Guitar over Cat5 project 3

Monday 04 July 2011 at 5:24 pm

The stage end now looks like this:

In a metal box for protection from drunken dancing audience members with uprated jack sockets.

Inside view:

Next week - testing live!

Guitar over Cat5 project 2

Tuesday 28 June 2011 at 2:26 pm

Moved into phase 2, here’s what I have now:


Basically a Cat5 socket connected to 4 bits of guitar cable with jacks on the end, and;

and a Cat 5 socket connected directly to 4 jack sockets.

Item 1 gets connected to the amp sockets: input, FX send, FX return and footswitch
Item 2 (stage end) connected by short patches to input/output of the pedal, guitar connected to the corresponding input socket.  For my test the amp I used had the wrong type of footswitch (momentary action rather than latching), so I had to plug the actual footswitch into the box.  All I’m really doing here is making an extension cable, but just using the medium of Cat5 rather than multicore!
BUT… the damn thing works!  No apparent crosstalk/interference/line hum/attenuation, even through a 5m patch cable.  I’d call that a success.  Next time, testing it in a proper band environment (rehearsal room)…

Guitar over Cat5 project 1

Thursday 23 June 2011 at 2:08 pm

My stage guitar rig can be a bit of a bind when setting up and breaking down – it’s configured thus:

Guitar plugs straight into amp
Effects send to Boss GT8 pedal
Output from GT8 to effects return
Additional cable from GT8 to footswitch allowing GT8 to switch channel

So all in all 4 cables involved.  I wanted to try & cut down, initially by using a 4-pair multicore, then I could bring the guitar input down to the floor, keeping to a single cable run.

But multicore can be a bit expensive, and I’m an IT network technician with access to lots of Cat5 cable, so I started to wonder…  Could I run the whole thing over Cat5 UTPnetwork cable, put a RJ45 socket at either end then all I’d need is a patch cable of the correct length.

No-one as far as I can see on several Googlings has tried it, so the only way to find out is to experiment.

Today I have this:

which is an old guitar lead soldered to one pair of a bit of Cat5, punched down onto a socket module

and this

which is Cat5 cable punched down into a module with a jack plug on the end

Plug in the lead to my guitar, plug the 2nd bit into an amp*, connect with a 5m patch lead and… bingo!  It works!  No apparent loss of signal strength or quality.

*I did use a proper amp to test – the mini-Marshall is just to show schematic!

Next step is to put in the other channels and see if there’s any crosstalk, hum or interference with the FX loop running backwards & forwards.  Watch this space.

Acerbis Handguards on Yamaha TDM 850

Friday 28 January 2011 at 8:38 pm

As requested by my friends at Carpe-TDM here's some more pics of my handguards.

They're Acerbis Rally II's whose website is HERE. They were an easy fit, and have stayed put ever since I put them on, about 4 years ago. If you're leafing through the Acerbis catalogue, I also used the 'ATV fitting kit' which is no more than a stand-off for the inboard end. The bar end weights had to go, so the Acerbis expanding bolt fitment went straight on. Excuse the grubby state of the bike!

Front view

Top views - you can see the stand-off hex bolt thing above.

The end result

TDM 850 Aux Lamp Fitting

Friday 28 January 2011 at 8:31 pm

Here's some piccys & words following my installation of fog/spot/aux lamps on my MK2 TDM850.

I originally fitted some cheap LED units, but the bulbs started to fail, and of course they can't be replaced.  So I found these halogen ones on good old eBay.  Shipped direct from Bulgaria (yes!) and I think they look pretty sturdy.  Includes mounting brackets and relay/wiring.  Boffo.

I expected H3 bulbs in these, but it turns out they're sealed dichroic MR16 bulbs.  So easily replaceable, and there's even LED bulbs available (obsessed with LEDs? Me? A bit...)

Anyway, off to the garage, out with the allen keys and sidepanels, screen and inner fairing off.  As I'd previously run the old lights straight off the sidelight circuit with a dashboard switch, I used this wiring to run the relay.  I mounted the relay behind the sidelight (stubby screwdriver required here).

Next is to run the power direct from the battery.  I connected a ring crimp connector straight on to the battery terminal next to the main fusebox via an inline fuse, then ran the cable following the main harness under the airbox. (Wiring got tidied up later & fuse holder strapped in)

Then connect it all up; that concludes the live side of the installation.  The earths for the lamps were wired to the fairing stays on each side.  Pic shows earth point and the route of the main feed wire (green - it was all they had in 17amp).  I mainly used insulated crimps for joins where I might need to disconnect in the future, but some I soldered & insulated with heatshrink. 

Mounting the lamps was a single hole drilled in the lower fairing, and the brackets bolted through.  Bracket pic:

Lamp mounted; sidepanels still off:

Finished article - the camera decided they were too bright & adjusted the aperture, so not a direct comparison, but you can tell how bright these are:

The only drawback is that there's no 'focusing' of the beam.  It's a wide pattern so even angled down they're dazzling.  Having looked around a bit there are several bulbs available with a narrower focus for a bit more control.  Should make night rides a bit safer though.

And previous readers of the Carpe thread may recall the amazing wording on the pack of the original lights.  These ones are no exception:

And finally - these are my trusty £2 QD kneepads which are invaluable for crawling around under cars & bikes:

And my other very useful home-made invention - the Daniel Park-O-Matic keeps your bike upright in the garage, giving more space without hauling the paddock stand out.  It's a bit of 2x4 with a slot drilled in it.  I'm thinking of taking it to Dragon's Den, what'd you reckon?

A List Of Things I Dislike A Lot

Saturday 04 September 2010 at 8:21 pm

I’m often accused of being a grumpy bastard, and that’s probably quite fair.  Here’s an ongoing list (in order of when I thought of them) of stuff that really pisses me off.

  • Football, to include the game itself, footballers, and all the associated flag-waving jingoism and riduculous ‘my team of overpaid delta-minuses are better than your identical team of sub-human missing links’ nonsense.
  • People who describe themselves as ‘wacky’.
  • Old people driving around with their bloody door mirrors folded in.
  • Cheryl Cole
  • The new so-called Mini.  Ghastly horrible travesty, not worthy of the name.  In fact, I’ll go further.  Anyone caught owning a new Mini convertible and putting a private registration plate on it should be summarily shot, and their horrid little car fire-bombed.  Leave your iPhone in the car, love.
  • On the subject of cars (and football), people who have a private registration plate with their favourite football team on it.  There’s several ‘WHU’ plates locally which really narks, especially as I was beaten up by some charming West Ham ‘fans’ in 1987.
  • My f***ing lawnmower.
  • Songs which contain the words ‘crib’ or ‘club’.  Or ‘clerrrb’ as it’s usually pronounced.

Nurburgring Trip Day 6

Thursday 15 July 2010 at 10:35 pm

Monday 12 July
OnRoad Cafe, Germany to home

Mileage start:not sure end:25335 miles travelled:597 (less about 80 on the previous day)

This was it, last day.  To be honest I was ready to go home, having been bombarded with so many new experiences and missing my lot at home.  However I really hadn’t reckoned on the sheer distances involved.

We left the hotel about 8.45 after filling up on the usual German breakfast fare of fresh rolls, cold meats and boiled eggs and were straight into the twisties again.  We dropped John off along the way as he was spending an extra day at the OnRoad.  Roads were fine until Belgium… Trev had warned us that we would be riding the worst road ever and we took it with a pinch of salt, but the reality was just that.  This particular stretch (and I can’t remember exactly where it was), was about 5 miles of the most rutted, pot-holed, crappy tarmac you’ve ever driven on.  It’s like the tanks rolled in in 1939 and they never bothered to fix it.

Soon it became just mile after mile of motorway.  After we’d negotiated the Brussels ring road we pulled into a small town to try for a coffee, and ended up in a McDonalds.  Next stop was Brugge, where we’d arranged to meet up for lunch with some other TDM club members who were on their way home from Brno.  Nice town centre and good chips.

Then it was motorway, motorway and more motorway.  We all had to come up with ways of keeping ourselves alert, mainly involving singing, shouting, waving at car passengers and (Ian’s personal favourite) shooting caravans.

Eventually Calais arrived, and after we’d blown the last of our euros on fuel and snacks we were back on the train to Blighty.  It almost felt like ‘nearly home’, but in reality there was still a good way to ride.  Being back on the left felt natural after a week on the wrong side, but it was clear that European drivers are more courteous than British ones.  After a trouble-free week in the motorsport heartland of Germany, as soon as we were back on the M20 there’s some moron in a car driving up your arse at 85mph.  And after Trev and I left Ian at Ipswich and headed into Lowestoft, we had a child in an N-reg Fiesta who decided his 1100cc engine could burn us off at the lights.  Bloody idiot.

All in all a fantastic time was had by all.  My total mileage from door to door was 1221 and my faithful TDM850 never missed a beat.  I think my riding has improved from all the hairpin practice, and I’d definitely do it all again.  I’d remember my phone and camera chargers next time though.

Nurburgring Trip Day 5

Thursday 15 July 2010 at 7:55 pm

Monday 12 July
Cochem and Burg Eltz

Mileage start:24738 end:forgot to record it miles travelled:not sure - see tomorrow's entry

Sightseeing day - of course someone had to go out for an early-morning play while the rest of us were getting ready...

Cochem: We took a brilliantly twisty road (see, I'm starting to enjoy it!) which eventually led down into the Mosel valley and the town of Cochem.  Unfortunately a great deal of the route was in the middle of resurfacing, so instead of fast sweeping curves we got miles of loose gravel.  The town of Cochem is very touristy, with its fair share of shops selling crappy gifts, but the town itself is lovely, especially in the bright sunshine we'd again brought with us.  We found a great patisserie and treated ourselved to cake and ice-cream (like a bunch of 8-year-olds).  I also bought John a kid's bicycle bell with compass to install on his ZZR, as an introduction to the technical world of satnav.  Don't think he's fitted it yet...

The plan was then to ride along the banks of the Mosel to get to Burg Eltz castle, but first we went back up the road into town for some photo-opportunities:

Burg Eltz:  following the trusty satnav we found the castle car park, then took the shuttle bus down into the valley to see this spectacular castle.  Pity about the crane & scaffolding...

Then a quick ride back, and John and Ian went out on a second 'Ring lap in the quieter Monday night session.  By this time my camera battery had expired, so there's no more pics from me of that, I'm afraid.

As the hotel kitchen is closed on Mondays, we spent the evening in Adenau, and ended up having a bite to eat with Klasien, the landlady, who was passing.  It was an interesting conversation, with German, French, Dutch and a great deal of translation between them all.  Quick night-ride back to the hotel to finally pack our bags.