Sunday, February 24, 2013

My new commute...



♫ My Flat Spot Has a First Name... it's Highway34 ♫ 



♫ My flat spot has a second name it's 34 some more 



- A parody tune by Polarbear


My new job has me commuting 22 miles each way, so fortunately I'm back on the bike. Unfortunately, my commute isn't as leisurely as it once was and now consists of riding the boringly straight, highly despised, four lane, death trap known as Highway 34 east of Corvallis. 


So now with so many miles clicking away on such a straight road I must take into consideration joining the darksiders


Relax Irondad, I'm kidding ;)
One saving grace is that the highway is nearly empty at 5 o'clock in the morning and most of the traffic is headed in the opposite direction come 4:30 in the afternoon. I do get to wave at both Polarbear and SpartanBabe on the the way home, when I recognize their vehicles in the mass of zombie commuters.

It is also dark at 5 am which brings a new level of awareness or lack thereof and riding to work Wednesday morning a dead raccoon jumped right out in front of me. I was concerned with a semi-truck gaining on me from behind so I kept checking on him in my mirrors. "So where are you not looking when you're looking in your mirrors?" In front of you. "And where do most accidents occur on a motorcycle?" In front of you.
Now I've hit suicidal squirrels and bold birds before, but they're pretty small and don't stand much of a chance against 700 lbs of bike and rider at speed. Unexpectedly hitting an already deceased raccoon the size of a medium dog will pucker your butt and upset said 700 pounds in a heartbeat. I didn't have time to slow, brake or swerve and surmounted the obstacle nearly slamming the bars out of my hands,  I certainly appreciate Newton's Law thus keeping her upright. Needless to say, I was no longer concerned with my mirrors the rest of the ride in. Thoughts of self preservation took over.

An early morning commute means colder temperatures, however I have been able to beat the few degrees of temperature drop at sunrise. I've been using my heated grips and heated liner but lately at a higher setting than normal, this of course demands more from Lucy's electrical system.... can you guess where this is going? Tigers don't have a robust charging system so on the way home I experienced deja vu all over again with a dead battery at the gas pump. No way was I going to try and bump start her this time and made a phone call to Trobairitz to come save me instead. A quick jump start from the car battery and I was headed home to put Lucy on the charger. 

I spent Friday morning calculating power draw and my options. The easiest option is to disconnect or switch one headlight off, but I don't want to do that due to the afore mentioned raccoon. Nor do I want to mess with HIDs, wiring or ballasts... KISS. However, I do have the other lights to consider.

I'm of the mindset that electricity, like water, flows downhill so please feel free to correct me if I am wrong thinking out loud here, I may be missing or overlooking something.  

The taillight and brake light require two 1157 dual filament bulbs which draw 21 watts each for the high filament and 5 watts each for the low filament. 
The 5008 signal light bulbs are 10 watts each and with a Kisan Signal Minder which not only self cancels the signal lights  but also run the signal bulbs as running lights. I estimate these four bulbs are constantly drawing 5 to 7 watts each.
This equates to a draw of 30 watts just cruising along, the numbers jump when braking and signaling. At a stop, the taillight filament remains lit while the brake light filament ignites too, drawing a combined 52 watts (nearly the same draw as one headlight). Add the running lights and the numbers jump to 72 watts. Turn on the signal lights and the numbers jump again, albeit intermittently, to 82 watts!!!  

Watts a guy to do?

A quick Google search, a hop to ADVRider.com and a skip TigerTriple.com to confirm... the answer may just be LED baby! I jumped over to SuperBrightLEDs.com  and placed an order for six bulbs.


Two taillights:
Superbrightleds.com
The two 1157 LED bulbs only draw 1.5 watts each. I can't find the wattage for the four signal lights but they can't be higher than the brake lights so I figure maximum draw from all six lamps to be 9 watts. A significant drop from the 82 watts I'm using now.

Four signal lights:

Superbrightleds.com 





I hope to receive the bulbs in the mail this week and get them installed  right away. I'll write up a report and post before and after photos and of the install. In the meantime, I'll turn my grips down and keep my liner on low. 

The rampant raccoons however, are on their own.


16 comments:

  1. Didn't we look into those bulbs coming back from Seattle.. the guy at the counter couldn't get rid of them because they had so many issues with them. The math is watts/12=amps 82 watts is 7amps.
    Now, after recently doing battle with Lucas the evil prince of darkness, it may be time to start taking a long hard look at the stator.. You could have a weak phase in the stator or an open in one phase. This would cause the volts to drop before the rated max amperage is reached. Stator is supposed to supply 35 amps or about 400 watts of power. Rod and several other people tell me that they tend to only last about 35k-40k miles. since putting in the new stator mine charges nicely at 14.2v with the high beams and the heated grips on 40%. I used tho have an inductive amp gauge. I'll have to see if I can find it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yep, not only have to look out for live varmints, but dead ones as well. Nasty.

    I know nothing about electrics, but I hope you get it sorted out.

    ~Keith

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We need to outfit varmints with hi-vis.

      Delete
  3. Glad you kept upright! Dead stuff NASTY! What type of base layers are you wearing? Get some silk or merino wool, that may help you stay a little toastier

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Although I'll have to decline the merino wool or silk, some of the new advanced base layer materials may accompany the electric liner.

      Delete
  4. Between the dual headlights and the ignition system, you may be drawing close to 180 watts. This sort of dwarfs the draw of the tail/running lights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may still switch one headlight off... and install LED driving lights.

      Delete
  5. THAT is a scary commute. Light up big time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to figure something out soon, it is darker than the inside of a black cow.

      Delete
  6. Troubadour:

    maybe you can find a slower secondary road. I dislike the freeways too. Too many fast cars and tailgaters

    Those LED lights should do the trick. Either that or get a "pulse" type controller

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't mind meandering on my way home but I don't have much desire to take the long way into work in the cold, wet rain. The Oxford heated grips are "pulse" type, I just can't use them on high until I gain more power from somewhere. Hence LEDs.
      I'll take Dar's recommendation too and layer up.

      Delete
    2. Troubadour:

      OR . . . BORROW that battery operated electric BLUE fleece vest, from you know who

      bob
      Riding the Wet Coast

      Delete
  7. Re: Darkside. I had a DS tire on my Kawasaki Nomad. On that bike MC tires got about 4500 miles, the DS tire got a little over 20,000 I have no complaints about how it handled etc. However...if I wanted more mileage on a ....less rotund bike, I would look into a harder MC tire. I knew a guy that rode a FJR 1300 with a Metzler 880 that got nearly 20K on that tire.
    Just a thought.
    Good luck on your electric issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're turning Irondad inside-out with this speak of the darkside. I spoon new Shinko 705 on my wheels every 10,000 miles and I'm happy. I can't imagine getting 20k out of a mc tire.

      Delete
  8. Dam the dead vermon ... No amount of light will make them stand out 'til you are on top of them ... then all you can do is what you did. But you are making me think of all the things I have drawing power on the battery - think I'll get a new battery before the next long distance ride.

    ReplyDelete

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