NBN backup battery can be recharged

My NBN backup battery was beeping; calling for its replacement.The alarm silence button didn’t seem to silence the beeping for long. As my installation was 3 years old, the battery was no longer covered by warranty.

Surely it is just a battery. However, the guide suggests that the battery is very particular, such as an emphasis on unusually-sized terminals.

As luck would have it, I had a spare battery from a 13 year-old alarm system with similar specs: same 12 volts, same 7.2Ah capacity, slightly smaller terminals. The battery had run two sirens and a strobe for over 10 minutes, so it was capable if just a little bit flat.

Before I swapped them over, I put both through a full recharge from my spiffy CTEK MXS 5.0. This charger will work down to 1.2 Ah on its motorcycle mode.

Charging the NBN battery worked a treat. I refitted the battery and the battery warning alarm has been silent since.

Charging the alarm battery failed; the charger would not progress from the first of its 7 phases so the battery was a brick.

The irony of all of this is that the backup battery does nothing to keep my VOIP online.

Egg, a scramble, and a happy ending (to come)

The steep and empty streets of the new Moncrieff  development are great for hill intervals. It will take a few months before house construction makes the streets a bit too busy and dirty. But now, it is good for maximum efforts at up to 10% grade.

After a gut-busting (I hope) series of intervals I took a moderate ride home; apart from a blast up Heritage Park Pinch (Forde) for a PR.

Egg

I was only 200m from home when I was hit on the back of the arm by an egg! I wobbled a bit, noticed the egg on the handlebars and the shells on the road and found the car.

My trusty #Fly6 camera was recording.  Top Tip: When an incident occurs, immediately read the number plate out aloud “for the benefit of the tape”.

I decided to ride to the Police Station to make a report immediately; repeating the number to help remember it.

Scramble

But then I saw the car straight ahead at the end of the road. I was heading in that direction and though they had a 500m head start I picked up my pace. As luck would have it the car was stopped at traffic lights opposite the Police station! I sprinted to the car, banged on the driver’s window, exchanged some choice words, showed them the camera and calmly walked across the road to make a report. (I wonder what the two cars waiting behind made of it.)

My MaxHR on the hill intervals was 180-185. My MaxHR at the traffic lights was 192!

I read the W on the plate as an M, but the officer was able to match the car. The officer took my details and a few photos of my eggy handlebars and eggy arm and asked for the video; on CD (!) if possible. I went home to clean up.

After failed attempts at editing 15 minutes of video down to the 30 seconds required without a massive drop in video quality and then not being able to burn a DVD, I took the memory card and laptop to the station.

Happy ending…

‘I’ve had a busy night’ said the constable upon my return. As luck (and a sudden burst of good sense) would have it, the driver had visited the station to make a statement (‘it wasn’t me, it was him’) and soon afterwards the assailant walked in with his parents to make a full admission.

The constable told me that he had made the danger and stupidity of the act quite clear; what could happen if a cyclist falls in traffic! Apparently the parents were livid… and the kid wants to be a policeman when he grows up.

to come…

Because of his full admission I have elected to have ‘restorative justice’, as I think that it will make a greater impression than a Court or a caution. This is an arbitrated process where we will meet in a controlled atmosphere and I can ask for ‘restoration’. It must be reasonable. For example if a window was broken, restoration might be payment for the window. Or it might be a spot of gardening.

I wondered if volunteering at a Pedal Power event might be suitable, but it might be a bit hard to explain. “No, Brian isn’t a cyclist.He threw an egg at me so now he has to mix gerry cans of sports drink.”

At the moment I am tending towards just an apology. And perhaps 500 words on the subject “why a metre matters.” (This post is about 600 words.)

And most importantly, because of his full admission I will NOT be posting the video.

Time Series Errors in Garmin Activities

The short guide to fixing time series errors

When uploading to Strava you may get an error that the “time series” is missing and your workout cannot be uploaded. This can even happen after Garmin Connect has successfully loaded from the same device; but the strange time and straight-line graphs hint that something wasn’t right.

You can export the TCX file and edit it to remove the error and then upload the corrected version.

The TCX file is in XML format. It may look scary, but there is a simple pattern: each data point is enclosed within a “Trackpoint” tag.  Your recordings will have more or less tags depending on the sensors being recorded.

<Trackpoint>

<Time>2014-03-10T02:36:23.000Z</Time>
<Position> <LatitudeDegrees>-35.30690263956785</LatitudeDegrees> <LongitudeDegrees>149.08046174794436</LongitudeDegrees>
</Position>
<AltitudeMeters>579.5999755859375</AltitudeMeters> <DistanceMeters>59299.0</DistanceMeters>
<HeartRateBpm> <Value>171</Value> </HeartRateBpm>
<Cadence>77</Cadence>
<Extensions>
<TPX xmlns="http://www.garmin.com/xmlschemas/ActivityExtension/v2"> <Speed>5.556000232696532</Speed> </TPX>
</Extensions>

</Trackpoint>

But how do you find the time?

The “Time” tag has the date and time. Sometimes the date can leap into the future. (I’ve never noticed time jumping.)  For example, <Time>2014-03-10T02:36:28.000Z</Time> leapt ten years ahead at the next recording point <Time>2024-05-20T02:36:38.000Z</Time> on one of my rides. It took me 18,000 hours to cross a 100m long bridge, which was the first sign of trouble. 

Fix it

  1. Open the file in Notepad (or similar text editor)
  2. Scroll to the end of the file and look for a time tag and copy the dodgy date.
  3. Scroll to the top of the file
  4. Find (CTRL + F) and paste the date.  Click find to look for the first instance of the dodgy date.
  5. Replace (CTRL + H) the dodgy date with the correct date and replace all.
  6. Save As… select All Files, amend the filename, but keep the TCX extension.  (If you don’t deselect “Text (.TXT)” you’ll get a text file that will not upload to Strava.)
  7. Upload the file to Strava.

The Shocking Truth – Fox to Rockshox blocked, oh cock!

My old Cannondale…  It is a 2000 (maybe 1999) Super V 700 SX.  I bought it new in 2001 for $3400, reduced from a staggering $4800.  After riding it a few times I became convinced that it was far too much bike for my meagre abilities.

I had it serviced in September 2012 with the view of selling it, but two things made me change my mind: 1. being told that the bike was venerable, quite rare and might even be a one-off and 2. a colleague had launched themselves into cycling to recover from a heart attack.  It wasn’t until 31 December 2012 that I actually rode the thing properly off-road, but I was hooked.  Year To Date I’ve covered a recorded 1442.1km on that bike alone and over 2600km on all bikes.

But I am attempting to retire it.  There’s no denying that modern suspension is less prone to pogo-ing when out of the saddle, brakes are vastly more powerful (especially compared to a rim brake, even if it is hydraulic) and bikes are somewhat lighter yet stiffer.  And a Lefty fork, while gorgeous is a scary prospect for repair.  I like to be able to repair things myself.  I’ve worked on my Prius and Citroën so why should a bicycle be any different?

The rear shock seems to be a weak link.  Despite maxing 250 psi into it and losing some 10kg in unsightly fat this year, the sag was about 50% (!) and I easily bottomed out the shock.  A new seal kit to fit every Fox shock from 2000-2010 for $35 and a surprisingly easy maintenance method would do the trick, right?  Well… my shock must be from 1999.

Firstly, the decal on the shock says “Fox Air Vanilla FLOAT”, but every Fox Vanilla shock has a coil spring.  What it meant to say was “Float”, as in the most basic shock.  Fox’s website listing for the Super V 700 is a Float R (for rebound control), which mine doesn’t have.

Fortunately the videos of the maintenance procedure showed that replacing seals was quite easy whatever the air shock model.  As soon as I twisted off the air can one worn seal was immediately clear.  The other seals were in good condition and the dirt seemed to be confined to the outside.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t match all the seals in the shock to seals in the pack.  A wide, blue plastic piece was not represented, though this didn’t seem to be very important.  More importantly the seal with obvious wear did not have a replacement in the pack.  There was a bigger one or I could reuse a perfectly serviceable smaller seal, but neither would fit.  I had no choice but to reassemble with the worn seal.  The new seals might be enough…

But no.  It seemed that the only solution was a new rear shock.  After a few googles I found some options, but I thought that I would try my LBS first.  Rear shocks are usually replaced by buying an entirely new bike and therefore are rarely purchased separately.  Prices start high and keep going.  I had found some bargains, but they looked too good to be fair dinkum. Eventually I was offered a Rockshox Monarch R for $240, which was nice.

10 days later (!) the shock arrives at the wrong store, so I get across town to pick it up on Friday night to fit it for a weekend of gentle rides.  The pack included a shock pump and set of seals; how very thoughtful.

While the length was right, the end pieces were somewhat wider and the washers from the old shock would not do.  I pressed out the rubber bushings from the Fox shock with 10mm and 15mm sockets and a small vice.  But try as I might, there was no getting them into the Rockshox.  Another visit to Bike Culture, sadly on a busy day when they were down one staff member.  I returned after Brent closed the shop, but now he found that while he had brought all the bushes from the other shop, he had forgotten to bring the bush press.  Attempts to jerry-rig a press were unsuccessful.  So I had to wait another day.

Returned the next day.  Took all of 5 minutes to fit with the proper tools!

First ride

I’d been off the bike for three weeks recovering from a few bugs, so the out-of-action status was not only on the bike.  First ride back was going to be a Mulligan’s Flat gate to gate easy lap.  Well… easy got thrown out the window when the newly taut rear-end and its effect on drive became clear.  Pedal effort when to pushing the bike ahead, not up and down. Climbing was so much easier, acceleration was instantaneous but not as the expense of comfort.  Poor Amandeep was hammered by the surprising turn of pace, but I couldn’t slow down.  Of 10 segments ridden I PR’d 7 and had 2 seconds and a third.

Keeping an old bike rolling

Retrofitting non-standard parts is tricky but starts to be necessary when fixing an old bike.  Fortunately on this occasion the cost/benefit was easy to prove, even if the fitting was a bit tricky.  In fact, the bike is riding better than new.  There’s only so much that a basic suspension design can do to avoid bob (it can’t) so a new design shock had more of an effect than expected.

Now, if only I can fix the front brake…

STOP 0x116 – If the card isn’t cooling it will STOP

I thought that I had solved the STOP 0x116 errors but it seems that I had merely delayed them.

After a spate of BSOD, I left the video card out of my main rig until I had some time for tinkering.  I use the GPU for BOINC processing, so those CUDA workunits just had to wait.  I replaced the card and within 5 minutes of starting the BSOD appeared.  Power down and restart and the same thing happened 5 minutes later.

Since the case is quite small, the double-width video card sits close to the bottom.  Had it been anywhere else, the dead fan (!) would have been obvious.  (I also had a noisy case fan that made diagnosis by ear impossible too.)  I couldn’t start the fan with a flick of a finger.  I removed the card and the fan and found that indeed no reasonable amount of force would spin the fan; it was DED.

Computer shops didn’t have a direct replacement (fair enough) and the only fans were case or CPU.  Jaycar had some interesting units that are both quiet and move bulk air.  So I bought a 120mm case fan that I could bolt to the existing fan shroud, to replace the 95mm original; quieter and more air flow.

First minor issue was the fan header on the card; somewhat smaller than a standard motherboard fan header.  No great drama as I could use the old lead to connect to the new fan socket.

Bigger issue was there being no way to line up the case fans mounting holes to any solid object!  Back to Jaycar for a smaller fan.

But at least I found the reason for the STOP 0x116 errors.

Fixing a dead fan on a video card

I tried a quick repair with an 80mm fan (exchanged at Jaycar for the 120mm fan).  I tried to clip it into the existing fan shroud, but it wasn’t going to fit easily or securely.  So I took some self-tapping metal screws at carefully screwed each corner into a suitable pair of fins on the heatsink.  I directed the airflow away from the heatsink to try to draw air across the GPU and RAM.

Case fan to replace a video card fan
Case fan to replace a video card fan

The case fan came with a 3-pin case fan plug to suit a motherboard socket, which is larger than the fan socket on the video card.  I cut the old fan leads, stripped the insulation, twisted and tinned the leads and squeezed them into the new fan plug.

Case fan into a video card fan header
Case fan into a video card fan header

Plugged in the new card, downloaded some utilities to confirm temperature and fan speed and instant success!  I even managed a BIOS update.

A few mods before cycling today

PSI dial
I’ve giv’n her all she’s got captain, an’ I canna give her no more. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It turned out that I had 4 too many large links (or 8 links in total) on my new chain.  It was a fairly easy swap as there’s nothing particularly special about the pins.  The joining pin has a snap-off extension simply to make it easier (possible) to join a new chain.
I also increased the pressure in my shocks.  The rear shock can apparently take 300 psi and I had about 180 psi in there.  Try as I might I couldn’t get more than 250 psi in.  My pump would hit 300 psi but the needle would slowly sink to a lower level.  Despite much pumping I couldn’t get it closer to its maximum.  Anyway, the sag is now much less and I won’t bottom out as much.
I also found a nice Columbia backpack in Mountain Designs to fit my Camelback and all of my stuff.  It doesn’t have a dedicated holder for the water nozzle, but the sternum strap will do the job adequately.
I even found 20 mm pedal spacers at The Cyclery so that I could put my Time ATAC clipless pedals back on for non-technical ride, but I’ll leave them for now.
Slight issue is that my brakes need bleeding.  The front brake lever is almost touching the handlebar.  There’s enough braking to stop me, but the feel is less than ideal.
Last change is to Strava app from MapMyRide.  As nice as the MapMyRide app is, there are a few inconsistencies that have not yet been resolved.  Of slight annoyance value is the Facebook integration which might post a dog walk without my knowledge and against my settings.  The website is good but I have to navigate many layers to get the view I want.  And some graphs show my rides occurred at 200-210m ASL instead of the true range of 600-800m ASL.
Just as with MapMyRide, I won’t be able to embed Strava code to my blog (should I upgrade to WordPress pro?) so you’ll just have to join.
I’m taking on the Bonner Widowmaker today.  How many stops will I need to make?

“Ferrari Impounded after Speed and Noise Orgy”, aledgedly

Ferrari 430 Spider
Ferrari 430 Spider (Photo credit: KlausNahr)

The funny things you see when riding…

As I hurtled down the Federal Highway/Remembrance Drive, spinning in top gear at up to 63km/h in the 100km/h zone, I noticed a Police car flashing reds and blues just beyond the Antill Street roundabout.  There’s a very prominent 80km/h speed camera just before the roundabout and a lot of warning signs and thick bump lines that get your attention… if everything else has escaped your attention and you aren’t even going to bother slowing for the roundabout.

Federal Highway and Antill St, Watson, ACT – Google Maps

But the Police car had stopped less than 50 metres from the roundabout.  If the car had sped through the camera zone there was hardly enough distance to stop.

I couldn’t help myself but ride past on the road instead of the bike path.  I’m going to guess that the car pulled over was a Ferrari 430 Spider in Rosso.  I zoomed past too quickly to hear and in any case they were parked in the bike lane so I couldn’t dawdle out in traffic.

In the past month I’ve noticed this Ferrari 430 Spider in Rosso and another one in Grigio Titanio Metallizzato or Grigio Alloy driving in high gears for all the world to hear.  There’s no surprise that they enjoy knocking it back a gear or two; the sound is very unusual and raw.  Ferraris are not common in Canberra, but you know them when you hear them and I’ve heard them often along Horse Park Drive.

I continued on to Dickson via Watson Shops, past the construction site that once was Satis Cafe and a good place for a cycling coffee.  Had coffee at Good Brother, as is my habit of late.  Even though they close at 1400, they were happy to serve take away coffee and allow patrons to sit on their outside tables as they cleaned up inside.  Lovely.

About an hour later I was riding back up the Federal Highway near Old Wells Station Road when I saw a Ferrari 430 Spider in Rosso being taken away on the back of a table-top truck.  I started to wonder just what had happened (and what was about to happen):

  • He had been speeding and Plod had finally caught up as he waited patiently on the other side of the roundabout, or;
  • He had broken down and had just pulled over when a nice Policeman stopped to offer assistance, or;
  • The car was given a defect notice for being too loud.

But there’s no “Ferrari Impounded after Speed and Noise Orgy.  “Summernats is in January” says arresting officer” story in The Canberra Times, so maybe it wasn’t a big thing after all.  And any Schadenfreude is short-lived when you’re going back up Federal Highway and faced with the reality of a long uphill ride.

STOP 0x116 is annoying

What a pain. Since 22 February one of my PCs has been locking with no apparent error.  There was no tell-tale stop error recorded in Event Viewer to show which program had caused the crash.

My PCs run BOINC 24/7, so the CPU are running at 100% 100% of the time.  Each PC has an NVIDIA video card (a GeForce GTX 550 Ti and GTX 560 SE) running CUDA.  Note that the video cards are not connected to my monitor; their role is to process BOINC work units as fast as possible.  (BTW, I use a 4-way KVM switch with old RGB and PS/2 connectors with 1 keyboard, 1 monitor and 1 mouse.)  Windows 7 will happily run for weeks without reboot; my dual Quad-Xeon workstation ran for almost 2 months without restart.

And then one of my PCs starts crashing daily.

Are you crash-ready?

I always set up my Windows PCs to capture crash details, here’s how:

  1. Select Control Panel > System > Advanced system settings.
  2. On the Advanced tab, Starup and Recovery section, click the button
  3. In the System failure section;
    1. Check “Write an event to the system log” (the PC’s “black box” recording of the crash)
    2. Uncheck “Automatically restart” (You want time to read the Blue Screen of Death.)
    3. Select “Small memory dump (256KB)”
    4. The directory “%SystemRoot%\Minidump” will be C:\Windows\minidump in most cases.
StartupandRecovery
My System Failure preferences

In Event Viewer a STOP error points to the cause of failure.  The Event Viewer Windows Logs for Application and System can help pinpoint the time and cause of the crash.  But on these occasions, no STOP errors were recorded; the event logs just peter out.  After cold restart, the logs record only one  clue; the time of the crash in this quaint expression.

Log Name: System Source: EventLog Date: 1/03/2013 21:51:16 Event ID: 6008
Description: The previous system shutdown at 9:48:44 PM on ‎1/‎03/‎2013 was unexpected.

The minidump files have more information, which I use Nirsoft’s BlueScreenView to analyse.  The 0x00000116 STOP error is shown with files running at the time, with those suspected as being the cause.  It pointed to a display driver file.  However, updating the drivers and performing clean installs didn’t seem to make a difference.

Nirsoft's BlueScreenViewer.  Look at all of those 0x00000116 errors
Nirsoft’s BlueScreenViewer. Look at all of those 0x00000116 errors.  Look at how often they happened!

The 0x00000116 STOP error is a bit different to you common-or-garden crash.  MSDN describes it as follows, “The VIDEO_TDR_ ERROR bug check has a value of 0x00000116. This indicates that an attempt to reset the display driver and recover from a timeout failed.”  So it is more like a process falling asleep rather than crashing.

Just as I thought I had fixed it, my other PC crashed.  However, since the Startup and Recovery settings to automatically restart and record a kernel dump, which BlueScreenView can’t read, I can only speculate on its cause.  Great, 2 narcoleptic PCs.

Cause?

I narrowed the causes down to:

  • The video card was getting too warm.
  • The video card had not been properly configured.
  • The BIOS settings were wrong.

Solution?

Here’s what I think worked (and has worked so far):

  • The case is cramped and was a little dusty.  I removed the heat-sinks from the video card and CPU and vacuumed the case clean.
  • After putting the case back together, the rear system fans became very noisy.  Not long after I unplugged it the 0x00000116 error appeared.  Lubricating the fan motor and reattaching it has done the trick.
  • The video card had not been properly configured.  The NVIDIA control panel is disabled unless the card is plugged into a monitor.  Features such as PhysX were turned off and turning them on probably helps CUDA processing.  Maybe.
  • In BIOS I reverted to fail-safe options (I wasn’t far of standard anyway).  I disabled C1E, a feature that cuts the clock rate when the CPU is not fully utilised.  There’s a few BIOS features that I don’t need enabled such as virtualization that I’ll switch off later.

I don’t know for sure if the problem has been fixed, but it looks good so far.