Sunday, February 24, 2013
Yesterday evening, I could barely see anything beyond the hood of the truck. On the road from the facility towards the rest of the NARL campus, I would be stopping every 50 ft or so to check on where the edges of the road were. Today, I won't make that mistake again and left while there is still some daylight. By the way, sunrise was at 9:32 today and sunset isn't until 6:00 tonight. Daylight is returning quickly though there is still very little thermal gain from the sun. That won't come until later.
I had set up a controller based wireless system to support the BARC and shortly after I had installed it, the vendor sold that portion of the company so, technical support is no longer available. I figured out how to get multicast running between the wired and wireless networks so Bonjour is now available over wireless. Bonjour was needed to provide some often requested capabilities. Airprint, zero-configuration printing for your Apple iDevice and an Apple TV in the conference room to simplify communication to the projector.
Lantronix xPrintServer works as well as I've heard and I now have the legacy network printers accesible to all of the iDevice users. But it did take the better part of a day to figure out why multicast wasn't working between the wired and wireless parts of the network. (Bonjour and IPv6 both require link-local multicast) It turned out to be a barely documented "feature" of the wireless controller.
One Crazy Ride, a film by Gauruv Jani about a small group of riders traveling across the north eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh to see if it was even possible. They are all riding overloaded Royal Enfield motorcycles with no support or chase vehicles. I've had the video for quite a while but have never watched it before. It was pretty good and most of it is in English and he has some other videos out that I want to try and find.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Monday, February 18, 2013
On Saturday evening, I was sitting at the airport getting ready to head to Iowa City, IA. I haven't been to Iowa since I was around twelve years old when we passed through on the way to Minnesota. This was the view out of the window on Sunday morning on the way out of Portland heading east. I really liked this view but after sitting in a plane all night, I really wasn't feeling up to enjoying the view.
The trip from Fairbanks to Iowa City ended up being five legs. Fairbanks to Anchorage, Anchorage to Portland, Portland to Chicago, Chicago to Cedar Rapids, then a shuttle from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City. Lots of flights but no real issues and I was fortunate to get upgraded all the way to Chicago. This is the view coming into Chicago. Not much to see.
Here's how I know that I'm no longer in Alaska. This is one of the displays in the Cedar Rapids airport. In Fairbanks, this would have been snow machines, four wheelers and boats. Here, small tractors and lawn mowers.
After looking at todays weather back home, I think that I'm better where I am right now. Even with the rain, sleet and snow. There are about 30,000 students at this campus and is located in the middle of Iowa City. Like many other states, I still get the two systems confused. I am at the University of Iowa as opposed to Iowa State University. I am here attending the Northern Tier Network Consortium steering committee meeting.
This is an example of how embedded the university is within the City. We are meeting in a shopping mall where there are still quite a few businesses and university departments essentially have storefronts. University buildings are all around the hotel and this mini-shopping area. So far, I haven't seen a single corn field. That is what I remember from my last visit to IA almost 40 years ago. The picture was taken yesterday afternoon shortly after arriving at the hotel.
This afternoon, we were given a break from the all day meeting and visited the new data center for the University of Iowa IT group and the medical center. This is just the IT side of the facility. It's a pretty impressive facility. I believe that it is brand new and they are still in the process of moving in. The existing data centers on campus barely survived flooding recently and that may have been one of the drivers getting this facility moved up in priority with the legislature.
Another participant noted how many "100 year"
It really is great to meet with colleagues from other universities around the country and Internet2.
Tuesday Morning Update - It's not looking better today back home. Even here in Iowa City, it was 0°F this morning.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
I originally posted this as a comment but thought that it was worthy of a short post (without any pictures).
Interesting engine behavior today. Last night, I connected a regular charger to the battery with the thought that maybe the trickle charger was unable to fully charge the battery. It was -19°F this morning so I moved the bike out of the garage to let it get cold soaked then try to restart. I was trying to debug the sluggish cranking. It started just fine first thing in the garage and I think the starter spun the engine significantly faster than normal. I left the bike outside for 5 hours to get thoroughly cold. Went out to start it and it cranked nice and fast just like it did earlier in the morning and would start and run for a few seconds then die. But would restart almost immediately and do the same thing. This sequence repeated itself about ten times. It eventually idled and I let it warm up a bit while getting geared up. Lots or restarts and each time the engine spun easily.
When heading up our driveway, the engine would start to sputter as if out of fuel by the time I reached the top of the driveway but after coasting back down, it would restart immediately. After this happened a few times I stopped, parked the rig, and thought about what could be causing the problem. It really felt like a fuel problem, maybe water in the gas? Since the rig has been moved in and out of the garage many times over the last month, condensation building up in the tank is a very real possibility. Especially since the air in the garage is fairly humid.
I added some Heet to the gas left in the tank and added another gallon of gas from a plastic jug to help mix the Heet with the fuel in the tank then emptied both fuel bowls. After a bit, I tried again and the engine started and I easily drove out the driveway. I drove around the subdivision hills a few times probably aggravating a few neighbors, the headed out on the road. Twenty miles of wandering around Fairbanks and the engine ran very smooth the whole time, just like normal. No hint of stumbling and I was able to restart the engine several times. I was careful to not shut the engine off unless I was near the top of a long downhill section, just in case. The road was extremely slick with yesterdays snowfall on top of ice and I could feel the rear tire break free more than once.
Possibly water in the gas or water in the carb bowls? And as far as cranking, the charging system may not be able to completely charge the battery on my short commute and the battery tender may not be charging the battery if its down to far. This fits with what the manufacture says about the battery tender that it is not designed to recharge a battery. Any thoughts? No opportunity for more testing for a couple of days as I'm sitting in the airport writing this on my way to Iowa State for a Northern Tier meeting. I've never been to Iowa State before so looking forward to somewhere new.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
If it's at least 0°F tomorrow morning, I think I'll ride in again. Today would've been a great day as it was almost 20°F by late afternoon.
|Photo by A. Holte|
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Speaking of gadgets, the second photo was taken using the camera in my iPad (I've never used the camera before). My phone decided to stop working last night after a reboot and it's been sitting on my desk getting it's programming and apps restored from my laptop. This is one of the first uses of the laptop since I started testing out the Chromebook. This is an example of something that couldn't be done without a "real" computer handy. If I was out of town with just the Chromebook, my phone would've been dead until I got back to my office.
Tuesday Afternoon - Well, a little bit worse than expected. At 11:30, the engine barely turned over after sitting outside since 8:00 probably due to the cold. It had dropped to -18°F by then but was still nice and sunny. The engine did start but was running a kind of rough but after a minute or so, it settled down to normal. I rode downtown for my meeting, nothing abnormal until around ½ mile from my destination, the engine started running rough again. Almost like it was running on one cylinder. But I kept the revs up and made it to my destination.
After the 3¼ hour long meeting, The engine again barely turned over but fired and started on about the second compression stroke. It ran rough and there would be occasional pops from the exhaust pipe. Kind of like it was running too rich. But if I kept the revs up, I had no problem going down the road. Another oddity was that neither the heated gear nor the heated grips worked. They aren't even on the same circuit to the battery. The battery voltage was a steady 14.4v though the lights on the Gerbing controller were flashing red suggesting low voltage. Power cycling the controller got it working again. At about the same time, the roughness disappeared and the heated grips started working again. After arriving home, the engine wouldn't even turn over let alone start and I could not hear a click from the starter relay.
Odd, I guess I have my work cut out for me for the next couple of days. You gotta love these cold weather gremlins.
Monday, February 11, 2013
The two small holes below the front sidecar turn signal and on the rear are mounting holes for the Cozy nameplates. The plates were in a plastic bag in the trunk and the holes had rivets filling them. I drilled out the rivets to put the plates in place. The one on the rear has the street address of Cozy in India as "Just past the Police Station".
I did notice some low speed wobble that I may have originally thought was simply the icy, bumpy road. It occurs at around 10mph and isn't an issue at this time especially with the slippery roads.
Sunday was really warm with temperatures venturing into the 20s (°F). This really made for slick roads so the studded tires got a good workout. It'll be interesting to see how many of the studs are still there.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Only about 30 miles of running around today and the studded tires worked great especially on the snow covered roads. Braking was decent and I still haven't felt any of the low speed wobbling that I've been warned about. Maybe the slick roads mask any instability. Even after only 30 miles, I can still feel that I got some upper body exercise. This may be just what I need to go with all my walking. It is incredibly handy to simply throw stuff into the sidecar. You may notice in the first picture that I have my top box installed. It mounted simply to the Reynolds rear rack like it was made for it. No clamps just bolts into the existing holes with some fender washers.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Northern Power Sports, a local snow machine/motorcycle/ATV shop where I picked up the screw-in studs, and also picked up a pair of handlebar muffs. These are nylon covered thin foam which slip over the ends of the handlebar grips and controls and are held on with Velcro straps. They are kind of similar to the Hippo Hands that folks rave about but these were about ½ the cost. I think that they are stiff enough to stay open and it's very easy to get your hands in and out as the opening is pretty large. I like that I can still glance down and see the controls. The main concern is whether the wind would push hard enough on them to partially press the clutch or front brake lever while underway. If they do, then I may need to fabricate some sort of support to keep them from touching the levers. They barely fit over the handlebar mounted master cylinder reservoir. Also the bright green Arctic Cat logo doesn't match anything else on the bike.
Revzilla finally has free shipping to Alaska. I ordered a pair of Gerbing G3 heated gloves. Last May, after a very cold ride to Anchorage, I had picked up a heated liner and dual controller. These gloves plug right into wiring built into the liner sleeves and the current can be set with the second knob on the controller. The gloves draw 2.2 amps max and when combined with the 6.9 amps max of the jacket liner, this could become a significant percentage of the 23 amps generated by the stock alternator.
I finally dug into the heated grip wiring after finding a wiring diagram on Snowbum's BMW site and discovered that the two wires from the switch to the grip heating elements had come out of a splice located under the speedometer housing. It was a pain to reach the connector and it looked like the splice was there to simplify removing the handlebars for servicing the bearings. It wasn't a factory style connector but had tiny screws clamping of the stripped ends of the wires. But after a lot of fiddling, the anemic heated grips are now working again though the switch only seems to now have two positions instead of the three. So I'm not sure if I lost low or high and a lighted switch would be a great addition.
I'm still trying to decide if I should drill a large opening in the right lower fairing for the front upper sidecar mount. Some BMW purists within our local Airhead group say that I should leave the lower off rather than deface it with a 1¼" hole. I'm inclined to drill the hole as the airflow would be more controlled and the bike wasn't pristine even when I bought it over five years ago.