Another Uly status update

Today I finally found the time to do some more work on my Buell.

Status right now is that the new stator is in place, and the primary case is closed again.

Remaining tasks:

  • New voltage regulator needs to be mounted.
  • New Deutch connector needs to be installed on alternator cable to connect to the voltage regulator.
  • I still haven’t gotten the side stand from Bike – I need to check on the status there. I hope it’s just another consequence of the Icelandish volcano eruption.
  • I decided to switch to the (known) street legal muffler since I have to remove the race muffler anyway to install the side stand. After inspection, the race kit goes back on.

I feel like I’m getting somewhere.

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Uly status update

I forgot all about time today, but that’s kind of alright, because my Buell is getting closer and closer to being ready for riding season.

I got a phone call from XL Bygg that they had received my 1 1/8″ hex head tool, but I didn’t have the time to pick it up. On the other hand, I’ve been fretting for a while about the work I wanted to do on the electrical system up in front; installing the grip heaters, the ’08 Uly right side switch pod, and a LED volt meter. Since I don’t usually do electrical work, I was a bit nervous about getting stuck somewhere, but as usual there was no need to worry.

About the parts

The grip heaters, grips and the switch pod were bought at American Sport Bike. The heaters are twin element systems (“high and low”), which is fine since the ’08 switch pod has two heater settings. I also switched to new grips following the advice in the service manual.

The single LED volt meter is called VM2-DUO and was bought from Swiss fellow Adventure Rider and electronics wizard Joerg Hau. It’s really simple interface, just a two-color LED that lights up red if the charging system is out and lights up yellow if the voltage regulator doesn’t work properly.

Installation

Installing the heaters took some time, since the left-hand grip on my Uly was glued in place and refused to budge until I removed the left-side switch pod and used a screwdriver to pry it loose. After that, I had to spend some time removing the pieces of rubber that were stuck to the bar.

After that, I put a layer of electrician’s tape on the bar, to insulate the heater a bit, so that it won’t lose all heat down into the metal, which obviously would be kind of pointless. Then I measured where my fingers will go, and glued the heater element in place – it goes almost all the way around the bar. Next I lubed up the inside of the grip with water and some soap, and slid it in place, and finally I mounted the switch pod back in place.

The right side was almost identical, but there, I also had to mount the new switch pod, which eventually required me to remove the entire handle bar, to route the new, thicker, cable.

Behind the screen
The electrical system with the heaters and the volt meter (the cylinder to the left) installed

Up in front, behind the fly screen, I hooked up the power line from the switch pod to the aux power line that also feeds the power outlet beside the instrument cluster. Then I cut the heater cables and connected them to the proper wires from the heater elements.

Next up was the volt meter.

Instrument cluster opened
The led mounted underneath the yellow fuel warning light

For a clean look, I followed the concept of what Ft_Bstrd on AdvRider did on his Uly, mounting the LED in a non-used spot, drilling out a hole for the light to shine through, and filling the hole where I routed the cable with hot glue. Then I cut the wires to the aux power outlet and connected the volt meter input there.

VM2-DUO in action
It's alive!

Updated Macbook Pro series

MacBook Pro LineupAlright, so Apple released their new Macbook Pros, with update to the whole series.

The 13″ versions retain the Core 2 Duo processors even though they are approaching end of life. Why? Well, the Core ix series of processors contain built-in Intel GPUs. Problem is, they are limited enough to not support the 3D accelerated interface features of Mac OS X. On the other hand, there’s the combined problem of making room for separate video RAM on the mainboard, and Apples policy of nerfing their cheaper products to not interfere with their more expensive product lines. A more powerful 13″ MBP would probably interfere with sales of both the Air and the base 15″ MBP.

The 15″ MacBook Pro series gains Arrandale Core i5 and i7 processors and a slightly more powerful graphics adapter. New for this update, is that even the base model has dedicated graphics memory, and that switching between the integrated and the dedicated adapter is automatic and doesn’t require relogging into the system. The new series also have the option of a high-res display – not HDTV-style 1080p resolution, but a work-friendly, and, if you ask me, “good enough for most things” 1680×1050.

My thoughts on this?

Well, this hasn’t really scared me away; I wouldn’t exactly mind owning a base- or midrange 15″ with the hires screen. We’ll simply see what happens. Also, I really like the bump in battery time. A claimed “up to 10 hours” on the 13″ models and “up to 8 hours” on the bigger ones, means these machines are actually usable even when you don’t know if you can get hold of a power cord during the day.

Motorcycle season coming up! (part deux)

Buell Primary Chain
Oooh! Shiny!

So now I’m opening up my Buell, to get to grips with the charging problem that cut last season short. Status right now is I’m missing another imperial size bit. Sweden is great in many ways, but if you want to get hold of non-metric tools, it isn’t. Anyhow, the plans for the Uly are as follows:

  • Rip out the guts of the primary case and install working replacement parts for stator and voltage regulator
  • Install single LED voltmeter into instrument cluster
  • Install grip heaters and new (08+ model) right-side switch pod
  • Install new jiffystand
  • Hopefully get everything back together again without too many spare parts lying around when everything is mounted and done
  • Get it checked up by Bilprovningen allmighty
  • Ride the heck out of the bike

Oh yeah: I’ll really try to do an Ironbutt/Saddle Sore 1000 ride this year. More on that later on.

For possible technically minded visitors, and for my own good, I’ve begun making a list of the tools needed to work on the Buell XB series of bikes; it can be found under Bike Rambling/Tech Tips

iPhone/iPad OS 4

The most important bitching-point about the iPad seems to have resolved itself – and exactly for the reason I predicted when discussing the matter with techie friends.

The problem was, naturally, the lack of functional multitasking on a user-level.

The reason was, of course, that Apple is a company that puts user experience at the highest priority. They needed a new OS, new APIs to manage multiple processes while making sure background work didn’t make the important processes (namely the foreground process, the interface and the actual phone functions) seem sluggish.

This means that even though they came up with the function very late, compared to other smartphone operating systems, Apple seem to have gotten it right on the first try – while the others still haven’t caught up, despite years of chances to fix this feature.

Well, this was a positive thing, in my opinion; it shows that the guys at Infinite Loop are still prioritizing correctly, unlike most software makers. Even most of those I really want to like. Yeah, Linux/free software/open source people, I mean you!

I’m not sure what to think of the iAd feature yet, though. On one hand, it’s kind of good to have an API that (hopefully) limits how disturbing ads can get. On the other, I’m really not comfortable with that kind of thing – especially considering they surely aren’t going to accept ad blocking software in the app store anytime soon, and I still prefer some kind of privacy and personal integrity to the alternative…