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? 😉

TuneECU App – v1.2 update

TuneECUWhen I checked my phone this morning I noticed that the TuneECU app had updated to v1.2 overnight ……. somehow I guess I’d missed it update to v1.1! Anyway, with a few minutes to spare I hooked up to the Capo (cable & Bluetooth) and noticed that the ‘Neutral’ light is now working – a bit sluggish, but working none the less, which is an excellent step forward. Now all we need is a nice new screen with the sensor data, plain text like Tuneboy would be fine ……. please Alaine. 🙁

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - TuneBoy Sensors

etv1000.net

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - ETV1000.NETI had one of those emails the other day, you know the sort – trying to sell you a domain name at a grossly over inflated price. I hovered over it just long enough to catch the domain name before launching it into the trash. But then the bells started ringing somewhere in the dusty recesses of my mind …… I know that domain, ETV1000.net – home of the French Caponord forum!

Well the long and the short of it is that the domain expired on 20th July and was in fact in the last 5 day window (Pending Delete) so would be released any time now. Rather than let it go to one of these places that hog expired domain names and use them as advertising sites, I took a chance and as luck would have it – bagged it yesterday!

So I’d love to hear from anyone that knows what happened to the site and more importantly, where are the French Capo owners meeting on the internet? If anyone in France wants to resurrect the site,  then shout up through the contacts page, I’m sure something can be worked out.

Oh and thanks whoever you are … without the junk email I would never have known about this! 😉

Review – Motrag Hella DE fog/spot lamp brackets

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - www.motrag.proI’ve known Manuel Hitz, owner of Motrag for over 18 months although we’ve only met once, at ACIM VI in July. At that fun filled weekend we looked around many bikes and discussed the pros and cons of many upgrades – as well as our own. Manuel was keen to show me some of the items that Motrag make and sell, he then asked if I would try a set of his fog/spot light brackets* and compare them to the Touratech ones currently fitted on the RR. ‘Why not’ I said, ‘It would be jolly rude not to!’. And so a parcel arrived last week. 😀

Off with the Touratech brackets ……

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Touratech Fog LampLet’s start with the outgoing Touratech brackets – each has 4 parts, 8 fasteners and weighing approx. 300g. They are actually made for the Mk1 Caponord and not the Mk2, although the modification to fit them is simply a matter of bending the front mounting tab and drilling a fitting point in the fairing. However having to drill out the rear mounting point was something I hadn’t anticipated. The hole was probably a perfect fit for the screw – before they added the powder coating, certainly not after! Overall the fit/finish is average, (presumably) laser cut 4mm aluminium plate bent to shape and slapped with a coat of satin black – sharp edges, cutting marks and even a ding in one plate left for all to see. The lamps sit very close to the fairing making cleaning a real headache unless you remove the brackets each time, on a plus side however; they are well protected in the case of a fall. 4 years on, the finish is peeling away and they have started to look shabby, so I’m glad to have the opportunity to remove them.

Bottom line – Expensive and build quality/finish is average at best.

….. And so on with the Motrag brackets.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Motrag fog light brackets with Hella DE lampsThe Motrag brackets each have 3 parts, 6 fasteners (plus a plastic pin) and weigh in at approx. 360g**.
Opening the box was a pleasure. Each bracket wrapped securely, fasteners (all stainless steel and just like the OEM Aprila fasteners in appearance) were bagged and labelled for their intended location and last but not least a set of clear instructions and a parts list.

Fitting the brackets involved no drilling or cutting at all and they were on and aligned in less than 30 minutes – ok, the lamps were already wired in of course! In comparison to the Touratech brackets, the lamps sit slightly wider apart (approx. 25%) and slightly higher with adequate clearance for me to get behind them when cleaning the bike. The flat top of the lamp bracket lends itself very nicely to being used as a mount for my GoPro camera, something Manuel is keen for me to try out – so keen if fact, he sent three lamp brackets – a spare for me to drill for the camera mount!

OK so far … a bracket’s a bracket, heck as long as it fits and doesn’t look naff what else can I say? Well let’s save the best for last, the finish, THIS is Motrag’s ace-in-the-hole! Each bracket is exquisite, no sharp edges, no machine or cutting marks in sight. This kind of attention to detail is something we’re just not used to seeing nowadays and it pays dividends …..As the old saying goes:

Don’t spoil the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar

Proverb: Don’t risk the failure of a large project by trying to economize on trivial things.

Says it all really! And so to the bottom line – Excellent fit and finish, well documented instructions and nice attention to detail with the fasteners adding that OEM look. But you know I’ve been thinking, wouldn’t it be nice to either tweak the design, or offer a seperate bracket so that a pair of discreet DRL – Daytime Running Lights could be fitted in the space below the lamp … over to you Manuel! 😉 

Anyway, that’s about if for the initial impressions, I’ll add a new post in 2015 when I’ve had chance to bounce the brackets up and down our road and put them through winter weather to see how the finish holds up – my guess is they’ll do fine. That just leaves me to thank Manuel for kindly sending the brackets for review, we agreed it was to be fair and without bias, if I didn’t like something – say it! All good so far …….

I almost forgot – Manuel also dropped another little present in the box for me, a sexy new cap for the coolant bottle in blackest black, not sun-bleached grey. That little baby has got to be worth an extra 5mph! 😉 AP8104124 if you want to do this speed enhancing upgrade.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid. New coolant cap!


Notes

*Both the Touratech and Motrag brackets are designed to take the Hella DE spot(Xenon) or fog(Halogen) lamps. Motrag supply the lamps/brackets as individual sets for the left or right, so you can mix fog/spot combinations as you want.

**These are a prototype set in 2.5mm steel and not the production 3mm aluminium, so they are slightly heavier.

TuneECU App – Review

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - TuneECU Android AppA week ago I downloaded the TuneECU Android App, spent a few minutes scrolling through the screens, then sat back and waited for Mr Postman to deliver a USB3 OTG cable for the Samsung Note 3 and a Bluetooth module from Ebay.

Here we are a whole week later and I’ve used the App successfully with both connection methods. Indeed the App is stable and remarkably quick and easy to set up connections and seems to take no longer than its PC sibling to communicate with the ECU. I didn’t experience any drop-out when starting the engine with either method and map Read/Dowload via cable seemed on a par with my netbook. So far, so good…….

……. Now for the downside.

Those of you that have used TuneECU(PC) will be familiar with the three modules it contains – Map Edit, Diagnostics and Tests and I ask you which of these modules are likely most useful in a day-to-day situation? In my books that’s the Diagnostics/Tests ….. why would I want to remap a bike from a smartphone for a start, let alone mess with mapping while out and about commuting to work or heading off for a summer jolly. Mapping is best done at Dyno time, in a workshop and let’s face it, once done probably won’t need revisiting for a long time, only engine/exhaust mods or ECU replacement come to mind.

So my wish list is for an App with full Diagnostics/Tests, the stuff that may well help me at the roadside, that will show me an intermittent coil when the ECU hasn’t triggered the EFI light or generated a code and other information that the simple dashboard diagnostics just doesn’t display.

 

Unfortunately it’s here that the App falls flat. As much as I swiped and tapped I couldn’t find a screen to show me the sensor data – Injectors, Coils, Air Temp, O2 sensor, Barometric etc . In fact the display doesn’t even show me Neutral, Fan or Side-stand …. All familiar sights on the PC version. So I dropped the author Alaine an email. And this was his response.

There is no sensors page shown in the App, maybe this will be added in the future. The Fan and Side-stand lamps are not written into the software and yes there is a bug with the O2 graphic display. He hasn’t come back to me yet about the missing Neutral lamp.

So that’s it …. An interesting novelty App, unfortunately nothing really useful to offer as a diagnostics tool while out on the road ……. For now the cable and Bluetooth module can find a place on a shelf somewhere, while the trusted Asus notebook keeps me company with TuneECU 1.97 doing what it’s always done – and doing it very well!

I’ll end by saying that since the Capo was ported to TuneECU back in October 2010, I’ve used it extensively even though I still have TuneBoy on the netbook. Alaine is to be applauded for his work in bringing a great piece if software to the bike world – for free. So I feel uneasy writing a negative review of the App, but in the end I’ve tried to be as honest as I can about its abilities with regards to the Caponord. Maybe it’s having far more success among the Triumph fraternity, I don’t know.

Way too close for comfort …..

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - Brembo 07BB05-SA brake padsYes, I put my hand up; I screwed up on this one! I’m normally pretty good at keeping on top of the Capo maintenance, but this time I let the brake pad checks slip by while doing a full service a few weeks ago. So the other day I decided to drop the front calipers (Brembo P4/34 triple-bridge), took one look at the pads, swallowed … and squeaked a silent ‘bugger!’  Thankfully I could engage smug-mode as I already had a new set of pads (front & rear) hidden away in the parts-pantry after stocking up on all sorts of Capo-consumables at the back end of last year. The new pads are 7.5mm thick; with approx. 4.5mm of material ……. the best of the old ones was about 1mm on its tippy-toes. 😯 Way too close for comfort, so I took myself around the back of the barn and gave myself a jolly good talking too! 😳

Anyway that’s another job out of the way. Total mileage on the old pads worked out at 18,150, not too shabby really. And the rear? Doing fine, thanks for asking …. although by the time it’s pads are ready for a change, my guess is the disk will be as well. It measures a hairs width over the 4.5mm limit, so time to look for a replacement I think.

TuneECU for Android is now out

TuneECU for Andriod on Google Play StoreOn the 15th September 2014 the eagerly awaited TuneECU for Android app was rolled out on Google Play Store priced at €9.99. It doesn’t currently support reading or reprogramming of maps through Bluetooth only via cable, but it is version 1 so this may be added at a later date. Either way, it’ll make a handy pocket diagnostics tool and save luggage space leaving the notebook at home!  Here’s a link to the TuneECU webpage where you can read more about what’s needed to get it working on your Caponord.

It might be nice to look at putting together a fully waterproof Bluetooth module/cable that can be left permanently attached to the ECU, maybe with a remote switch in the luggage tray to power it on/off ….. another winter project! 😀