Monday, 31 October 2011

EL Chepo Mini DV to Try

Ordered a mini DV a week ago, and just arrived today. Its a small cam, not HD but WVGA 640 x 480 I think. Anyway its cheap, to the point that I won't disclose the price.
Its a small camera about 4 inches in length, build in battery and used micro SD card which is not included. I wonder what they mean by "Share with him the exciting moment !"
Front of the camera, with plastic protective lens to make it slightly water resistant. I don't think its water proof, splashproof maybe.
Rear cover once unscrewed revealed a mini USB, ON/OFF switch, Micro SD Slot and the warranty sticker.
Close up of same.
There is a hole on the rear cap, so that's so much for waterproofiness. Maybe I can plug it with silastic.
Record button, indicator light and could it be a reset hole in front of the play/pause button, these I need to explore more to find out. It need charging, a micro SD and I need to read the manual.

Additional note : That small hole is the mic
These are the goodies that comes with it. Driver CD, Printed Manual, Wall Charger with USB out, USB Cable, Car Power outlet to USB converter, Travel Plug to use the Wall Charger and Car Mount accessories.
Do a quickie mount on my scooter with bicycle clamp.
Not bad, just a bit far to see those LED indicator lights. I use one of the SYM fairing screw ad attachment point, so its easy for installation this type of camera. A HD version should be good.
Not bad looking from the front too.
Here's another shot.
It was a quickie job, once its do able I can find better clamp to do the job.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Monday, 24 October 2011

A Sport to Play

After thinking it over about mounting the Lumix LX5 while riding, it just not worth the risk of damaging the camera. Even through it can take good 1080p video, mounting it on the bike will subject it to lots of vibration that could damage the internal mechanism.

Not willing to take the risk I decided to get myself a simpler and cheaper camera that can do the job as required. So Kodak Playsport ZX3 fit the bill nicely, however I wish the ZX5 already available here, but no its cannot be found.
This simple camcorder is waterproof to 3m (perfect for my upcoming trip to Krabi, Thailand where its rains cat and dogs)take 1080p @ 30 fps, 720p @ 60 fps, 720p @ 30 fps and WVGA @ 30 fps. It does still image at 5mp, but nothing to shout about. The video is good. It also has a build in screen which makes positioning camera easy as compare to bullet cams or the GoPro that does not have it.

Below a sample, I am still not familiar with its operation, and this recording is at 720p @ 30 fps with cloudy sky and at 18:30 hrs its almost sunset. The shake is due to me not mounting it properly, I need to check out on this. Also its best to set it to 720p @ 60 fps for this kind of shots. After this recording I did a firmware update that suppose to make the iris response better to changing lighting.

Battery life for video shooting about 90 minutes, battery can be replace and spare battery will not cost much. The Kodak Playsport ZX5 has internal battery which user cannot replace themselves, this I find a bit of a let down on the newer model.

Night Shot test video in Hatyai Halloween Festival 2011.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

SYM VTS 200 Belt Inspection

Belt are replaced about every 12000 km, before that periodic inspection is necessary around every 6000km or less. Inspection may sound simple but it could be hardest thing to do.

What do you look for ?

Its a straight forward question, if you never seen a damaged belt how do you judge a belt is good. Sometime these where experience count and ability to judge a good belt or anything for that matter is crucial.

It is not 100% fool proof, but I will look for :
  1. Condition - Check the belt for cracking, sign of ageing, fraying, any loose or flaking belt.
  2. Security - Belt is not loose on the pulley, pulley itself secured and no sign of nut adrift or loose.
  3. Operation - Check the belt visually with engine running, see that it freely move and no abnormality with it.
It is very difficult to judge unless you have been involved with similar inspections before. Luckily, in my profession I am constantly been involved with inspection and judging a plane is fit to fly or not for the last 25 years.. so its second nature to me.

Below some photos of belting being inspected.

Cover in good condition, no crack or damage.
 General drive belt area free from grease and debris that could indicate problem with drive pulley or damaged belt.
 No sign of grease at this forward pulley or oil leak from seals, securing nut in good condition no looseness or play.
 Belt itself feel good to touch and no sign of fraying, cracking or ageing.
 Always remember how many thread shows, its a good indication of loosening nut.
Clutch bell nut secured properly and no damage to bell, discoloration is not a problem due to this clutch runs hot depending on how you ride.
Generally is condition and security of belting, leaking oil or smearing grease that you should also look for. Then looseness of components and unusual sound is also important which may indicate bad clutch or drive pulley.

Overall you need to practice to know what you are looking for.

SYM VTS 200 Spark Plug Replacement

I am going on a trip to Krabi, Thailand over this next few days, so one of the job I need to do on my bike is to replace its spark plug. Here are the steps required and at the end a video presentation of same.
 I use this NGK G Power spark plug
 Tool required is a spark plug spanner from the tool kit
 Remove the LH side panel as above, no tools required for this simple job.
 Once remove you can get access to the spark plug as below.
 Remove the spark plug high tension electrical socket as below.
 And use the provided tool mentioned above to unscrew the plug.
 Installation is the reverse of removal, and don't over tighten it. A fresh crush washer is recommended if you were to reinstall the same plug after inspection.
A better tool is this spark plug socket that I normally use for superbike above, but the manufacturer provided tool will do just as nice.

Thread Wear - Indication to a Disaster.

Scooter just like any bike, to ensure we have a strong foot hold on the road will require good tyres. Having good tyres not the only reason of having good grip on road surface. During rainy season, we must make sure thread remaining is sufficient for our journey.
Maxxis Pro is a standard fit for SYM VTS 200 ex factory, its not a high end tyre but generally okay for normal non extreme usage. Above tyre have few thousand good mileage to go, knowing how much thread left is important so that we could judge whether we will need a replacement or not. There are thread wear indicators on this tyre, the indicator is not on the side wall but on the groove itself.
Above photo shows a close up on this tyre thread indicator, it is advisable to replace tyre once this indicator is flush with tyre surface.
Some tyre have different way of showing wear, it could be on the side wall like car tyres marked as "TWI" or some just "WI"

Its important to check and see what kind of indicator is provided on your scooter tyre and understand on how it is interpreted.

I will update this post if I have more information on various thread wear markings on different tyre make.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Lumix LX5 Video and Test Shot OIS OFF on SYM VTS 200

Another test for video shot this time in Programme Mode, OIS OFF ISO 100. Its drizzling and heavily overcast sky. Camera set up as below, wind noise is minimum due to the windscreen.
Video below.

Its still better to use a dedicated Bullet Cam for riding, this camera is more suitable for normal shooting and video graphing.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Lumix LX5 Video and Test Shot on SYM VTS 200

Testing video shot using Lumix LX5 on SYM VTS 200 with RAM mount fitted to handle bar as below photo.
The video here, its ride to nowhere. Due to SYM windshield, wind noise is very much reduced.

The still shots follows below.

Will test using Canon Ixus V3 next.
Video for the Ixus V3

Brake Reservoir Refilling

I did some work on the handle bar which requires both the brake hose to be detached from reservoir. After attaching the hose there will be trap air inside the lines and some fluid need to be top up. Here are few simple procedure to do this.

SYM specified brake fluid DOT 3 or DOT 4, I recommend DOT 4 since this one have higher boiling point that the earlier.
Make sure you have cloth covering the bike panel on the side that you want to work, slightly damp the cloth to make it absorb better.
Remove the 2 Philip screw and gently lift the cap.
Ensure reservoir is level and slowly add fluid, note you don't normally add fluid to brake reservoir unless there is leakage or work done on the bike. Fluid level drop is normal as it take up space for worn brake pad and after replacing with new pad the level will return to it initial point.
With new brake shoe, this is the level that you should have, since I had disturb the hose and some fluid loss occur I need to top up to slightly lower than this mark because my bike brake shoe is already worn.
Slowly depress the brake lever to get the air out and also change the orientation of handle to make sure all air can be displace. Few depress is necessary until you get a good pressure on the lever. This procedure is after you have disconnect the hose at the reservoir.
Once done, close the reservoir don't do it too tight since it has a rubber gasket and it should just enough to be air tight.

If you disconnect the hose at the calliper end you will need to do brake bleeding, by loosening the brake nipple at the calliper as you depress the lever and close it before the lever is release. This step need to be repeated until all air is expelled from the calliper or the bottom hose. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Handle Bar - Hook Up Possibilities.

These are some possible hook up for the new handle bar.
Bottle Holder
Nice and secure
Even dangerous goods.
Hand Phone

More Hand Phone

More Water Bottle
Neck Hook Up
And of course the GPS ball mount.