Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wonderful File Sharing/Web Storage utility (Dropbox)

This is slightly off-topic so please forgive me beforehand.

I discovered a wonderful free web utility called "Dropbox" a few years ago. I would like to recommend it to you as a way to have access to your files from just about any computer.

Dropbox is an online backup/storage site that provides 2GB of online storage initially. You can earn more or you can pay for more storage. The best feature of Dropbox is that it creates a virtual folder on your computer that you simply drop files into and they are immediately available on any other computer where you've signed onto.

If you're on a PC, the folder is located in your "My Documents" folder. If you're on a Mac, it's located... You know? I don't even know where it's located because I just use the folder in my Mac's Finder window on the left side! Let's just say it's amazingly easy and transparent to use. I copy files I want to have at home into my Dropbox folder at work and it's there on my Mac at home. I also have access to all of the files on my iPod Touch/iPhone when I'm online. It's a very convenient way to back up files.

You can also share files with anyone that you wish by making folders inside your Dropbox folder shareable. You can also create public photo galleries by dropping photos into a Dropbox folder!

Anyway, I've used it for a long time. It has become invaluable and invisible to me. It's just a part of my PC and Mac that I rely on every day.

I would like to recommend it to you if you have a need for online backup and file access that's incredibly easy to use. If you sign up for a free 2GB account via the link below, then we will both get an additional 250MB of storage. So you'll start off with 2.25GB. I hope you sign up and hope you enjoy using it as much as I have.

Just sign up via this link:

Here's a gallery I created of photos I took during my Summer vacation. I simply dropped this folder into the Photos folder and copied the link.


Versatile charger

Having bought a lot of salvaged 18650VT and 18650V cells from Doctorbass on, I needed a way to charge them individually so that I could then gang charge them as a pack. I didn't have an inexpensive way to do this so I looked around the web for one. I spotted this compact and relatively inexpensive unit on

It purportedly charges all of these types of batteries: 16340, 14500, 18650, 17670,  9V, AA, AAA, D Ni-MH, Lithium, Ni-Cd Batteries and Others.

Here's the back view.

The front view.

Here's a shot of all the cell types that the charger supports.

It's not very powerful so it takes a while to charge a low cell, but I have more time than anything right now!

More as I find out if it really works or not!


Friday, December 17, 2010

World's most expensive bike phone mount!

I was looking around and saw this and had to share...

This is a bike GPS mount that sells for $10,000.00!

Here's one that sure looks very similar to it for $3.94

I wonder what they offer for the additional $9,996.06?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No load speed of 85.4 kph! (53 mph!)

While I was checking out the Large Screen Cycle Analyst, I ran the rear 500W motor at WOT (wide open throttle) with the rear wheel lifted of the ground and saw the top speed of 85.4 kph!

For those of us in the USA, that is a no load speed of 53 Miles Per Hour!

That is an amazing no load speed for this type of motor. The motor was run at almost 81V!


Large Screen Cycle Analyst first pix

I plugged in the Large Screen Cycle Analyst today and it is quite beautiful and of course, quite large!

The screen is very bright and very easy to read. The functions work very well, although I haven't played with it to set it yet.

Here are some shots of it by itself on the handlebars and also one of it with the original DrainBrain!

Here's the son/father shot. The LSCA is on top and the original DrainBrain is under it. I will hook up both the next time to see how they compare in their readings.

More later,

Optibike shirt arrived!

I got home to a nice package from Optibike in Boulder Colorado. It's the shirt that I won for posting my picture on Facebook. Here's the shirt! Thanks Craig from Optibike for sending it to me!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Large Screen Cycle Analyst arrives!

A nice package was waiting for me when I got home from work today. The Large Screen Cycle Analyst arrived!

It feels wonderful in the hand and thoughtful touches abound. The switches on the front feel fantastic. They're large and easily pressed and give a tiny bit of a click when you press them. There's a foam strip around the bottom of the display.

The case is very solid and feels like it could take quite a beating.
The handle bar mount is very solidly made and has a quick release opening on it so that it can be moved or removed easily. There are 6 openings that can be used to add more wires to the case. There is a 1/4"x20 hold built into the LSCA so that it can easily mounted using a standard photographic tripod.

The cable in the back is nice and long and the CA connector is solidly connected.

I can't wait to mount it on my bike and go for a ride!

More later,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I won an Optibike...

Polo shirt today! :)

I was on Facebook and I had "Liked" Optibike for a while now. Craig in the marketing department put up a note saying that he'd give a polo shirt to the electric bike rider who put up the best picture to prove that they had ridden that day and I won! Of course, I don't ride an Optibike, but he didn't say that you had to ride an Opti!

Anyway, I'll post a pic of it when it arrives.

More later,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DrainBrain Appreciation Month, Nov 2010

YPedal over at Endless-Sphere posted this notice:'s Justin Lemire-Elmore has posted a notice that November is DrainBrain appreciation month.

If you purchased a DrainBrain from Justin back in the 2005 time frame, then you are eligible to buy the latest Cycle Analyst from them for 50% off of the list price! The newest model is the Large Screen Cycle Analyst.

I've just placed my order! I bought my DB from Justin when he was still in college and had not started his Grin Technologies company yet. In fact, he asked for some help in acquiring parts to make DBs since he didn't have the capitol to purchase the parts necessary. I helped him out and he help sold me two of his early production run of DrainBrains. He customized it for me by programming the eePROM to say: "Ambrose Special" when it powers up! I still have it and it has been extremely dependable and has taken a beating and keeps on ticking.

The new Large Screen Cycle Analyst model is quite elegant and seems to be built very ruggedly. It will have 6 cutouts for adding additional IO wires and it also has a 1/4"-20 mounting hole. This is the standard tripod mount that most cameras have. I already have a bike mount for a camera so mounting this will be very easy!


"Large Screen Cycle Analyst

It has been well over a year in the making, but we have at last our own custom enclosure molded for the large display screen Cycle Analyst. This means regular ebikers and not just large EVs can make use of the wider screen and font size, while only taking up a bit more real estate on the handlebar than the original CA.
Some other improvements we made:
  • Silicone Rubber Keypad. Left and Right push buttons have more responsive tactile feel
  • Glued and sealed scratch resistant window, clear visibility to backlight LCD screen without risk of water damage
  • Brass inserts in all screw holes - Open and close the CA as many times as you want without worry of stripping plastic threads
  • Mounting Options - In addition to a horizontal hold that fits our standard handlebar bracket, there is a 1/4" threaded insert to allow easy customized attachment schemes and compatibility with handlebar camera mounts
  • More cable ports - We now have 6 tapered channels in the back plate for feeding wires. So there is no problem adding additional cables for Lumenator lights, data logging circuits, throttle interceptors, DC converters, speedometer sensors and whatnot.
Sil_Button_TN (2K)Inserts_TN (6K)CA_LS_Back_TN (5K)

More when it arrives!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The best GoPro Hero HD video!

No, it's not mine, however, this is an incredibly fun video to watch and to listen to as well. It's a video of a BMX bike gathering in Aptos, California and it's called the "Post Office Bike Jam". The music is also terrific. The bike riders are incredibly agile and the video also shows off the incredible flexibility of the GoPro Hero HD camera. The slow motion sequences were shot in 720P at 60 fps. Enjoy!

more later,

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New HD Camera from Craigslist

I spotted a GoPro Helmet Hero HD camera on Craigslist Thursday night and contacted the seller. I was able to grab it. It was brand new and unopened. I took some pix of it. I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but will post some videos soon!

This thing is a tiny jewel!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Magicshine MJ-818 videos

I received my Magicshine MJ-818 from recently and had a few minutes to capture some video of it in my rec room. I'll get out and shoot some video of the bike with my taillight setup. There are three modes of operation. Steady on, steady blink and alternating bright and dim blinking. Here are the two more interesting modes.
Video number one is the steady blink mode:

Video number two is the alternating high and low blinking mode. Sorry about the focus issues, but you can still tell how bright it is:

My digital camera can't handle the intense brightness so it shows the two annoying rays above and below the light. Obviously, it's not that way in real life. It's just intensely bright. I'll have another video up soon showing the difference between it and the Planet Bike Superblinky light. The PBSb is .5 watts and the MJ-818 is 3 watts!

More later,

Vuelta 130mm 56T front crank

I really miss pedaling when riding near top speed. I've already increased my front crank size from 48 to 52T and still am not able to pedal at higher speeds so I thought I'd try increasing the crank size one more time. I picked up this 56T crank from eBay and paid $22 shipped which seems like a fair price. It's CNC machined right here in the USA. Here's a photo of the crank compared to my current Tiagra 52T crank. It's quite a bit larger. If this doesn't work, I'll need to go up to the highest size, which is 60T!

The 56 tooth crank is the aluminum one hanging on the bike.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shots of bike

I know my bike hasn't changed much, but I had my bike and the camera out at the same time so I thought I'd take a couple of shots.

Here they are:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Upgraded Tail Light...

If you're a reader of my blog then you already know that I'm a big believer in being visible and having lots of lights on your bike. I currently have two Planet Bike Superflash Blinky taillights that are compact and very bright. One is on my helmet and the other is on my rear trunk bag. However, I've always longed for something REALLY bright.

I just ordered this taillight from

This light is the sister light to my two Magicshine MJ808 headlights and should increase my visibility quite a bit. More when the light arrives.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bosch BC-830 Charger

Since I have such a large collection of Bosch Fat Pack batteries on hand, I thought it would be wise to pick up a Bosch charger. The model that I saw on eBay is called a Bosch BC-830 charger. They can be bought for $55 with shipping additional if you want to "Buy It Now." However, if you are willing to bid on one, you can get them for less. I paid $41 with shipping for this one.

They are surprisingly large. Easily looking like a little boombox. I will be opening one up so that I can attach some heavy duty cables and adding a couple of Anderson Powerpole connectors so that I can use it with my assembled pack.

The BC-830 charger along side a disassembled Bosch Fat Pack 37V.

The battery connector part of the BC-830 charger.

Here's the LED indicators on the BC-830 charger.

More later,

Friday, September 3, 2010

More Sony/Konion packs from DoctorBass Opened Up

Well, after about a week, I finally took apart the Makita 18V packs to see what shape the batteries were in. I examined each group of cells to see which ones are good and which ones aren't.

Of the 5 packs I bought, 2 have all 10 cells working. 2 had 8 cells out of 10 working and one that ha only 2 good cells out of 10. I guess that's 38 good cells out of 50 which averages out to be around $1.71 per good cell which is a tremendous bargain. That's $17/pack and about 80% cheaper than a new pack.

Of course, finding these packs is not extremely easy. You have to find a reputable reseller of recovered rechargeable batteries and be willing to accept a fair inconsistent set of batteries, find the bad ones and replace them and then reconfigure the packs to your liking. It's a fair bit of work, but the price is right.

Here's a pack with all ten cells in good shape. They are a bit dusty after many months of use.

Here's a pack with only 2 (hopefully) good cells. You measure each cell individually to see which ones are below standard. In order to open these packs, you'll need a long reach Torx T-2 Security bit. Security bits are the torx screwdrivers with a small hole at the very tip of the tool which prevents it from working with anything but the security bits. Be prepared to buy the special screwdriver or face a daunting task of cracking open the case!

Here's a shot of a Bosch Fat Pack opened up alongside 2 Makita packs. Similar sizes but the Makita packs are stacked evenly and not staggered like the Bosch.

More later,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Fluke 27 Multimeter from eBay

I was just cruising around eBay a few days ago and came upon a really great deal for a digital multimeter. The DMM I was using was fine except that it had tiny writing on the dial that I couldn't see very well. I also didn't like the fact that I misplaced it all the time. The one I bought is a Fluke 27. From the pictures and description, it looked very rugged as you would expect from a top name like Fluke and looked to be an autoranging dmm which I like since I don't like having to change the range on my current meter. The display was large and the dial was also very clear. There were only 4 buttons which I really didn't need to use so I was happy. Here's a picture.

Here's my old meter. A cheapie from China.

They look similar except for one thing!
The Fluke 27 is about 4 times bigger than the orange and blue cheapie! It truly is built like a tank and is water resistant and has an O ring seal to minimize dust and dirt contamination. It really is built extremely well. The used price was terrific, essentially the cost of a cheap clone. I'm very happy. I will never misplace this meter ever again!

More later,

Monday, August 2, 2010

DrainBrain Carbon Fibre Makeover

I've had my DrainBrain power meter from for many years now on many different evehicles. It has been through a couple of crashes where it has busted the mount so I've used clear strapping tape to tape it to the handlebars and also Gorilla Tape as well as rubber bands. It looks awfully beat up. I've looked in vain for another case for it but was told to try some thick fake carbon fiber vinyl as a cover-up for the DB.

I just picked this up off of eBay for around $2.50 for a 9x12" self-adhesive piece shipped from Hong Kong. There are two kinds of vinayl carbon fiber: the black and white version and this black version. I ordered both and this black one looks a lot nicer.

It has a very nice 3D look and feel to it. Of course, CF is no where as supple as this vinyl look-alike is, but that's OK. It's only going to be used to cover up the DB!

Well, that's another item on my to-do list.

More later,

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tektronix Oscilloscopes

In my travels, i've come across 2 Tektronix scopes on Craigslist and was lucky enough to pick them up for a song. The first for $75 and the second for free!

The first one is a Tek 465M model which was ruggedized for military purposes.

It's a bit dirty but should clean up well. It functions perfectly as far as I can tell and included 2 probes. The specs say that it's a 100MHz dual trace scope.

The second is a Tektronix 7704A scope that I picked up (Ugh) for free. It has a problem with the power supply which should be fun to track down and fix!

This scope is a beast and is built for a solid bench. It came with 5 modules. The spec sheet says that it's a 200MHz scope. I would guess that it's around 30 lbs. When you turn it on, the power supply ticks and does nothing else. The display supposedly works, but it doesn't do anything that I can see. The ticking is indicative of a bad capacitor on the power supply board. I will need to open it up and hope to see a burnt of misshapen cap. Wish me luck!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Near Future Plans

My Tidalforce S-750 build is now complete and fully up to speed, however, as with any engineering project, there are future upgrades that I plan to implement.

First item:
I have 10 Bosch Fat Packs, well actually 9 and 1 is a pack made from 20 Doctorbass recovered Sony/Konion 18650VT cells that I've assembled. It's actually quite small so the thought occurred to me fit the one BFP and one Doctorbass pack that I have into my rear Topeak bag so that I can have all the power that I need and minimize the voltage sag that I've experienced with my BFPs.

Second item:
I have received the GPS and will install it soon to verify my estimated 40 miles per hour top speed. Eventually, I plan to have it be powered from my BFPs.

Third item:
Tyler (a local bike enthusiast) has lent me 2 Meanwell 48V power supplies to modify. I need to acquire 3 or 4 1K 10 turn low power potentiometers so that I can turn the voltage down from the current 42V lower limit to something closer to 41.5V.

Fourth item:
Front headlight install. I would like to permanently install the two MagicShine MJ808 headlights to my bike and power it from the BFPs so that I don't have to worry about a separate battery pack for the headlights.

Fifth item:
I've purchased two more light bases and two more 300W utility bulbs to double the power of my LBD. That will stress the batteries more and reduce the amount of time necessary to test the pack. Right now at just over 300W at 72V, it takes about 3 hours to test the pack! I hope to reduce that significantly. The cost of the light sockets and bulbs was truly minimal at around $11.

Sixth, seventh, eighth items:
More as I can think of them! That's enough for now...


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New 8 BFP 72V Load Test Results

I had a little bit of time tonight so put my new BFP pack on my new light bulb discharger to see how many AH it could deliver. After almost 3 hours, it came back as 8.3AH so it's a significant jump up from my 6.0AH from having 6 packs.

More later,

New Man Cave Accessory

I had a huge problem. My "Storage Closet" was getting tremendously crowded and there was no place to put anything except to pile them on the floor. My wife thought that a shelving unit would help greatly and she was right. I cleaned up everything and put it all on the new shelving unit in the closet. I spared you by not taking a picture of the mess before the cleanup.

Now there's room for more stuff in the Man Cave! :)

More later,

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Progress report on the 36/72V switch

I got some of the work I needed to do, done on the switch, however, the connectors I planned on using don't work as a screw-on connector for the switch so I only connected the copper pieces to the swtich. I first removed all of the screws, cut a small strip of copper and tapped and drilled holes into it to fit on the 3rd row to short out that section for the 72V configuration. I needed the copper to carry the current of the entire pack so wanted something really thick and solid copper.

W.B. Maske gave me a 6x8" piece approximately 3/16th of an inch thick. There's a gauge for this thickness. I think the person at W.B. Maske said it was 16 gauge.

This is how I used it on the 4PDT center off switch.

The screw posts are canted unevenly to each other so the copper wiggles a bit when the screws are tightened.

Second row is ready to connect the last few wires to the controllerso I've got the copper strip up in the air waiting for 2 cables running to the controller to connect.

Finally, as I was running out of time, I realized that I needed to have a working system of some sort in order to ride my bike to work so I hurriedly put the pack back together using some spare Y splitters for this 4x 4-to-2-to-1 configuration.

The picture is a little bit oversatured in reds, however, the packs are very, very bright red and look great in the sunlight.

Notice the mass of neatly arranged Anderson Powerpoles and cables? I moved the black connectors to show you how each group in the bag looks.

More later,

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

W.B. Maske for Copper!

During my lunch hour today, I went looking for a small piece of copper to act as a bus bar for my 4PDT center off switch so I noted a couple of shops to hit. I went to the first shop and it was closed. I went to the second shop and they didn't sell copper sheets. I was sadly disappointed and started to head back to work when I drove by W.B. Maske Sheet Metal Works in Bladensburg, MD. This was a pure drive-by-and-jam-on-the-brakes type of stop!

I walked into their customer entrance and saw a very clean, well run shop. A very nice gentleman came up and I told him what I was looking for. He came back with a small 6"x8" piece of copper and handed it to me. He didn't want anything for it even though I offered and so I went away very happy that I had found, by pure chance, the copper piece I was looking for. I highly recommend them for outstanding customer service!!!

Thanks W.B. Maske!

Reconfigured and slimmed down Bosch Fat Pack BAT836 batteries

I decided to go whole hog on my Bosch Fat Packs BAT836 36V batteries (BFPs) and fit 8 of them into my rear Topeak Expedition MTX bag. I took each of the 8 packs and disassembled them by removing the end bumpers which are plastic with a rubber coating and remove the extrusions that were not needed from the red shells surrounding the packs to reduce their size. I may do more, but with what I did, I was able to fit all 8 in.

First, the removal of all of the security screws, ends and protective end caps.

Then I used my Lie-Nielsen adjustable plane to shave off the parts I didn't need from the BFPs into a gardening planter bowl!

Then came the bundling of the packs together and of connecting the group of 4 Anderson Powerpoles that I needed for each pack. The configuration that worked the best was in a 1 flat pack over a 3 stacked configuration.

finally, putting them into my Topeak rack bag and zipping it up!

It fits snugly, but it fits. I intend to run the wires to the switch which I plan on installing tomorrow that allows for switching between 36 and 72V seen here

More later!