Browsing Posts tagged batteries

That’ll be me then, will it?

In fact, let’s all get together and shout as loud as we can:-

“Who’s the numpty??!!   WARDO!”

For the last twenty four hours or so, I’ve been kicking myself trying to figure out why the seven segment displays on the bike circuit refused to work, but not only refused to work properly, but partially worked in a really, really weird way.

I’d turn one LED on, and four would come on, one of them being much dimmer than the rest.

Then I try to turn another on, and the display would be blank.

I’d turn three on, and five would light…

Eh?  Major head-scratching.

Well Dear Reader, I’ve found my mistake.

I’m not going to go into any detail whatsoever -for fear of boring you senseless, but suffice to say, if my cat Alfie had been in, and he’d spotted it, he’d have laughed his little ratty socks off.

Its too late to do anything tonight -well past my bedtime, but first thing in the morning, you can guess what I’ll be doing.



Seven Segments. 18/11/11

‘Seven Segments’ refers to the little displays I’m currently wiring up to give us a distance traveled and speed.

This is not as easy as it may sound.  Big maths, thanks to ‘C’, and the wiring is a nightmare!

I have photos I’ll post later of the ‘underfloor heating’ required to hook these displays up.

Still, its a very pretty violet colour!

A few quick calculations.

Ah, before you click away, we’re not asking you to do them!

No.  I’ve been doing some rough calculations on battery usage, and given that the bike wasn’t really used as much as it could be, and even then wasn’t really being ridden hard in a high gear, I reckon that for the riding that was done -about three quarters of an hour in total- that we ‘added’ another hours’-worth of life into the battery with the bicycle attached. continue reading…


Well, the day dawns sunny and bright.  Checking the BBC weather website this morning shows that apart from maybe a little light rain later this afternoon, the day promises clear blue skies.  The temperature may not be up to much, but an extra layer of clothing or two and the promise of a leaf clamp to empty, and I’m sure we’ll not get too cold. continue reading…


…Was utterly manic.

After I’d posted that last post, I carried on.  And on.  And on…

Diane, who’d got business around Sheffield with a meeting over the bees and many other jobs to do kept popping in to see the progress, and I think she was as amazed as I, when every time she came back and asked ‘How’s it going?’ the answer was ‘Fine!’.

Overnight, I’d painted the lid and touched up a few other places that needed it, so the case was just about dry to work on when I came to it.

So, amongst other jobs yesterday, I had to wire up all the lamps with all their power plugs, individual switches and long cables to connect them to the box.  This took forever, and I’d forgotten just how time-consuming and ball-aching wiring can be.

Then came work on the box itself as I wired up the power lead from the bike, then wired up the power outlet plugs and leads for the lights.

Then came the crunch time as I wired up the indicator LEDs on the new display board.

I then sprayed the board black -being careful to mask off the LEDs, then I masked off the top panel with coloured paper dots corresponding to where the LEDS were beneath.

A couple of coats of some excellent black spray Diane had bought, fifteen minutes drying time, then the little dots came off very very carefully with a scalpel to prevent damage to the surrounding still-tacky black paint.

Then I wired up the display board to the main processor board.

Then I wired up the ‘grunt electronics’ mounted on the box’s end cheeks to the processor board.

Then, after checking things though again, I said a quick prayer to whichever Gods may have been listening, and got on the bike.  And pedalled.

And lights lit, and there was definite resistance to my pedalling -meaning the PWM was working.

Well, I couldn’t quite believe it.  It had worked first time!

Anyway, I’d better get off -I have a meeting down in sunny Hillsborough this morning, then I have to come back and finally make sure everything’s ship-shape before Diane comes to pick me up with all the gear to take me down to The Plots.

Today is one of our ‘Junior Plotters’ birthday, and to celebrate we’ll be putting up a gazebo or two, wiring up the new lighting and singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her this afternoon under the lights of our new, totally green power and lighting system!

Oh, and there’ll be cake as well.

Mmmmmm.  Cake…


Yesterday, after much messing around, I managed to safely discharge the car battery I’m using as a ‘test rig’.  In the end I used three 50 Watt 12 Volt dichroic lamps wired in parallel to give a total loading of 150 Watts.  -You know the little ones that have recently become so popular.

It took three hours to bring the battery down from 12.34 Volts at rest to 11.08 Volts just after I’d disconnected them.  This 11.08 Volts rose soon afterwards in the way that batteries partially ‘recover’ after a major discharge.

So, today’s task was to start recharging it!

Well, I’ve kept hopping on and off the bike to make adjustments to the code and various tweaks to the hardware, but I can safely say that I’ve done about an hour’s ‘hard’ cycling.  The kind of cycling where you end up very sweaty and the handlbars are wet when you get off.

Too much detail!

Anyway, I have to get a shower right now, then I’m off on a couple of errands -one of which being taking the faulty power supply back to our friends at Bardwells, then this evening, it’ll be back on the bike again.

And no doubt another shower afterwards!

Whoooops #2.

1 comment

Well, not really a “Whoooops”.  More of an, “Errr.  How on earth do I get rid of that lot?

My problem Dear Reader, is that I’ve fully charged the test battery with one of the electric bicycle generators.

It is completely, utterly full, according to my multimeter.

…So how do I discharge it, and more importantly, how do I do it safely?

Well, the only thing I can think of right now is to wire up some 12 volt lighting and leave it on.

Then, there’s the problem in that even running four 50 Watt lamps off this thing at full whack, its going to take a little over three hours to make a dent in the battery.

Another problem is that by having these lamps on for three hours, I’m going to light up my flat like Wembley Stadium.

Let’s just hope the police helicopter isn’t flying tonight, or he may mistake my flat for his landing pad.

But on second thoughts, I think I’d best leave it while tomorrow and daylight.

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