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Topics - Nixie

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Riding Gear, Clothing, and Apparel / Custom helmet camera.
« on: July 09, 2020, 01:49:58 PM »
A few days after poking around with my F9 camera and finding out there are no new or old firmwares avaliable, nor adjustments for the camera (or anything, for that matter) I just decided to start again an old project of mine: Building a helmet cam from "scratch" (not from literal scratch, as drone cameras are so advanced that it's futile trying to develop the electronics too, there's plenty of options now (and they where when I first thought about this)).


You see, I'm a fashion victim, I admit it. Every time I see a GoPro in a helmet, I get sick.

When I see this:

I think of this:

I know, I know, It's not like there are lots of options out there. It's either GoPro or clone, F9 or the expensive Sena Tube, and not much else. (GoPro's Session, once you add the waterproof case, it's also bulky. And all the mounts are also large, not helping in any case.
And the thing is, our helmets are curved, but none of the avaliable cameras use that to it's advantage to make them more streamlined, and I'm thinking, why noone makes a wedge shaped camera so it has a lower profile?...
Well, if noone is going to manufacture that, f**k it, I'm gonna build it myself!

First I took out the camera module I had bought some time ago: a CADDX Turtle V2, real 1080p / 60fps (much better than the F9 camera) and just looked at it while thinking.
One of the main thoughts I had was:
"If I was ready to carry a powerbank and a cable for the F9 camera, why not remove the whole battery thing altogheter from the camera? (not totally true, but more on that later).
So, I got to work. First I made a simple suport to put all the parts near the helmet so I could visualize what I was dealing with. Be afraid NOT!(yet) this has nothing to do with how I wanted it to look.

With everything on sight, the first thing I understood is that I wanted the camera to be gimballed, so I could fine tune the angle it pointed out so even if the body was not perfectly aligned, the POV would be adjustable.

With that I started to see what kind of shape I wanted it to have. A limiting factor is the control board that measures 29x29mm (the camera body is 19x19mm) so the body itself MUST at least be a bit taller than 30mm. What I definitely didn't want was the GoPro attachment, so that's the first thing I removed:

In the helmet:

And against the F9:

Altough I had definitely gone overboard with the similification and volume reduction, and the pcb barely fit. After thinking about it, and some modifications later, I got this:

Much better. So, with that shape in mind, I started from scratch and built around the idea:

After refining some details:

And adding the micro-SD acces port:

That was looking great, altough the camera had started to get bulky at 37x37mm frontal size, and I got worried that the thing was NOT going to be an improvement, BUT I decided to print a body and front cover to test anyways.
When you see the first impression, is indeed a bit bulky, altought compared with the F9, it does poke less from the helmet side:

But ah!
When you see it from the side, everything changes! Now the F9 looks humongous against the Nixie-Cam ("official" name, XD):

And leaving it alone, also looks much better:

Once I had printed the gim-ball and tested it:

Gimbal working:

But, what about road exposure? No worries! The ball and lateral cover have o-rings, plus the silicone seal on the micro-SD card.

At the very least, the camera should be IP55 rated (dust and water splash resistance) but I bet it will be good up to IP68 (impervious to dust and very heavy rain, BUT NOT underwater-waterproof)

Meanwhile I make a few revisions of the camera, I'm yet undecided about taping the camera directly to the helmet, or making some kind of low profile attachment. I only have one helmet, so It's not like I'll need to change it to another one, but I might see the practicality of removing the camera later.

As for fabrication:

The body, front and camera ball will be 3D printed in SLA-resin, much more temperature resistant than filament (PLA/ABS) and inherently more resistant to UV radiation. I will have to find someone capable of printing that at a reasonable price, but not Shapeways, as they charge excesively for shipping to spain. The lateral panel will be machined in Aluminium, but I can do that at home no problem.

As for the internal (or not) battery I mentioned before. I can see the camera being more useful if it can record at least 1 minute after being disconnected from main power, so in case of crash, you can record what happened. I might try using a supercapacitor, so I don't have to deal with charging/protection circuitry for a li-po battery, but that can wait until I have finalised the mechanical design.

And that's all for now, see ya!

I'm sure everyone has heard about this little camera that could (during daylight).
INFO: btw, the connector this camera uses is called EC-6E, and it's a specific Fujifilm camera connector...because proprietarieness :P

However, battery life is shorter than the max 32Gb SD card size, and apart from carrying multiple cameras, there is no reliable way of charging while riding...or is there?
Of course, anyone can engineer his or her way into that, it just requires determination, and a lack of practical sense.
So, this my approach:

First I was tempted to modify the back cap of the camera, but then I remembered I had spare parts from another camera, and as it happens, the front glass holder is also thread compatible with the back, so I just used that instead. The rear cap could be easily modified with a lathe to do the same with little trouble.
Then I tested that the camera would actually record while powered up from a power bank, wich it did.

After that, I dissected a spare cable for the connector (found no way to get it online):

After rumagging my old connector bin, I was about to use a simple power jack, BUT luckily, I remembered I had a magnetic charging port I could surely modify to suit my needs:

To prevent damage to the connector, I thought on using the holes for the charging status and reset to locate two anti-rotation pins:

After much measuring, and meanwhile the printed spat out the first test piece, I started modifying the micro-USB magnetic connector, just removing the metal shield so I could have access to the pins and solder a pair of cables where required:

After a few iterations (4), I managed to exactly locate the pin positions:

And the connector position relative to them:

As for the mag connector:

After some more tweaks for heights and such, I am right now printing a full body test piece:

Since the camera can't accept more than 32Gb, I also designed a version that can hold a SD card inside, just for convenience. It's just 5mm taller:

It is now printing, but it will take a while still, I'll tell about it later.

Before anyone asks, no, this is not practical or sane to do. It's cheaper to buy a second camera ready to switch, or buy a better camera for a bit more money. I just happen to have more time than money right now and little self control about "why not?" challenges. XD
ALSO, this is unique and makes me feel special, I'll do it anyways.

Overthinking time! Today: Throttle locks.

Have you ever done a ride so long, your right hand is left useless? For those gaudy persons who have cruise control (real cruise control) I salute you. For the rest of us mortals who have a bike with no lavish fly-by-wire throttles, there are other solutions.

You have fancy ones:

Less flashy ones:

And things you should not even use to clamp someone else's junk:

But, and it's a big BUT, I have realized they are all wrong, because, you see, they put the control in the same hand that you want to block. What you really want is to lock/unlock with the left hand, leaving the right alone to do it's speedy-speedy/stoppy-stoppy thing. And no, using your left hand to hold the throttle is not a valid solution. XD. Also, I don't really want the throttle to be locked. I just want it to be held whilist I rest the right hand, but as soon as you let go whatever controls it, it will unlatch the throttle body, hence "hold" vs "lock".

BUT, how, you might be asking, can one accomplish that? Well, a CB500x has a continuous tube handlebar, wich means I can run a bowden tube through all it's lenght and connect something on the left side, to something else on the right. Easy.

A bit of drawing later:

(DISCLAIMER: Any 3D printed parts you see in this post are test pieces, FINAL version is designed to be machined at least in stainless (if not better materials), so you can avoid comments about handlebar weight modification and such).

So, at first I tried to just cable actuate a similar screw-clutch type than the Kaoko, but that proven complicated by requiring both a 90 vector turn in the cable with no micro-pulleys avaliable, and too much lenght of travel cable-wise.

It did work to an extent, but frankly, I knew I could do better. After a bit of thinking I happened to discover that the throttle handle body, happens to go beyond the end of the metal tube that holds it. I could definitely use a drum style brake in there!

Since I needed measurements from the various internal diameters, I decided to bite the bullet and dissasemble the counterweights in my own bike. You can't imagine my face when I saw that this was inside the handlebar:

I had always assumed the thing was just the outher portion you could see, attached with some kind of inclined plane nut (like the kaoko model at the top of this), but nooo, it had to be massive and hidden away and act as a surprise when I decided to overengineer a stupid thing in it's place.
Oh well... \_(ツ)_/ any case, that is just an elongated nut to add mass, can totally do that no prob.

But I said this is a cable driven mechanism, so, how will the cable pull work?

To be able to test it without the cable, since the pieces for left and right are the same, I inverted the cable pulling and turned it into a pusher for the teflon pad separator:

But you might ask, does the drum brake style hold the throttle? Well, yes it does! It also lacks the final spring pull to release the brake, so it gets a bit stuck, but proves the point.


I also did some design modifications to the outside of the first model, because at first it was the same lenght as the original, but the end was purely square:

And made it more round (required some internal modification):

And finally printed a test part of the final version (ran out of gray filament, also, ignore the nut, it's made to use a Hex bolt, but I don't have the final screws here):

I am now waiting for adequate bowden tube guide (2mm OD spring with closed coil and 1mm steel cable), so stay tuned for the next installment!

So, one day I thought I felt that my helmet had become noisier. Weird, because I have a deflector on my windsheld AND I'm quite short. When I stopped to refuel I realized that the bluetooth plug had fallen off:

I thought that replacements might be avaliable, but having a 3D printer and skills, it was just easier to take some measurements and make a new one.
That turned into a downward spiral of creativity I hadn't planned at all... :033:

The thing is, I have an internal bluetooth (Just Speak) because I hate the bulkyness of the external ones. The only drawback is that for charging I have to fully open the helmet and remove a foam flap to access the microUSB port, wich is slightly annoying.
As you can guess, while working on the plug I wondered..."Can I add a microUSB port to the plug and connect it to the inside of the helmet?" seems I can:

So I proceeded to design a flexible PCB to connect it to the inside. A few weeks later:

Looking awesome:


Now that I had made it chargeable from the outside, I could not monitor the status led of the device, and that kinda killed the mood a bit.
I added fiber optics to the thing:

From the outside:

Nice, right?!


Now that it looked awesome, the removable waterproofh-ish flap didn't look right. It could be easily lost if charging on the fly and you threw the flap in a pocket. That's  bad practice, methinks.
I added a retention flap on the plug:

And now I'm happy with it.
I have leftover pcb's and pieces, should someone need one, BUT this is a very handmade piece so it is not cheap by any standards.

Modifications, Accessories, and Appearance / 3D printed phone holder.
« on: February 13, 2019, 03:44:16 PM »
So, many people put a bar on top of the two leftover holes of the windshield (CB500x's of 2017 onwards) however that solution doesn't work for me as it is too bulky for my taste.
I wanted something more integrated in the motorbike, so I took measurements and went wild in my CAD program (fusion 360):
First iteration:



Looking rad, imho:

Without the phone:

Holding is performed with two custom flat stainless spring clamps. One of them has a thumb screw so the phone is easily installable/removable:

I sported that one for a while, but after some months, I found that using gloves and the small phone buttons, especially with them recessed inside the carrier, did not work very well. So, I went back to the drawing board and further simplified the design AND added a cover for the power button, making it easily operable with gloves.
The holes to the right are for a second part of the project, that will be updated when I receive the missing pieces.

Here, installed, and compared to the old version:

To keep the holder in place I made two custom metal inserts that would accept an M6 screw:

Pretty happy with that. (Phone model is BQ Aquaris M5, nothing fancy)

So, I bought these aliexpress brake/clutch levers that paired color scheme with the bike:

However, when I was going to install them I found a myriad of small details and a pair of problems.
First, the brake screw hole was 0,1mm (0,4mils) smaller than needed, so the screw rubbed and made for a rough feeling in the hand. Also, the hole was conical, so pretty bad.


I simply machined the hole to 10mm nominal with and endmill and some sandpaper to give it a bit of play.
After that, I found that the clutch adjuster was not working properly in the position that was most comfortable to me. In the photo can be seen that one dimple is much smaller than the others:

That was remedied with an 8mm endmill (but could have been done with a file).

(photo shows the modification NOT engaged in final position)

With the levers working mechanically properly, I put my attention in the fact that they had play everywhere, and that made me slightly uncomfortable. So I proceded to shim the sh#t out of them using various thicknesses of PTFE (teflon) sheet I had around:
To remove longitudinal screw play I added 0,25mm (10mils) hand cut teflon washers, one on top and one on the bottom.

After that, main lever screw holes where shimmed with 0,1mm (4mils) teflon sheet.

Then I found out that the adjuster pivot screws also had much play in the bushings, so those where also shimmed with 0,1mm (4mils) sheet.

Finally, in an anal-retention mode, I also shimmed the bendy part (again with 0,1mm sheet, doubled)

That one is tricky to perfom, as the edges in the aluminium are pretty sharp. I put the tape as best as I could and perforated it with fine tweezers, then extremely carefully cut the excess and inserted the screw to clamp everything.

And that's the whole story, and now I can enjoy my levers.

New Member Introductions / From southern Spain with love.
« on: February 13, 2019, 02:50:17 PM »
I'm that rare and weird motorcyclist that doesn't like cornering or going especially fast, but needs the two wheels as much as anyone else, as much as that I don't have a car driving license, so go figure. I don't mind riding in the rain and discovered that windy conditions don't scare me as much as I thought they would (1yo license by now).
I'm a fashion victim too, I bought my jacket and helmet that would match my motorbike to an extent. (sword metallic CB500x with fluo jacket and gunmetal helmet).
Weird but friendly, I would resume.

Inventor in general, I do things for my motorbike/gear that I can't find for sale, because DiY is the best thing to do. (nothing major to the motorbike, as europe laws difficult much those ventures)

See you around!

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