Thursday 11 February 2016

Don't cut the red wire!

The woes continue! 

Attempting to repair my RNS Tripmaster by soldering the broken wires back into place turned out to be a bit of a disaster. Just holding the wires in place and putting the sensor next to the front wheel magnet got it working again so all looked good. So simply a matter of soldering the wires to the contacts, except once I had done this….. it didn’t work at all!

I can only think that whilst soldering I have managed to “fry” the electronics somehow…. Very frustrating! Oh well it wasn’t working before and it’s not working now, so I guess I’m no further forward but I’m no worse off either. 

So after a bit of internet research I discovered the new ICO Rally Max that was reported as not being launched until March was already available from Rally Raid Products. So I bit the bullet and shelled out £263 for one (say it quickly and it doesn’t sound so expensive). 

I also treated myself to one of Rally Raid’s aluminium combined switch mounts to mount both the remote ICO switch and the road book switch. 

An expensive luxury but certainly tidies up the left hand bar. Fitting the two switches with their separate mounts was a complete pain last year as they and the clutch lever mount all seem to get in the way of each other when trying to tighten them up. The mount will also take a standard KTM switch cluster but as I don’t have one that’s academic. It does however leave me enough room for my aftermarket light and horn switch… result!

So having received the new ICO, I mounted it in the same place as RNS had been on the road book plate, simple as it uses identical mounts. The RNS will be retained and mounted at the bottom of the road book plate as the clock function (that still works) will come in handy. And if I can in future get it repaired, then it can be run as a backup trip meter as most “proper” rally racers do.

Next task was to sort out the road book switch that had given up the ghost on the Tuareg Rally, again I could buy a new one but I decided to have a go at repairing it first and save myself £36. The problem was almost certainly not the switch but the wires leading too it, as on the rally we were able to get it working again by wiggling these wires around so almost certainly a break in a cable somewhere. 

There are four wires inside an outer sheath and they are very thin but luckily I had a length of almost identical four core multi cable (just slightly thicker). I cut the cable about 5cm from the switch and the connector at each end and stripped back the cables. 

They were then twisted together with the new cables, a thin layer of solder was then applied to hold the joint tight (so are not simply a soldered joint that might fracture) then a small piece of heat shrink applied to insulate the joint and further hold it together. 

Then a larger piece of heat shrink was put over the top to seal it up. This was repeated at the other end and…. Job done! 

All that remains is to wire up the road book to the power supply and check to see if it works.

I have also rewired the whole of the navigation tower with new cables, connectors, a new fuse box (very fancy with LEDs to show if a fuse has blown) and everything encased in plastic spiral wrap to protect the cables. I have also provided power to both the ICO and the RNS. In Morocco I relied on the internal batteries in the RNS to simplify the wiring. This has no effect other than the backlight is disabled until you press a button. No problem I thought as it it’ll be nice and bright in the sunshine. This in fact was the problem as the bright sunlight actually made it difficult to read without the backlight, so I learned a valuable lesson! 

Power has also been provided to my GPS, not required on the Tour of Portugal but provides a compass and a backup speedo and a power lead to the GPS tracker that is supplied by the organisers. This allows them to know where we are but also records any speeding infringements!

This weekend a few final jobs will be done:

  • Fit a new back tyre and check and re-lube the mousse
  • Swap the new tyre on my spare front wheel to the other wheel as it has brand new wheel bearings
  • Change the oil
  • Fit a clean air filter
  • Check all bearings for play
  • Check all cables
  • Make sure all bolts are tight

And check all the new wiring actually works!

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