Saturday, March 29, 2014

Keeping Busy

Here is an example of how the road maintenance folks push the snow and ice as far to the side as they can. In most cases, over the edge so that the runoff doesn't collect on the road. This has been our typical weather for the last week or so. Cool in the morning (~2°F) and warming up into the high 30s (°F) by late afternoon.

For some areas, like our parking lot, the water just collects as they haven't melted the storm drains yet. Here, I am parked on the sidewalk next to the 6" high curb. So the ice is over 6" thick at this point. I was lazy and didn't actually park in a regular parking space as I wasn't planning on staying very long.

One of the projects I have been working on this week has been learning some Arduino programming. I needed to make a bunch of low power environmental monitoring systems for use in the Barrow huts. I want to monitor temperature, humidity, water level in the fresh water tank, moisture on the floor (i.e. flooding). And have all of this reporting on a "dashboard" accessible over the network. Shouldn't be too difficult and I'm having a great time learning how to do it. This is an Arduino Uno R3 board that I'm playing with but will be deploying another model that has an ethernet connection and is powered by running DC voltage over the Ethernet cable. I may also use wireless in some of the huts depending on what's available.

Here is some colorful food for the Wisconsonland challenge but I'm pretty late to the game. This is a Pad Hed, a Thai mushroom/pepper stir fry. It tasted wonderful!

One last thing, I ended up working on the bike all afternoon and one of the things I did was install a panel mount jack for the Gerbings heated gear. I initially just had a wire hanging near the battery but when I installed the new fusebox, I moved the hanging cable to the fairing. When I was a Radio Shack looking for Arduino parts, I decided to look for a replacement power plug for my heated liner. Yes, I probably could've just sent it back to Gerbings to repair since it is still under warranty but since I found the plug, I just fixed it. And since they had the right size plug ("N"), I looked for a panel mount jack and they had that as well. I think that this looks and works a lot better than a power cable hanging from the bike.

Other tasks completed today, changed to oil and filter from the 5w30 "winter oil" to 20w50 which is what is recommended for anything above 5°F. The oil filter was much more difficult to replace than any other time. The sidecar subframe makes it extremely difficult to get the filter out. In the future, I may simply remove the sidecar and front subframe. Today, I removed the exhaust headers instead and they didn't come out easily.

I also removed the car battery in the sidecar and reconnected the Odyssey motorcycle battery which lived under the seat all Winter. When I plugged it back in, it still had 12.7v and easily started the engine. Put the seat cushion back into the sidecar so I could once again carry a passenger. Still on the list, replace the front brake lines.


SonjaM said...

One never stops farkling, even if it is a tiny plug to be installed.
I love Thai food, it is mostly vegan (or easy to veganize), healthy and gluten free. And your's looks so yummy!

redlegsrides said...

I like the plug install...positioned so that the gerbing plug disconnects easily when you forget to unhook first before dismounting the rig? :)

So, no more car battery or just for Winter?

I just upgraded my alarm panel by ditching ADT/Brinks, liking the added features....exploring now ability to add flood monitors though unlike you, will probably just buy and install commercially available devices, just not as good with electronics and coding as you are.

Your difficulty with the exhaust headers remind me to do the anti-seize maintenance on the finned nuts for the airhead. (Just doesn't sound right, does it?) :)

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Richard, we call it Space Management around here.....planning ahead with snow removal so that melt water has a place to run when it's ready.

I obviously need a refresher course and I'd worked so hard at it too.....:)

Martha said...

That reminds me that I have some tofu to prepare for dinner! That meal looks very good and deserves to be in the food mini-challenge! The plate is adorable, too!

There are so many "subtle hints" about snowfall averages and expectations when you look around northern cities. Here we have (as others do) the tall metal sticks or stakes that attach to the water hydrants so they can be found when the snow buries them. That's a pretty good clue about winter snowfall expectations. And the wide streets, as you mention. The other is rural mailboxes that are not secured in the ground- usually stuck in a container of some sort. Sometimes that's because a hole CAN'T be dig, but more often it's so they survive the snowplow. Little things like that are fun to notice.

Trobairitz said...

Nice to see things are still melting, but 6" thick ice, yikes.

Nice colorful food. I joke that when you eat plant based, everything is colorful. Or most of what we eat is colorful, brown rice and quinoa are pretty beige.

RichardM said...

You mean there is no end to farkling?! I thought I was done…

The Thai dish was really tasty an the tiny green chilis added just enough heat.

RichardM said...

I must admit that I've forgotten to unplug the cable more than once. I picked up a coiled one that works pretty well. It lets me wander up to 4' away without unplugging. This makes it easy to hop off to back up for instance.

I figure that it's above 0°F most of the time so I shouldn't need the extra starting capacity. Until next Winter.

The exhaust nuts came off easily but it was difficult to pull the pipes out of the head. I added a coating of anti-seize to the pipes as well as the threads.

RichardM said...

Pushing the snow back is one of the welcome indications of the end of Winter. The bike path is still snowy but that will probably get cleared this week.

RichardM said...

There are usually a lot of questions from visitors about things like the flags on the hydrants or the snowplow markers along some of the highways. Especially the poles with rods extending towards the road about 15' above the road.

Most of the mail boxes here are anchored about 3-4' from the road and the box extends towards the road. I need to modify ours to pivot on the top when hit by the plow. Now it just breaks off.

RichardM said...

They'll probably clear the storm drain when the water (and ice) reaches the doors. They use truck mounted boilers with steam jets to thaw the drains. It takes quite a while. Some culverts have steel rods running through them where you can connect something like an arc welder to them to heat the rod. The same way they thaw buried water lines.

Unknown said...


Hard to believe ice that is 6" thick. Must take a long time to melt

I like your panel mount plug. I had heated gloves and I would always forget to unplug the harness, same with my heated vest. It was connected to a wire hanging off the battery. Not as convenient as yours and impossible to plug in whilst riding, unless you pulled over.

It is nearly Spring here but had to scrape the windows again this morning

A weekend photographer or Riding the Wet Coast

RichardM said...

Once water starts running over the ice and they open up the storm drains, it'll melt over the course of a couple of days.

I would frequently forget to plug things in and would have to pull over to grab both sides of the cable. This setup is pretty easy to both see and use. In fact, I've considered putting in a panel mounted dual controller but then I'd have two cables running over.

Unknown said...


when I had my SV650, I contemplated putting in a small panel with a DTDP switch with two plugs, so that only one circuit could be energized at the same time to save AMPS. One way for the Grips and the other way for Vest as I wasn't sure if the system could have both on at the same time

A weekend photographer or Riding the Wet Coast

RichardM said...

Even at its introduction, the SV650 alternator puts out more wattage (300@5K) than the stock BMW airhead (280@4K) so it probably wasn't an issue as long as you turned things off when at idle. Even before I upgraded my alternator, the stock system would power heated grips, gloves and liner as long as the engine speed was above 3000 rpm.

But the toggle switch was probably a good solution.