I needed to create a new wiring harness for the bike. I had several upgrades/alterations in mind:
I also wanted to use the original Norton wiring color scheme as much as possible. I obtained the request wire, bullet connectors and sleeves from Britishwiring.com
Jere is my attempt the diagram.
I first ran the wires on the bike in the approximate locations of everything. I left a lot of extra on each end and didn't terminate anything yet. It took several go rounds to make sure I had all the wires run in the routes I wanted. I also added some extra ground wires in for the headlight, head, frame and rear tail.
Once I had the rough layout, I zip tied the thing together and removed it from the bike. I wrapped it in black harness tape and terminated with heat shrink. Then I remounted the loom on the frame and started cutting things to length and terminating. I slowly worked through the brake lights, head lights, indicator lights, turn signals (which took a while since I had to fabricate the mounts), and the ignition.
I forgot to take pics of when I wrapped it and installed it.
Anybody into Commandos will tell you that the bike was apparently built around the horn. The stock location is deep in the center of the bike, difficult to get to - not the greatest place for a horn to make sound. My original horn ended up being bad, so I needed to replace it. Further the original Lucas horn was probably everything Lucas thought it should be, which as it turns out, is pretty much the same as how they designed and built everything. So I wanted to upgrade to a pair of Fiamm Freeway Blasters located in a more strategic position .I also needed a place to mount my new fuse block, the Fuzeblocks FZ-1.
I decided to mount all this stuff aft the air cleaner, but in front of the battery. My first goal was to model the space in Fusion 360, so I could design a way to get everything located. Once I had that, I designed a sheet metal mount. It took about 5 iterations to get it to work.
Once I had a design, I used Fusion's sheet metal tools to create an unfolded 1:1 plan of the part. I glued this to a piece of sheet metal, then cut and bent it along the lines. Once I had it bent up, I welded it together and painted it.
Everything pretty much fit as I hoped it would.
Here's the thing partially wired. In order to mount it, I welded a could of pieces of angle to the battery tray and then attached some captive nuts to be used with some horizontal bolts to secure the horn mount (you can see a couple of slots in the picture above - bottom of the front rail). So the horn mount slips down on top of the rails and 4 bolts are inserted horizontally to secure it.
And here it is mounted up. I'm pretty happy with the way everything ended up. The horn relay is a bit cramped, but normally not a service item. Now on the the next part of the project - the wiring harness!
I wanted to eliminate the 4 indicator lights in the '75 dash as I'm moving them to the headlight bucket per the earlier style. The original dash I had was also not in the greatest of shape. So, armed with Fusion 360 and a 3D printer I started working out a replacement.
I originally thought I would use the dash as good location for the neutral light. However, I ended up deciding to ditch the headlight switch in the headlight bucket and use that location for upgraded assimilator (voltage monitor). So, In the end, I deleted the hole. Once I had the 3D model where I wanted it, I committed to aluminum.
I think it came out pretty well. If I make another one, I'll work on getting rid of the tooling marks - I was a bit aggressive with some of my cuts given the relative lack of rigidity in the setup. However, I need to get this done, so I'm using it for now.
MIght be cool to paint it...
I purchased a "bargain" Baldor 500 Carbide grinder on eBay. It looked great in pics, but it went cheap as there was something in description about it not working correctly. I took a gamble and found out that the motor was toast - the windings in the field coils were shorted (it looked like a manufacturing error as this couldn't have seen much use. Also one of the end castings was broken.
Not to be deterred - I found a place in L.A. that would rewind the motor for $300 and I was able to weld the casting back together. So I ended up with a pretty nice unit.
BUT - I still wanted a miter gauge. I started to look for one, but they run $145+ used on eBay! No way! Here's a pic of the PB-547. It's about 1" tall by 3" wide.
So what's a person to do? Make you're own of course. I made it out of some scrap I had around. The fence part was done on my CNC and I used Fusion 360 for the CAD/CAM. Took about a day to get it done. Here's my version, I think it turned out OK and I know I'll use it.
Here's a bit of detail
This is a long story. I originally sent my engine parts off for machining, but due to unfortunate circumstances, the work never got done and I got my engine back after many months. I let it sit for another 3/4 of a year and tried again. This time, with more success, but it still took 6 months to get everything back. It was worth the wait - Jim Comstock in Colorado does amazing work and everything came back like jewelry.
Starting with the crank and rods, then setting up the end play, add some sealant and bolt 'er up. To set up the end play, I used an old set of main bearings that I ground the OD and ID such that they just slip on. That way I could try various shims without having to heat up the cases each time. For final assembly I, of course, heated the cases to install the new bearings.
Next was the timing chain. Along with that was torquing the crank and cam nuts with a cut away cover in place.
Next up was the pistons and cylinders. I used the "Comstock Method" to compress the rings and assemble the pistons and cylinders. (See www.accessnorton.com/NortonCommando/installing-barrels-with-two-hands-and-no-ring-compressor.24859/) Worked great!
I had an oil pump around that looked pretty good and I rebuilt it. I noticed, however, it was for an older style outlet with the smaller diameter output flange. I had to file a bit more of it flat to get the flange to sit square.
I then installed a Comstock cam chain tensioner, checked the cam lobe timing and put together the rockers. (See norton-rocker-spindle-fix.html for more rocker fun!)
Mostly together (the head is not fastened - I'll do that after I get the block in the frame.
It's starting to look like something!
I was in the process of reassembling my long disassembled '75 Norton 850 and found that one of the rocker spindles was a sliding fit in the ol' RH4 head. Another one was almost as loose. They're supposed to be more of an interference fit to the point you need to heat the head to get them installed. Among the host of issues that loose spindles can cause is allowing the spindle to rotate (it's supposed to be held in position by an absolutely poorly designed stop plate) and will allow a lot more oil to enter the rocker cavity. This, in turn, swamps the valve guides allowing oil to get sucked in and burned which results in massive amounts of smoke and plug fouling.
One of the better fixes is sold by RGM in England (https://www.rgmnorton.co.uk/buy/one-piece-rocker-spindle-locating-plate_4062.htm). It solves two problems actually, it'll keep the spindle from rotating, and it allows you to really lock it in place with the grub screw which should help keep it much more stable over the long run.
Since I am impatient, had some stainless bar and a CNC mill, I decided to whip up my own version of these. I think they came out pretty good.
And here's the final result. I think they're going to work very well.
I a massed all the raw stock material from OnlineMetals.com
One aspect of this project was to make a "run", i.e. more than one or two parts. I started with the Petal Support member. Each "flower" has 5 of these "petals" so that meant I needed 60 parts. I ended up making a few more in case I screwed anything up later and also to have some spare parts.
I made a jig to hold the blanks and used the rotary to get both sides. It took about 15 mins per part, but after several hours I had 64 done.
Next I had to mill a slot at the pivot end, so I had to make another fixture and run a other op.
I had this idea. It's about data visualization.
My basic proposition is that most folks don't like analyzing data, don't really understand graphs and don't have the patience to figure it out. Along with this is a literal tsunami of data coming at us from sources such as the internet of things (IOT). So how does a normal person "grok" the information signal buried in the data?
Let's say you're monitoring your household electrical consumption, and you happen to have a PV Solar system too. Let's also imagine you have a data logger such that you are capturing how much you're consuming, how much you're generating and, by subtraction, how much you're purchasing from the grid. Now you could generate a graph to show the system performance.
However, that's sort of geeky. I decided to approach this problem in the form of a data driven sculpture. The idea would be to have the state - say what it looks like, sounds like, etc - attempt to convey the information signal in the data. So lets say you change the position of an element as one vector. And you can change the color, brightness and period (if you want a blink effect) of an LED as a second vector. So a happy system - i.e. one where the sun is shining, plenty of power is being made and you're not using too much sets the state of the sculpture in an "open" and bright color mode. And a sad system - i.e. sun is shining, but very little power is being generated (maybe due to a failure of some type) the state is "closed" and the LED is off or glowing dull red. So the casual observer could potentially figure out the meaning of the two states.
What I've chosen to do is to make a kind of flower where the petals can open and close and the bud area is illuminated with 5 RGB LEDs. I plan to make a dozen of 'em. I started working on this idea during Dec of '16 and it's been a pretty slow roll. I guess I'm in no hurry. Here's a few pics of the prototype:
My good friend Rob McDonald got a hold of me a few days ago. Apparently the rear door handle broke on his funky Indian Tuk Tuk. A Tuk Tuk is a 3 wheeled sort of motorcycle/car. Used extensively in countries like India, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Rob got the idea to use one to sell wine. Well not just any wine - but St. Mayhem. I guess when you name the wine St. Mayhem, you have to expect things like broken door handles.
Basically the handle was a poorly constructed cast piece that had seen it's days of hard use. It had incorporated a lock mechanism, but that looked like it has been non-functional since the days of British rule. My basic repair concept was to turn the OD of the broken area down, create a sleeve, then glue and pin it together.
When I looked the parts I found this - a drywall screw that was used in a previous repair attempt.
First I found a chunk of stainless steel tubing that had the right OD (0.625"), but needed to be bored out. I decided a wall thickness of around 0.030" would be about right. After that I had to turn the OD of the two halves down to 0.565-ish to fit inside the sleeve. Hanging on to the handle side of things required a bit of creativity to make an aluminum fixture that could be used to clamp on the handle shaft.
After the 3 parts were created, I ran the broken parts through my bead blaster to remove any loose material and create a nice surface for the glue to adhere. I mixed up some JBWeld and epoxied them together.
I didn't take a picture, but after the glue set up, I drilled two cross holes around 0.050" and drove 2 finish nails through to create a couple of pins. Hopefully they'll keep it from separating and twisting. I think the repair looks pretty good. We'll have to see how it holds up to St. Mayhem!
This project started as the result of a failed earlier project. I had attempted to build a motorcycle logger - i.e. a platform to record as many things as I could manage during a ride. I had rpm, gear, head temp (left and right), oil temp, oil pressure, speed, GPS location and ambient air temp. I was hoping to add the AFR. Although I got it all working, it would crash often. I tracked it down the way I was capturing rpm - by using the coil negative. I was getting some sort of noise, either RF from the spark plugs or maybe back EMF from the coil or something. I could figure it out and it made the project unstable.
Roll forward a few years. I ran across some info on this and found a reference to someone having a similar problem. They solved it by making sure the ground from the coil negative interface circuit went back to the battery, not the circuit board as the voltage spikes from the coil collapse and subsequent ringing would cause the processor to crash.
I wanted to play around with this, but I didn't want to do it on the bike. So I thought I would create test bed for running ignitions.
I came up with an Arduino that drives a DC motor. The motor is connected to a shaft that has a taper bored in one end to simulate the end of the cam. On the other end I mounted a magnet on a cross shaft. A hall effect sensor triggers when the magnet goes by and I use this to determine "TDC". I then cobbled together a couple of stock Lucas 17M6 coils, plugs, a motorcycle battery (as I need about 3W of 12V to drive the ignitions) and my trusty Tektronix TDS2024 scope.
I ended up using a circuit published by MegaSquirt for ignition pickup - basically using a 1N4001 and a 4N32 (optocoupler). It’s simple but seems to work pretty well. I used a simplified version of this circuit (no “John” Zener, no C31, C11 or C12. I may add the C11 and C12 in as I do get a bit of noise):
This circuit seems to work well. I think the key is making sure XG1goes back to the battery, not to the ground plane the uC uses (i.e. don't jumper to XG2).
The basic procedure is to mount an ignition, set it up so the spark happens before the magnet triggers the hall effect sensor and run a program I wrote on the Arduino. The program uses PWM to increase the motor speed by 1 (the Arduino allows 255 steps) and then determine the rpms and the amount of time between the spark event and the TDC event. This is converted to an angle and is the advance. By running from around 600 rpm to 6000 rpm and taking advance measurements, you can plot the curve.
I happen to have a small collection of ignitions I've collected over the years. A Boyer MicroMKII, an Old Britts PowerArc, an older and newer Trispark, and an ancient Lucas AB11. I have a decent AAU, but setting it up was a pain so I didn't test it.
A note about the reported values. The RPMs are crankshaft RPMs. The Advance angles are crank angles. You also must realize the advance angles are somewhat arbitrary as they are offset to the manufactures spec. In other words, when I run my setup I really don't know where TDC is in relation to the spark. (I didn't have an easy way to accurately determine this in the test rig.) I just set it up to be somewhere before TDC using my scope to verify. After the test run, I take the raw data and look for a "calibration" point - i.e. I know the ignition should be set to 28 degrees BTDC at 3500 rpm. So I simply find my closest 3500 rpm point, calculate how "off" my raw number is from the spec and then subtract that from my raw data. This seems to work pretty well.
HOWEVER - as DynoDave would probably point out, it's more meaningful probably to use cam shaft angles and absolute advance data. This effectively eliminates this attempt at aligning the advance with TDC.
Here's the data I used to set this up:
Lucas 31 degrees @ 5000 rpm
Boyer 31 degrees @ 5000 rpm
Trispark 28 degrees @ 3500 rpm
PowerArc 35 degrees @ 3600 rpm (taken off the Old Britts Web page).
So in order of evolution:
Lucas AB11 - this is an old analog ignition. What is interesting is the coil is on - i.e. energizing - almost the entire time. The only time this isn't true is when a spark happens and it's briefly grounded to get the field to collapse. I would guess this uses the most power due to this. In the following image the yellow trace is my hall effect sensor. When it goes low, that's TDC. As you can see about 2.7ms before that on the blue trace is the coil negative line. It goes low for 0.1-0.2 ms.
Next up is the Boyer MKIII. Another analog unit. It's coil on/off times are better, probably something like a 50% duty cycle (I forgot to take a picture).
What's very interesting to me is the Lucas and Boyer curves are almost identical.
I then tested two Trisparks. This is a digital ignition. I had an older one and a new one. (Apparently it was redesigned to better tolerate the heat in the timing cavity with more robust components.) They ended up with basically the same curve. You can clearly see the idle stabilization effects in the 1000 - 1500 rpm range. The Trispark seemed to manage the coil on times to minimize current load, but maintain a good spark. It seemed like they were trying to keep the on time to around 8ms.
Last up was the Old Britts PowerArc unit. It used a completely different pick up method - optical instead of magnetic. It also used a very different approach to managing the spark. This unit actually sparked three times for each cycle. In addition the coil on times were managed for each segment of the advance curve. In this picture you can clearly see the 3 pluses in the blue trace.
You can clearly see the digital nature of the ignition in the following graph. The increases in advance are very discrete. Since there 3 spark events per cycle, there are 3 advance curves. Four, if you count the coil on event.
Of course, being digital means you can have more than one mapping, so Old Britts supplies a "sport" curve meant to be a bit more aggressive.
It looks like the real difference is the 2nd and 3rd sparks are more advanced in the Sport version.
Here's an overlay of the two. Sorry about the jumbled legend ( I couldn't get Excel to sort it...)
I though it would be fun to overlay them all. I used the first spark event for the PowerArc curves, but as you can see - it looks a bit fishy. Perhaps someone with more experience can suggest a better way to compare apples to apples.
Well it's pretty clear to me which one is best. Although the analog units have been around for a long time and seem pretty reliable, they really don't offer the best curve. It's well known the Boyer has issues with low battery voltages (I even saw this during my tests when my test battery went low.). The Lucas is no longer being made so it's more of a curiosity I suppose. The PowerArc I found to be very fiddly getting it set up (i.e. getting it timed correctly and fooling around with the optical wheel). You have to set it's version of TDC to your bikes. However when you strobe it, there is no easy way to adjust this and it's very easy to be off a couple of degrees. I also found mounted on the bike, it was susceptible to kickback when starting - there is mention of a start procedure on the Old Britts site you'd better follow if you want your ankles. This leaves us with the Trispark. I think this is an awesome ignition. It's easy to install, easy to dial in, makes the bike run great, seems to have a nice curve and you get idle stabilization that literally transforms your bike.
Here's some links to information on curves I found around the net on this:
http://atlanticgreen.com/boyerexposed.htm (also has Lucas Rita!)