More Goldwing updates part 2

After reassembling the bike, I went for a short ride to check out the changes. The power connector for the GPS works just fine, no surprise there. Mounting the GPS on the dash does prevent a lot of vibration, but I will have to experiment with the various mounting arm lengths to get the right position. Because it is closer to you and lower, it needs to be tilted up more and that makes the sunshield less effective. The audio cable works fine and the stereo XM radio sounds really good.

Now for the really important mod, the turn signal cancel mod. Going down the road at about 45 mph, hit the right turn signal button and it blinks 10 times and cancels. OK. Stop at an intersection, hit the turn signal, and make the turn – the signal cancels when the bike is upright again. OK. The previous functionality is still there. Now, going down the road at 45 mph, hit the signal button. But when it has blinked 7 times, briefly hit the foot brake. It continues for 10 more blinks and then cancels. PERFECT. Now for the real world test. Going down the road at 45 mph coming up to an intersection, hit the turn signal well in advance. Now, apply the brakes as you normally would, turn signal still blinking. Stop, and release the brakes. Turn signal still blinking. Make the turn, it cancels when the bike is upright again.


More Goldwing updates

Well, I spent a good part of Sunday disassembling, soldering, drilling, and reassembling the Goldwing. I removed the speaker grilles and panel and the top shelter in about 10 minutes. I never really set out to be good at disassembling the bike, but when you’re particular like me and you want things just so, that’s just part of the deal. First, I replaced the power jack for the GPS with a barrel-style connector (center pin positive, housing negative) as it’s smaller and less noticeable when the GPS isn’t plugged in. I also replaced the aux input cord with a longer cord so that I could connect the stereo output from the XM radio into the sound system.

On the Goldwing’s dash below the key and above the gas filler cap is a rectangular logo, which I removed. I modified a circular RAM base to fit there, made a backing plate for strength, and bolted it in place. I am hoping that the GPS will vibrate less there than when attached to the RAM mounts on the handlebars. Time (and a quick ride) will tell.

Now for the more serious mod. I removed the instrument cluster and the triple tree cover so that I could get to some wires for the turn signal cancel unit. I found the wires, cut away a little insulation, and soldered a wire to each of them. I routed the wires down to the left side of the fairing. I also found the wire I needed on the stop light relay under the seat and soldered a wire there. I also ran that wire up to the left side of the fairing. The fourth wire was in the turn signal switch connector, which is in the left fairing. Now I have all four wires I need. I verified that the stop light wire was correct with my meter, as it reads 0 volts until the brake lights are on, then it reads 12 or so. I connected the wire from the stop light relay to the coil on a small relay through a diode to prevent feedback. The other side of the relay coil connects to one of the wires from the cancel unit. The other two wires connect to the NO contacts on the relay. Why would I do all of this work, you ask?

The Honda turn signal cancel design is going to get someone killed, and I don’t want that to be me. The turn signal cancels in two ways: after completing a turn, the signal will cancel; or it will cancel after a set amount of time (speed based). I put my signal on well in advance of the turn so that drivers behind me have plenty of notice that I’m turning. If you put the signal on and the cancel unit decides it’s been blinking long enough, it will turn them off. NOT GOOD, especially when you’re waiting to turn left on a two-lane highway and now you realize that you’ve basically stopped in the middle of the road with no signal to indicate ANYTHING. This mod resets the countdown timer when you are braking, and if the brakes are on, it is being continually reset. It will only count down when the brakes are released so you can indicate your turn in advance and not have the turn signals mysteriously stop blinking.

One less thing to worry about while riding, and there is plenty to be aware of while you’re on the road.

What an ass

You know, in spite of a lot of evidence to the contrary, I still expect that people will live up to their word. When they don’t it’s a disappointment and sadly, all too common.

I had advertised a bike of mine for sale, and someone claiming to be from Canada, Eric Walter,, tried to run the old “cashier’s check” scam on me. I said that my bank required a 11-business-day hold on cashier’s checks from out-of-the-country banks and suggested that he wire the funds to my bank. Now my bank is a small town bank, and they take very good care of their customers. The lady that I spoke with said the best method was to have the funds transferred to the bank’s account at the Fed and they would then transfer the funds to my account. I was not giving my account number to this guy under any circumstances.

So, no cashier’s check scam, no way to get my account numbers means no scam run on me.

Hopefully all of the spammers on the planet will find Eric Walter’s email address and tell him hello. I think they should be able to sell him male enhancement products – he clearly needs them.

Nice try, jerkweed.

A disaster (almost)…

Like a lot of people converting to Mac from windows, I use Quicken. The Mac version has typically been behind on the featureset, and knowing that I just never bothered to look further into it. If the featureset was better and the conversion could be done without loss of data I would do it. Maybe later. However, since there are a couple of windows programs I use because of reasons like this, I use Virtual PC v6.1 (VPC) to run xp on my Mac. For the couple of programs I use it works just fine, even though it is a little slower, because I need only one machine to handle ALL of my computer tasks both work and personal.

Since I work in IT for a living, I understand the need for backups. I have set up elaborate backup systems for my company’s server farm, and I also back up my Mac weekly to a external Firewire hard drive. I do this backup on Sunday mornings (usually) so my backup is never more than a week behind. I had installed an update from Apple on Friday, and everything was fine the remainder of Friday and the couple of times I checked email and recorded some bills in Quicken on Saturday.

Sunday morning, however, things weren’t so good. The Mac didn’t wake up from sleep, so I powered it off (definitely not my first choice but in this case I didn’t see any other options). It came back up fine, but when I started VPC and selected the machine I wanted to start I got this error message:

“one of the virtual drive images could not be opened”

and Googling basically told me the machine was corrupted and that I should reinstall a new machine. Crap. I had a week’s worth of financial transactions to reconstruct and lot of them were expenditures from pocket cash that I would not remember. Resigning myself to the inevitable, I decided to avoid the pain and go work on a motorcycle. It’s not just a river in Egypt, after all.

Continue reading “A disaster (almost)…”

VTX handlebar swap

My friend Mark came over yesterday and we swapped my handlebars and riser on the 1800 Neo. Mark had given me the chrome riser block from his Retro, and I had the VTX logo filled with red paint. The bars are from Flanders and are black, the grips and stock Harley Davidson black rubber grips.

I had already removed the left grip so we were ready to start. First, loosened the screws hold the switch housings and the screws hold the clutch and front brake reservoirs. We left them snug but not tight, just enough to keep them from turning on the bars as we worked. We loosened and removed the nuts holding the risers to the triple tree, and pulled the bars out and forward of their usual position so that we could remove the switch housings from the bars. Then we replaced the bars and measured the distance from the end of the bars to the reservoir clamp and wrote the measurements down.

Then we removed the old bars again and put the new bars in place, putting the nuts on finger tight for now. Then we removed the screws from the reservoir clamps and clamped them on the new bars, closer to the end than they should be. This was just to allow us to get both reservoirs off the old bars, we will position them properly later. Now, the old bars and risers can be set aside. We used our measurements and set both reservoir clamps where they should be and tightened them down snug, but not fully tight.

Continue reading “VTX handlebar swap”