Now that I’ve finished running the C5 camera on the rear, I figured it was finally time to get around to making a more permanent mount for the rear K1 camera, rather than the piece of scrap steel strip that has done the job so far. Although it felt quite rigid, the fact is the video image would suffer with a bit of ‘jello’ above 6,000rpm – an annoying vibration in the image that makes it look slightly wobbly!
So after a couple of test runs to make sure dimensions were ‘ish’, it was a 6 hour slog-athon until the Robox printer produced this little puppy. It uses the same two M5 bolts as the steel strip, along with two more M4 mounting points to add a little extra rigidity. The camera now mounts (like the front) using all three 1/4-20 UNC points. I’m happy to say the image is lovely and stable, no more wibbly-wobbly video when the throttle gets lovingly caressed!
With all the other stuff going on recently, I almost forgot to mention that the run across the continent was a great make-or-break test for the 3D printed speedo sensor case! Works a treat and even if I say so myself, it looks way better than the original! 😀
Although it’s working brilliantly, I’ll modify the design of the cap to give a little extra room inside for wiring up …… and rotate the lion’s head so it’s horizontal, ya can’t beat a bit of OCD!
I joined the HD camera bandwagon back in January 2014 and since then have enjoyed (or not!) the delights and foibles of the GoPro Hero 3+ Black camera. Constantly charging a bucket load of batteries, taking it on and off the bike then getting frustrated when the current battery needs replacing/recharging in oh-so short a time.
In the end of course the penny dropped. The GoPro is simply overkill for day-to-day riding where (hopefully) nothing of any note happens. But if it did, I’d still like to capture it if possible, just in case it could help with an insurance claim or legal dispute.
I realised that what I wanted wasn’t an ‘Action camera’, but a ‘dashcam‘ …. a subtle difference it seems! So here’s what I’d like it to do:-
Bike AND battery powered – turn on/off and record video with just the turn of the ignition key
2 cameras – forward and rear both recorded by a single unit
Full HD – 1920 x 1080 (30fps minimum) progressive with good low-light capability
Protect files – Either on demand or on collision detection
Be designed for motorcycles – waterproof and ruggedised.
And so courtesy of Jim at Abbey Motorcycle Instructors in Oxfordshire, an INNOVV K1 dual-camera kit found its way to the Capo. While the INNOVV didn’t tick all of my ‘wish-list’ it ticked more than most. The full specification of the K1 can be viewed here.
To fit the kit to the Capo required a bit of sacrifice. The long serving and ultra-reliable Autocom Pro-7 unit had to come off the bike and has now been streamlined and put into the tank bag along with the ICOM PMR446 radio. You really can’t keep a good, but very old bit of kit down for long!
The INNOVV 12v/5v voltage regulator is wired into the tail-light loom and installed on top of the ECU with a (provided) double-sided sticky pad. I have to be honest here and admit that I already have an extra loom in place ready for the Active Brake Light System which is still being built. So in the meantime I pinched its Molex connector to power the K1. Next the GPS unit was installed in the Capo’s luggage bay just behind the ECU on a 3D printed bracket so it fits nicely next to the MCCruise electric servo.
With that done it was time to install the cameras. I decided I wanted them on the center-line of the bike rather than bias them one side or the other. I wanted them EU/UK road friendly! The rear is mounted just above the tail-light and the front on the headlight guard. Both are angled down about 7º to reduce glare, each has an excellent view of the road with only the edge of the top-box getting in the rear camera frame. The cameras are each physically identical (just different cable length) and have machined aluminium bodies that are waterproof and heavy-duty, however the lens (especially front) is vulnerable and would benefit from some protection. They each have three 1/4-20 UNC thread mounting points (normal camera thread) and come with basic steel L-brackets. However I decided to make my own to best suit the mounting points – the rear from a piece of steel plate, while the front is 3D printed and bolts to the headlight guard (AP8791235). The final two items in the box are the push-button and a small loom that plugs into the DV recoreder, joining both button and GPS USB’s to one connector, however I left this off for the initial trials – more about this later.
With the kit fitted it was time to set-up the unit in the two recorder menu’s. Time, date and vehicle name are straight forward as was selecting camera orientation – one of mine had to be rotated. Initially I set both cameras to 1920×1080, then had a play with 1280×720 on the rear, but ultimately went back to full HD on both. Again all the settings (bar one) are covered in the manual. The one that is missing is ‘EDOG beep’ …….. INNOVV tell me this is to do with warning of being over-speed but requires the speed camera data to be installed. Besides, the ‘beep’ is under the saddle and inaudible for riders, so I leave it switched off.
The system also incorporates accelerometers in the front camera and they can be used to lock video files or start the cameras (Park Mode) when they detect an impact above a certain value. Setting this value is trial and error and at first I found it locked files when riding along our dirt/stone road. It’s something you can tweak over a few rides until it suits your roads/riding style I guess.
Operation and observations
With the Capo buttoned up, it was time to give it a whirl and see if it really is as fit-and-forget as I wanted. In short yes it is! We all have our little routines and mine is key-on, wait for the dashboard to finish its self-test, hit the starter and when the motor settles, turn on the lights. At that point the K1 turns on and immediately begins recording. I set mine for 10 minute segments, the selection is 1, 2, 5 and 10 minutes. At the end of the ride simply shut off the lights or ignition and the K1 reverts to its internal 3.7v 1100mAH battery** to finish the current file and store it, then it shuts down. It couldn’t be any more turn-key if it tried! The K1 also has voice (and beep/bong!) confirmations that tells you what it’s doing, but you look mighty odd jumping off your bike and sticking your ear to the pillion saddle, so I turned it off once confident it was working reliably.
With a 128Gb card installed it records for about 14∼15 hours before overwriting the first files it recorded. All video files can be viewed directly on the recording unit, with basic fast forward/reverse functions or remove the SD card and pop it into your computer. When you format the memory card in the recorder it adds a useful viewing program (Registrator Viewer 5.8 for Windows) that allows you to not only view the files but it can also show you location/speed/heading from the GPS data and data from the accelerometers. However, if you want to save your video as picture-in-picture format like you see dotted around the internet, you’ll need a video editing package such as Adobe Premiere Elements.
What about picture quality? I left the menu settings at default, however there are a few items specifically for tweaking the image quality – resolution, quality (Normal, Fine & Super Fine) as well as WRD (Wide Dynamic Range). This improves the cameras night-time images or images with strong back-lighting where objects appear more in silhouette. Personally I find the images pretty good but a little over sharpened such that there is some noticeable image ringing. Also the data rates differ front to rear, the front camera has a data rate of 12Mbs while the rear is reduced to 8Mbs and I found definite compression artifacts on the rear footage especially (for example) when riding along a tree-lined road where the image has lots of fast changing areas (overhanging trees) instead of a relatively constant sky. Maybe I’m being a little harsh here. After all it is a budget dual camera system not a high-end Sony/Nikon/Cannon! But having said that, and looking at the specification of the Ambarella OV2710 sensor and A7LA70 chipset I can’t help but think that image quality can be improved by tweaking the firmware. Maybe an update will be released in 2017?
Here’s a short video put together from K1 and GoPro (top left & audio) footage. The Capo popping on the overun has stopped since the new camchain tensioner was fitted and the slight front camera movement has gone since the new mount has been fitted ….. oh and some of the quality has been lost sending it over to YouTube. 🙁 I think I better do a new video!!
Parts not used
As mentioned previously, there is a push-button provided as well. This is used to lock/unlock (momentary push) the currently recording video file and (2-3 second push) to start or stop the recording. When recording an LED is lit in the button. Now here is quite possibly my biggest gripe of the K1 system. The button isn’t waterproof and the LED is so weak as to be almost impossible to see except in a dimly lit room (or car interior?). I decided to strip it to find out what makes it tick, then set about replacing it with something more useful.
The button has two functions – first it grounds a 3.8v signal line (the button push), second the LED is fed by a 1.8v 11mA signal from the DV recorder – both ground through a third wire. So I knocked up an interface box to improve the LED power and feed both signals forward to the old Autocom PTT (Push to Talk) button I still had on the handlebars. Now I have a waterproof, heavy-duty push-button and a much brighter LED that I can see in daylight.
Conclusion after 6 months use
Overall I’m pretty happy with the kit and enjoy letting it do its thing …. nowadays I don’t think about it and only check the cameras are clean before heading out. In fact I only checked the SD card yesterday after about a month – everything is recording just fine.
The one niggle I had early on was intermmittent locking-up or shut-down of the DV recorder. This was cured by fitting ferrite cores to all the leads. The only other change I’ve made has been the replacement of the bag provided for the DV recorder with a 3D printed frame – similar protection but with better ventilation for cooling – it does get VERY warm over time! Anyway, here are a few more bullet points that come to mind.
Build quality, installation instructions & general performance
Price (pre BREXIT £/$ crash!) of approx £200
Availability of accessories and spares
Communication with INNOVV – quick response to emails.
Could be better
Improve video quality – reduce compression and sharpening
Waterproof heavy duty button with bright LED specifically for motorcycles
Supply a pair of lens protectors in the kit
Susceptible to RF interference – shielded wires or add ferrite cores to cameras/GPS/switch wiring
Waterproof cases for the GPS and DVR unit.
Other things to possibly consider for the future ….
Improved battery capacity and reduced drain when unit is switched off
Wireless or Wi-Fi capability for intercom or Off-Bike video file storage on a smartphone. Maybe the system could notify you via SMS if the Park Mode is activated by impact?
Combine the DVR and GPS units to reduce the overall number of cables and connections.
* The voltage regulator has been updated with a sensing wire to be attached to a switched 12v source while the red/black connect directly to battery supply. The regulator supplied in my kit did not have this upgraded function.
** This is the same battery as used in the old GoPro / GoPro2 – Battery model AHDBT-001 or 002. There are loads of aftermarket versions of these on the Ebay if you need to replace it.
After January’s awful weather – snow, rain, sub-zero temps, earthquakes & landslides, it’s been a very nice balmy February! So much so, that the Capo has squirreled a good few miles under its belt – the last 300 of them with the new snorkel in place. And I have to say, I’m really chuffed at how it performs. No extra induction noise that my aged arthritic lug holes can detect and no detriment to performance even though it’s been nowhere near a dyno to tweak the mapping.
As I write, a swanky set of Futura throttle bodies are winging their way here, as are a nice new pair of Mk2 cam chain tensioners – AP0236253. The velocity stacks are now finished and ready to fit to the throttle bodies and so it just leaves the matter of swapping out the Anakee Wild tyres for a fresh set of Anakee 3’s and a DID ZVM-X chain and Ognibene front/rear sprocket set (courtesy of Motrag) and I think she’ll be ready for a damn good thrashing on Dr Dyno! 🙂
With plans a-foot to assemble a big-cc motor for the Capo, it was time to cast an inquisitive eye over the airbox snorkel, that ugly rubber protrusion at the front of the airbox, sucking in hot air from on top of the radiator. This one object has been debated far and wide over the years – keep it, or remove it? Yes the questionable snorkelectomy!
Only a couple of ways to find out I guess. Dyno the bike with and without it or draw it up and run a flow analysis on it from the comfort of an armchair. Armchair it is then! With the model complete, here’s a couple of basic facts: Snorkel Inlet area (total) 1,750mm² and outlet area (total) 3,050mm². So the inlet is slightly restricted, the offending area is highlighted in the picture (click to enlarge). In fact, if the restriction were removed, the snorkel would have an inlet nearer to 2,400mm² – about 37% more!
To keep it simple the analysis was run with air at 1013mb and 20C, both with AND without the restriction in place and at RPM’s ranging from 1,300 to 10,250 – well above Caponord max RPM of 8,750.
I think it’s reasonable to say that the OEM snorkel doesn’t really do badly until it hits 9,000RPM+ and lets face it, by then the whole thing is over for the poor old Capo anyway! Based on a days digital twiddling and some airbox datalogging several years ago, I have to say that I’m planting my flag firmly in the ‘leave it alone’ camp when it comes to the OEM Capo snorkel. It isn’t and never will be an RSV so why try to make it like one ….. the standard bits are designed to work well enough together for the style of bike it is. Yes of course remapping will improve things no end, but why screw up the ride by making it noisier and offering the local mice a HUGE entrance through which to set up an epic knocking shop on the air filter!
But what about the big-cc conversion? well running the analysis with the 1,103cc and 1,127cc flow certainly seemed to cast doubt on the suitability of the OEM snorkel as the strong pressure drop is now occurring lower down the rev range. So the snorkel design originally drawn up back in October 2012 was dug out of hibernation, modified and polished up for 3D printing and run through the flow software – the green line on the graph above. Overall it seems to offer a cleaner flow, less pressure drop and maintains a similar airflow velocity into the airbox. Unfortunately the one thing the software can’t tell me is how much extra noise will be generated! The OEM snorkel is made of PVCD (flexible) AND has a foam pad in the roof of each inlet – both presumably are to reduce inlet noise.
With everything looking OK a few test parts were printed to make sure it’s going to fit, then the model was split into two along the mounting plate and both parts printed separately. This was due both to size limitations in the printer and because I didn’t want to use any support material to upset the surface finish. Afterwards both parts were bonded together and the inlet tracts rubbed down with 80/180/400/1200 grit sandpaper to get a reasonable finish.
With a bead of sealant and 4x M4x12 and 4x M5x12 screws and nyloc-nuts, the snorkel fits into place just fine. Of course only time will tell how well it stands up to the rigours of its new home! The OEM snorkel has a rubber/foam acoustic panel (AP8117151) that fits over it and of course it won’t fit the new one, so I’ve trimmed this one to suit(ish) and placed an order for a similar dual-material sound deadening product to make a new one specifically for this snorkel. However the chopped-about old panel can’t be far off the ball park, as inlet noise just wasn’t noticeable which was a pleasant surprise …… It could well be a different story from the saddle though! 🙄
So what next? Well the plan is to get a day on a dyno when the weather is more amenable. I’d like to run it as standard, standard + new snorkel and Futura throttle bodies, new velocity stacks and new snorkel and see what the numbers say. Any guesses?
The day before the awful January weather hit, I managed to get a nice afternoon ride-out on the Capo. Stopping part way along for a coffee break, I paused for a moment to put helmet and gloves in the top-box – forgetting I had a bungee-cord still attached between the lid and side cases. With my mind wandering away on other things, I flicked the latches and began lifting with finger and thumb. In a heartbeat the cord snatched the lid out of my hand, slamming it hard against the hinge-stops bending the hinges and shearing two rivets. Oh well, after 10 years I guess it could do with a bit of TLC, now it definitely needs it!
A couple of weeks later, after the snow had finished having its wicked way, I managed to get around to doing a complete strip of the top-box in an uncomfortably cold and damp barn, first straightening the hinges then rebuilding it all with new 4mm stainless steel rivets instead of the feeble aluminium 3mm ones. While I had it stripped down I remembered that I’d had a little 3D printer idea regarding the top-box and now was the perfect time to do it.
Something that’s always bugged me with the Hepco-Becker top-box is the lateral play in the mount which allows the box to be fitted off-center – around a half-inch or more (>12.5mm) either way. To take this slop out two plastic blocks modelled on the shape of the existing mount have been added using the same size self-tapping screws as on the main support. These blocks don’t take any load, that’s still handled 100% by the original support, their only job is to ensure the box lines up perfectly every time it’s refitted ….. no bumping, shuffling or tweaking it into place, and this most certainly pleases my mild OCD!
While doing all this, the bottom galvanised steel support plate was measured and a larger improved design drawn up. The original 1.5mm thick plate has too much flex for my liking (built to a budget) so the idea is to fit a slightly thicker 2mm stainless steel one for improved support, looks and weather resistance. After all this, the top-box should be good for another 10 years + …….as long as I don’t screw up the hinges again that is! 😀
And finally, the January backlog of post and parcels are starting to trickle through and with the first batch came the 8mm OD stainless steel sleeves and a couple of Honeywell 1GP7001 speed sensors. So the sensor and case are now assembled and tested. Only the cable strain relief sleeve is missing before I can fit it permanently to the bike. Fingers crossed they’ll be in the next batch of post!
I’ve been carrying six spare spokes around in the front wheel spindle for years ….. however the whole thing was a bit of a mash-up and not worthy of a post on here unless I desperately wanted some serious ridicule. Until now that is! Out with the hand-cut foam and insulating tape and in with the nice new 3D printed parts – two spacers to hold the spokes all nice and even and two new symmetrical end caps. All this held together with a length of 8mm aluminium tube, two ‘O’ rings and two M6 stainless fasteners topped off with a pair of decorative washers I had left over from my old Honda Blackbird days. All works pretty well, even if I say so myself! 😀
The Capo now has 3D printed bungs in the swing arm pivot and the ends of the crash-bar mounts. They’re held in by 43-39-2, 14-10-2 and BS011 ‘O’-rings. And yes, the BS011 rings are the very same as those used on the fuel lines. So one day if the old girl springs a leak and needs a new fuel line ‘O’-ring by the roadside – no problem, whip out a crash-bar bung and pinch the ring! Next ….. front and rear axles then the engine mounts above the swing-arm pivot .
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