Thursday, 25 August 2011

Nuts on Photog

An SLR is a good camera to have, and they make beautiful photos however I been missing a lot of shots lately due their bulky size makes it cumbersome to carry during rides or travelling abroad.

Enough said, I can't afford to missed more shots. I love taking photos, this I do from the very early age. My first camera is a 35mm format plastic toy like camera with many light leaks that I bought for under RM 5.00 in the early seventies. It works but don't expect sharp and pretty photos, at that time it was Black & White a crappy black & white more like it.

As times goes, and with scholarship I bought myself a Yashica FX-3 ... wooowwww.. my first SLR this was back in 81. This sample of FX-3 Super was a later addition that I am collecting.
Its not as easy as today, with digital age where you can see what exactly you are shooting and read the Exif files to see and correct with software. Its a "Dog Eat Dog" world of photography where taking shot means your are going into that "Black Hole" of uncertainties, or at least that where my skill of photography was then.

So back to missing a lot of shots I decide to get a compact a camera for "Jalan Jalan". Not any compact will do, after few months of evaluating I decide on the Lumix DMC-LX5 with that LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens at a bright aperture of 2.0 and a 3.8x magnification as photo below.
Why not go for micro 4/3 like the Lumix GH3, not necessary this LX5 sensor is good enough for me and I don't need interchangeable lens since I already have an SLR with a few lenses. Furthermore if you do street photography a smaller good camera is ideal, its less intrusive than a big bad bulky camera.
Why don't get those Lumix TZ20 with mega zoom and GPS, well mega zoom means mega shake, to get mega zoom on a compact the sensor need to be small this will cause bad low light performance. GPS I already have it on my SLR so not that important, I could geotag photos with my portable tagger so its do able in other ways.

The one feature I find lacking on this LX5 is the absent of a view finder, takes time to adapt. I am very used to view finder, all camera I had will have it. Like the canon Ixus V3 that occasionally died on me while taking a shot. Electronics View Finder or EVF is an optional accessories for this camera, but its just not worth the money to pay for it.
How irony, the Ixus V3 with 3.2 mp is more expensive that this one at 10.1 mp and that at 2001 rate which is more that todays. How time change.
The video quality of this camera as they said .. its the MC Hammer Camera for video .. "You can't touch it"

Sunday, 21 August 2011

SYM VTS 200 Rectifier/Regulator

Ever since Nicholas Tesla discovered the Alternating Current (AC) it was a fierce battle between him and Edison who "discovered" Direct Current. On scooter both exist harmoniously complementing each other.

Scooter like any motor vehicle needs electrical power to make it work, at least to the ignition coil igniting the combustible mix or engine cranking during start.

Basic electrical power supplied by battery, however this accumulator need recharging and if its left running an engine without very soon everything will come to a stop. To do this charging there is a Generator on board that runs by the engine to produces electric current. Big problem these are Alternators which produces AC and they run at a wild frequency of the engines speed, further to the problem its varies in output current and voltage by this engine speed too.

Enter the world of Rectifier/Regulator, on most bike inclusive scooters this is the unit that will convert the AC to DC and at the same time regulate a steady voltage output of about 13.5 ~ 15.5 VDC which are use to charge the battery and powering the rest of the electrical components on the scooter.

Below is the SYM VTS 200 Rectifier/Regulator its on the right side of the body, this photo shows it with body panel removed.
Replacement of this Rectifier/Regulator don't need the body panel to be removed. An experience mechanic can easily get it from the right side of the bike and with some fiddling the unit can be remove. This unit get hot while in operation, that is why this is the best location for it.
Its held with two 10mm screws and you need a socket wrench for the job. Once dismounted, you will need to undo the weather shield to get to the two connectors.
Exposing the 2 connector with 3 wires each. The yellow wires are from the Alternator, Green to Earth, Red to Battery and Black to Indicator. However its best to get the exact diagram to be sure.
Above is a very simplified diagram and below for few type of SYM Motors.
Below with one of the connector exposed.
Close up of the regulator.
The part number on the back.
These Rectifier Regulator are tested with the engine running at 2000 RPM, it should produce about 15V and charging the battery at about 1.2A with High Beam "ON"

There are other type of regulators around, generally its either a Single Phase input or like this a 3 Phase input. All 3 phase input Regulator/Rectifier work the same and to the extend they can be made to work on any bike, but to do this you may need to know Tesla.

Saturday, 20 August 2011


Capacitive Discharge Ignition Units (CDI), these device store charge and let go at a "bang" , modern bikes and cars uses these to get better combustion and cleaner exhaust. It need more that CDI to do these anyway.
Above SYM VTS 200 CDI, apart from having those Capacitive circuits it also have rev limiting built in, these to safe guard the engine from abuse and operates at a safer range to prolong engine life. This Standard CDI is about RM 140.00 a piece at the spare shop.

There are after market replacement which sell for less, something like RM 50.00 on ebay. These work just as good.
Or for the more adventurous and need the rev limiter removed, they could opt for the racing version averaging in price from RM 75.00 on ebay like below.
Point to note before ordering these, make sure its suitable for your bike and the connector is the same.

Below typical circuit diagram for a scooter, exact for the VTS 200 is similar however the colour coding of wire may be different.

The racing CDI selling at Maju Motor or even Sentul is about RM 250.00 each. I don't think it worth that much, considering its "Plug & Play" and its not really that great in performance improvement on a scooter. As they said.. you wanna go fast.. get a Superbike.. a scooter is for leisure and relax commuting.

BTW you might as well change the ignition coil to racing spec, while you are at it.
This standard coil price about RM 50.00 each.

Below is a good video, to check what type of CDI installed on yg scooter.

SYM VTS 200 Coming on Vacuum

When few of my friends told me that they are interested on a vacuum device that is installed on the SYM 250i eVo and not the VTS 200 to make it runs better, its struct my mind what the heck is that contraption. We did few mods on cars on the vacuum lines to the fuel pressure regulator delaying fuel pressure reduction after slamming the throttle, but that on EFI cars, on  normally aspirated bike.. hemmm lets see.

Comparing the VTS 200 and the 250i Parts Catalogue I could not find anything that look like a device that could improve performance on the bike. Interesting, where do they get the idea that it would improve performance.

So today, armed with my faithful Samsung Camera phone I decide to do a snoop on an installation in progress.

Okay what they meant by "vacuum" is this "Breather Chamber Assembly" Part Number : 1738A-HMB-00 as photo below.
It is actually a device that installed to those SYM to meet euro emission 4 standard, on the VTS 200 this device is not installed. What it does is to recycle vapour from cylinder head area back into the carburettor for combustion. If its not installed,as on VTS 200 those vapour from this area is simply vented out to ambient, and that not meeting the euro spec. BTW being  non EFI is already don't meet Euro Spec 4 for these SYM VTS 200.
Above photo of this "vacuum" unit and where the connection goes to. These device is there all the time on cars and bike that needed to pass the European Regulation. How does it make your bike run smoother or increase power ? More about that later... :)

Below shown "Vacuum" installed on 250i, the VTS 200 is similar with slight difference on the Cylinder head tapping point.
Cylinder Head tapping point as shown below for the VTS 200.
Below overly simplified schematic of the installation, point to note is that SYM VTS 200 Engine Case vent already fitted with similar unit which is bigger and its feeding the carburettor intake to burn off excess vapour from engine case as shown in next photo..
Engine Crank Case venting breather
After installing this "vacuum" the mechanic need to readjust the fuel air mix at the carburettor to compensate for additional air flowing into the carburettor by fiddling the screw in diagram below.
Q1. What does this "vacuum" do to the bike ?
A1. What it does is only to make the bike run "Greener" for the Euro Emission Specification.

Q2. Will it increase POWER ?
A2. Answer : Yes (Psychologically)

Q3. Will it make the bike run smoother ?
A3. Answer : See A2

Conclusion : Unless you want to go green, then its no point of installing this item.

Friday, 19 August 2011

SYM VTS 200 Instrument Panel Removal

This is how you remove the instrument panel on SYM VTS 200.
Tooling : Phillips Screw Driver
Pre Condition : Front Fairing Removed.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

SYM VTS 200 Fork Lowering

This is how the fork can be lowered on the SYM VTS 200.
Tooling : 14mm Socket Wrench.
Pre Condition : Front Fairing Removed.

Below photo shows a 250i that already has its fork lowered. Have a look carefully at the fork upper end, there is a grove exposed, this grove on the fork is for those screws. There are 2 grove on each fork upper end act as fork stopper and also they need to be align with the screw in order for the screws to make a clear matting with the thread on the fork clamp.
Having the fork protruding upward, will make one of the grove expose and only the top screw engaged with the grove that was meant for the lower screw. This bring to question, what about the bottom screw, will it not be difficult to insert due to there is no grove left for it to make clearance.

In my opinion it will be difficult to put in this lower screw, it will need some force to get it inserted. What will it do over a long period of time, any interference fit will cause material to weaken. It may not be sufficient to cause problem but its an issue that need some considering and understanding.

SYM VTS 200 Front Fairing Removal

How to remove the front fairing.
Tools required : 5mm Allen Key,  Phillips Screw Driver and 10 mm socket wrench.

SYM VTS 200 Fuel Gauge Interpretation

A gauge is only as good as the person that's reading it, there are a lot of report that this gauge is unreliable. Frankly I never experience any problem. Maybe I am one of those lucky few.

Luck aside, let's me explain how the gauge is read, below is a gauge showing three bar in black. This bar represent quantity in the tank, however they does not necessarily mean that your fuel is at the top of that bar. Furthermore this reading also affected if you place the scooter on sidestand.
The above example means the fuel condition could be at the top of the third bar or it could also be at just about to deplete the third bar. Trip meter showing 212km, so its just about to turn clear. You see these gauge will show full bar at any segment as long as there is fuel above its threshold limits. So when you see the third bar is full, this does not mean it at the top, it can be anywhere in between.
The SYM VTS 200 fuel consumption is about 300 ~ 320 km average, however if you constantly do full throttle on two up the consumption can reduce by about 10 %. Above diagram illustrate the range each segment can go. With fuel full to the brim, the top three bar will be about 70km each and the bottom 2 are 50 km each.
The above figure represent in distance travelled, the third bar showing full but in actual fact it could be almost at the -210km mark.

So my advise on reading this gauge, if you are not sure how far you have left take the worst case scenario don't read the top most darken segment. In above example its safer to read it as only 100km to go, however unless you have just top up and very sure its actually full then you could reset the trip meter and use that as reference.

To prolong the life of the fuel sender unit, my advise is never pun the scooter on side stand for long period of time, its best to use the double stand especially during fuelling.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

SYM VTS 200 Power Outlet Modification.

The SYM VTS 200 already has one power outlet located in the front lockable compartment, however I find it difficult to use and occasionally during GPS usage its intermittently powering of the unit due to vibration and being inside the compartment its difficult to get it to mate right.
I decide to install another outlet below the instrument panel on the right hand side of the instruments. I bought a marine grade outlet from ebay, about RM 30.00 or 40.00 can't recall how much, but about that.
I need to install the outlet just about here.
Like so.
To install this outlet, the front face of the VTS 200 need to be remove in order to get to the electrics and access for the socket installation.
Below is a video of how to remove the front fairing.

Any time working with electrics its best to disconnect the battery, the negative terminal disconnected will do the job.
I am installing it below the instrument cluster on the right hand lower and a cut out done with a hole saw to allow socket installation.
Socket installed, view from below.
And the connection made to existing socket, the load is not that heavy so its okay to parallel it with existing.
View from top.
All done and testing a phone charger to see whether it work or not.
Took me about two hour to do, and a lot of panel to remove. With this outlet its easier to use GPS or phone while riding. This particular socket is not made for cigarette lighter its only meant as a power outlet.

It is directly connected to battery and can be use to charge the battery too.