Sunday, November 24, 2019

Vespa LX and S seat lock cable broken - how to fix it!

Modern Vespa  a bunch of posts on this topic... but in my opinion, none have all the key info in one spot.

I'm not going to spell everything out, but if you are mechanically inclined this may be all the info you need.

Here is some of items you will need
- a special tool you make yourself to open the locked seat
- a replacement cable
- a staple gun and stainless steel staples to put the seat cover back on
- other normal tools

Step one: get the seat open.
The easiest way to do this is to make a tool from thin stiff plastic. I used a stiff plastic folder. Here are some pics.



For a temporary solution, you can attach a wire or string to the latch hook like this:

Step two: Get a replacement cable kit, like this one from Scooter West.
Step three: remove the latch cable end.
Remove the cover around the latch and remove the circlip and cable end. In this picture, the cable is broken at this end, so you can only see the cable end ring.


Step four: remove the plastic protectors by the grab rail /rack mounts.
These need to come off to remove the seat cover.


Step five: remove the cylinder lock.
You have to remove the lock before you can remove the seat cover. There is an R style wire retaining clip and two screws. Be sure to remember how these go back together!

Step six: remove the staples that hold the seat cover on and pull the seat cover back.
The seat pad is not glued down so this is fairly easy. I only removed the staples on the back half of the seat.


The rest of the steps:
I'm out going to spell these out as they are as expected!
- replace the cable.
- reassemble the cylinder lock
- staple the seat cover back in place.
- etc.



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT Veloce in the Garage


I love this picture of my GTV in the garage. I just drove it 170 miles (275 km) over Mount Laguna this morning; that's my regular run to exercise the car. I try to do that at least monthly.
I drive it with my earplugs in and the radio off. It's great to be out there with no distractions, just the steering wheel, the pedals and the road! Forza Alfa!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

"Fast" guys: Crossing the Center Line?

Oops, there is a car coming! In this still taken from a video, the driver has crossed the center line when an oncoming car appears. He does return to his lane, but his recovery appears to force him wide as he exits the corner.

I’ve recently seen a few driving videos where the driver crosses the double yellow center line. My reaction is always… WTF?

The idea seems to be that the driver can go faster by straightening the curve. This is a racing concept for a driver trying to go as fast as possible. (Of course, it isn't legal, but I won't get into that here.)

On public roads, I know some drivers think that if they can see ahead to the next corner and the road is clear, there is no harm in crossing the center line of the road. So they play at racing and cross the center line when they are trying to be “fast”.

But… I have always considered this to be bad form, less fun and dangerous for other drivers (or at least impolite). Please let me explain:

Style and form: 
On the street, no one is truly racing or on a time trial, so there is no real motivation to straighten the corners by crossing the center line. The goal isn’t to get to the destination the quickest, or the driver would take the straight superhighway instead of the curvy back road. On the curvy road, the fun is in cornering, and thus tight sharp corners are fun. Also, staying on the narrow path of your single lane is harder, as it is a greater constraint to the driver, and isn’t the challenge the fun part? I always thought that the more curvy the road, the more fun it is! 
Politeness to other drivers 
It may be true that when the driver can see far ahead, through 3 or more corners, that there may be little risk to crossing the center line for the first corner. But many cross the center line when they can only see the corner they are approaching and the next corner beyond… and this is a true problem for other oncoming drivers. An oncoming driver may come around a corner and find the violating driver across the center line. While there may be plenty of time and space for the violating driver to return to their lane, think of the oncoming driver! That driver doesn’t know what the violating driver will do and there is at least a moment of fear and confusion for them. And that fear and confusion can result in dangerous choices on their part.
Many times, I have come around a corner to find an oncoming car partially in my lane. A few times the oncoming car has been completely in my lane! It’s always a real scare and a concern. What will that driver do? Do they see me? Are they in control? Will they get out of my lane? Or are they going too fast to return to their lane? This experience of being the innocent and frightened oncoming driver has taught me to be polite myself. And thus my personal rule: I don’t cross the center line just to straighten a corner. I have the skill to stay in my own lane, and I can enjoy that challenge.

Another point, imagine two drivers heading toward each other are both crossing the center line. Now you have both drivers in a conundrum! If you are a "center line crosser", are you trusting that you are only driver doing this, and that you won’t encounter an oncoming driver doing the same?

Crossing the center line on public roads isn't an "advanced fast driver technique", it is cutting the course: a dangerous cheat.

Here is my advice: If you cross the center line when driving, try not doing it for a while. And ask yourself, why am I motivated to cross the center line? Is it truly “more fun” to drive that way? Or is it perhaps a lazy habit, because you don’t actually want to do the driving work to follow your designated lane completely through the corner? Or is “going faster”, just a daring exercise to see which driver can cut the corners more, effectively taking the shortest shortcut? What is your personal motivation to cut the corner by crossing the center line, and is it really more fun? I suspect if you stop doing it for a while, and concentrate on all your fun while still remaining in your lane, you may arrive at your destination a few seconds later, but you will have enjoyed the drive just as much and you can be satisfied you haven’t scared any other drivers in the process.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Oil Filter Cutter



Somehow I convinced myself to buy an expensive oil filter cutter.

The purpose of this thing is to see what's in your old filter after you swap in a new one. I also wanted to see inside two different manufacture's filters to compare their construction.

Looking around the web, I saw most liked the Longacre cutter... but I found one made by "Joes Racing Products" that seemed like a nice design to me.

It really is a nicely made tool.

Worked great!




Thursday, June 27, 2019

Tar Topper


I always thought these Tar Topper battery covers seemed like a silly idea. I've always just bought a plain black battery and removed the stickers. And sometimes put a Magneti Marelli sticker on top for the fun of it.

But... I needed a new battery and bought a Tar Topper cover to go with it just to see. I picked the red tops to match my car.
The Tar Topper itself is just a really thin and cheesy piece of plastic.

But, it looks pretty good!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Johnson 250-888-2 Mic with a Anytone AT-5888UV-III


Well, the above diagram about covers the topic! Sadly, the results were disappointing. The mic works well if you hold it about 1 in from your lips, but has poor audio at typical desktop distance of about 12 to 16 inches. I'll have to come up with a way to add a little gain to it...
Likely a little pre-amp. Or maybe I'll swap the innards with those from a Turner +2.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Anytone AT-5888UV-III Tri-Band FM Transceiver Review


I picked up this Anytone AT-5888UV-III Tri-Band FM Transceiver about 2 weeks ago. I purchased it on Amazon, but the same unit is available from the seller on eBay too. Note a very similar two band unit exists, but that this is the tri-band "III" unit.
Note this is a amateur radio, or ham radio. As such, in the USA, you need a Amateur Radio License from the FCC to legally transmit with it.

So far I love the thing.

I'm a relatively new ham, so take that into consideration. Most of my experience has been with a Kenwood handheld and a BTech DMR handheld (essentially identical to the popular Anytone AT-D878UV). I'm good technically, but have limited experience evaluating ham radios.

I really wanted a tri-band radio, 2m, 1.25m and 70cm. There were only a couple choices, and this looked like the best option to me. Right now I'm using it with a mag mount mobile antenna on a cookie sheet in my garage, but it will get hooked to a rooftop tri-band Comet CX-333 antenna soon.

A few random comments:

Note this radio is similar in design to the Yaesu FT-8900R, TYT TH-9800 and Alinco DR-638T and I strongly suspect they all come from the same factory.

Everything works and I have been getting very nice signal reports.

I've played with much of the menu system and everything seems to work as it should, but programming through the software is easier. It's also a pretty complicated device and as usual, the manual doesn't always do a great job explaining things. The Bank, Hyper and Limit memories can be confusing and are not really explained in the manual. But the Yaesu FT-8900R manual does provide a little description of these, you may wish to take a look at that manual, from the Yaesu website (the Yaesu buttons and numbers of memories are different, but the concepts are the same).

For a moment I thought I was having some selectivity issues from two repeaters right next to each other in frequency, but that ended up not being true. So far so good.

Note that the radio comes with an updated manual, the older manuals I have found online have some inaccuracies.

The "TV/SQL" button has nothing to do with TV, it is used for memory bank switching and squelch (long press is squelch). Other versions of this radio offered some TV function and had a dedicated TV output but that connector is used for an external speaker with this version of the radio.

I have used the programming software that came with it with good results but it does not have great capability to move channels around. I have also tried the RT Systems software and it works better. Sadly, CHIRP does NOT work with the version (III) of the 5888UV radio.

The fan runs after a couple minutes transmitting and it is a bit louder than I would like. But after using the radio a bit I don't notice it anymore

The unit has speakers on both the top and the bottom. The bottom speaker is the "main" one. You can use the main bottom speaker for all the bands with the top speaker turned off. There is a setting that enables the top/sub and the external speaker together. The second speaker setup kind of strange with some division between UHF and VHF between the speakers. There is also a microphone speaker that can be enabled.

Some tech details:
Claimed output is 50W on 2m, 25W on 1.25m and 40W on 70cm.
Note 1.25m band is only available on the left side of the radio.
The unit also receives 350 - 400MHz on the left side of the radio.

FCC ID sticker:

And here is a copy of the User's Manual: