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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Synchronicitous Technology

First, some more pics I keep meaning to take but always forget, of the speedometer system using Veloace and a PDA:

The first is the wheel sensor, simply a badge magnet strip ziptied to the spokes. More secure than a single magnet glued on, so far. You can also see the black cable running down the inside of the fork on this side, which has the reed switch inside the end of it just above the wheel-axle-release lever. Second is the PDA and it's hotsync cable, attached to that ex-monitor cable that runs down to the reed switch. Third is a front-view of the PDA while Veloace is running. Since the motor assembly is all off the bike, so is the meter that was behind it. I'm still working on a design for a quick-release mount for the PDA that lets me securely mount it on there for a ride, yet just slide it right off to take in with me (to prevent theft or temptation).

Much better than zipties, I now have a battery cage to hold my lighting battery in place.

It's from inside a UPS, though oddly enough not from one I had already. This one came from a neighbor, who saw me working with my piles of stuff in the yard and asked if I wanted an old dead UPS for parts, and since sometimes the batteries are still good with fried electronics, or vice-versa, I figured it would be worth a shot. Plus I was just about to measure and cut some metal to make such a bracket for my battery, and had the thought that since this type of UPS happens to use a removable, bolted-in (instead of riveted or welded) battery cage, I could just use that. I opened it up and found it did indeed have exactly the cage I wanted, though both the battery *and* the electronics were toast. I have a couple of other UPSs from Mark that also have cages like this, if I need them later. :-)

Some pics of my first test of the cargo pod idea:

With and without flash, to show the bike lighting visibility (looks a bit different from when it was on the baskets), from the left-rear and left-front. You can see the battery cage under the seat. I don't have the lid on the cargo pod yet, and only have the left-side one on for now, since I am first just doing test rides with it to see about clearances and the way I ride--I don't want to end up with it mounted too low to be able to tilt for turns, but I want it as low as possible to keep any cargo mass in it as far below the center of gravity as possible.

Once I have figured out exactly where the mounting should be, I'll make permanent mounting holes in the other side of the left cargo pod, and matching ones on the right side pod (along with a hole for the derailer, and internal cover for that). Then I'll put hinges and the lids on, which will have locks that will hook under the lip at the corners. The lids will swing outward, so that I can have cargo taller than the lids would allow if needed, and still be able to use stuff wider than the rack allows, at the same time. Also I won't have to hold the lids up while putting stuff in. :-)

Eventually I will also run wiring from the lighting system to some internal lights on the cargo pods, which will come on when the lids are open and it is past some darkness threshold, to allow me to see what I'm doing inside them, like a trunk-lid light, just not in the lids.

To that end, I would need connectors to allow the cargo pods to be removed, and preferably waterproof ones. Oddly enough, these old test-equipment boxes from mid-'90s Motorola have some aircraft-style connectors on them, with about 13 pins. Unfortunately I don't have the mating cables and connectors for them. Even more oddly, I *did* have them, just not where I would have expected.

Along with these (and many other) empty boxes and aluminum parts, Mark also gave me some really cool Boeing 737 cockpit panels made in the '60s. They're in pretty terrible shape, overall, given that they were in the desert plane-graveyard for at least years, possibly longer, before he got them. But they're still useful, and perhaps restorable. Most of the wiring on them has been cut off, but still attached to the harness (with the wires cut from wherever they once led to) were several connectors with plastic ziptied down over them (probably from the factory; they were likely test connectors). Some were 3-pin, but two were 13-pin, and the same diameter, pin style, and shell-keyways as the ones on those test boxes above.

That's just...wierd, given how many possible variations there are on these kinds of connectors, both in diameter, shell keyways, pin configurations, pin sizes, etc., that two pieces of equipment from two totally different lines of technology and different companies, made 30+ years apart, would not only use the same connector but end up in the same room of the same house just at the moment when their matching connectors would be needed.

It doesn't usually bug me, because stuff like this happens to me all the time in my repurposing of things--it's what usually leads me to do some particular repurposing in the way that I end up doing it. :-)

Also, some of the unused screws on the 737 panels (that appear to have been used to mount the panels to the cockpit frame) happen to be exactly the right kind to bolt the panel onto the box. Good, because I didn't have any screws around here that had the right diameter and thread pitch, otherwise.

Anyhow, some pics of the pods.

First is the synchronicitous connector pair, both plugged in and not. There's also a wingnut on a press-riveted-in bolt, probably for ground to the test box. I left it on there in case I need to use it for something later, such as securing the cable hanging from that connector with a clamp, to keep it from dragging the ground. Then a pic of the lid as it might be used on the box. Then just the box itself.

The box's top cover (now the side) has air vents in it, seen in the pic as dark horizontal strips. That cover will later be on the outside, using either rivets or security screws to hold it on, but for now I'm using the vent slits in it as adjustable bolt holes while I figure out the fit of the pod vs my riding style, etc. The main reason I won't use those as permanent mounting points is that this panel is thinner than the rest of it, and thus weaker, and is further weakened by those slits. I'm afraid it will just bend outward under load, potentially breaking off at the bolt-on points. A second reason to mount them with the panel facing out is that it has no lip on it for locks to engage, so I'd have to add something. Since the other part of the box does have lips on all three sides, it's better to use what already exists. Plus the lid hinges only need a single flat surface, not a lip, to rivet to, and that panel does indeed have that.

I'm still looking thru my stuff to see if I can get two piano-hinges out of it, long enough to use for this. So far, I've found one, and am sure I have seen at least one identical one somewhere else, if I can find it in all this stuff. :-)

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