Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Stranded... temporarily

I've ridden my new bike about 9 or 10 times since I bought it. At least once per ride, usually as I begin to pedal from a stop, there's a feeling like when the chain slips. It lasts a few seconds and then the pedal assist activates and everything is fine. Up until this morning, that's what I thought was happening.

However, this morning when it happened it wouldn't stop happening. I got off the bike to check the chain and it was fine; full contact with the cassette and crank set. But when I turned the crank set by hand the rear hub/cassette spun freely and wouldn't drive the rear wheel at all, as a regular bike would.

I turned off the pedal assist and battery and the same thing happened. The crank set turned without resistance. (imagine a stationary bike) :( I still had 1km to go to get to work. That's not a big deal, but then I wondered how the hell I was going to get this bike to the store where I bought it to get it fixed.

After 5 minutes of walking it, I decided to get back on the bike and see if I could get it working again. I enabled the pedal-assist and slowly tried to pedal to make the pedal assist activate and that made the cassette finally "engage" and drive the wheel, and I was able to pedal as a normal bike again with or without assist.

Once I got to work I sent the store a message on their web site asking if I could drop it off on the way home today. (Assuming it works well enough to get me there, that is) It was a final sale, since it's actually a used bike, but they did give a 60-day warranty on it. They replied saying they would schedule it to be looked at tomorrow if I dropped it off later today.

One other thing, that is more of annoyance to me, is that the computer will not remember the time after being programmed. I tried replacing the battery in it and that didn't help. I was going to live with that but since this new issue popped up I'm going to get that fixed as well.

I hope this is a one-time thing; I really don't need the stress from this.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Not a time saver

I decided at the last minute to ride to work today. The roads were wet, but it wasn't raining or snowing, and there didn't seem to be any of either in the forecast.

Overall, the ride went well. Better than the last one. There were a few snowy patches along the route, but there didn't bother me. In fact, I was attracted to them like a kid... wanting to leave tire tracks. :)

I tried to keep the pedal assist level fairly low this time. During the ride home the last time, the battery indicator would fluctuate wildly when the assist kicked in, particularly on hills. I suspected that was a good indicator of the remaining power in the battery. Despite that, it lasted for the commute. Anyway, this time I stuck with it at 2. There was much less wind this time too, so it (and I) didn't have to work as hard.

The entire ride took longer than Monday morning's ride. ~7 minutes longer. I'm not surprised since I wasn't pushing hard for speed. I had read before that e-bikes won't really save you any time, so there you have it.

Monday, March 21, 2016

New transportation

I bought a pedal-assisted bike (aka e-bike). I don't have easy access to a vehicle, nor can I afford one at the moment, so I decided this was my best option.

I'll be using it for all commuting to and from work, and other assorted non-workout rides where I'd rather not be drenched in sweat by the time I reach my destination. Plus, I'll save the $100 that I currently spend on a monthly bus pass. Not that the bus savings will pay off the bike any time soon.

Aside from the "stay drier" benefit, it'll also allow me to start riding earlier in the season, and continue later at the end of the season since I'll be able to dress much warmer.

It has five levels of assist, from 1-5, all of which require pedaling with varying degrees of effort. I switched between 5 and 4 for most of my ride, which provided me with the most assist to keep me moving along at a decent pace.

This morning was my first ride to work, and the temperature was 7°c. Despite wearing what I thought were warm gloves, my fingers were freezing. The rest of me was great.

One thing I noticed during my ride was that I was still putting a lot of effort into pedaling, even with the assist enabled. Right now with the cold weather, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but when summer comes along I think I'll still be working up a sweat. I'm fairly certain it's due to my riding style. When I ride, I tend to pedal hard. Every time. That's a problem, if my goal is to not work up a sweat for a work commute. I'll need to retrain myself to take it easy, and let the assist help more. :)

There are a few hills on the route I took this morning. With the assist enabled, they weren't nearly as annoying as they usually are.

We'll see how this goes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Well...

It's been over a year since I wrote anything, and a crazy year it has been.

The biggest change was my separation last November, and then moving out on my own at the end of January.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

I guess it's time to try and get back into this. I'm sure there must be more to write about now. We'll see. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blade Nano QX

I picked this up last week, along with more batteries.



It's a great, and inexpensive, bird to learn to fly better. It flies well indoors, and out.

It's a great confidence builder to get my 450 3D back in the air sooner. It's all repaired, but still needs adjustments before taking it up.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Second outing with the heli = disaster

Saturday was a beautiful day for flying. Sadly, it did not end well.

I charged up the batteries in the morning but then it got windy by the time they were ready. Later in the evening, the winds calmed down to around 5-10kmh so I decided to take the heli up to the park and get airborne.

The first flight went pretty good. There were a few scary moments, but no crashes. I felt pretty good. Here's a clip from that flight.


The second flight went really well, again with a few scary moments, but ultimately ended in disaster.

I'm not sure what went wrong, but I'm fairly certain that landing with stunt mode turned on was a big part of it. I'm pissed at myself too because I was thinking the whole time that I should turn it off before landing, but I was worried that turning it off might result in a sudden drop in altitude and possibly crash.

Oh, the irony.


The end result was the loss of half of the tail rotor assembly. It flew off when main rotor blade struck the tail boom and bent it. This also fractured one of the main rotor blades. I found half of the tail rotor about 20ft away. Couldn't find one of the blades.

Bent tail boom
Broken tail rotor
The fly bars got bent nearly 180 degrees. I should have taken a photo before I straightened them. It was crazy.

Flybars after I straightened them. They'll need replaced.
That was my initial assessment of the damage.

Later in the evening, I discovered more. The main rotor gear was stripped.

Stripped gear
Last night I placed an order on Great Hobbies web site for pretty much anything that had to do with the tail assembly, since I'm not sure what I'm missing or what, if anything, is salvageable from the pieces I have. I also ordered new main rotor blades, flybars, and the main rotor gear.

This afternoon I dug out the CD that came with the 450 and watched a few tutorial videos on repairs. One of them made me wonder if there may be other damage that isn't immediately obvious. I looked over the injured bird and discovered more damage. :(

The spindle/feathering shaft is also bent. It's not obvious in the photo because you can't see it, but a tip I got from the video showed me how to determine this.

The shaft runs inside the two blade holders.
I also found that one of the servo control arms must have been cracked because when I inadvertently pressed lightly on it and snapped it. I wonder if that was from this accident or the last? It's scary to think that this could have snapped in flight after the upcoming repairs.

Broken servo arm.
Inside one of the other servos, a gear (or gears) sound like they might be stripped. There's a grinding sound and feel when I move that control arm.

Pretty sure the gears inside this servo are stripped.
I found the additional parts on Great Hobbies web site and phoned them to see if they could be added to my pending order. No problem. They'll all be shipped out today.

I don't think I'll be taking off or landing on grass anymore, and while I'm sure it's possible to land while stunt mode is enabled, I won't be trying that again either. It doesn't take much to forget that pulling down on the throttle in stunt mode doesn't mean shut off motor. I think I may have done that. Maybe I'll just leave stunt mode off for this year.

Boys will be boys

I was sitting on the back patio yesterday, tending to the BBQ, when my son came out and sat down on the step.

"Want to scrape any of these?", he asked, showing me a strip of paper roll caps he had in his hand. He then proceeded to scrap a few with a quarter, enjoying the small flash and puff of smoke for his efforts.

"No thanks", I replied.

He has always loved playing with caps, for as long as I can remember. He's still a kid at heart, even at 19.

I thought back to when I was a kid. Sitting on the sidewalk, on a hot summer day, with a rock, a few rolls of caps... that's all we needed to have fun. Sometimes we'd take an entire roll and smash it with a large rock. The loud explosion always gave us a thrill.

I asked my son if he ever did the same. He said he hadn't.

"Never? You've got to try it sometime" I told him, "roll it up tight, find a big rock and smash it hard. After the bang you can look through what's left and you'll probably still have some left to scrape too."

He proceeded to roll up what he had left in his hand.

"Is this enough?" he asked.

"Sure."

I picked up a brick from the patio and handed it to him.

"Now hit it hard, with the end of the brick... flat to squish the roll."

He didn't hesitate.

That was a lot louder than I remembered. My ears rang.

My wife came to the door.

"What are you doing?!?!"  She didn't look amused.

My son and I stood there grinning.

"I was showing Kyle how to explode caps...", I explained.

She didn't say anything. I think I saw her roll her eyes.

I miss being a kid.