Happy Christmas!

Christmas Eve as the sun sets behind the Gran SassoYes it’s almost that time again – nuts, turkey, sod all on telly and a splash of booze as well! Santa of course came early this year with all my in-laws buying me a lovely mountain of Capo spares ….. absolute Aprilia heaven! 🙂 Thank you all!!!!

Of course the New Year will be tinged with sadness as the dashboard repairs stop at the end of January, but something has to give way so I can concentrate again on Motorcycle Instructing as well as moving on with other projects – the big-bore engine needs finishing, the dashboard isolator needs building and testing, while the new ECU interface loom sits all forlorn until I can afford to buy the M800 ECU, but then each year you have to have something to strive for – maybe they’ll happen, then again maybe they’ll just have to be moved on down the line or put to one side completely, who knows. Sometimes in life the doors just open and sometimes you just can’t find the damn keys!

I’ll end by saying a special thanks to all the folks who have let me loose on their precious dashboards and to the emails and occasional phone calls from Capo owners worldwide – I hope I helped in some small way and look forward to meeting some more of you through 2015. Jan and I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Capotastic New Year! Oh and how could I forget The Andy’s, Manuel, Steve & Andrew (Aus) and StuO …… you guys rock!

Give me a brake will ya!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - 12mmø rear master cylinder in sectionWorking slowly through the ABS parts, the thought of building a stand-alone test rig to power up the ABS pump and test a working system on the bench crossed my mind ….. that and tinkering with code again to see if I could have a swift chat with the ECU bit. Quite a few of the bits have been cleaned and modelled and that also gave me a chance to try and work out the specific differences between the ABS part numbers (caliper/master cylinder) and the standard bike ones. What little I found is added to the ‘Rear brake’ page.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - ABS pump and ECUSo now a rig is slowly coming off the drawing board with a trusty Arduino being used to power two motors for the phonic wheels …. the idea being that if I can get the wheels to speed, then apply a brake,  the brake light switch will tell the Arduino the brake has been applied which will then make the Arduino retard the speed of that particular phonic wheel by 20% or so – that SHOULD (if everything works!) cause the ABS unit to trigger and begin pulsing the brake ….. that’s the theory anyway! 🙂

All I need now is a front ABS sensor and one more brake line to complete the rig and I think I can power this puppy up and see what happens …. flames, fountains of brake fluid or a big fat nothing at all! 😯 Hmmmmm.

Speedo sensor thoughts

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - Speedometer sensor Honeywell 1GP7001Having chipped away through almost 1/3 of the parts I got last week, I started on the speedo sensor …… unfortunately t’was deader than a Dodo. That presented the perfect opportunity not only to measure it for posterity – but to strip it apart and see exactly how it was constructed. In this case as you can see from the photograph, the sensor (Honeywell 1GP7001) is completely buggered and split at the sensor head …. marks in the body suggest it may have been water damage.

All this leads to the idea of a re-usable speedo sensor, that could be re-orientated for use not only on the Capo, but also the RSV and Tuono. Here’s a MK1 idea using the same Honeywell sensor (about £15/€20) and a few nice stainless screws for that macho-Meccanno look! The idea is that if the sensor subsequently fails, you simply unscrew the case top and solder in a new sensor – bingo! Back in business in 10 minutes flat. 🙂

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - 2005 rear wheel & swing armSo is it worthwhile following this up do you think, or should I resign it to – nice idea but ……?

And lastly, the chap in l’Aquila got back to me this week and offered me this pair of little beauties for €50 plus postage. 😀

Apparently the tyre is original and will require removal with dynamite or a thermic lance and the rim has a little scuff damage along the edge (about 5 o’clock in the pic), but I’m sure that can be taken out by someone more competent than I. I’ll have a nosey around the UK over winter and take the wheel back over with me in spring.

When the wheel arrives I’ll model it up, then look at various colour schemes that might (or might not!) complement the fudge/biscuit paint of the Raid. – not that I’ll ever get them done, more just a ‘what if I had dosh’ excercise unfortunately.

The Eagle has landed ……

We all like a bargain ….. more than ever at this time of year judging by the British press (Black Friday), so I have to admit I had a grin like a Cheshire cat as I rode back home late Saturday in the dwindling light and rain. Why?

Well on Friday, while some folk lost all sense of self-respect fighting over 40″ TV’s and coffee grinders, I’d stumbled across a fresh advert on a small online marketplace. A couple of calls later and I’d arranged a trip over to l’Aquila the following day, to bag myself a lovely load of Caponord spares for the princely sum of ….. well let’s just say we never got out of double-digits! Here’s a breakdown of what I got from a low mileage 2005 ABS model:-

  • Throttle body including injectors, TPS and throttle cables
  • Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid & Futura - Fuel injector & sealsABS pump, mounts, sensors and wiring loom
  • Rear brake caliper, bracket, pump, pedal and brake light switch – with footrest
  • Sidestand and switch – with footrest
  • Oil cooler and mounting brackets
  • Coolant tank, cover and mounting brackets
  • Main wiring loom including relays and diode block
  • 4x HT leads
  • Drive chain slipper block
  • Gear lever
  • chainguard
  • And last but not least … a box of assorted plastics.

It also transpires that he may well have the swing arm as well – €15 to you guvner and €5 postage …. I’m just waiting for the confirmation and that’s my birthay present sorted! 🙂 Unfortunately, no wheels/discs. They’d been sold along with the forks for (wait for it) €150 ……. 🙁

So after stripping the throttle body and ordering up new seals, I decided to model up the manifold/injectors. Click on the injector picture above to open the fully exploded manifold and below are a couple of views of the whole assembly.


Go, Go, GoPro!

Replacement GoPro Hero 3+ ready for work!As the evening mist rolled down the valley and the receding glow behind the Gran Sasso a lingering reminder of today heading toward tomorrow, I trundled up to the main road in the Landy to meet a courier. A dashboard perhaps, or some silicone vacuum hose I’d ordered off EBay? No Idea.

When I saw the parcel I nearly fell off my perch … a replacement GoPro camera! 😀  And not only that, but also a nice new battery as well – thank you GoPro, what a nice surprise. All in all the turnaround was 1 week from shipping the old unit to the new one turning up, Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - GoPropretty damn good in my books.

The only thing to ask now is about warranty – I’m unsure about where the new camera stands. Does it only have the remaining warranty of the old unit (about 8 weeks!) or does it come with a new warranty of it’s own and if so, how long? So I’ve sent a last email back to GoPro asking them to clarify it for me. Meanwhile, I’ve charged it up, got it talking to the Wi-Fi remote and GoPro app, polished its case and got the bike ready for a nice little womble around the countryside ….. all in aid of product testing of course! 😉

Sprocket to me daddy-o

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid front sprocket stress analysis

April 2020 – sadly Aurasma was bought out by HP (Hewlett Packard) who have now closed down the whole thing.

Once again I’ve been playing ….. this time with Aurasma. No sniggering at the back!

Another augmented-reality app that does video and 3D, admittedly the 3D isn’t as good as Augmented in some ways, but in others it has definite potential. For this little magic show, you’ll need to download the app (Android) to your phone and (on your PC) go to the website and open a free account. Then open the app and tap on the white triangle in the bottom/middle of the screen, now tap on the search (magnifying glass) and search for ‘moto-abruzzo’ then on the next screen tap on ‘follow’ in the top right hand of the screen …… and your done!

Now click on the sprocket above to open a larger version on your screen, point your phone’s camera at it and watch Aurasma do its stuff! Impressive eh? 😀 A basic model of a Sunstar 16 tooth front sprocket animated around two axes. Unlike Augmented which is VERY expensive after your 14 day intro, Aurasma is free (for now) – and we all like freebies. I think I’ll start porting my CAD/3D library of Capo parts over in the New Year and see how it goes. 😉

If you gave it a go, please leave a comment. Any feedback thoughts or ideas on how best to use this with reference to our beloved Caponords is always welcome.

Have fun!

Bye Bye Wi-Fi … one poorly GoPro camera

GoPro Hero 3+ WiFi failureYes after 10 months of excellent service, the GoPro Hero 3+ Black has sadly ended up toes-to-the-sky in the bottom of the bird cage. Everything was fine until a couple of weeks ago, when all of a sudden the camera ceased talking to the wireless remote or my smartphone … in fact no Wi-Fi activity at all. So I twiddled and fiddled, reloaded the firmware, stood on one foot in a bucket of rice pudding reciting Winnie the Poo out loud…. nothing worked. Time to contact GoPro.

SDA Pescara ItalyFrom initial contact (website form) I must say they were very quick to respond – the automated reply says 1-2 days, I got a response within 3 hours! After that things happened rapidly and within a few days I was standing at the local UPS office (actually sign posted SDA – don’t ask!) handing over the demised camera in its little cardboard coffin resplendent in a pre-paid return label for the journey to its final resting place in the Netherlands. That was Monday, it was delivered on Wednesday and today, Thursday, I’m getting my kit ready for a run out….. Helmet, gloves, wallet, phone, cam…….

…..I miss that little fella already. 😥

This I guess is the halfway point through the warranty claim, so far so good. I have to say the experience has been very smooth with GoPro being totally professional and helpful throughout. The emails were clear and concise with everything integrating seamlessly to avoid confusion. At this point I’m very happy with GoPro, let’s see how things pan out over the next week or so!

Augmented reality Capo luggage!

(AR) – Augmented Reality, the overlaying of graphics, data etc. on real-time video or imagery. Nothing new really, it’s been done for years ……. but not in my back yard it hasn’t!

I’ve been playing with an Android app called ‘Augment’ which in combination with its website, allows 3D models to be uploaded and then selected from your smartphone and overlayed/inserted into the real-time image from your phones camera. These stills and video were taken after uploading a basic model of a pannier/water bottles I knocked up last year. The bit of paper in the pannier frame is a target I printed out from the website – it’s this that the model is oriented and locked on to.

And here’s a couple of stills taken via the app. I must say I was bloody impressed with how well it stayed in position … I could move round to quite severe angles to the target before it lost position lock. Even moving the camera around quite agressively didn’t seem to phase it much.

Since playing with the pannier, I’ve tried a few more models – coils, various brackets and brake caliper bits …. it’s fantastic fun just sitting at a table looking at various Capo parts over a cup of (real!) coffee.

RPMT (Register of Post Test Motorcycle Trainers)

RPMTI finally got around to renewing my RPMT (Register of Post Test Motorcycle Trainers) membership before it expired, another few weeks and I’d have to start the whole registration process over again – Riding test, Instructional test and Instructor Theory test …. not a very savoury thought, given the time and cost (£390-£540 as of November 2014). By Jimini that snuck up rather quick!

RPMT was set up by the DSA ( Driving Standards Agency – Now the DVSA) back in late 06 or early 07, I forget which. The idea is to bring a level of professionalism and regulation to an otherwise unregulated industry. The simple fact is that unlike pre-test motorcycle training (CBT/DAS), in the UK anyone can set themselves up as an ‘Advanced Instructor’ with no training or qualifications, it’s been done and people have been hurt through unsafe tuition. So if you are looking to take your road-riding skills up a notch, make sure the Instructor/Coach/Observer (whatever!) is suitably qualified  – you can’t go far wrong with any of these – IAM, RoSPA (I’m on the last page. 😉 ) , DIA or someone on the RPMT register.

I’ve got a screw loose!

Mummy this is going to hurt!One thing’s for sure, irrespective of how many miles you’ve travelled or how many years you’ve had that dog-eared licence in your pocket, you never stop learning. Sometimes the lesson hurts, sometimes it’s so subtle it’s easy to miss and sometimes the lesson leaves your blood-stream swimming in the hormonal avalanche from the Adrenal medulla. You know what it’s like, you’ve been there yourself – a close call, a near miss, a white knuckler, call it what you will …. and you know how it brings a fresh new perspective to the day!

Yesterday I went back to school ………

Scrubbing off speed, I approached a mini round-about where I needed to double back on myself to enter a hardware store car-park. It was a beautiful sunny day with just the right amount of breeze and all was good in my little world. Down a couple of gears, a tickle of brake and I’m eye-balling the ongoing passion play of traffic already negotiating the roundabout as I started to roll in to the left, but immediately it all went horribly wrong. The turn was too shallow, I was spiraling outwards – the steering wouldn’t turn to the left!!

Instinct (or more likely blind panic  😯 ) had me kicking in a heap of counter-steer to abort the left turn before I ran into the oncoming vehicles – swinging the bike away to the right with the left pannier a hair’s breadth from some poor sod’s pride and joy. Pulling over with my heart fit to burst, I tried the steering. Full lock to the right – fine, but it locked Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - GoPro thumbscrew drops into steering!solid 20-30° to the left. Peering over the handlebars everything looked OK, no loose bolts in the triple-clamp …… nothing. A Scooby-Doo mystery for sure!

As I was putting it on the main stand, I heard something fall from the bike. Looking down I found this fella, an innocuous little GoPro thumbscrew. Eyes snapped up to the GoPro wireless-remote mount on the left handlebar, the thumbscrew was missing. It had worked loose during the journey and bounced down into the bowels of the steering mechanism waiting for the right moment to wreak havoc …… and it very nearly got away with it too (if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids! – A little Scooby in-joke!).

The lesson? Firstly make sure I do things up properly!  😕 Secondly make sure that ANYTHING added to the cockpit / handlebars can’t work loose and interfere with the steering. Sounds obvious, so obvious I haven’t given it a second thought in countless years of riding, but What in FOD's name have you been playing at!as an ex-RAF engineer I should know better than most the catastrophic implications of our old arch-enemy FOD (Foreign Object Damage). Complacency is no excuse ……. From now on ALL GoPro thumbscrews will be tethered!

In this instance only my pride took a bashing, but it could have so easily been much worse – hero to zero in a heartbeat. Today I’ve had a whizz around the bike and checked that everything is tickerty-boo, put in a new thumbscrew and nut and said a bunch of Hail Marys just for good measure! But how about you …..

…. are YOU 100% sure that nothing can foul your steering / suspension or drive chain ….. And is that luggage really secure? 😉