VTX turn signals

I finally got around to wiring and installing the custom Tradewinds turn signals on the front of my 1800 Neo. I am using parts from a 1800 C model and an aluminum adapter that I turned on a lathe. I sent them all out to be chromed and have finally assembled them , installed them on the forks, and wired them using the plugs from the Neo signals. They just plug into the harness and they work perfectly.

I like the look of the Tradewinds housings, so I have them for front and rear turn signals and driving lights. The driving lights mount on the Cobra engine bars, but I am thinking of changing to a different and less noticeable clamp.

The Tradewinds products are not cheap, but the quality is second to none and Tony is great to deal with.

New GPS is here part 3…

I have used it a bit more now, and have played around with the 2D/3D north up/track up display options. The 2610 had only 2D map display, and you could choose between north up (north at the top, like you would usually read a map) and track up (the way you would orient a map so that a left turn will take you towards the left side of the map).

The 2730 has 2D north up/track up and 3D track up display options. Maybe my pilot background is showing, but I presonally prefer the 2D north up display. Positional awareness is what I taught as a flight instructor and understanding that a left turn while heading south takes you to the right side of the display is second nature.

To each their own, you can easily switch between the display modes and make your own determination.

New GPS is here part 2…

Well, I’ve updated the software (firmware?) on the 2730 using Garmin’s Webupdater and it works very well. There had been a number of software updates since my unit was manufactured and it was very easy to bring my unit up to date. I also updated two voice files, American and British english TTS (text-to-speech).

I’ve noticed some additional differences between this unit and the 2610, so I’ll continue my comparison now.

  • The screen resolution is significantly better. The 2610’s resolution was 305 x 160 pixels with 256 colors; the 2730’s resolution is 454 x 240 pixels with 64,000 colors. Even though some of the text is smaller, the higher resolution makes it easier to read.
  • Also, since the screen resolution is higher, the actual number of pixels used to display the map is higher than on the 2610. To me, this mitigates the fact that the tabs were transparent on the 2610, and have a black background on the 2730.
  • The buttons on the right side of the unit are backlit on the 2730, not so on the 2610. It does make it easier to operate the unit in dim lighting conditions.

I loaded the new maps onto my laptop, and the v8 NT maps happily coexist in Mapsource alongside the v7 and v8 maps I had for the 2610. I will probably delete the v7 and v8 maps, once I’ve made sure I can use my saved routes and tracks with the new maps.

New GPS is here

My new Garmin 2730 gps arrived this morning, and I’ve been comparing it with the Garmin 2610 I just sold. It isn’t the latest and greatest from Garmin, but since the technology is changing fairly rapidly it becomes very expensive to play the “I want the latest and greatest game”. I’m quite comfortable to have last year’s model for less than half of last year’s price. My initial impressions are:

  • The interface seems more polished, and it’s a nice touch that the “stop” button to forgo following a route is on the menu page, not another level down.
  • When navigating on a route, and a turn is approaching, the voice now speaks the name of the road, street, highway, or interstate you are to turn onto. The 2610 just said “right turn”, the 2730 says “right turn onto Main Street”. Not huge, really, but perhaps helpful if there are closely-spaced and poorly-signed crossroads in your route.
  • I am disappointed that the “tabs” containing information such as speed, altitude, time to turn, distance to turn, etc. are not transparent, but have a black background. On the 2610 the tabs had a transparent background and you could “see” the map behind the tab. This change has the net effect of making the map section of the screen smaller. On the 2610, you could “hide” a tab by touching the right side of the screen and just like a manila folder, there would be a tab graphic that, when touched, would unhide the tab and make it visible again. Touching the tab now takes you to either the “dashboard” or the turn information, depending on which tab you touch.
  • This unit comes with the GXM30 XM receiver/antenna and once activated through XM the gps will control the XM receiver in the “puck”. I intend to use the gps on my Goldwing and also in my truck, so I have put together a mounting system that will easily go from one to the other.

Once I’ve used it a bit more and saved some waypoints I will undoubtedly have additional comments, so stay tuned.

new parts on order

I just received some 3/16″ black neoprene rubber to be turned into a front fender mudflap. There are aftermarket fender extensions available, but there are a number of reports of cracked rear fenders after the extensions were installed. Some folks surmise that the extensions are catching too much wind and putting more pressure on the fender mounting points than they were designed to take. I’m going to make a fairly flexible rubber mudflap that won’t catch too much wind but will be curved enough to help hold at least part of it’s shape while moving. It should keep mud and road debris off the lower cowling and for a lot less money than the other extensions.

Also, a late addition to my over-the-road-toolkit is a Pocket Tire Plugger by Stop-N-Go. It’s a very compact kit that allows you to patch a hole in a tubeless tire without removing it from the wheel or even removing the wheel from the bike. Since two of the primary three reasons for being stranded on a bike are a flat tire or a dead battery, I’ve done what I can to cut those risks down. Now, I can patch a flat tire and pump it up using the Cyclepump Adventure 12v pump. The battery meter will help me to ensure the battery and charging systems are in good shape and hopefully to spot a problem before it turns a ride into a hike.

The third one is running out of fuel, and the Goldwing has a pretty hard to miss fuel gauge, so I can’t blame running out of gas on anyone but myself – and since I don’t intend to push the Goldwing around I WILL be watching.

And the projects continue…

I decided that the battery tender pigtail coming out through the left-hand side panel opening wasn’t neat enough. Since there is a power distribution/fuse block behind the side panel there isn’t enough room to tuck it back inside, so I moved it. I drilled an elongated hole and brought the lead into the left-hand passenger cubbyhole. Yes, the cubbyhole isn’t completely weather-tight now, but the hole is very close to the size of the wire, and it’s protected by the seat. The advantage is that it’s completely out of sight except when it’s needed.

I purchased an LED voltmeter from Digital Meter to help monitor the battery condition and decided to install it in the right-hand panel, below the lock for the panel pocket. It will be wired directly to the battery (fused, of course) so that it will operate even if the bike is off. Anything less than about 12.5 volts with everything off is indicative of a problem, and anything less than 13.5 volts while moving is also indicative of a problem. Early warning of problems is easily worth the cost of the meter. It works great and is easily readable.

I removed the top shelter to run the wiring for the voltmeter and to try and improve the shielding over the cruise control actuator. I hadn’t planned on becoming good at removing the top shelter, so I really hope this will be the last time for a while.   I riveted on a ground lead for the shield and soldered a ring terminal on the other end that fit under one of the bolts holding down the electronics.     Ohmmeter showed a good connection to frame ground.   Also, I wrapped several of the wire bundles in heavy-duty aluminum foil.   Hopefully, both the good ground and the wrapped wire bundles will cut out the cruise control noise from the audio system.

Weather permitting, I will reinstall the top shelter tomorrow and see if I’ve fixed the audio noise problem.   I sure hope so, ’cause if it’s still there it’s going to the dealer under warranty.