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Friday, December 14, 2007

PDA Bike Computer

Now I have a "bike computer" courtesy of an old discarded Sony Clie (PEG-S360)

(sometimes it randomly gets a "database error", no matter what you're doing, guess that's why it was tossed), a free program called VeloAce,

and a few minutes of soldering the IR version (InfraRed) of the wheel-counter circuit together from parts I already have laying around will complete the assembly later tonite or tomorrow. I've already tested it with a remote control pointed at the IR port to verify it counts pulses ok.

Since I didn't have the cradle or cables or charger for the Clie, I had to do a bit of disassembly so I could reach the battery to put a charger on it for testing (currently just an old Nokia celphone charger). I reseated all the connections in hopes of curing it's database error message, but that didn't cure it. Doesn't really matter, as it doesn't affect it's use on the bike--mostly I want the speedometer and odometer functions anyway.

I had to use IR to transfer the VeloAce program to it, since I don't have the cable, and for that I had to fiddle with an old sort-of-mostly-working Compaq laptop, since nothing else I have has IR in it. I've got a USB IR unit from some Sony desktop that had GigaPocket on it, presumably for the Gigapocket "TV remote", but there are no drivers *anywhere* for it, so I can't use it! Sadly enough, I do also have the restore kit of CD's for that specific Sony in my restore kit library, but of course I cannot extract the encrypted files from them without restoring an actual Sony desktop of that specific model. :( If I *had* that model, I would copy the files from it, and wouldn't need the restore kit. Sony support doesn't even answer my questions about it (I tried years ago when I first got it, and I tried again the last few days, hoping for some answer, but nothing at all, which has been typical of support requests from Sony my entire PC career--great products as long as they work, but if you need help, well, you're probably screwed). Doesn't matter since I got the laptop working well enough to do the transfer--unless the program gets lost off the PDA now, I don't have to worry about needing IR again anyway.

I haven't mounted it to the bike yet, as I'm still figuring out a good mounting method that will allow quick removal but also won't fall off and is rainproofed, but still lets me access the touchscreen. Otherwise, if I left it mounted when it's outside somewhere unattended, someone would either break it or steal it thinking it was worth something.

I'm testing an even simpler version of the IR circuit I've used before for other things, and spent a few minutes drawing up,

but I don't know if the battery will last as long if I use it (just uses a CR2032 watch battery, like most motherboards use for CMOS/Clock backup--that's where I got it from, actually, along with several other parts).

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