Apr 28 2009

Work Weekend


Managed to get some great work done on the bike over the weekend. A few weeks ago I ordered the Wolfman Large Expedition tank bag (in black), ProiTaper ATV Hi handlebars and a bunch of cables and connectors. They finally came, so I worked out what smaller bits I would need, bought those, and got to work.

Naked, but for a fancy pair of handlebars

Pro-Taper SE ATV Hi Bars
I took a couple of phone-photos of the OEM bars in their current position in case I needed to compare them later, but in the end it was the front fairing and the dashboard that decided the angle of the bars. I’ve been holding off on buying a riser kit, but I think I’ll get one now. The new bars are almost the same bend as the stockers, which means they’re just a little too low when I’m standing up.

SAE Power Connector


Amongst the gear that I’d ordered (and waited some time for) from BlueRim were a couple of fused SAE wiring harnesses. I decided to go for these instead of a dashboard or handlebar-mounted Powerlet socket, since a mounted socket would require a connecting lead, which is both more expense and something else to go wrong down the track.


The cable I’d purchased was long enough to reach from the battery to the tank bag, but I ended up deviating from my original plan and adding in a relay, so that the tank bag would turn on and off with the ignition switch. By the time I’d run the cable from the battery to the dashboard (where I’d mounted the relay and sourced the switched power) to the tank bag, it was all too short. Since I had to cut the cable to add the relay anyway, I spliced in some extra cable, and it worked out pretty well.


I sourced the main power from the main fuse under the seat, just near the generator. This is the same as taking power straight from the + terminal on the battery, but the location is better. The switched power from the relay came off one of the dashboard backlights (which, it turned out, had a blown bulb).


I routed the connector itself up through the handlebars and used the tether on the end-cap to keep it in place. It seems to work pretty well there, and the cable is stiff enough that it isn’t going to move.

Powering the Tank Bag
Another item I sourced from BlueRim was a waterproof power connector for the tank bag. The external socket is made from hard

SAE Socket

rubber, and there’s a metal plate inside the bag that clamps the whole thing in place. On the inside I added a double adapter, so I now have 2 SAE connectors inside the bag. All-up, it came out looking pretty sweet.

I removed the cigarette lighter plug from the end of a 3-way lighter-socket powerboard, and replaced it with an SAE connector, and hooked that up to the inside plug on the bag. I also fitted a cigarette lighter plug on the AutoCom, and connected that to the power outlet, along with my Belkin iPod car charger. I connected the iPod and my mobile phone to the AutoCom, conntected the whole thing to the bike, and tested it. Apart from the mic not registering on the phone, the whole thing worked quite nicely. The AutoCom fades the music when you speak, and it really does cancel out background noise and wind (well, all I did was blow in the microphone, but it seems to work).

More to follow on the push-to-talk switch and other tank-bag gadgets… but it’s coming together.

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Apr 27 2009

This week’s Tweets: 2009-04-27

  • Pretty stoked that our basketball team made the finals. #
  • Had Ugandan chapatis for dinner… cooked by a real Ugandan. #
  • Just joined a twibe. Visit http://twibes.com/emergence to join #
  • Off to school to explain Windows Vista to teachers. After that, I’m going to invent perpetual motion, and make water run uphill. #
  • Just had the best and longest game of #Settlers with @geoffmatheson, @becmatheson and the gang. Haven’t laughed so hard in a long time! #
  • Star Wars obsessed cop in Scotland says he uses jedi powers on suspects. He’s a credit to the force. (via @LEIGHSALES) #
  • Spending a couple of hours with the gang at Kalinda Primary School #
  • Anyone got any great sites about Sound and Light? Target Audience – Grade 1 and 2 kids!! (via @mithoteach) #
  • Sorry – Star War obsessed cop in Scotland says SHE uses jedi powers on suspects. SHE’S a credit to the force. (via @LEIGHSALES) #
  • sleepy after a fun night with @mans09, @geoffmathson, @becmatheson and others. Good times… #
  • at the firehouse for breakfast with @geoffmatheson #
  • Full and satisfied from breakfast and breakfast conversation with @geoffmatheson #
  • Likin’ the rain… #
  • Installing Windows 7 Beta as a VM on my MacBook. I feel dirty. #
  • “Go, Go, Gadgetheads” (via @geoffmatheson) #

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Apr 20 2009

This week’s Tweets: 2009-04-20

  • Home from the weekend’s ride. Was great to see Ron, john and Lachie. Riding through Buxton was sobering, though #fires #
  • Power’s back on. Getting the fire going. Can’t imagine today is going to turn out warm #
  • Digging through old music… Steve Camp, Amy Grant, Sons of Korah… #
  • Coffee… proof enough that God loves me and wants me to be happy #
  • done with work for the day. Can I have a Saturday now? #
  • Looks as though my car will keep its resale value forever. The era of pretty Subarus is over http://www.subaru.com/vehicles/legacy2010.html #
  • Had dinner with Trudi – kranski and corn cooked over the fire, followed by pancakes and strawberries. #

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Apr 13 2009

This week’s Tweets: 2009-04-13

  • still way too full from the Pig and Whistle #
  • Just listed myself in the http://localtweeps.com local Twitter directory in ZIP 3796 #
  • mildly sleep-deprived #
  • Never thought I would say this… but I wish it would stop raining #
  • Hitting the road… have a great Easter everyone! #
  • checking my twitter feed on a mobile. Torture #
  • loving the sunshine, praying for rain… Just not yet #
  • debating conspiracy theories with the family. As you do. #
  • spent a great evening with bro and parentals. #
  • newstead, heathcote, seymour, bonnie doon #
  • speedo cable broke. Stopped for the night #
  • latte and danish in Mansfield, then on to mt samaria #

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Apr 7 2009

Permits: we have a problem


I’ve made enquiries with the Northern Land Council regarding permits for access to Arnhem Land in September. According to their site there should be no issue getting the 4WDs in – around 10 days’ notice is all they need to issue the permits. Though the site doesn’t mention bikes at all, I’d heard that there might be some issue getting permits for them, and an email back from NLC last week confirmed that:

Thank you for you email but unfortunately Northern Land Council has came to an agreement with the Traditional Land Owners of East Arnhem land stating that the Land Owners don’t allow motorcycles in any area within East Arnhem that would also include the Central Arnhem Road.

It appears that permits are not required when travelling on public, gazetted roads. From what I can tell, the public road ends where the Central Arnhem Road starts – about 150km from Lake Evella. The road forks at that point, and a permit is not required for the other track, leading north to Ramingining.

So, assuming that we can’t obtain some sort of special exemption for the bikes, we still have some options. We can trailer the bikes in; we can find a place to leave the bikes, as close as possible to our destination, or we can find another route for the bikes and/or the 4WDs.

But I’m not there yet. I’ve asked our friends in Arnhem land to look into what we might be able to do; and one of the my travelling companions is making further investigations with the NLC to see what avenues we might be able to take there.

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Apr 6 2009

This week’s Tweets: 2009-04-06

  • RT @gideony Obama depressed after BSG finale. http://bit.ly/J4XMa HAHAHA! #
  • just got the new bash place for his motorbike. Christmas in April #
  • slept in… a little too much BWS last night #
  • Meeting with Steve about hardware replacement schedules #
  • I bought the @MacHeist 3 Bundle. 12 Top Mac apps worth $900+ for just $39 AND I just got Delicious Library 2 FREE! http://mhtweet.com/T1wICd #
  • Grace is the smell of rain – Daniel Amos (yeah, I know I’ve used that before) #
  • Get me free apps: http://www.macheist.com/bundle/u/69617/ #
  • Checking out EventBox and wondering what’s left out of the “MacHeist Edition” #
  • Got the fire going, coffee machine on, porridge on the way, and a freaking puppy wanting to play with me every second. Perfect. #
  • almost perfect…. out of oats #
  • discussing the inherent goodness and worth of oats… naturally #
  • RT @MacHeist: The $199 BoinxTV Unlocked… Mega-Unlock point set to $500k for charity: http://www.macheist.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=14749 #
  • worked out we can get to within about 150kms of our destination in Arnhem Land without a permit… and right now we can’t get one of those #
  • RT @MacHeist: FINAL PUSH! We’re over 90% of the way to The Hit List & Espresso. Unlock is inevitable! http://macheist.com #

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Apr 3 2009

Bash Plate is on


The bash plate from JNS Engineering arrived earlier in the week, and I’ve fitted it to the bike. It took me maybe 10 minutes to remove the stock plate and attach the new one.

JNS Bash Plate

This thing is very solid, and while I expect that the powder coat will suffer the same fate as that of my crash bars, I don’t think the plate itself is likely to fail me. The recessed bolts on the bottom are a nice touch, as is the fact that it protects the drain plug properly.

John at JNS was incredibly helpful with his advice, and with arranging delivery from the US. I was able to share the freight with two other Melbourne buyers, and John’s communication thoughout that process was excellent.

Another thing to tick off…

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Apr 3 2009

Autocom has arrived


My new Autcom Active-PLUS arrived the other day. The unit looks much the same as the photos, though I was surprised to see that the connections for rider, pillion and UHF radio are all full-sized DIN plugs. I’d guessed that they’d be mini-DIN plugs – much like a mouse or keyboard plug – since that’s what I’d had on my old Aldi helmet radio system.

Not that it matters. I might just need to rethink how the cables come out of the tank bag, since I don’t think the access ports I was looking at would be large enough.

The leads from the main unit are reasonably long (though the pillion lead is shorter than the rider’s, so I guess they’re expecting it to be mounted at the back of the bike) so I won’t need both the supplied extension leads. I’ll sacrifice one of these and get it turned into an adapter for my throat mic and earmolds. I’ve managed to find an image of the pin-outs for the rider/pillion leads, and for the UHF lead.

So, here’s what I’m thinking regarding the tank bag and GPS:

Heavy Duty SAE Power Lead
This will run from the battery to the front of the bike. I was originally planning to terminate the power supply at a nice Powerlet socket with a lit, but looking at the cost, the effort of drilling the dash area etc, I’ve decided that an SAE connector with a rubber cap, clipped up under the fairing, will do the job. I can also tailor the length of lead I have available so it exactly reaches the bag. It can be clipped out of the way when not in use.

PowerMate Bulkhead Kit
This is an access port through the material of the tank bag. It’s basically an SAE connector on both sides, with a plastic sandwich plate to hold it all in place. I’ll add a second one of these for the PTT switch, which I’ll get to in a moment.

SAE Splitter
Inside the bag, I want to power 2 banks of cigarette lighter sockets. At this point I have 6 devices inside the bag that need to be powered, so 2 banks of 3 or 4 sockets will do the trick. Anyway, each of these will connect back to the power supply via an SAE plug.

Handlebar Push To Talk (PTT) Switch
As reluctant as I am to spend money on what is essentially a push-button, I think in the end I’ll have to. I’ll chop the switch lead from the rest of the harness and add in some SAE connectors, so that I can remove the tank bag and leave the PTT switch behind. I’ll need to decide whether I buy a separate adapter cable for the UHF radio I choose, or just remove the plug from the end of the harness and put the right connectors on the end. Since it’s all in the tank bag, it won’t need to be waterproof, or particularly long.

The rider and pillion leads will just go out the top of the bag, I think… the plugs are too large to use access ports.

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