• 2nd May 2006 - By greg

    May 2

    May 2, 2006

    Communications system, hydration/nutrition system, more Shapelock coolness and the crew headset

    Earth to Greg, Earth to Greg…

    This is the ChatterBox Person to Person Sports Communication System headset. The speakers they provide are supposed to be inserted into the liner of a motorcycle helmet, but the speaker really SUCK! Very bad. I am sure they are fine for spoken two-way communications, but they are really bad for music. No base at all. So, I cut them off and spliced in some good Sony headphones. The boom mic tie-strapped to the side of the bike helmet. The headphones are tie-strapped to the rear of the bike helmet, so the entire unit – mic, headphones and helmet are one. It fits PERFECTLY and is really, really comfortable. I would say that the headphones are even more comfortable that my typical Sony sports headphones. I am a bit concerned about ear sweating under the headphone ear covers. The headphone don’t fit completely tight over my ears due to the way they fit on the bike helmet. This should allow a small amount of air flow through. I will give them a try on an M5 training ride today and see how it feels to wear for a couple hours straight.

    One of the issues I had previously with listening to the iPod in the steamliner while wearing my typical sports headphones is a bit of a lack of volume. It’s pretty loud in the streamliner and I usually have the iPod on full volume. It could have been just slightly louder. Now, the sound goes through the ChatterBox two-way radio first and is amplified. Now I have volume to spare!! And there does not appear to be any loss in sound quality which is what I was afraid of.

    This looks like a mess, but it actually works quite well. I couldn’t mount the ChatterBox on the other side of the frame because that’s right where the NACA¬†duct enters from the main body. So, it just fits under the steering push/pull rod without interfering with it.

    The iPod connects to the ChatterBox through the headphones port on the iPod. When a two-way radio call comes in, or I make one, the ChatterBox automatically lowers the iPod music volume, and it works really well.

    The ChatterBox also connects to my cell phone, and I can make or receive phone calls through the ChatterBox headset without taking my hands off the steering bar, except for a single button push to answer the call. It works well once I am connected,, but for some reason, the phone does not ring through the headset – only on the actual cell phone. If I can’t see the phone, then I don’t know I am getting a call. I need to figure out what that is happening there.

    Using the ChatterBox for radio communications is done either with voice activated circuitry (VOX) or a handy push to talk switch that is velcroed to the handle bars. The VOX feature works, but I think it is better suited for a quieter environment. I much prefer to push to talk switch that I have mounted right under my thumb on the steering bar. The range of the radio is 5 miles and during a test, I was about 3 miles from the house and had a crystal clear conversation with Cody who was in the house. I have the volume turned up to about 80% of it’s limit, so there is plenty of volume for the noisy streamliner.

    The Chatterbox comes with a rechargable and ancient Ni-MH battery which they claim will last for 8 hours of talk time and 20 hours of stand-by. Since the rechargable 4.5 volt Ni-MH battery takes 14 hours to recharge, I wired the ChatterBox up to my 16 volt 7200 mA Lithium Polymer rechargable, which should give me at least 24 hours of use without needing to replace the battery. I have extra Ni-MH batteries for the ChatterBox, but they are a bit of a pain to replace. The idea is to keep the pit stops QUICK and simple this time around, so I don’t really want to worry about replacing batteries. If I need to replace the large LiPoly, I have two more and they are VERY¬†easy to swap out. I just pull off a velcro strap, yank the power cord out of it’s port and plug in a freshly charged one. It’s all directly under my seat and the ChatterBox, iPod and Cell phone are all wired into the large battery. All three devices should last for at least 24 hours, so there shouldn’t be any need to change the LiPoly.

    I think this is going to work out pretty well. I inserted an aluminum threaded rod through the carbon over-the-shoulder bar. The two food bags are hung off the aluminum rod and secured with a wing nut. The weight is fairly evenly distributed because each bag hangs to one side of the frame (for the most part). I will need to cut out a larger opening in the left hand fairing shell directly behind my head to allow for easy access to removing and replacing the bags, but for the most part, it’s a pretty easy job. Just pop the canopy bubble off, reach in, unscrew the wing nut, rip the velcro strap off the bite valves and pull both bags right out of the streamliner. Then two new bags would be inserted and secured. I may need to add a couple of elastic bungie cords to keep the bags from swaying back and forth during turns, but on a quick test ride I couldn’t feel them moving at all and they were both full with 3 liters of water each.

    The bit valves are held in position using a custom ShapeLock part I made:

    I pressed a hot blob of ShapeLock onto the over-the-shoulder bar and then pressed both water tubes into it to form groves to hold the tubes in place. Then I screwed a velcro strap onto the bar. Now the valves are held in exactly the right place every time.

    This is also kind of cool – I used ShapeLock to make smooth, rounded caps for some sharp fasteners ( a wing nut holding the wheel cover on, and two bolts securing the head rest bracket) that could threaten to rip the water bags open.

    The ChatterBox ‘Sport’ headset they provided for the second Pit Crew Chatterbox unit really sucks. You can barely hear out of the single ear piece and it constantly falls off your face, Instead, I connected the ChatterBox boom mike to a Sony sports headset and it works GREAT!

    Here is the new TODO list:

    1. Communications! – The Chatterbox GMRS-X1motorcycle two-way radio systems from HelmetCom is installed and working. I need to buy a 12 vdc power filter cable because there is some funny interference noise when I use the 12 vdc LiPoly battery to power it.
    2. Nutrition / hydration fillers – Done
    3. Fairing ribs – Done.
    4. CHAIN GUIDES!!! – Done
    5. New clincher wheels – I found a RENN 650 rear clincher on Ebay and the same seller was offering a 700 HED 3 carbon rim front wheel so I bought them both. I’ll simply add my carbon wheel discs to the HED, and the RENN should be good to go.
    6. Fairing paint and polish – The fairing shells are at Bob the painter. He thinks it’ll be done by next Friday.
    7. Rear wheel fairing – done.
    8. New Canopy bubble – Almost there. I need to make one with thicker PETG. Or maybe not.
    9. Canopy bubble nose lifter – I need to invent something to lift the front of the bubble up about 1/4″ to allow the airflow to evaporate any condensation that may build up on the inside of the canopy. The was a problem in Alabama when it got cold at night and we had to cut a large hole in the front of the bubble.
    10. Water bag holders – I need to build something simple to stop the full water bags from swaying back and forth. I was thinking of bungie straps, but it might be difficult for the pit crew person to reach in through the small opening under the canopy bubble to secure the bags under the elastic straps. Instead, I think some plastic tubing, coroplast, or heat-moulded Sintra would hold them in place.
    11. Alternate headset – Done
    12. Details – Rubber trim around the rear of the canopy bubble, vent holes in the canopy bubble, A hole in the fairing bottom for the pee tube,

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