Thursday, April 16, 2009

Product Review: Kisan Chargeguard

The Kisan CG-25 Chargeguard is a digital multi-meter with 4 modes of display: voltmeter, ammeter, ambient temperature and a flashing ice alert warning. The CG-10 package adds a tiny on-board battery charger. The specifics on the Chargeguard system are on Kisan's website.  At about $150, it's a relatively expensive but all-in-one monitoring solution. The Kisan powers up when either the multi-function button is depressed or it detects voltage, and turns itself off after a few minutes' absence of voltage, which negates the need to splice into a switched circuit or to run a relay.  Another nice feature is an auto-dimming backlight. Installation is fairly straightforward, but before delving into the project I highly recommend searching the 'Net for examples of mounting options for the display unit and options for mounting the battery shunt. I decided to mount my display unit on my handlebars, between the bar mounts.  I couldn't get the unit as secure as I wanted on my 7/8" bars (it's held on by zip ties), so I took a couple of inches of an old gel handgrip, slit it and slipped it over the bars and under the Kisan mounting tabs.  After cranking down on the zip ties, the unit was rock solid.  I zip-tied the temperature probe to a fairing stay under my dashboard, where it would be shaded in order to obtain a more accurate temp signal.  The Chargeguard performed spectacularly...for a couple of thousand miles, after which it  sporadically began refusing to power up on "igntion on" (it would work if the button was pressed).  I would also occasionally find that it had turned itself on hours after it had shut down.  These were minor issues I could've lived with; however, somewhere between 7 - 8,000 miles the characters in the display went bonkers (flashing, segments inop, flashing rapidly, etc.).  I took the unit apart hoping (?) to find water intrusion or something obviously wrong  in the circuit board, but all appeared visually well.   Having exhausted my very limited electrical "expertise", the unit and associated wiring was removed and 'canned.  In light of my short-lived and expensive experience, I can't recommend Kisan Chargeguard.  I've recently replaced it with a simple Datel 2-wire voltmeter, and I've got a Teltek electronic thermometer on order.  I won't have an ammeter or some of the niceties of the Kisan unit, but I'm hoping they'll function much longer.  I'll report on the Datel and Teltek units down the road a bit.
Before its demise, the unit faithfully displayed the temp, including this rather warm commute home one day last summer.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ephrata "First Sunday" Breakfast Ride-In

On Sunday, I rode in to Ephrata, PA for the "First Sunday" event. On the way, I managed to dodge most of the loose gravel, tree brances and assorted critter carcasses littering the "back-er" roads (roads so small they that don't have numbers) caused by a big storm and high winds a couple of days prior. If you're not familiar with the Ephrata ride-in/rally/breakfast event, check out the old posts here, here, here and here. Below are a few pix I snapped (click to enlarge).

The bikes were streaming in steady by about 0900
Six years older than I, and in much better shape!

Ducati 1098 S...180 HP and mortgage included.

An Iron Butt FJR w/ some, er, "interesting" mods.

Another nice Ducati.

A super-clean Yamaha "Tedium" (I've always liked these despite the nickname).

Labels: ,

Monday, April 06, 2009

MotoGP 2009 almost here!

The best motorcycle road racers in the world will blast off the Qatar Grand Prix grid under the lights at Losail on April 12th, marking the start of the 2009 MotoGP season. The full schedule can be found here. The favorites going in have to be 6-time and defending champ Valentino Rossi and 2007 champ Casey Stoner, with perhaps Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo as dark horses. The big unknown is America's Nicky Hayden, the 2006 champ. Nicky never looked comfortable on his Honda following MotoGP's switch from 990cc to 800cc engines in 2007. But 2009 will see "The Kentucky Kid" aboard a more powerful and physically larger Ducati, which should better suit his height and riding style. I'm going out on a limb and predicting that 2-time former World Super Bike champ "Texas Tornado" Colin Edwards will finally get a MotoGP win, and then come home to race in the ever-changing, ever-confounding AMA.

Hayden testing at Qatar

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Aerostich Remote Control Zipper Sliders!

This just in from Aerostich: a "gotta have" new farkle for your Roadcrafter or Darien!

New Aerostich Remote Control Zipper Sliders

Over one hundred all-new items are in the new 2009 Aerostich and RiderWearHouse catalog, including a miniature 'Remote Control Zipper Sliders' option. The battery powered zippers are an upgrade (or retrofit...) for the vents on Aerostich Roadcrafter and Darien suits. A separate version will be available in November for the waterproof leather Aerostich Transit suit. The unique sliders are the result of micro-miniaturization breakthroughs by the YKK zipper company and Mabuchi-Nanotronik Ltd., a private German-Japanese nanotechnology research effort. Aerostich is the first clothing company to offer them. "We have an exclusive two year deal...they make adjustments so easy anyone can do it!", said an Aerostich company spokesperson. "Before, a rider needed to pull over to safely adjust their vents...and the back required a helpful friend or removing one's suit. Now it's simple as pressing a button!" Each slider is about 10% larger than the equivalent manual type. Inside is a remote receiver, a powerful Mabuchi 'pancake' type 330541 stepper-motor, and a tiny titanium planetary gear set and toothed cog which engages the zipper's teeth to pull the slider rapidly in either direction. The sliders are controlled by a three button remote. Each powered slider uses a common replaceable Zink hearing aid battery good for about two hundred 12" zips. The remote includes both wrist and handlebar mounts. The price per slider, installed, is $177, and the remote -- which will control up to four sliders independently -- is another $47.