This is referred to as the H-Field antenna and the other is the E-Field Antenna and has a circuit mounted
Once powered up you can access the interface for the unit via a web browser and after a few clicks, it was setup.
The interface is ok and works, it has a few bugs but for the most part, it is ok. I think the issues are around me tinkering with it as I test out settings. I have had it running for a few weeks now and have had the odd crash, and the other evening it had a lot of noise, causing false readings but moving stuff slightly higher up fixed this.
I have some work to do as I do have a fair bit of noise still but I am still working only a meter or so away from my PC.
But for now I am sending data into the system and you can view my station on both these pages.
Sorry I haven’t been up to much recently, after Ixion at Cadwell and work I haven’t spent a lot of time in the shed.
Oh, I did make use of the Land Rover to collect a fellow internet users (young lad from Reddit) bike that he had crashed into an innocent hedge while avoiding a badger.
The past two weekends I did end up on an epic sort out of a shelving unit just to find some cable ties, I really need a bigger shed.
Lots of it is random bits that Dad has kept for other projects and some is the bits we took off that aren’t best but they might be handy for spares for other things.
But after getting that all back on the shelf I was happy to say I now know where the cable ties are and the pullers, levers, and even chain splitters are.
This was followed by a short trip (300miles 6hrs) to collect a bike for my Dad. A low mileage, Yellow Ducati Monster M600 as he likes my bikes but he wanted something a little smaller and he has wanted another Ducati since he sold his 750 Paso.
But enough of that, time for the fettling. Today I managed to get a few bits sorted, one was to fit a new charger for the bike, one unit, two charging leads. Its from NoCo which though its American they seem to make nice kit.
With that fitted I thought about sorting out the USB cable on the BMW, then I noticed a job on the KLR that I have meant to do for ages.
That is a rather chewed up screw, this tends to happen to Jap bikes as most people use Phillips screw drivers on them when the Japanese use their own JIS style of screw driver. That will be anther post another day.
I had tried to remove it a year or two ago and that is when it ended up like that. So armed with an LH Drill bit I set to it. Then I thought that rather than drill it out I might get away with using an Allen key to undo it. So with some luck, I found an impact Allen key that was just right and I hammered it down in there.
It then came out, which was nice.
Now replaced with a new Allen bolt, with grease to prevent galling.
Later this will allow me to bleed the brakes again as the KLR is well known for crap brakes.
Now back to the BMW, where I then thought oh I might as well do this while I am here.
Never understood why they just didn’t give me an extra few litres of fuel…its only 35ltr tank as it is. I had a bit of an issue with glues as the RTV just wouldn’t stick so I ended up using some superglue which has worked. Though if it fails then some sort of contact adhesive such as copydex is recommended.
Tomorrow I might actually get some stuff done on the bike that means I can go for a ride.
Ixion is a motorcycle mailing list that I have belonged to since I was ~16, some 21 years ago. This is back in the dark ages on the internet before the likes of social media and stuff like that, all the nerdy bikers with either on the newgroups (very much like Reddit) or mailing lists. Yahoo was a big search engine and had offered to host mailing lists there and a while bunch of them came online. I was mostly active on Ixion, RidesOrgUK and rec.motorcycles but over the years the newsgroups died off and the Rides group gradually fizzled out but Ixion didn’t it remained a good part of my life. Though I must say Ixion isn’t for the faint hearted as we have known each other so long that we can scare people with our sarcasm and general tone. But at the end of the day its a great bunch of people, many of whom organise some of the annual Ixion events such as SoS (Start of Season), AF (Absent Friends), Ixion does Steam and the biggest [email protected]
As you can gather from the title, #24 means that this annual track day is in its 24th year which makes us the longest continually running track day organisation in the UK. The early years are a bit unknown to me but for most of my awareness the track day has been at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire. Its a old circuit that these days is mostly used by motorcycles but has some history going back to 1934. Its a narrow circuit with some hills and some nice bends.
Now I have never ridden around this circuit, though I did get to drive a friends Land Rover around to get to part of the circuit as I have taken on the role as the event photographer. This was in part as I can do it, and one year the photographer booked decided he wanted to be elsewhere that day. Originally I charged for photos but with a job change it became harder to keep on top of the orders, and to be honest the Ixies are my friends plus if I sell the photos the track likes to charge me for the privilege. So these days the photos are free.
I do have more photos but they were pre-digital so I have to scan them in and that will take some time. Its on a long list of things I still have to do.
You can find the photos I have taken over at my gallery there are currently 173,025 photos I have taken posted online. That isn’t all the digital photos uploaded but its a good amount of them.
This year was special for the fact we were amongst the pandemic of Covid-19 which caused most of the world to go into lockdown and for quite a while it looked like we would miss out on this years events, with all the other Ixion events being cancelled we were kind of shocked when the government started to lift things and as long as we behaved we would be allowed to have our trackday. This was good as I don’t do much socialising and covid was sucking all the fun out of life.
I took the campervan as I am too posh to camp in a tent. Well I have done it, enough times in my life to be happy I don’t get as wet in the camper. I arrived at the circuit and it was hot, very hot but as the evening drew in we all were enjoying the cool breeze that came in. The next morning we awoke to *fog* and the news that until the marshals could see each other around the track that we wouldn’t go out and play.
So while we waited about we all socially distanced and socialised, chatting to friends and just chilling.
Then an announcement from Ruffle the orgianiser that all Ixies to collect by the scruting shed.
This is where it gets strange, Neil Ronketti a long time member of the list and the all-round nice guy decided that he would announce the new owner of the Spirit of Ixion which is an award handed out each year to the Ixie that best represent the group, usually to an ixie that has done something interesting or talked about interesting things over the past year that others had gone oooh that was nice. Neil had won it last year because of his blogging about bike racing and fettling etc. and his inspired me to start blogging about the bike stuff I had been doing.
So there I was happily taking pictures of people as they listened to Neil ramble on about why the person he was going to announce was being awarded the award. Then my ears heard a familiar name…. my own name. That bar steward had awarded the Spirit of Ixion to me. Now I am not used to being thanked or awarded anything so I was taken back a little and spent the time calling Neil a variety of swear words. But I thanked him for it.
I now have the award at home but I have had to tell the dog its not for storing her prized collection of tennis balls.
Now that was over it was back to the track and they let the people out on track. They went arround and arround all day and I ended up taking a large amount of photos. Another evening of talking boll*x with people and ready for the next day which started with, yup you guessed it more fog.
So while the hard core old people who were camping had their breakfast,
I decided to wander about taking pictures of people, even if they smirked as they thought they were out of shot.
There was also the odd person fettling their motorcycles so that once out on track it could leak coolant around the circuit.
Some even took the time to do a common thing and just ask “Can I have a go?”.
Some even used the time to get down the essential bike care tasks,
But after a few hours they were back out on track being the idiots they are, going around in circles all day long. Except for the chap who had spent his lockdown sorting out his bike. Well, he leaked coolant around the circuit and then once he had pulled off he then went to remount his bike to then fall off…
At the end of the day everyone was happy, lots of fun had by all and as usually hardly anyone fell off and much p*ss taking done. Normally we would spend the Friday evening in Louth having a presentation evening and lots of socialising but due to Covid we didn’t do that and even worse the track wouldn’t let us stay another night as they needed to clean the place and then let in the next bunch of people who wanted track time. So I did my epic drive from Cadwell to the safety of the Mendip Hills after a long day of photographing but the roads were quiet and I got some relatively quickly. The next day I sorted photographs and then uploaded them and just chilled.
Thanks to Ruffle, Not Amanda (Bob), Neil and as always Gordon oh and the rest of the Ixion group. Can’t wait until next year.
Hit a bump in the road while braking and then I lost steering. I thought I had a flat tyre. Eek.
Thankfully a chap heading to the local MX track stopped and had tools.
I had only fitted the lower mudguard the other weekend as I thought it would be nice to have both fitted to the bike for neatness. Clearly its not a good thing to do.
Later that day the clutch would stop working, but after sitting at the side of the road for 20mins there was a click and it worked again so rode home gently. Now in a sulk. I have other bikes but I just get a feeling I might break another one.
Last year I made a few purchases of Taps and Dies for cleaning/chasing threads on the Matchless and other projects. This is partly helped by my job as I am now a lot more aware of the array of threads used on things.
I ordered the bits from Tracy Tools down in Devon and ordered them loose so not in a case, I have seen sets in cases at shows but always disappointed about the standard of the taps and the cases.
So I made my own cases,
I have some gaps, that is because the tap normally come in sets of 3, Start, Second and Bottom but the sets I bought only had the Start and Bottom taps. The inserts for the boxes are basic and loose. Once I am happy with it all I might give it a varnish but this is just version 1.
So randomly looking at eBay one evening and I spotted a bit of test gear for Clare Flash Testers. I have the task of calibrating these at work and the chance to get a bit of kit for actually testing them was beyond tempting.
Next thing I know I had bought it, followed shortly by some other bits such as a Resistance and Capacitance box. Not sure why other than its nice to have some stable things to check my new multimeter against (more of that later).
The flash trip value of 5 mA can be checked using the Insulation Resistance value of 200 KΩ, which will give a reading of 5 mA at 1000 Volts A.C. or D.C.
No facilities provided for checking live load modules, such as ammeters and wattmeters, fitted to many Clare test stations. Such modules should be checked using a good quality AC test set.
This is from the above website.
I did some quick checks and most of the resistances are good but the Low ohm earth ones aren’t so good but that is mostly due to my meter not being designed to measure that low and the unit being designed to have 25A running though those resistances. So unless I find a 25A power supply that I can use then measure the ohms in the same way you do with a shunt.
Annoyingly someone has stuck stickers on the instruction sheet, I am looking at how I might be able to remove them. The brass/copper connectors on the front are also in rather poor condition so I thought I would open it up so I could give it a clean.
Now that I could see inside I noted it is rather basic. More importantly I can get to the nuts to remove the posts. So I removed one and had a go at cleaning it in a solution of salt and white vinegar.
I will admit I did make a mistake with cleaning some of the bits as I put them all in the same cup. The washers are zinc and that attracted the copper so ended up with the bits going black, but thankfully it only took a little light cleaning with a copper brush. The next connector I did them separately.
What will I use it for….I don’t quite know. Might take it on-site the next time I have a few of the old Clare flash testers to look at and see how it compares.
Now this isn’t one of my bikes. This belongs to my Dad and was bought many years ago.
I had to fit the bike rack as originally the idea was to pickup my TY175 but the BSA was in the way so that came home first. I did make a start on painting the rack, might get the rest powder coated.
Now the BSA,
This is a BSA B25S Starfire (250cc) from 1969 and was sent to Canada. Then brought back to the UK. We still have the fun of getting this road registered. But for now we just wanted to get it going, my Brother-in-law had this for a while and had got it going. But after a few prods of the kick starter there was no life. So we made up new HT leads and Dad got on with looking at the points. Not long later it was running, of not a little high revving and a bit smokey but it started first kick.
Later that day I was painting some BMW bits and I happened to trip on some of the Buzzweld PIO (Plastics in One). Therefore I painted the seat. I suspect it will need recovering or repairing as there is a small hole in it.
So the parts are taking their time to get to me so I took the opportunity to do some work on some of the bits that I can’t normally get to. Now this isn’t going to be a concourse bike this for now is just to slow the deterioration and to tidy a few bits up.
Just a coat of primer, black paint and a self-etching lacquer to finish it off. This is mostly hidden, I just wanted it to sparkle a little. I also painted the airbox and the airbox cover while I was at it.
Another job was to clean the gearbox and the clutch housing. It took quite a bit of time to get it this tidy. Next stage would to get it vapour blasted but I just don’t want to spend that kind of money yet.
While I have the rear shaft assembly out I gave that a damned good clean and then sealed with some more self-etching lacquer from the people at Buzzweld.
Now to await the parts so I can get this thing back together.