Moving along nicely

Just got this photo from Clive over at Lockwood International in the UK, the nice folks who have made my new inlays for the Caponord dashboard. I’ll write more when they arrive …… I can’t wait!!

RST Futura based inlay with voltmeter and left/right indicator repeaters

  • Back-lit voltmeter within the tachometer
  • Left & Right indicator repeaters
  • Red-line raised to 10,000rpm to match ECU setting
  • Side-stand lamp is now where the unused ABS lamp was
  • Funky Aprilia lion instead of boring old ‘aprilia’ text
  • ‘magneti marelli’ logo removed …. well they didn’t design this one!

Reading the current situation

©Lockwood International 2014 - UK Futura inlay with voltmeter, L&R indicators and sidestand lightWith the new inlay nearly complete and sufficient testing of the modified dashboard to prove its reliability in day-to-day use, it’s now time to move on and complete the next stage of miniaturising the circuit board. The big grey box and wiring loom holding the Arduino Uno stays for the time being, but now it will house the smaller circuit board and Arduino Nano. Once thoroughly tested, the box and loom will disappear as the board finally gets mounted inside the case.

Aduino Nano and Pololu 1300 programmerThis time around the microcontroller will be programmed differently to speed up the start time and free up more memory space. For that I’m using a Pololu 1300 programming device ….. Something I’ve never done before, let’s hope I don’t fry it! If all goes well, that then leaves me an Arduino Uno spare and it would be rude not to find another Caponord related little job for it! So here’s the next project…..

I’ll be installing the Uno and three of these naughty little puppies along with and LCD screen into the redundant grey case. Self-powered, it will measure current flow through the 30A rec/reg fuse and the two main 30A fuses simultaneously. The screen will Pololu ACS714then display measured and calculated data as well as storing the data onto an SD card mounted into the display. So it’ll be a data-logger as well!

The idea is to have the three ACS714 devices, wiring loom and a single multi-pole connector under the saddle. The unit will then simply plug into the connector and merrily measure away. A decent battery and memory card should make data logging for 2hrs + pretty straight forward. So watch this space ………


Lights, camera …….. action!

Honda GL1500 with cam-cover-camera!Video on bikes ……. Nothing new of course, it’s been going on for ages. But for what it’s worth, here’s a potted history of moto-abruzzo’s fumbling’s as a videographer.

This pic is probably where it all began, back in 1992 on a hot day in Italy when I was bored. I strapped my analog camcorder to the cylinder head of the 1500 Goldwing and had a fun afternoon playing. The low perspective added drama to the shots and I could watch the front end working in corners …. Well as much as you can corner on a Goldwing! But of course the kit was bulky and not waterproof in the slightest, Sony Video Walkman GD-V800so once I’d had a play I never touched it again – especially in the rain soaked confines of the UK.

It was 2001 before I used video again. Now working as a full time Motorcycle Instructor I could see the value of using video as a training aid, so I fitted my Triumph Trophy 1200 with two 720×520 colour bullet cams (front & rear) and used a Sony Video Walkman GD-V800 deck to record. The cameras were interchangeable with PIP (Picture in Picture) so one image was primary while the other was a thumbnail in the corner. It all worked very well and I learned a great deal about camera placement, lens choice, filming and editing video from those days. Sadly, when the Trophy was written off in 2005 the video gear just sat in a corner of the workshop and never got fitted permanently again – mainly because no bike stayed long enough until I got the Caponord!

GoPro Hero 3+ BlackAnd that brings me up to date I guess. 2014, a new year and all that jazz, will see moto-abruzzo once again playing with video. Hopefully this time it will add a new perspective to the website and move things in a slightly different direction. After a few weeks of internet-homework, weighing up the pros and cons of some amazing kit, I’ve chosen the GoPro Hero 3+ Black as the camera platform to use. I’m not going to bang on about the camera as a zillion websites and YouTube videos are available to review this kit, it’s enough to say that in comparison to previous kit I’ve used it look fantastic, is a magnitude more advanced and  …….  well lets just say I can’t wait to get filming!

Service time over

Empty tank makes for light work!Service time is over for another 6,000miles. I decided a couple of years ago to extend it from the original 4,650 miles due in part to the well documented stability of the valve clearances and because I’m using the long oil filter and a decent branded oil. Whether I’m being realistic or foolhardy for extending the interval only time will tell.  😕

Valve clearances were all in spec but on the tight-side, so no need just yet to use the new Hotcams shim kit, but next time I’ll change all the shims by ±0.025mm to shift the 0.13mm ...... getting close to the limitgap back into its mid-range. That should see the valves good-to-go for at least another 50k miles. Everything else was absolutely fine, with just a slight tweak of the CO to lean out the idle.

The rest of the bike was given a thorough check over and happily all bearings and seals are fine, a squirt of grease in the rear suspension linkage keeping that nice and smooth. The drive chain and sprockets were cleaned and checked and after 33,333 miles (yes, that’s a genuine number!) they’re still good ….. This is the highest mileage I’ve EVER had from a drive chain. DID ZVM2 chain rocks!

Air filter frolics

Athena CA8925 air filter to replace Aprilia AP8104169I mentioned recently that I’d ordered a batch of air filters made by Athena in Italy. They’re a direct replacement for the Aprilia AP8104169 one and the only obvious difference is the black foam material instead of orange, and that’s fine and dandy with me. However, on stripping out the old filter I noticed for the first time (that I can recall!), it has a code on the end …. hmmmm ….. could it be a viable manufacturers code I wonder?

Hmmm what's the code mean then Sherlock?A few minutes on the web confirmed that the number is definitely a manufacturers code – not Aprilia, but FIAAM. A bit more digging unearthed a total of three cross-referance numbers. Tecneco AR9474PM, FRAM CA9474 and FIAAM PA7301. The downside? All of them seem to be obsolete, with FRAM/FIAMM saying they went out of production in March 2012! Buggeration ……

But … one of the sites I found listed a filter that is an almost identical footprint to the OEM one:-

Aprilia OEM          210 x 140 x 30

FIAAM PA7180   212 x 140 x 60

Now a 2mm length difference is peanuts – the OEM one can be stretched/compressed by 10mm easily, the problem may well be the height, at 60mm it’s double the OEM filter. So to try to find out I took some pics of the airbox with the OEM filter in and had a play in Photoshop. Here’s the outcome.

Photoshop airboxThe vertical lines show where the filter ends or interferes with the frame or lid. As you can see, the 60mm high PA7180 will squash in at the ends …… will this be enough to restrict air Athena box label for the Capoflow, or will the greater surface area of the larger pleats compensate? Answers on the back of a crisp £20 note if you please! 😀

Next time I’m passing a motor-factors, I’ll order one and have a play. At £4.68 each they’re half the price of the Athena …. and that brings me nicely back onto track, the new Athena filters that turned up today. What are they like then eh?Embossed pleats

Well, dimensionally it’s an exact copy, so the fit is absolutely fine. One nice touch is the embossed pleats. It keeps them evenly separated for better air flow unlike the OEM element that is simply made of folded paper where the pleats can collapse onto each other. The bottom line is that it fits well, looks better constructed and is substantilly cheaper than OEM (€8.35 each from Germany) …… oh and it comes in a nice shiny box!