Monday, December 19, 2011

My Tidalforce stable has grown, thanks to eBay!

This was a very exciting and productive weekend for me. I was able to win a couple of Tidalforce bikes on eBay.

First was the one that I had wanted for quite a while: the Tidalforce M-750 frame with the front fork and no motor or battery. The condition was stated as NOS (new old stock). This is a very rare find in my experience. The markings are pure Tidalforce and Wavecrest Labs, however, the components are all Montague Paratrooper. The Montague Paratrooper is the legendary bike designed to be dropped from aircraft and deployed in battle. The Paratrooper's best known feature is it's ability to fold into a compact size which allows for easier transport and storage. Here are a few photos of the frame I won.

The second eBay win was a red Tidalforce S-750 with the 750W motor and a non-functioning front hub battery and a charger. I already have an S-750 in the darker gray color I bought from Deerfencer1 (Larry Hughes) as a frame only and built it out to be the bike I ride today, however, I've always longed for a red one since red is my favorite bike color! The motor supposedly works well but the front hub does not work. We shall see. Here are some photos of the red S-750 bike.

I'll probably be doing the hub battery upgrade on this hub and getting it back on the road!

More later,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Good news GoPro!

I've been patiently waiting for my new GoPro HD Hero 2 to arrive. What I thought was a shipment notification to me was actually a shipment notification to my dealer in the mid-west. Oh well, you know what they say about a watched pot... As for the camera, it turns out I am getting the Motorsport model rather than the Outdoor model. The only difference is that the Motorsport model has a suction cup mount versus a Head strap mount with the Outdoor edition. I conjured up an inexpensive suction cup mount very similar to the official GoPro version except mine uses the GoPro tripod mount. I never used the head strap mount and my cheap suction cup mount wasn't very stable so I'm okay with getting the suction cup. The main problem with my mount is that it mounts the camera farther away from the base which allows the camera to bounce a bit more and introduces some jitter into the captured video. I hope the shorter GoPro mount will be more stable. More later, Ambrose

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

GGoodrum's BMS shipped!

The much-awaited Gary Goodrum BMS which can be configured for 5S is finally ready and should be on it's way to me. Once I receive it, I can continue working on the front hub upgrade on my Tidalforce iO cruiser bike! The BMS will be used with 2 Turnigy 8AH 5S1P 30C batteries in series to produce the desired 37V voltage for the TF bike. I have big plans for this kit. I may do some mods on the front hub as well to make it really sparkle!

More later,

Friday, November 18, 2011

GoPro HD Hero2 is on the way!

Just received a confirmation email that my GoPro HD Hero 2 camera has been shipped. I hopefully will receive it by next weekend. (I know, I chose the cheap shipping method!) :)

The Big Reveal will be posted when it arrives.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ride home from Dr. Glassers office

I rode my ebike down to Dr. Glasser's office to pick up my new contacts and vidoed the trip back. I forgot to clear out the memory so ran out of room on the way down so I only have the return leg. I had my usual power interruption after going over a big bump. I have to tie my connectors together or replace them with new ones that don't separate so easily. I also ran out of juice close to home so had to baby the throttle. I didn't have enough to ride up the last hill so had to walk that. Pedaling the ebike on human power alone is an unpleasant task!

This is the last video taken with my GoPro HD Hero. I hope to have the Hero2 by the end of the month...

Here's the a snapshot of the route I tracked with the WinPlus Beacon GPS Tracker I got on

Click here to see it in Google Maps.
More later,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

GoPro HD Hero2 Professional

Having heard the news of new GoPro HD Hero2 Professional camera, I've decided to order one. The final straw was seeing the quality of the video compared to the original HD model. Thanks to ConradB212 for taking this comparison video. Be sure to check it out directly on and be sure to select the larger 720P size. The differences between the two are startling.

Colors are more saturated, there is much less blowout, and there is much less stair-stepping. The camera now captures 11mp stills and can do 3 angles for the 1080P videos instead of only the 127 degrees of the original HD camera. The low light performance is particularly better.

Take a look at this image and you can really see the improved sharpness of the GoPro HD Hero2 on the right. Be sure to click on the image to see it full size. Thanks Alex84 for the image below.

1. No stairstepping in the GoPro Hero2 image on the right.
2. The building is MUCH sharper on the right.
3. Everything in the block is sharper on the right.
4. Finer details in the branches in the GoPro Hero2 image on the right.

I won't get it for a few weeks but I've already sold my current camera so can't wait to get the new one!

More later,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ride into DC to see my eye doctor!

I had to go into downtown Washington, DC this Wednesday and decided to ride in and to film it with my GoPro HD before I sell it to upgrade to the new GoPro Hero 2 Pro. Be sure to watch it in 480 only. The 720 version flips itself over for some strange reason.

It was a beautiful day and the ride in is lovely. It's mostly down hill. I tried mounting the camera on top of my helmet and realized afterwards that you need to be very careful how it's mounted so your video doesn't look crooked and you need to tighten it down so that it doesn't vibrate much! :)

I'll have the ride back video up shortly. I visit some monuments on the way back.

More later,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Look what GoPro's gone and done! GoPro Hero 2 Pro

So as soon as I order a stereo recorder for my GoPro, GoPro introduces a new model camera with a stereo microphone input! Looks like I'll need to sell my GoPro and Sanyo Xacti recorders now to buy a GoPro Hero2 Pro along with a small stereo microphone!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

SANYO Xacti ICR-XPS01M Digital Sound Recorder

I've loved using the GoPro HD Hero to capture my rides, however, there's one area where the GoPro falls short. It captures mono sound. The three dimensional realism of stereo sound is absent standard in the device! I've been looking for an inexpensive solution for this and found a sellout for the SANYO Xacti ICR-XPS01M Digital Sound Recorder.

It's a stereo PCM or MP3 capture device that will allow me to add stereo sound to my video captures. It's straightforward to use, records for many hours on the included 2GB microSDHC and most importantly, captures high quality stereo sound!

Here's a shot of how small this device is. I've got a life-size paper cutout of it sitting beside my GoPro HD Hero. The trick now is to mount them together so that I can synchronize them fairly easily. I know to record a hand clap at the beginning of the recording so that I can visually line them up...

More later,
Ambrose Liao

Thursday, October 13, 2011

High speed ride through Kensington and Bethesda

I played hookie last week and rode my bike around the neighborhood. The bike worked very well. Here's the video. I recorded it in 1080p so it's huge. It actually split into two segments automatically. Here's part 1 which is 34 minutes long. Select 720P and go full screen to enjoy the best viewing experience.

Here's part 2 which is 3 minutes long.

More later,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WinPlus Beacon GPS Tracker for $20 + $5 for shipping for today (10/11/2011) is the WinPlus Beacon GPS Tracker. It's an "after-the-fact" GPS logging system that lets you see where you've been. It's perfect for logging the position, speed, and altitude of your ride. Think of it as a GPS capture device kind of like the GoPro is the HD capture device.

I just ordered one so will let you know how well it works.

More later,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Two front hubs with different configurations

When I started on the front hub battery replacement project, I had planned on just replacing the battery in the Tidalforce iO since that pack was starting to act flakey and not always be ready for riding when my wife and I were. However, after working on it a while and brainstorming, I realized that I could configure my other front hub battery for my S-750 so that the front hub battery would be half of a xxV pack. I could fit half the pack inside the hub and the other half either in the frame or below the downtube.

 The iO version would be 2S1P consisting of two Zippy Flightmax 5S 8000mAH packs for 37V 8AH.

 The S-750 version would be 4S1P consisting of 4 Zippy Flightmax 6S 8000mAH packs for 88.8V 8AH.

 The front hub on the S-750 would add some significant mass to the front wheel which feels very light and feathery now with the Bosch Fat Packs over the back wheel and making it top and back heavy.

More later,

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Zippy 8000mAH Batteries - Will They Fit?!?!?

I took some cardboard and made two mockups of the Zippy 5S 8000 mAH LiPO batteries to see how they would fit in the hub.

They certainly are thin enough to fit into the clamshell without too many modifications in terms of depth. I would probably need to trim about 1/4" from the shell. You can see the gap between the screw posts which needs to close completely.

Then there's the matter of the packs fitting within the rim of the shell and much more importantly, within the rim of the wheel!

The packs look as if they would fit inside the wheel, but would they clear the thick axle and still clear the inside of the wheel???

Looks very close!
There's about a quarter inch to a third of an inch to spare so it looks as if it will indeed fit!

I'll need to remove 4 of the 6 screw posts which is kind of troubling but I think I can still support the shell in place so that the batteries don't shift. I need to think about this and try a few other configurations to see if I can keep more screw posts. Otherwise, I'm very happy!

More later,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The chosen one... ( battery)

After checking just about every possible configuration of LiPO batteries to try and fit them into my Tidalforce front hub, I've come across one that would work. It's not quite up to the AH that I was hoping for, but it will definitely fit and reduce the weight of the front end of my iO without affecting the balance of the bike by placing the battery over the rear wheel.

It's the Hobby King 8,000 mAH 5S Lithium Polymer battery.

With a pair of these packs, for an equivalent 10S1P, I can get 37V 8AH which considering the cost ($74 each, $148 a pair) is quite an amazing bargain. They are also capable of very high current output and can be charged with the pair of balance plugs. Gary Goodrum's BMS should be perfect for this setup when configured for the 5S packs and it can simply be placed into the hub with only the power plug extending from the hub itself. Very neat and very powerful considering the cost and size...

More later,

Flat Tire

I had my GoPro with me when I had the flat so I took a couple of photos of the bike while at rest...

 The bike with the rear flat. Strangest flat I've ever experienced I wasn't riding, just parked, checking my battery when I heard a hiss and felt the tail end sink down a bit.

A sad sight.

More later,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saturday morning ride, I mean problems...

I went for a ride Saturday morning thinking that the rain had finally abated just for a little bit. It was great for about 8 miles then everything went haywire. I saw that my battery was dropping in voltage very quickly and that my speed was also dropping rapidly, but I couldn't possibly run out at less than 2AH, could it? When I pulled over to check my batteries, I spotted that parts of my pack were disconnected so I was only getting a few batteries worth of juice. As I was checking the battery, I noticed that the bike dropped in height a little bit. I thought the bike had shifted, but nothing seemed to be moving except for the height! I had a very strange flat tire. I wasn't moving and I didn't have any notion of any problems before this with the tire. Weird!

Anyway, here's the video. When I'm going full speed, I'm going around 36-38 miles per hour which feels really good! Be sure to watch in 720 HD!

More later,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Extech EX-330 Multimeter

I've been keeping an eye out for a new meter since my el cheapo meter died a while back. I've always loved Fluke meters but new Flukes are expensive.

After watching this episode of the eevblog, I started looking for one. One popped up on eBay for $30 so I grabbed it.

Here it is side by side with my old Fluke.
More later, Ambrose

Tidalforce Wavecrest Front Hub Battery Upgrade

I've renamed this blog entry slightly differently from previous entries because I think I've turned the corner on the disassembly of the Tidalforce front hub battery and am now focused on the retrofitting it for new batteries.

In preparation for different batteries, I've made up 3 cardboard dummies (models) of a popular size of lithium polymer battery from to test fit them inside the Tidalforce hub's shell. The size is roughly 150mm x 50mm x 50mm. Many of the LiPO packs from HK are slightly smaller then this size, but I thought it would be better to try and fit the larger sizeinitially instead of a smaller size.
The actual pack I chose for size is this one:

It's a Zippy Flightmax 5800mAH 6s1p battery. I would need 4 of these in a 2s2p configuration in order to reach the 36v 10AH requirement. 4 of these batteries would be well above that at 44V 11.6AH. As you can see from the photo below, there's one small problem with this scenario!

This pack, more than likely, will not be the pack that i would use. However, it's a typical average size I'll need to figure out how to fit 4 inside the Tidalforxe hub.

More later,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tidalforce Wavecrest Front Hub Disassembly Part 5

I tested all of the cells in the pack and found 3 of them that had no voltage. That's how packs break down. All it takes is a couple of the cells to go bad in order for the whole pack to stop functioning since the pack reaches LVC (low voltage cutoff) very quickly.

I numbered them and found 6, 26, and 28 were bad. More later, Ambrose

Tidalforce Wavecrest Front Hub Disassembly Part 4

With the help of the good folks on I was able to loosen the 4 slotted nut holding the axle together and preventing me from removing the NiMH cells. I used a large hammer and a large screwdriver to loosen the nut. I started gently and moved around the 4 slots to try and distribute the energy. In about 3 minutes, I had the nut off!

Now I need to measure the space available and see what will fit into the space. I hope it's a at least 10aH of LiPO! More later, Ambrose

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tidalforce Wavecrest Front Hub Disassembly Part 3

I was able to unsolder the 8 leads that connect the NiMH pack from the BMS. The BMS also contains multiple thermal sensors which are on long legs and fit into small openings in the pack. It looks very strange when separated from the NiMH pack itself.

The battery with the BMS removed.

The Wavecrest BMS removed from pack. Note the fuse holders on the lower left and the data connectors near the middle bottom.

 Here's the perspective view of the BMS. Note the tall fuse holders and the very tall thermal sensors that look like little towers. They come in three different sizes. The small orange ones, the gray tall blocks and the very solid large one located near the center circle on the right.

Now the trick is to separate the axle from the NiMH pack so that the plastic housing can be removed. It looks as if the plastic battery holder is sandwiched underneath the axle nut. The axle nut has four slots cut around the outside to hold a special bit of some sort. I could improve a driver for it, but would prefer getting the right tool for it.

More later,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tidalforce Wavecrest Front Hub Disassembly Part 2

With a hint from Narayan, I was able to drop the NiMH cells out of the hub/case and take a look at the entire battery/bms/holder. It's a beautifully made and engineered battery.

 The circuit board side.

The empty wheel.

The battery side.
 Model part number.

Month stamp.

 Year stamp.

Sharpie marked battery.

Hex head covered with silicone. Remove this with your fingernail to get to the hex head screw. There's another one opposite this one on the other side.

 Hub with tab

 Closeup of circuit board

 Closeup of circuit board

 Closeup of circuit board

The next challenge is to unsolder all of the connections to the NiMH cells so that I can separate the batteries from the BMS board. There are 8 big soldered connections.

I highlighted them with red tape!

More later,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tidalforce Wavecrest Front Hub Disassembly

I'm trying to replace the NiMH cells in a front A hub battery. So far, I've gotten the cover off, however, i can't figure out how to remove the actual battery/bms from the battery case/wheel. It seems to be bolted one and I suspect you need a special tool in order to extract it, however, I thought I'd ask first!

If you know how to do this, please drop me a line at:
(replace the "AT" with @ and "DOT" with "."


Battery cover

Battery in wheel

Side shot of battery in the wheel.

More later,