Saturday, March 04, 2017

Front Range Prairie Sunrise

Woke at 5:15AM and still barely made it to the chosen spot in time to catch the brilliant colors of the nice Sunrise we had today.

Steve Williams of ScooterintheSticks asked for "more big sky" pictures recently, so here you go Steve!








As I started Scarlett up and got moving back towards home, I thought the engine sounded louder than usual.  Pretty soon, she was sounding like a Harley-Davidson, proclaiming that false claim: "Loud Pipes Saves Lives"!

I looked down and damned if the muffler hadn't come loose from the fitting where it mated to the pipe coming from the exhaust header pipe.  Sigh.

Stopped, got out the tools, loosened the clamp and pounded in the muffler, tightened the clamp and all was as it should be.  Ural quiet the engine was, once again.  :)

I'm guessing perhaps Randy didn't quite clamp down on the muffler when he put the engine back into Scarlett.  Oh well, easy fix.

Here's a short movie I made of the pictures taken this morning:

Friday, March 03, 2017

New Regulator in Town

New to me that is, a Voltage Regulator that is....for Fiona, my '99 Bural Patrol with the Beemer engine.

Beemer Airheads, as Fiona and Brigitta are known affectionately by the riding cognoscenti (don't listen to the K-Bike Riders, they're just jealous); are also known to have anemic charging systems.

280 Watts of electricity is what they  put out I believe and it's barely enough to power all the needs of the motorcycle and perhaps one extra electrical accessory.

The voltmeter I used on Fiona had always reported a maximum of 13.2 Volts when at charging RPMs (higher than 2000 rpm).  13.5 volts, I've come to learn, is basically "float charging" voltage used by battery chargers to keep a battery "topped up".

This 13.2 voltage, wasn't really enough to keep the battery charged up during slower riding and with frequent stops; especially in cold weather which is hard on batteries.

RichardM, Alaska Rider and Wrencher, upon hearing of me complain of this, offered me the voltage regulator he'd upgraded his Beemer to before completely upgrading his charging system with something even better.

The more modern, solid-state, voltage regulator from RichardM.
Note the small screw in the blue square.  You can adjust the output
from 13.6 to 14.5 I believe.

Its a Transpo IB301A  and its available for $19 +$5 shipping from Amazon here: LINK

or

You can get the Enduralast Version of this item for $29 + $5 shipping: LINK


For the BMW purists out there, the BMW part which I replaced (mine had a 12/83 date stamp on it), BMW wants $128 for one.  Just saying...

The regulator got here today and within minutes was easily installed in place of the stock BMW Voltage Regulator which was larger and less reliable and only apparently putting out 13.2 volts for charging!

Usually, the voltage regulator on an Airhead is mounted under the gas tank.  However, the previous owner of Fiona had displaced the regulator and a relay onto a bracket mounted on the bolt that secures the upper front support bracket of the sidecar frame.  This made it very easy to remove the old and install the new regulator.

 View of the old regulator in situ, it was wrapped in silver tape,
hinting it had been taken apart before?  Note its bulk.
The smaller rectangular box on top is just a relay 
far as I can tell.

 New to me voltage regulator installed, much smaller eh?

I fired up Fiona's engine and revved it up to charging RPMs.  I was getting between 14.2 to 14.3 volts!
Success!  About a whole volt more involved in the charging process, hopefully this along with cutting out the main headlight and sidecar running light; will help keep the battery charged up when doing frequent stopping for pictures in cold weather.

 Views of the cheap plastic cover used to keep water away
from the relay and the voltage regulator.

My thanks to RichardM for his generous donation of the voltage regulator!  Until I can really justify the expenditure of around $500 for an upgraded charging system with more output wattage, this will have to do.

One test ride later, I realized I had been getting the 14.3V in the garage because I'd disabled the headlight and sidecar running light.  Doh.  Still, at cruising RPMs I was getting 13.7-13.8V!  A gain of over half a volt and with peaks to 14V at one point in the ride.

I was even able to turn on the auxiliary headlights that came with Fiona and the voltmeter still registered 13.4V....at below 20 mph....good stuff.

Later on, I decided to turn the adjusting screw clockwise to increase the output.  I was only able to turn it perhaps 1/8 of a turn and then it stopped so I think I've reached the upper limit.  I started Fiona's engine and revved it up to about 2500 rpm and saw 14.5V after a few seconds.

RichardM recommends I monitor the battery's temperature, making sure it's not hotter than ambient temperature after a long ride.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Ash Wednesday Sunset

A pretty nice sunset for Ash Wednesday, Though I'm not particularly into the religious events associated with Ash Wednesday, it made for a good title for the posting.

First, it was time to catch the setting sun as it descended into the Front Range mountains:


Then a short ride towards the field behind the usual sunset picture taking spot:


 The rightmost mountain is Longs Peak


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Squaw Pass Road in Winter

A bright and sunny day here in the Colorado Front Range, with a forecasted high temperature of 40°(4.4°C).  Time to go see how the recent snow fall that had amounted to not much in the Metro Denver area had impacted up in the foothills and nearest mountains.

Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol and I motored out of the neighborhood around 8:30 AM and made our way through the cager mess that is Metro Denver using US 285 to the town of Morrison.  After tanking up there outside of town, it was slow riding through town to Bear Creek Canyon Road and into the foothills.

There was snow on the trees but not a lot, still, it was quite scenic and with the exception of one oaf in a pickup truck going too fast for conditions, it all went well to the town of Evergreen.

From Evergreen, we made our way further east along Upper Bear Creek Canyon road, the road became snow packed and would remain this way mostly for most of the ride until Bergen later on.  The snow packed roads weren't slick per se, but they did inspire caution and so I rode at about 5 mph below the posted speed limit.

The first photo is just past the junction of Witter Gulch Road and Upper Bear Creek Canyon Road where I always stop for a picture of distant peaks.  Once again, I forgot to look up their names using the Peak Finder app on the phone.


Scarlett then took me up Witter Gulch Road, the bordering houses and fields covered in at least six inches of snow or better.  The road itself was just snow-packed but it did make the hairpin turns going up the road quite interesting at times.

I stopped to engage 2WD and the engine died.  Dammit.  No lights when turning the ignition key.

I would spend perhaps 35-45 minutes troubleshooting.  Checked wires leading to the ignition, tried swapping relays under the seat and finally I determined there was no power being supplied by the battery to the ignition switch.  I got a jumper wire from the trunk and connected the battery directly to a toggle switch that was patched onto the ignition's power wire.  Success!

You can see the red jumper wire leading from bottom edge of pic to the 
hot wire toggle switch.  The wire and assembly draped over the speedometer
is the ignition assembly.  It worked as well, go figure.

So, deciding to carry on towards the top of Witter Gulch Road, it was smooth motoring all the way onto Squaw Pass Road and moving onwards towards Squaw Pass.

I stopped Scarlett at the same spot where I'd posed her this past Fall while searching for Fall Colors:

September, 2016

February, 2017
Incoming weather front precluded seeing the farther out peaks.

September, 2016

February, 2017

Continuing further along Squaw Pass Road and as one approaches the junction with Colorado Highway 5 (Mt Evans Road), one can spy some nice views of the top of Mount Evans and surrounding areas.

 Mount Evans Views
It was a bit colder up here: 10°(-12°C)

Since Mount Evans Road is closed until sometime in late March, early April, Scarlett and I went down to the parking lot area of Echo Lake for another view of the peaks.

 The view from Echo Lake

Near the entrance to CO Highway 5, looking back towards Echo Lake

Scarlett and I decided to take Squaw Pass Road all the way down the mountain towards the town of Bergen.  Snow-packed conditions remained until just short of the junction if CO Hwy 74 so it was nice and easy going down the mountain!

A brief stop to secure all the wires draped on the headlight bucket
before getting to the I-70 Super Slab

Made it to Bergen with no issues and no major pucker factor moments.  The roads were nice and dry at that point and Scarlett took me onto the I-70 Super Slab for a rather windy ride back to the Metro Denver area.

Man, it was windy!  The rig was being blown by very strong headwinds and side winds.  It felt like we were on grooved pavement, where the front wheel sometimes seems to have a mind of its own you know?

Still, we made it to the E-470 exit which we took back to the northbound US 285 exit and once again through the mess that is traffic in Metro Denver.   Made it home shortly after 1:30 PM or so and after a quick lunch I started diagnosing the power loss issue to the ignition key assembly.

As I suspected, there was a break, and it was at the connector which links Scarlett's main wiring harness with the ignition key assembly.


The Blue wire is the "always hot" wire coming from the main wire harness.  The red wire leads to the ignition key assembly.  I had exposed the wires for testing with the multi-meter; the black wire would be used to "bridge" the gap within the connector.

The connector is a major PITA to separate, which is why I decided to bypass the wire path for the hot wire instead.

A little wiring, a little soldering, some electrical tape and some wire ties later; I had restored the power to the stock ignition key assembly.  Hopefully, I'll never have to use the hot wire toggle switch again but its ready.

Scarlett's engine did fine throughout this process, and I continue the break-in process with it.  Another 500 km or so and it'll have been 1000 km of varying speeds, no lugging or over-revving and keeping it under 55mph.   In other words, Ural riding conditions.