diy camping air pump

It’s quite an old idea, not mine, you can google it or go here, here or here to see how other people doing it. Below my variation of same old trick. The biggest benefit IMHO is that the moisture is not building up inside air bed, and obviously is super quick. You can still splash ¬£30 on Thermarest NeoAir Mini Pump if you like, but that’s couple bottles of wine or new Schwalbe Marathon (plus beer for fitting procedure), or 6 bags of coffee… all above better than another unnecessary gizmo.

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I cut threaded part of bottleneck from PET bottle and make hole in the cap
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from piece of plastic (ice cream box or sth) a circle has been cut same diameter as bottle neck with hole inside, which makes kinda washer
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3 inch piece of road (18-25c) inner tube for nozzle
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inserted plastic “washer” into inner tube
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like so…
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everything put back together
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I made a hole in plastic bag and put nozzle through
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to seal the connection, wrapped a piece of velcro ( might be a rubber band or something)
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alternatively the bag can be trapped underneath cap, just screw the bottleneck in
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now you can “grab” some air with the bag and squeeze it into sleeping mat. Once technique is mastered should be a bliss. On the picture is Big Agnes Air Core and took about a minute to inflate it. Basically 3 bags of air squeezed in, job done. The small rubber o-ring I added for extra grip on the valve.

Cheers!

DIY double battery pack

It was annoying for me to swap batteries in the dark on a ride back from work (original battery pack 4×18650 is slowly dying…), so I came up with idea of making double battery from storage container. Actually to be honest Steffano’s problem inspired me. I used 6 pin toggle switch grommet for 3mm cable, 2.1mm connectors (I wanted to be able to use battery pack same way as originally designed), pro 500ml container. Short story below in pictures. Thankfully my soldering isn’t visible ;-). Basically I’m able with one flip of a switch swap between second battery pack.

Keep’em rolling. (in the dark)

DIY mattress pump (plus hot porn video)

Probably the most useful piece of camping kit I’ve made (to date) plus as a bonus you can see pretty hot porn video with this piece of kit in action ;-).

Googling the other day I came across Exped Minipump. This is an awesome idea, but I’m not sure will fit other brands than Exped. They making quite ok camping gear, but unfortunately too dear for me. So I tried recreate more less same product.

I made valve connector with cable gland. Just cut inside to fit valve.

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Cut ripstop in a shape of big lollipop as below. (already looking hot ;-))

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As ripstop is quite thin I had to reinforce hole with a bit of stronger fabic. Tested and sewn to leg of one “lollipop”.

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A “bun” been made with foam I found at office. The additional holes are to decrease slightly volume of the foam (will pack smaller).

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In other lollipop piece i made air intake hole, and everything has been put together. Voilà, ready to test. Uhh! Ohh! look at that hot pictures below!

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And now promised porn. Do not watch it if you’re under 18! Camera! action!

Final thoughts. Obviously that is prototype or MK1 if you like, just to prove the concept. The pump works ok, but I didn’t pay too much attention to details (as I wanted quickly test it), so I think the air leaks are the main problem. Other than that the test was promising enough to make another iteration in the nearest future.

Mistakes. “Foam bun” is too small, should fill completely wider part. I’m planning to add valve in “hose” part of the lollipop as I got feeling that air been sucked back a bit. The hose is not acting completely as expected, I thought negative pressure will squeeze walls and act as valve). I hoped that¬† stitching need to be air tight so next time I’m going to glue pieces together and than sew it. Intake hole need to be a bit smaller.

Time for Mk2, stay tuned!

Avenir front rack (plus Ortliebs)

Hi

I had couple thoughts about distributing weight on the bike. I’ve been thinking about Salsa anything cage with some dry bags. Neat solution, quite like it, but will be a bit tricky to attach it to the fork in my case. What I really don’t like is the price for whole setup. One Salsa Cage in is UK ¬£29 (need two). On top of that is pair of fancy Salsa bags or other dry bags (Porcelain Rocket) with size suitable for the cage, or DIY something.

Other option was Blackburn Outpost cargo cage. This one is around ¬£17 per one. That’s better. Acceptable price, but again, a bit problematic to attach to my fork.

Finally I gave up and started looking for standard front panniers and rack. I’m not really original and went for Ortlieb. As I don’t really see the point paying more for Classic model, I bought “Front City”. Minimalistic design waterproofness guaranteed by Ortlieb and costs 51 quid per pair. Good.

Then I had a bit of dilemma with front rack. I found quite a lot of different designs, but really liked Avenir front rack. Googled about 2 days tried to find any information about dimensions and if they’re compatible with Ortliebs. No luck. The other thing to consider was compatibility with disc brakes. Anyway I decided to purchase the rack and try. I can always return if won’t be possible to fit them. Turned out the rack fits perfectly Ortlieb panniers. So just in case someone is searching for dimensions here we are:

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Two things you might don’t like. At first of all there’s no front joining so theoretically they can be “sucked” by front wheel and cause very nasty OTB. But I think as I have mudguards, the mudguard stays will be enough to prevent this from happening.

Once I checked the panniers fit and brakes won’t be a big problem, started to think how to securely attach them to fork. As I expected none of the fittings were ok for my setup and probably most bicycles will have same problem. The internet is full of similar stories as below:

“This front rack is great if you have very thin front forks, otherwise they just will not fit. I am ashamed to say that I resorted to hammering the fixing to make them fit and put dents in the front forks. If you are ordering online check and check again all measurements……now they fit and are very solid indeed !!! “

Well…, the guy gave 2 stars rating the product. On the other hand I’m just wondering why Avenir decided to give only small brackets (U bolts), which¬† in most cases won’t fit? Why they didn’t supply with another, bigger set of U bolts? Or just simply bigger U bolt? Cost for end customer will be probably around +¬£1.20. Strange.

Anyway at first of all, I needed bigger U bolt. as the one supplied originally with rack was way too small for my fork (the one suplied it’s really 20mm across, nonsense unless you’re owner of old steel frame). After measuring the fork 5 times I purchased suitable U bolt stainless steel 6mm (6 quid) 37mm across. Put some heat-shrink to protect fork. And here we are.

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Next I made two spacers instead of original one. The spacers are made of 5mm thick plastic. I’ve chosen the plastic as is incredibly easy to work with, but that can be done using alloy bar or something else.

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The mudguard stays eyelets are “sandwitched” between slightly oversized washers (I decided to use same threads as for mudguard stays).

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The other option for using mounting points only for rack only is Axiom axle runners or DIY similar thing from alloy sheet (might actually try it for my other bike which hasn’t got eyelets at all)

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Everything mounted, medium thread lock applied on all bolts. Done

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Keep’em rolling. Cheers.

Polaroid cube (thoughts and a bit of diy)

I grabbed one, just before going to Gran Canaria this year. Main purpose is to shot some picture/videos underwater, as well as some on the bike using it as “action cam”. So this is more like review.

Some facts at first of all. Polaroid is no longer Polaroid as you might remember (at least some old buggers like me). Now is more like mid range Chinese electronic company, but I found quite a bit of sample videos on YT and comparing the price I decided to splash some money and have a go with it.

Camera does exactly what says on the tin. Recording video in 1080/720 (in 5 minutes chunks ~300Mb) and shooting photos in about 5mpix. On the back under small lid is SD card slot, switch 1080/720 and microusb port, on top one button which is used to operate camera (all functions).

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Sounds crazy but I think one button operation is brilliant. Whole thing reminds me of an lomo camera and lomography idea. Picture quality is acceptable lets say, and that’s why the connotation with lomography – which is more focused on series of pictures and catching a moment and mood rather than quality. Even among the accessories you can find pendant and have it always handy.

Camera itself is not expensive Рabout £75 in EU, and comes without any mount at all (apart from magnet on the opposite side to switch button). Adding the mounts, on the other hand, might be a bit expensive affair. Mounts usually £15-18 for strap, helmet, tripod, bumper case and bike mount. Waterproof case is about £20 version with suction cup around £25. So all together, mounts might double the price easy.

These I think, all available mounts at the mo:

In my case the camera been used mostly for taking pictures on a move, snorkelling, cycling and will be used for wind/kite surfing in the future. I decided to slightly cut the costs in terms of mounts. For me one strap mount looked like will do almost all the things I need. I can attach it to helmet, I can attach it to bicycle handlebars (after a bit of tweaking*), I can attach to stick, to boom, etc. Tripod mount? maybe but at the mo I don’t think I’ll need it, suction cup? thank you, but no thank you ;-). Don’t like the idea at all. Anyway, it was unavoidable buying waterproof case, but again I’m able to attach waterproof case to strap mount, sorted. Bumper case? Not really essential thing, but again a piece of inner tube plus carabiner and I’ve got same functionality. So I ended up with standard strap mount and underwater case, plus a bit of diy’ing and it’s covering all usage.

Some samples. (youtube unfortunately cut the quality I’ll try upload again in full hd in the future)

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Polaroid CUBE

Some underwater shots:

Cons
Is not really a con but after using it for two weeks I’m really missing intervalometer. I know that’s quite an ask for this kind of camera but anyway that will be quite nice feature. Just shot pictures every two minutes or so.

Camera needs quite a bit of light. Night shots not as nice as in daylight. For me that’s not an issue as it’s used as “action cam” almost exclusively. Haven’t got really a sample in poor light but that can be found on YT.

Pros.

Light and small. That’s what you need on a bike. Example shoots below. Quite a bit experimenting with different mounts, and I’ve ended up with simple solution attaching the cam underneath my Garmin with simple silicone band which is ultralight ūüėČ

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Love the one button operation. Intuitive and functional.

Looks like is well build and Polaroid claiming it as “splash proof” which I think is true.

* To attach the strap mount to handlebars I had to make custom adaptor using black Suguru plus short strap which I believe might be even better option than clamp from original bicycle mount. Pictures will tell the story. Basically I’ve used cling film to prevent Suguru sticking to handlebars and camera.

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Suguru + cling film + handlebar
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everything wrapped in cling film to prevent Suguru sticking to handlebar and mount
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a blob of Suguru squashed against handlebar
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desired shape with “center point” to prevent sleping the pad from underneath the mount
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after 24h hardening
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velcro sewed to strap
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ready to go

A bit About configuration. Once camera is attached to computer and clean SD card inserted the software is copied to the card as well as directory structure created. At first I was thinking that the only way to configure the camera is to run supplied software (Windows/Mac), but as I’m not using windows I found actually quicker way to do it. In root directory of the card there are two files: settings.txt and time.txt the only thing the supplied software is doing is changing content of those. I found that once camera is connected to pc by supplied cable settings.txt can be easy edited in any text editor and saved. All you need is change UPDATE to Y (yes) and save file.
Structure of the file is quite simple:

CUBE-V1.01
UPDATE:N
FORMAT
LightFrequency:0
TimeStamp:0
CycleRecord:1
BuzzerVolume:30
——————————-
LightFrequency
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:60Hz  1:50Hz
TimeStamp
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:Off   1:On
CycleRecord
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:Off   1:On
BuzzerVolume
0 ~ 50, def:5

Four parameters to change and underneath the description.

Time.txt – same thing. Set up date and time in supplied format, switch UPDATE to Y save file job done.

Keep’em rolling

Adam

Sealed gear cables on cheap

After a few mucky rides this winter I decided to try sealed gear cables. Instead of splashing 100odd quid on fancy Nokon system I’ve tried figure out how to make it cheap.

I used Shimano¬†Shimano SIS SP41 with “long nose” (about ¬£1.4 each) plus Nokon teflon liner (¬£11 for 5m – enough for two bikes maybe three) and standard gear cables set from Shimano (about ¬£14-17).

There is two most problematic points: bottom bracket cable guide and rear d√©railleur ferrule mount an chainstay so the idea was to make the gear cables running “inside a pipe” all the way from levers to mechs.

At first I,ve fitted handlebar parts of cabling as usual, and instead of standard ferrules I’ve used “nosed ones”.

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The bike is upside down as it was more convenient to clean/fit bottom bracket guide.

Then I measured/cut the liner, fed the inner and put through bottom bracket guide. Beforehand I’ve greased whole inner cables with Rock’n’Roll cable magic.

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bb cable guide with fitted Nokon liner

 

Surprisingly the liner fits inside bottom bracket guide without any modifications.

To seal the connection between ferrules and liner I’ve used heatshrink.

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heatshrink in place
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rear ferrule shrinked
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front ferrule shrinked

Also I’ve used another piece of heatshrink to make “telescopic” connection between liner and inner cable.

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partially shrink heatshrink pipe to create “cover” for liner
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fitted on the bike

Stuffed with silicone grease to prevent water going in. hard to show on the picture…

For the rear mech I’ve used alloy ferrule with seal (Shimano is adding this to all new cable kits and that suppose to be fitted on chainstay).

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a bit of liner added to cover the end of inner cable
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testing with highest gear TODO: I need to make similar connection as for front mech

Quite like the look of these liners. Slick, completely black, doesn’t spoil overall look of the bike. Definitely better than exposed cables. Will see in the future how it performs, but so far no problems.

Happy days!

Holowtech 2 (again)

Below you can see my “high tech” tool for changing Shimano Hollowtech 2 bearings. This time I’ve upgraded to cheap and cheerful Chinese ceramic bearings (size: 37x25x6mm; bearing symbol: 6805N). Faster method comparing to old one.

Basically I found piece of alloy pipe (quite hard not sure about the alloy type). I made eight cuts about 20-25mm deep and bent the strips as you can see on the pictures (pic 1, 2, 3) (the hole on the inside of the cup is slightly smaller than inner dimension of the bearing). Couple of gentle taps with hammer to remove plastic dust caps (pic 4, 5), pry off the seal with thin screwdriver (pic 6, 7) and finally not so gently taps to remove bearings. I had two bottom brackets, one was smooth and easy and second required quite a hammering to remove bearings. I’ve cleaned all the parts, the cups with 800 sand paper (pic 8) and greased inside. Pic 9 showing my stack mounted in a vice to press new bearing into the cup. Can be anything just two thick washers and 8-10mm screw. I’m quite lucky to have piece of alloy matching bearing dimensions but outer race from old bearing might be used to press new one (pic 10, 11, 12) (bearing needs to be pressed by outer race).

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