Sunday, 22 June 2014

Post #666 - God made the beast too

My Blogger dashboard has been telling me for some time that it was leading to this, and to be honest I haven't known what to "Grace" the Six hundred and Sixty Sixth post with. But now I do. God made everything we see and experience in this world, and yes God made the Beast too.

People say "Fear God" : well that's always seemed like a crock of shit to me.

To me fear is for people who are afraid of something, more succinctly in my view afraid to lose something. Commonly people in power have fear, fear that people will discover their lies and deceit. They fear the truth.

I was afraid to lose something once, but I lost it. Now I fear nothing much. I recognised how delicate and frail the purity of my wifes spirit was and I was afraid that evil people may harm her (thus destroying that) but I had enough faith in her and in myself to be comfortable that such was unlikely. We lived and loved in a happiness which I feel will never be repeated in my life. Having lost that I really do not care about the rest.

In the end God took her, or to phrase it how I feel, I feel that God robbed me. God it seems to me was the asshole I needed to be watchful of.

Enter the Contradictions

Now the fruitloops who tell me they understand God better than me (and based on what I ask?) tell me that its all part of Gods Plan.

Contradiction 1- Free will: apparently God so values free will that God allows all manner of shit to go on in the world. Because he loves us and one day we'll see that really God did this for us. Well ok, I'm willing to agree that much shit goes on in this world due to free will, but Anita was killed (by God) using a weapon of a cancer. This cancer was a fast growing cancer of the brain (which effects many it seems) and we as yet have totally no idea as to what causes it. We only know that being found to have it is a death sentence.

I'm not seeing free will much at work there. To me that's a design flaw or a little switch that God can activate to kill some one. Ok, so maybe Anita has been taken to a wonderful place (and no doubt, she was a wonderful woman whom many loved and admired) but he's orchestrated cutting out my heart and squeezing a pimple into it.

God killed her because he loved me? To me such "love" is child abuse. I do not fear God further because I see he has done much harm to me already. Looking into the future I can see possibility for further harm, but I don't fear it. I look forward to a time when I can stand before God and ask "OK, so what's the Fuzz here"

Contradiction 2 - Almighty God: God didn't kill Anita it was beyond his control. God could have saved her, but to have intervened would have been a miracle (and Gods pretty capricious in handing them out it seems).

Having demolished "Free Will" as part of the cause of Anitas death I can only put down "bad design" or "action (either deliberate or accidental)". Bad design could be in the design of the human body or in the design of the universe where some stray gamma particle smacked her and triggered it. Either way its bad design. If there was an "error" somewhere it makes a slight subtraction from the Almighty aspect of God.

If God is not Almighty then perhaps we should start to ask more questions.

There is no point in me going on further about the problems with a Perfect God who is as we are taught, for these two points alone appear to demolish the views of many of the simplistic views of God (backed up with the "just have faith" in the things you don't understand).

I think its pretty clear at this point that I do believe that there is a God, for if I did not then I would not be having this discussion from this perspective.
I believe that the Universe (the one we can see) was created, but that such creation was not done in a way where every detail was planned. Rather it was seeded and grew as perhaps does a plant. When you plant a pumpkin seed you know what the plant will look like, but not where it will have each leaf and where each pumpkin will grow. But you do know that from that seed will grow a pumpkin and not corn.
I believe that much goes on in Creation which God did not intend, and which God winces at when God sees those accidents causing suffering.

I do not believe God to be Almighty, perhaps God could extinguish the Universe, but that just gives Him the power of destruction. I don't believe God can intervene on a more delicate level.

But deep down I believe that God cares and God shares our suffering. God does not seek our suffering but equally God is powerless to stop it.

To me this makes more intuitive sense than the contradictions. I struggled with this until I discovered (some months ago) this video, where a Jewish Rabbi discuses aspects of the Jewish faith where it seems they recognise that God does seek atonement for the sins committed by his universe on the innocent. I recommend you take the time to watch it, whatever is the flavour of your faith.

My message today is to not fear God, but to instead just live your life as honestly as you can, to love and enjoy the beauty you find, to not do anything you do not believe is right.
Do not expect good to come to you, do not expect God to assist (probably its impossible) or indeed expect anything.
Know that what you build will be destroyed except for what you build in your heart.
For what is in your heart is something which I believe lives on beyond this matter of which we are made.
Pain does not go away and things are still fraught with danger. But there is nothing to fear in that.

Living in this way (unlike the conniving and obsequious men who build lives on lies and theft) you then have nothing to lose, nothing to be afraid of...

...and perhaps everything to gain.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

T-Max - further electrical mysteries (updated, maybe solved even)

I went to start my T-Max the other day and it was barely able to turn over the starter motor. Having only relatively recently had similar issues which led me to change the alternator stator (which was burnt out) I became instantly suspicious about what was going on.


I believe that I have now explained the issue, but still have not resolved this issue. I am sure that multiple short trips in the day will cause the battery to gradually be drained of charge as the discharging will be greater than the charging.

moving on

Anyway, going back to the other day, it started on the second go and so I gave the battery a quick charge (half an hour) and started it up again without trouble. So I did my trip and when I got home thought I'd check out the on battery charging circuit. As before it seemed to be "ok" but still a little under spec at 13.68V (which is 14V at 5000 rpm according to the manual).

So I then decided to pull the earth off and measure the current while the bike was turned off (and the ignition in the OFF position). I was a bit stunned to find that the bike was pulling 0.5 Amp

I started disconnecting things (by pulling fuses) and found fairly quickly (lucky) that the drain was brought to a halt by pulling out the (curiously named) Backup fuse.

Looking at the wiring diagram we can find the source of the issue.

So in the above diagram a few things are permanently connected to (and powered by) the battery irrespective of where the ignition switch is. One is the seat light, the other is the auto chokes.

On the left hand side we have the fuse (68) the seat light and switch (4 and 5) while over on the right we have a Thermo Switch and the powering of the Auto Chokes.

So I started doing some research and found the following:
Auto Chokes: the resistance across them, they should be 16-24ohms at 20 degrees C
Thermo Switch: switches OFF at at less than 55 ~ 60 degrees C and ON at greater than this.

So when you are sitting around cold (all things being normal) there should be no drain on the battery, but when you first come back from a ride there will be a drain on the battery from the chokes. This should stop when the bike cools down (which can be a while on a hot day after a long ride...).

Currently I'm still working this out, but for the interested you can measure easily if the battery is still being sucked dry by the following method. Be sure to have an amp meter that will cope with 10A and set it up right (plug the right lead into the right slot if needed).

  1. Lift the seat, and open the battery cover so you can get to the fuses. 
  2. Pull the Backup Fuse.
  3. Measure the amps flowing across that fuse terminals
If its zero (or less than 0.1Amps) then all is pretty good, the switch has indeed cut off (as it should) and all should be right with that circuit. Typically my bike has been sucking power when I get back in, and its up to 0.9Amps before it gets cut off by the thermo switch.

Please note: this circuit also powers the clock, so when you pull the fuse the clock will stop and need resetting.

If you wish to examine the setup on your bike and make measurements, the stuff can be found under the dress trims in front of the seat. So take off this cover.

You can just see them there in the middle. The brown bit there is the plug that connects the circuit (14 on the diagram).

In closer you can see the plugs to allow you to measure the resistance of the chokes, and you can just see the Thermo Switch and its bakelite (alike) plug at the bottom of the picture.

You can see it more clearly here (perched atop the housing for the engine thermostat). To disconnect the plug on the Thermo Switch (to then access the switch for testing) it disconnects with a press on a securing clip while pulling and can be seen easiest from the left hand side of the bike

However its bloody hard to get down in there and you'll need longer probe leads (and access it from the right hand side).

Note the hose? That takes water to the carbies to heat them ... gosh isn't this just wonderfully complex? Just keep the coolant changes up to this (and do not use plain water) because if you get corrosion from electrolytic reactions you just don't know what'll screw up.

The auto chokes (well where they plug into the carbi) will be visible now too.

This does not need to be removed unless you want to (I don't see why - and doing that may just make things worse).

So, whats the Fuzz

Right now, I don't know, I doubt its the battery being gumbie. So to sum up:
  1. things seem to be within tolerance but then there is the issue of why is my battery slowly winding down? Is it just because I've been making lots of short trips? (thus draining the battery while its cooling down but not operating for long enough to charge...)
  2. When the motor is hot (and the switch open) the charging voltage is 13.6, but 14 but when  motor is cold and the switch closed. This implies to me that the charging circuit isn't able to cope with this extra load (which is about 1 amp, nothing compared to the high beam) - why?

I'll post more when I have some better data ...

The Fuzz

Ok, so now I've done some more measurements and some unplugging and testing everything and thinking and I have come to the conclusion that this is the Fuzz.

If you do a number of short trips on a T-Max (well, at least my series) you'll really challenge the battery.


Well when its hanging around cooling its sucking power out of the battery to power the AutoChokes (which aren't actually doing anything) because they are solenoids and are powered by the independent supply circuit governed by the "Thermo Switch". This will continue until the temperature drops below 55°C

I took some measurements of the temperature and the battery when I got home to sus this out. I intended to have more measurements but I got a phone call and got distracted. So this is what I have.

Essentially the cooling rate of the bike at rest is relatively linear (and that's reasonably correct from a basic thermodynamics perspective until the bike gets closer to ambient temperature, but thankfully its not 60°C here) for the part of the range that's of interest to us (like 55°C when the thermo switch goes open circuit).

This graph suggests (and that's about my observation too) that the bike takes about 45 min to cool down enough to cut off the thermo switch (and stop draining the battery).

I pulled the Backup fuse out of the bike as soon as I got home so as to not cause the bike to suck the battery much more and to see what my battery stabilised to (to see if my battery was holing up to this). My battery was at 13.3V as soon as I got home (and shut the motor down) but at 30 minutes (without the drain) had stabilised to 12.68V which is pretty good.

However during the 45 or so minutes every time I sampled (see the graph for those 3 points) the battery needed to feed the chokes with about 700mA (actual values varied between 420 and 900mA - because as the copper cools its resistance changes and actually sucks more current [amps] as its resistance lowers as it gets closer to room temperature).

This means that if you do a number of short trips during the day the bike may spend more time sucking power from the battery while cooling down than it does getting charged. For instance you may reach operating temperature of 90°C in 15 min going to the supermaket but then spend 45 min cooling down and then ride 15 minutes home to spend another 45 minutes cooling down (sucking power out of the battery).

Depending on what you do with the bike this may not be a problem. Before this I used to ride it for 30min to work and then 30min back again. So I'd say that during that time the balance of recharge equaled the discharge of sitting around while it was cooling. Now however I'm using it differently, where trip times are about 15 min (just enough to get to full operational temp) and sit around and suck the battery times are still what they were (45min). Clearly this is resulting in more drain than charge and the battery is barely able to turn the bike over after two or three weeks.

So if your T-Max seems to run the battery down about once a month (so it starts sounding slow on the turn-over on starter) then the problem may be caused by the effect described above

But Wait, there's more

When I first started looking into this, the battery was charging at a rate slightly under the spec. I observed that it charged at spec when cold but under spec when warm. Interestingly this changed after I plugged and unplugged everything and its now charging at 14.2V all the time.

Why could that have done anything?

Well Ohms law (remember this is about electricity right) says that E (voltage) is the product of I (current) and R (resistance). So if by unplugging and re-plugging those connectors I essentially 'cleaned them' of corrosion then its possible that I altered the resistance of them a small amount.

from 13.68 to 14.25 V is actually a small amount too.

So it seems that (like so many things) the answer to this problem was unplug everything and plug it back in again. No matter how much I hate that as a solution its the only reason I can come up with as to why its now charging properly.

Of course this doesn't change the fact that the discharge to your battery will happen. T-Maxes it seems are demanding on batterys and more deeply cycle them than (say) cars. The charging issue seems to be almost unrelated to the "why is my battery getting flat over the week" issue.

So bottom line

If you use your T-Max for a number of short trips during the day you'll need to consider putting it onto a charger for a couple of hours every now and then (and you'll know because the starter motor will sound slow).

If your T-Max is not charging quite right, maybe unplug and re-plug the major items and see if that fixes it.

Best of Luck


I have now posted a solution to my discharging problem over here , this is of course done by inserting a relay into that auto choke circuit to cut it out when the ignition is off (and of course the bike is not running).

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Skid lids (aka helmets)


I ride a bicycle and I ride a motorcycle. I do not just ride a fancy bicycle for exersize, I ride it as part of my daily transport: to the shops, to work, to visit friends. I don't just ride a racebike and fang around corners (although that's fun too) on the racetrack, I ride a practical town bike which I also ride to work, ride to the shops and ride for enjoyment. I also own and use a car so I'm (just) not a loony fringe biker.

I have been involved in a number of bicycle and motorcycle accidents so I am also speaking from practical experience.

Safety Standards: my view

Basically people have fixed and entrenched opinions. Few actually examine both sides of the argument and almost everyone who is vocal has a barrow to push (meaning there is something in it for them). What's in it for me? Well better safety I hope.

So before you go south on your impassioned view I will ask you this simple question:
how much do you actually know?
By this I mean, what have you read about it, what have you researched about it and what have you actually looked into with your own testing. (I'm sure that in the main its zero).

Bicycles are different to Motorcycles

Let me be clear here, I always advocate wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle. However its what helmet at what price and to what standards that's my point here.

My experience is that people tell me frequently "I had an accident and without my* helmet I'd have been killed". *my meaning "their favorite brand"

On a bicycle, when doing extreme then zero doubt, but just popping down to the shop and keeping an eye on things does it really make such a difference? I advocate active safety (meaning ride in such a manner as to NOT have an accident.

Ok, you come off your bicycle, say your wheel slips on some ice sure, you got a shock, but seriously how do you know if a helmet would have made a difference? Maybe the outcome would have been an abrasion or perhaps even some skin losses to your head (no doubt) but how do you know?

Personally I've had a head on with a car (on my bicycle with no helmet) landed on my head but basically just had the scalp stripped off.

In that situation its even possible that if I was wearing a helmet I may have got a worse injury (from rotational issues). From that crash I got 3 broken ribs, a broken ankle and a broken wrist. Would the helmet have stopped that? I don't think a reasonable person would say yes.

So, me new motorbike lid

So without further adieu here is my new lid:

its a vented polycarbonate helmet which I bought as a cheapie on eBay for (drum roll) AU$69.95 and that included delivery.

It has chin vents and crown of head vents which also extract from the rear (negative pressure).

The visor attachment system is actually not bad to use (more than I can say for my Arai RX7 RIII which regularly shits me when I'm trying to clean or replace the visor)

In fact the visor system looks awfully like that of the Shoei system ... whatever its a far cry from the crappy flappy systems used on cheapo (and sometimes even $800 top end helmets) of the not so distant past.

Now the helmet has stickered all over it (inside and out) that it meets the Australian Design Rules AS1698-2006 standard, and so it should actually do that. I noted that there is not a product recall detail on it on the ACCC website (although there is for some other name branded stuff). So I reckoned that either someone is lying (possible) or the product is ridgi-didge.

All up I just can't see anything "wrong with it" and indeed the price is so right that its almost tempting to buy another one and just do some destructive testing on it to check if it actually passes the specs.

On The Road

I've taken the lid out on the bike already and found a few things immediately:
  • its shitloads quieter than my Arai
  • its fit is not quite as luxurious as my ($800) Arai
  • Good periphery vision (slightly better than my Arai)
  • it fits ok and does not wobble around on my head at speed
  • visor and vents operate well
The liner is nice enough ...

but I doubt that it will stand up to the Arai which after 8 years of having my head in it still looked OK and the Arai is one of the few lids I've had which have a removable liner which you can clean!

Sadly the rest of the story on the Arai was not looking so good, with the rubber trim around the bottom of the helmet falling off (tried re-gluing it) and the vents smelling like ... well ... like something was living in there (rather like my Reach toothbrush).

So it seems to me that I can replace this lid every year and get a fresh helmet for 11 years and probably still break even. To me that's actually a significant point because a newer helmet will quite likely fit better.


I expect already that there are a number of Wangers who will say that "yeah, if you've got a 10 dollar head better get a 10 dollar helmet" ... my responce to that is "yeah goodonya". So here's a few things to chew on.

1) When I lived in Japan I could buy an Arai helmet of the same model as my (now retired) RX7 for $200 .. sure the Wangers will say "yearh mate, but ya know they make em shitty for the asian maket, we get different ones".

Sure ... evidence please?

2) I've seen cheapies destroyed on youtube ...

Sure, me too ... was it this one? I've seen (and held) some really crappy helmets in India that I could have bought for AU$10 ... they felt like they were falling apart in my hands. This helmet is quite different in feel. Unlike those lids this one claims to adhere to the AS1698 standard too ... which brings me to:

3) Standards: Man have I got some beefs with Standards.

First, I encourage you to head over to this site and read their article. Its well written and makes a lot of good points (as well as describes the basics for the person just getting their head into this subject). For instance:
To minimize the G-forces on your soft, gushy brain as it stops, you want to slow your head down over as great a distance as possible. So the perfect helmet would be huge, with 6 inches or mosre of soft, fluffy EPS cradling your precious head like a mint on a pillow.
 Now, how many helmets do that? None, instead they do something actually counter intuitive, they try to not absorb energy by not deforming the Expanded Poly Styrene liner. This means that they have to transmit no more than 300G (that's gravities) to your head.

FFS ... 300G? That's a lot ... let me quote from that article again:
Doctors and head-injury researchers use a simplified rating of injuries, called the Abbreviated Injury Scale, or AIS, to describe how severely a patient is hurt when they come into a trauma facility. AIS 1 means you've been barely injured. AIS 6 means you're dead, or sure to be dead very soon. Here's the entire AIS scale:
AIS 1 = Minor
AIS 2 = Moderate
AIS 3 = Serious
AIS 4 = Severe
AIS 5 = Critical
AIS 6 = Unsurvivable
Ok, so then:
a 250 G to 300 G impact corresponds to AIS 5, or critical; and that anything over 300 Gs corresponds to AIS 6. That is, unsurvivable.
which isn't good ... but it gets worse for us older folks
You can even calculate your odds using the Injury Severity Score, or ISS. Take the AIS scores for the worst three injuries you have. Square each of those scores—that is, multiply them by themselves. Add the three results and compare them with the ISS Scale of Doom ... For a 45- to 64-year old guy such as myself, an ISS over 29 means I'll probably die
So essentially as you get older the effectiveness of the helmets which pass the test at protecting your brain becomes less and less.

But it gets worse ...if you happen to like Snell ratings ...
The killer—the hardest Snell test for a motorcycle helmet to meet—is a two-strike test onto a hemispherical chunk of stainless steel about the size of an orange. The first hit is at an energy of 150 joules, which translates to dropping a 5-kilo weight about 10 feet—an extremely high-energy impact. The next hit, on the same spot, is set at 110 joules, or about an 8-foot drop. To pass, the helmet is not allowed to transmit more than 300 Gs to the headform in either hit.
so the "desirable" helmet actually requires the impact to be twice on the same spot, which means that it can't actually compress that point to absorb the impact because it has to take another hit.

If this strikes you as stupid then you won't be the only one, as researchers (including cited in that article) have been making this observation since the 80's.
Dr. Jim Newman, an actual rocket scientist and highly respected head-impact expert—he was once a Snell Foundation director—puts it this way: "If you want to create a realistic helmet standard, you don't go bashing helmets onto hemispherical steel balls. And you certainly don't do it twice.

But the ignorance of buyers to actually what is happening out there in "Standards Land" causes helmet makers to be merrily pied piperd away on a little path of "tougher" standards, more or less without evidence of benefit, seemingly just to make administrators happy with their increasing efforts at tougher standards.

I think Dr Newmans words are about spot on:
"The Snell sticker has become a marketing gimmick. By spending 60 cents [paid to the Snell foundation], a manufacturer puts that sticker in his helmet and he can increase the price by $30 or $40. Or even $60 or $100.
So, if you're starting to get interested in this subject let me link you to a study done in the 80's here in Australia, its about the best I've ever read and also makes recommendations on how to improve things. Not one of its recommendations has been implimented. That report is here, its really good reading for those who are interested. To me the most damning thing they say is this:

So, essentially the test makes helmets hard enough that they deform you head rather than absorb the impact. That in itself should get you thinking about this topic and your pre-conceptions.

Lastly I'll leave you with the point that having some uncertainty in my mind about if this helmet is or isn't the best of the best of the best (with honours - thanks Will Smith) is not actually a bad thing, as much research has been done on the psychology of risk taking because of perception of safety (engendered by safety gear). I recommend you read this.
Risk compensation is a theory which suggests that people typically adjust their behavior in response to the perceived level of risk, becoming more careful where they sense greater risk and less careful if they feel more protected. Although usually small in comparison to the fundamental benefits of safety interventions, it may result in a lower net benefit than expected

Ok, I'm off on the scoot now to go shopping and will put on my new orange skid lid to get there...