Friday, 17 January 2014

It's January again!

A belated Happy New year to you all! Another January again, with it's typical cold and wet (this year) weather.
I've been a bit too busy to mess around with this blog so far, and have a couple more projects to do, concerning a gas welder, and some more work to my Mobylette.

Previously I was doing some work to my Royal Enfield diesel motorbike, finally getting around to sorting out and fitting a home made fully enclosed chain drive/case to it.

I may add a bit more to my B.A. or my Life? ramblings eventually this year. You'll just have to wait and see!

Anyway, have a good year what ever you do!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Playing with a camcorder, videos, and all that!

Previously I used my digital camera in 'movie mode' to make the occasional videos, but the image quality of these videos wasn't so good. Noting that technology has moved on a bit, last month I decided to invest in a cheap second hand camcorder, after looking around on ebay.
It took a while looking at specifications and prices, before I found the type of camcorder functions that I wanted, at the right price! It looked like camcorders made after 2008 had the right resolution and picture quality, with also some useful filming functions. Sony were way too expensive, even obsolete technology ones. Panasonic looked good, but were also too expensive for my purposes, so I decided on JVC, as they were a good compromise on image quality and price. The Everio series looked promising, and eventually I got a used GZ-MG465BEK for £49.

The JVC was quite easy to use, also being one of the last models in the range to have an integral Hard Disk Drive, with the option to use Micro SD cards. It's small and light, and can fit in the palm of your hand.

So after a bit of playing around, here's one of my early video efforts:

I also caught up with making a couple of videos of my folding electric bike at last, only three years later after I had finished the bike project!

Here's the folding electric bike videos:         Part 1.

                                                                      And Part 2.

The bike videos are for a 250 watt motor, 36v lithium ion battery powered, aluminium alloy framed electric bike. For the three years I have had the bike, it has run very well, covering several hundred miles now without any problems.
I must remember to make a video eventually about how to charge up the lithium ion battery packs used with the bike!

Back again, after some time......

I've been too busy for most of this year to waste time on my blog! But now winter is almost upon us, I have a little more time to waste this weekend!

At the beginning of this year, I was busy in a cold and damp garage working on my latest project, a 1970 mobylette that I had rescued from a back garden in Eastbourne. It cost very little as a non-runner, but 'cost' me a lot of time (six months) to get it up and running and back on the road again.
I nick named it "Little Monster" and it certainly lived up to it's name at times!

Here's a link to the "resurrection" work for those that have a masochistic tendency!!
old clunker av89 resurrection I hope?!! 

And this is the "Little Monster" now finished!

The reason why I got a Mobylette, was that it was my first two wheeled motorised experience, and it was a hired moby in Spain in 1980. Previous to that, I had never heard of Mobylettes.
In those days, no restrictions, no helmets, no insurance, no MOT test, and no sense required!!! I think it was either an AV50 or '92 I rode for a week - going for a 70 mile round trip one day, dressed just in a t shirt and shorts, with some sunglasses and sandals!
I was really impressed with the performance with these little mobys - a lot quicker than other more modern 50cc mopeds around, with almost a performance like a small motorbike. I also learnt to go flat out down hill at nearly 50 mph, to get enough momentum on the road to go up hill without slowing down too much! on the hilly Spanish roads, that were mainly empty in those days, apart from the odd old man/farmer with an over laden donkey, or a few other locals 'buzzing by' on other 2 strokes.
The moby I was on was also very good off road when I gave it a hard time on some of the local dirt tracks - all in all, I was very impressed with the moby.

So now with 'FleaBay' and the 'experience of age'?! I decided last December to buy a 1970 registered AV89 in what looked just about 'reasonable condition' for age, but needed what I thought at the time, a bit of restoration to get it back on the road.

I'm using it as a commuter hack still in reasonably original condition, to get me around locally, and through central London traffic to visit my girlfriend who lives in the other side of London. It's ideal for the task, when it's not raining and really miserable weather! and better than the now overpriced London public transport. It's very economical for a 50cc two stroke engine, with a fuel consumption around 100 to 110mpg, which is needed with a just 5 litre or 1 gallon fuel tank!
The Moby has a top speed of about 33 mph on level roads, and I have seen up to 37mph indicated on a slightly sloping down hill road. To get reasonably decent acceleration, the engine has to be kept in the two stroke power band, which is around 15mph.

This 43 year old moped still just about goes! with it's unrestricted performance two stroke engine, and is a design from 1960 which continued on until the late '70's, as it was very popular. Motobecane closed down production finally in the 1980's after producing around 8 million bikes, so I've read! It seems only the Honda Cub was built in greater numbers. Despite all that, I appear to be the only one regularly riding a moby in London!

For those interested in seeing the different starting methods for a Moby, here's a video I made.

You can also hear the noise the two stroke engine makes when running!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A New Year and new blog entry.

I hope any readers out there have a Happy and successful new year. Another year has flown by, and it's about time that I added another entry to this old blog.

It's been a proper winter here in London for a change, with heavy snow last Friday, and some on Sunday also. Enough snow and hard frosts to cause the typical chaos and flight delays, at the overcrowded Heathrow airport. The flight cancellations and delays went on for several days, and things only started getting back to normal yesterday.

Here's a couple of pictures taken of the snow at home, with a bit of a blizzard on Friday.

With this cold weather, it's made the inside of my unheated garage like a freezer! So I have to wait until it gets a bit warmer, before I can venture into it, and continue the work on my latest venture - restoring my newly acquired Mobylette AV89.

Maybe more posts to come? Just wait and see!!


Saturday, 17 March 2012

B.A. or my Life?!.... The Third Chapter - It's the beginning, or something?...

Chapter Three.   Part One -   It's the beginning, or something?...

  I know, it's been a very long time since I last typed an odd paragraph or two of my autobiography.
  Again I wonder if anybody either looks forward to, or bothers to ready any of this 'self indulgent', and maybe rambling 'drivel' to some people?!

  Yes, many years have passed, over thirty years now, when I cast my mind back to those ever distant memories. One thing is certain, every year, both my memories and myself get older! If my memory is still to be relied upon? In 1980, on a cool but quite bright February sunny Wednesday morning, with some white cumulus clouds scattered across a winter pale blue sky; this apprehensive, fresh faced 17 year old youth walked along the pavement, past the entrance security box and gate, and across the only partially full car park to the entrance of Cranebank, the training centre of British Airways near Heathrow Airport.
  The regular sound of jet aircraft rumbling in the background, as they took off and landed on their respective runways, greeted visitors ears, as was the distinctive smell of burnt jet aircraft fuel, drifting back and forth, blown by the gusting cool prevailing westerly winds. A visitor would certainly know that they were very close to an airport!

  Following the instructions in my welcome letter from B.A., clutched in my hand; which also instructed us, with what practical casual clothes would be suitable to wear on the induction day, I vaguely remember that I was wearing my comfortable dark blue plastic sports mac, some fairly tidy blue jeans and a spare pair of my father's black industrial boots. In my letter, I was directed to the first entrance, which I seem to remember had a large sign above the entrance steps, which was appropriately labelled in black, "Entrance A - Engineering Training", on a purple background. Adjacent to it was another entrance and sign, this time in orange, labelled " Entrance B - Cabin Crew Training".
  At the time, I wished I was going through the orange entrance (my favourite colour!), with it's glamorous looking staff passing by up and down the nearby steps, rather than my unattractive 1970's 'glam rock colour' looking purple signed entrance!
  The other main entrance to this very large 1960's designed 'C' shaped building, was around the corner, across another car park. It was logically of course, "Entrance C - Flight Crew Training" on an emerald green sign background. So no chance of getting confused and going to the wrong entrance - everything was colour coded, and for some strange reason in the heir achy of B.A., aircraft engineers have always been 'colour coded' purple!!

  It was time to take the plunge and walk up the flight of stone steps, surrounded by quite a few other people rushing to work, in the concrete and glass modernistic building, designed to process as many staff as possible through it's training regime.
  The glass lined foyer with some tall leafy potted plants and the view of one of two canteens through the glass partitions on the immediate left, greeted the visitor, and it was now my time to turn right into the 'reddish' polished lino floored, fluorescent lit corridors, which lead to the 'depths' of engineering training....

  To the back of the Cranebank training building, was the appropriately named River Crane, slowly meandering it's way through the unexpected small woods and fields. The fields and the chain link fence across them, with a large hole cut in it! provided the short cut home to the underground station after work, which I was later to find out!

  From an engineering Instructor and another fellow engineer, who had been around longer than the building! working for B.A., I was also much later to find out, that the site of Cranebank had been originally an infectious diseases hospital for many years before, where the very seriously ill patients were sent! The hospital can't have been that successful, and it was thought obviously the best place to locate and build a training centre! I think the site must have still been infectious, because of the strange behaviour of some of the staff there sometimes!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A new post for 2012! And more experiments.

At last I have a bit of time to 'fritter' away pointlessly on my blog, for a change!

It's been some time since my last entry, but I thought that I would keep you all posted with what has happened with my diesel motorbike. It's nick named "Old Clunker" for various reasons, with a cartoon image as well, which I have made into stickers.

It's been in 'hibernation' since the 23rd of December, but up to then I had been regularly riding my 1971 Diesel Royal Enfield, on the latest vegetable oil blend, which was supposed to be a bit cheaper to produce, but didn't work so well. The engine just about idled well enough to ride it to my nearest petrol (gas) station, and fill the tank up with 1 gallon (4.54 litres) of diesel. After that, the motorbike has been running really well, so the latest 'vegefuel' blend works with a 1 to 1 ratio with diesel, which I suppose is better than nothing!
I've run the motorbike on this blend for just over 100 miles, with about another 50 to do, before I have used up the 1 gallon of this current blend.
Then when the weather gets a bit better and warmer (after this recent snow!), I hope to test out my final, and hopefully successful 'vegefuel' blend - without having to add some diesel this time, I hope?!     

If you are interested in finding out more about the alternative, strange and colourful world of diesel motorbikes, you can click on these two links.

You'll certainly be surprised! Looking at these sites, convinced me to get into diesel motorbikes, since I was already into the 'alternative world' of motorbikes!  

Friday, 11 November 2011

Yes, it's been a long time!..... Plus a bit about diesel motorbikes.

Amazing to think that I have been away from this blog for nearly a year now. I wonder if anyone out there in this strange electronic world has missed my rambling entries at all?!

An unusual date today 11th of the11th  2011, which also coincides with the Remembrance Day in the UK.

The world seems to get stranger by the day, with even more extreme economic events unfolding - I wonder where it will all end?

A lot has happened since I last had some time and enthusiasm to type my last entry. Unfortunately my Mum died suddenly last April, which took up a lot of my time sorting out arrangements back then.

On a happier note, I got my long awaited diesel powered motorbike delivered in March, built by a specialist Royal Enfield bike builder to my requirements. It's a 1971 frame that has been totally refurbished and modified, and the 350cc engine replaced with a diesel one.

After doing some modifications to the motorbike, and running in the engine for about 300 miles on diesel, and doing the first oil change; I have now been doing biofuel experiments, making vegetable oil similar in viscosity and cetane value to diesel oil, and is cheaper than diesel, and from a renewable resource.

So far, the vegefuel experiment has been very successful, and I have just got through the first 2 gallon blend today, doing 284 miles locally in London over the past couple of months. The engine fuel consumption is around 140 mpg! Some say that the 406cc Yanmar clone can do up to 170 mpg! I've also tested it in slow moving heavy traffic, and almost empty road traffic conditions, and starting in hot and cold (4 degrees C/ 39F), with no running problems at all.
The engine seems to run smoother, and with a lot less knocking than when on diesel, so it seems to suit the engine well.
I just put in a gallon of my next new vegefuel blend today, which is a bit cheaper to produce, and is a lot cheaper than the ever increasing price of diesel!

The engine is a Suntom air cooled single cylinder, which is starting to loosen up a bit now, and gives the motorbike a performance similar to a petrol 125cc motorbike, like the 1970's classic style Honda CG125  I used to have. Top speed is around 60 mph, depending on the road and weather conditions, but I have only been able to take it up to 52 mph on the local roads, as indicated on my additional digital speed counter and odometer, with some throttle still left!

The road handling is better than the Honda, with much better low end torque, so the motorbike will pull away in second or even third gear on the flat, if I get lazy with the gear changes! With the extra weight of the diesel engine, it also doesn't get blown around easily by the wind, and is very stable. It's also fun to ride when you get used to the quirks of the 'upside down shifting' gearbox, with the gear change on the traditional right hand side. The nick name is "Old Clunker" which suits the bike perfectly!

The other main advantage of the motorbike, is that because of its age, it's classed as a historic vehicle and has no road tax to pay! It also qualifies for classic bike insurance, which is very cheap as well! So a good cheap motorbike to run in these austerity times, since interestingly, the Enfield Bullet was originally designed in 1948 in austerity Britain back then, where there was still rationing and most things were in short supply.

The results of my biofuel experiments will be put on the diesel website, and it's a good place to visit, and start, if you're interested in diesel stuff/alternative bikes.

Also have had some time to do some other experiments, and mess around with my boat, which also needs some work doing to it! now it it is out of the water.
As for the boat, it's another story in itself!

Maybe some more soon, and some more about my life at B.A. - you never know?!