Monday 29 April 2019

CBF Fuse Meltdown

Today I noticed that the headlight on my CBF250 was out. Not a big deal - with winter over I seldom ride in the dark. The dim & main was gone so I doubted it was a blown bulb. The first thing I checked was the fuse and the problem was not hard to spot.   

Not only had the 10A fuse blown, the plastic body had melted.

The CBF's fuse box

I checked the current through the fuse in case there was a short circuit. The headlight is 55 watts on dip and 60 watts on main so I'd expect 5 amps - and that's what I got.
Why the fuse blew will have to remain one of life's mysteries.


...or maybe not. My brother said that the problem could be a bad contact causing arcing. I cleaned the contacts in the fuse box and now all seems well.

***Update #2***

The problem returned some months later and I found the real fault.

Sunday 28 April 2019

The Southern Upland Way Part #3

A moody-looking Loch of the Lowes

Great biking roads

Moffat Dale


Heading into the Lowther Hills

In the hills there are two slightly odd looking villages. Leadhills and Wanlockhead. They owe their existence to the minerals found in this area - Lead, copper, zinc, silver and gold.  This is the curfew bell in Leadhills. Used in times past to signal shift changes at the mines and get the kids to school.

The scooter boys have been here!

The village

This beam engine pumped water from the lead mine

Mineral railway wagons

Sanquhar Castle, 13th century. Fenced off and in poor condition.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

The Southern Upland Way Part #2

Continuing my journey across Southern Scotland. 

The oilseed rape in bloom

The gates of Thirlestane Castle in Lauder

Roadside daffodils

Just before Melrose this granite pillar marks the location of the Roman fort of Trimontium.

In Melrose I went to see the chain bridge. Built in 1826 the footbridge spans an impressive 90 meters across the River Tweed. Going by the old warning signs I was expecting a very lively bridge….

…..but it turned out to be pretty rigid.

The reason was obvious. The deck consists of a lattice of welded hollow sections - it was replaced in 1991. Descriptions of the bridge are scathing about the strengthening work but, as one who toiled in the industry, I think a bridge has to be functional as well as aesthetic. Note that the original contractor repaired the bridge in 1928 - at no cost. Not something any contractor I ever worked with would have considered!

The mighty Tweed from the bridge

Melrose Abbey, founded 1146. War with the English and the Scottish Reformation did for it, I think.

Traquair House near Innerleithen. This claims to be the oldest continuously occupied house in Scotland - oldest parts dating to c1492. Undergoing some repairs before the tourist season starts.

Impressive driveway. The kids in the foreground seemed to performing some sort of play.

The entrance gates feature some fierce beasts……

….which I assume are suppose to be bears. They look more like a sheep with a crocodile's head.

The house contains a brewery. The 160 shilling ale has a potent 9.5% alcohol.

Monday 22 April 2019

Strange Tool

I regularly check out Lidl & Aldi's websites to see if they have any specials on offer that might be of interest. I've bought a load of tools from them. They're inexpensive and generally reasonable quality.

But Lidl have a tool in their current DIY special that had me confused. It's a hammer ratchet. It is a 1/2" drive socket ratchet that doubles as a hammer. The tool comes with three sockets that attached to the shaft. I think if you were to use it as a hammer the sockets would fly off.

I've got plenty of hammers and ratchets so I think I'll pass on this one. 

Here a guy reviews a more expensive version of the tool. Like me he's not convinced.

Sunday 21 April 2019

The Southern Upland Way - Part #1

The Southern Upland Way is a 210 mile coast to coast walking trail across the southern hills of Scotland. It goes from Cockburnspath in the east to Portpatrick in the west. I thought that it might be an interesting journey. Not walking it of course - I'm a man of advancing years with a dodgy knee. But by bike following the route as closely as possible. The trail is generally remote from roads but I plotted a route in the same general direction. 

The trail crosses the regions of the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway. My journey is similar to that I did a couple of years ago (see here) but I was sure that could find plenty of new things to present to you. 
The route


The market cross dates from 1507

The path heads west to the coast at Cove

Heading inland I pass a small clump of tress that the map describes as "The Maiden's Paps (Breasts)"…I'm not seeing it.

I'm not kidding!

The church at Abbey St Bathans. It dates from the late 18th century and contains stone from the old nunnery that gave the village its name.

Ramblers on the trail

A bench with flowers for the weary traveller

In the town the trail crosses this rather strange footbridge. A asymmetric cable stayed timber Warren truss? Build by the Gurkhas of the British Army.

Ford across the Whiteadder Water

Harvesting an abundant Scottish resource - wind. The farmer is spreading muck on his fields. You can't appreciate the smells of the countryside as I did!

Saturday 20 April 2019

Ratchet Spanner Fix

I've got a set of ratchet spanners. I don't use them a lot but where there is a nut or bolt that needs a lot of turning and you can't get a socket on it, they come in handy.  

One of the spanners doesn’t work. A part of the plastic insert that holds the spring has broken off. These are cheap items but I like to try to fix things if I can. The spanner is held together with rivets. I ground off the head and they came out easily. The ratchet is controlled by a spring and ball bearing. The ball on the "good" end flew out and clanked about the garage - good start!

I didn't have any small balls bearings so I made a couple of bullet shaped pieces from a steel pin. An old tyre valve provided a suitable spring. I made a spring holder in steel.
 It was a little fiddly to get everything back together
I fixed it together with some pop rivets…..and it worked fine.