DIY Hub Dynamo USB Charger Inside Handlebar

I’m thinking about dynamo, but usb chargers for 6V hub dynamo are either expensive or shit. I think I’m going to DIY it in the nearest future. Below is definitely an easy option. Tempting… We’ll see

Mr Howdy And His Merry Wheelmen

Smart phones are quite power hungry, especially if you use features like GPS or continuous data streaming. After a couple of hours navigation or tracking a training ride, it’s time to start looking for a charger. If you mobile charger happens to be that of the USB type there are some options to get your phone juiced up en route, both commercial and DIY. We did an online search for words dynohub USB charger and among the DIY crowd basically two types of designs popped up.

One idea is to use a set of four NiMH cells to regulate the voltage from the hub generator and, in to the bargain, also provide intermediate power storage allowing removing of the battery pack and using it for charging or power source also off-board.

The other option is to use a low-voltage-drop 5-volt regulator to directly feed the USB power source. The following…

View original post 707 more words

Advertisements

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.

IMG_0521

I cut threaded part of bottleneck from PET bottle and make hole in the cap

IMG_0522

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

IMG_0520

3 inch piece of road (18-25c) inner tube for nozzle

IMG_0523

inserted plastic “washer” into inner tube

IMG_0524

like so…

IMG_0525

everything put back together

IMG_0526

I made a hole in plastic bag and put nozzle through

IMG_0528

to seal the connection, wrapped a piece of velcro ( might be a rubber band or something)

IMG_0530

alternatively the bag can be trapped underneath cap, just screw the bottleneck in

IMG_0529

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!

3 pics, 30 pence, 5 minutes

Image

5 minute, 30 pence, solution in 3 pictures, for notorious problem we had on recent trip to France

IMG_0510

corkscrew picked up from carboot sale – 30 pence

IMG_0511

pin has been drilled and the only interesting part removed – 5 minute job

IMG_0512

combined with 3mm Allen key from multitool hopefully will save some faff dealing with wine

 

eccentric bottom bracket adjustment

Eccentric bottom bracket is neat idea for adjusting chain tension on singlespeed/gearhub bike. Basically, you can have vertical drop outs on the frame and removing installing rear wheel is always the same you don’t have to worry about adjusting chain tension like with horizontal drop outs. (and tensioners looks ugly IMHO)

Continue reading

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:

IMG_1007

IMG_1004 IMG_1003

  IMG_0976

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.

IMG_0977 IMG_0989

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.

IMG_1009 IMG_1010 IMG_1011

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

IMG_1013

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)

34954 diyr2 ditr1

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

IMG_1014 IMG_1017

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).

IMG_0869

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 – about £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)

Polaroid CUBE Polaroid CUBE

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 😉

IMG_0871 IMG_0873

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.

IMG_0858

Suguru + cling film + handlebar

IMG_0859

everything wrapped in cling film to prevent Suguru sticking to handlebar and mount

IMG_0860

a blob of Suguru squashed against handlebar

IMG_0861

desired shape with “center point” to prevent sleping the pad from underneath the mount

IMG_0863

after 24h hardening

IMG_0864

velcro sewed to strap

IMG_0865

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 dérailleur 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”.

IMG_0706

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.

IMG_0724

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.

IMG_0720

heatshrink in place

IMG_0722

rear ferrule shrinked

IMG_0721

front ferrule shrinked

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

IMG_0709

partially shrink heatshrink pipe to create “cover” for liner

IMG_0710

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).

IMG_0736

a bit of liner added to cover the end of inner cable

IMG_0737

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!