Voodoo Wazoo Fat Bike – how to fix it.

October 1, 2016

I bought a ‘Halfords Special’ earlier this year.

I’ve had more than my money’s worth of fun with it since.

As these are built to a price (and it is a bargain as it stands) compromises were made:

  1. The headset bearings lasted about three months in the wetness of the Lake District. I replaced the factory-fit “thing” with a no-name clone of the Hope S.H.I.S. ZS44/28.6 (upper) and ZS44/30 (lower). This gives you cartridge bearings for your 1 1/8″ steerer. Some astute observers suggested that you might use a EC44/40 at the lower, to give you compatibility with tapered steerer tubes. You might want to replace the forks in the future. The factory fitted bearings had no seals installed, so it was not much of a surprise they failed soon.
  2. The bottom bracket failed after about 6 months. What was fitted was a 100mm shell, with a 154.5mm square taper spindle. Made by some cheap manufacturer with bearings made of cheese. This is where it gets weird. Halfords have told me their ‘technical records’ indicate the spindle length is 164mm. I know that one Wazoo left the factory with a 154.5mm spindle…
    Finding a replacement proved to be tricky, and the best that myself and my local LBS could find was an On-One 100x148mm BB. This fits, does not destroy the chain line, nor causes any mechanical issues. It looks like a superior replacement, with doubled-up bearings at each end of the spindle. [ I reserve the right to revise my assessment of the BB at the end of its life ]
    Halfords did suggest I order part number 153878 “BBS Wazoo 2015 BB” for the sum of £16. I have done that purely for the curiosity value.

I wanted to put these technical bits in to the public domain, in case they help other bikers dabbling with fat bikes. The nearest whole bike which can compete with the Wazoo costs around £1000, so it is a compelling choice for an alternative mountain bike.

(7/10/2016) The Halfords part number will provide you with a 154.5mm spindle BB, for a 100mm BB shell. I think I will continue buying the On-One part, on the basis that it is more likely to survive being wet once or twice.

BBC iplayer “loophole”.

September 1, 2016

Everyone has their $0.02, and so do I.

Since the fanfare-like announcements in recent weeks I was mildly curious. Today, as I type, I am downloading Series 2, Episode 5 of the BBC documentary series “Inside The Factory”.

At no point during this process have I needed to prove I am in possession of a valid TV Licence. I didn’t bother clicking on the part of the page where it says “I have a TV Licence”, I just needed the pid (Programme ID) from the URL bar.

Sony KDE P42 XS1 software update 05TV232

July 12, 2016

I found this on an old hard disk, it is the firmware update which applies to a limited range of serial numbers of this old Gas Plasma TV. See http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=382995&page=2 for the details.

You should be able to download the disk image from http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=00749785744233751953.

Unzip, and write the file to a 128k Memorystick. The digitalspy forum post talks about creating folders etc, but if you use the disk image file then the folders/files will all be sorted in one operation.

I had one of these TVs a while ago, and it was a good TV. I sold it because I needed multiple HDMI inputs, and using one HDMI to YUV converter turned in to too much fuss.


Onkyo TX-SR606: One in the eye for planned obsolescence.

June 3, 2016

Today I repaired my Onkyo TX-SR606. The video board was failing on HDMI handshaking. With a nod of thanks to patpatpat999, and others, I replaced capacitors C8609 (top) and C8002, C8602, C8096, C8162 (bottom) on the HDMI switcher board. The linked video has a good description of how to remove the board, and how to identify the components.

I used radial lead capacitors, not surface mount types. There’s enough room on the board to sit them flat in between other components. I bought 105C-rated components, as the issue seems to be heat from the power amplification part of the system.


If you’re feeling really keen, use a dab of hot glue to hold them in place. I’m not planning on moving the unit often, so I’ll let the capacitors flap in the breeze.

Living Streets – Try20

May 3, 2016

It has come to my attention that it is National Walking Month. I realise I might not be the target audience for this (honourable) campaign, because I will actively avoid a walk which looks like it will exceed 10 minutes. I’d prefer to jump on a bike and ride for 10 mins, an hour, several hours, as long as have the time and energy for.

Ten minutes is about the break-even point for walking versus cycling for me.

I wish Living Streets the best for their efforts.

You sir, are a buffoon.

January 7, 2016

On the grounds you’ll never enforce the legislation you are suggesting, therefore it’s pointless and redundant from inception.

As a road user, on both four wheels, two wheels etc I have always felt that cycle lanes are dangerous because they bring cyclists in to potential confrontations with motorised vehicles. Given the contemporary increase in the interest in cycling there will be greater numbers of cyclists who lack the experience of joining faster-moving traffic.

My solution is so simple it’s hidden in plain sight; remove all cycle lanes so there are no points where cyclists are merging in to motorised traffic.

Therefore car drivers will have to share the roads, as they are obliged to do so. Similarly, cyclists will have to share the road, and because there are more of them now that task will be made easier.

Citrus Lime of Ulverston

December 30, 2015

Please stop sending password reminder email messages which contain the user’s password. Email messages are liable to be transmitted over non-encrypted connections, which may allow a third-party to intercept the message.

You claim “Not only are we offering a cutting edge Retail System, but the expertise and knowledge to drive all our customers forward to develop and grow their businesses.

I say: Risking the confidentiality of your client’s customers is a poor way to do business.

You need to change the system so that a temporary password is set for the account, and the user needs a second piece of information (date of birth, postcode etc) to reset the account password.

Please let me know when you’ve sorted this out.

Garmin Edge 800 – Disk Mode

December 28, 2015

A data point; having read it recently on a talk forum. If your Edge 800 does not automatically switch to disk mode when you plug it in to a PC, do this:

  1. Disconnect the USB cable, at the PC end because that’s easier.
  2. Hold the Lap/Reset button down while you plug the USB cable in.
  3. Keep the button held down for a few seconds, and release.
  4. Disk Mode – every time. Yay!

For people like me who are minded to open gadgets to fix them, in the Edge 800 the USB and micro-SD slot are on a daughter-board PCB which is siliconed in to the base. I didn’t fancy prying it out to attempt a repair. If you need to replace the internal battery, that’s not a hard job. The flex cable for the touch-screen is fiddly to reconnect on reassembly.

Putting the record straight…

November 30, 2015

… one thing at a time.

Something happened yesterday’s mountain bike ride, which saddened me a little. As someone who participates in what is (sometimes) seen as a minority sport, there may be pockets of ignorance and fear among those looking in from outside.

I’ll try and set the scene. It’s a wet day, not “otter’s pocket” territory but not far removed. I reach the brow of a tiny incline, and see there are pedestrians sharing the trail. I’m at sufficient distance to shout out a friendly “Hello!”.

At this point I’ll interrupt the narrative to let you (dear reader) know that hydraulic brakes sometimes make a lot of noise in the wet. This is undesirable, but does not indicate a malfunction. The reason why I run hydraulics is that they continue to work in the wet.

So I’ve dabbed the brakes at the summit. Squeeek!
Shouted out to indicate I’m here, and I’m just human like everyone else.
I start to roll down the incline.
Controlling my speed sensibly, so people don’t feel like they’re in danger.
I need to keep two hands on the handlebars, I’m modulating the braking force to prevent skidding.

In a blatant display of ignorance, some old biddy says “Bell?”

Having slept on it, and scratched my head several times, I still can’t think of a reasonable explanation for comments like the above.

Therefore I conclude it was borne out of ignorance.

In conclusion the time is now to set the record straight:

  1. There is no requirement (in common or criminal law) for any cyclist to carry a bell.
  2. While I have a tongue in my mouth, and breath in my lungs, I will shout out to any other trail user. I will not change my behaviour depending on the mode of transport of the other trail user(s).
  3. While I am riding any bike it is often dangerous to remove my hands from the controls. I can retain control of the bike with my hands at the controls.
    This applies on and off the roads, by the way.
  4. I will always share trails in a responsible way, and will always make the safe choice.
  5. If a trail is a right-of-way or not is beyond the scope of this statement.

In the situation I described above, the ignorant walker was aware that I was present. She was aware there were other trail users present. Yet she chose to behave in an arrogant and confrontational manner, while clinging on to an incorrect presumption. To be honest, I feel sorry for you that you’re stuck in that cognitive loop from which you’re unlikely to escape.

This trail is a permissive route for cyclists. As the landowner has given informed consent, then the opinion of a minority of walkers counts for exactly nothing.

Thank you for reading.

Smile and wave!

September 2, 2015

Perhaps the children of Lindal-in-Furness have never seen a camera:

Smile and wave!

Smile and wave!

Probably not worth being flattened on the A590 for, all the same.