Friday, 2 December 2016

Notes on Using Douglas Fir for Fire Wood

Notes on Using Douglas Fir for Fire Wood - Intro

I do not like to cut down an Ash or heaven forbid a mighty Oak, but I am less sympathetic towards the Douglas Fir. My farmer, in-laws have a few acre's worth of Douglas Fir which they have invited me to hack away at. I have been doing this for the last few years, and here shared is what I have learnt. I am not a pro.But help yourself.

Fir is over looked as a fire wood, with everybody normally hankering after hard wood. But in truth if Douglas Fir is seasoned for long enough it burns very well, if a little quickly.

This quickness to burn is handy in that it creates a lot of heat, but also means you will need a bigger wood shed to last the winter! It is best burned in a stove where the air inflow can be slowed to allow for slower burning. For many a fire in the evening is what is required, and Douglas fir is ideal for this, as it blazes well, and heats the room quickly.

Notes on Using Douglas Fir for Fire Wood - Choosing a Tree

When choosing a tree make sure there is room for the Douglas fir to fall clear to the ground without it bumping in to any other trees. Given the slightest chance a falling fir tree will get "hung up" in a neighboring tree and this means you will have a dangerous situation where you ave to try and get in "un-hung".

Allow Enough Distance

This can be done with a winch, or block and tackle, but will waste you time. So make sure the clearing is big enough or start from the edge of the wood. I am not a woodsman so I will not go in to how to feel a tree plenty of guides elsewhere for that.

Oh No! Disaster

Note: If you are looking to cut a tree that has been blown over in the wind, take care. The tree is likely to be under stress from being bent, and also the large root stock with tone and mud attached can add downward force in that area. I have cut through a tree before only to see the 1/2 tree left remaining magically stand back up again! Once I saw this happen with my chainsaw jammed in a cut, after cutting through the trunk with an axe. I had to get a ladder to retrieve my saw.

Using Rope & Cable is Dangerous - Be Careful

Notes on Using Douglas Fir for Fire Wood - Moving

The closer you split the logs to the fire the better. This means less movements. I prefer to get all of the cutting out of the way in the woods, but splitting them after I got them home would be more efficient.

A tractor and trailer would be ideal, but I do not have use of tractor so I use a trailer and quad bike. If you intend to move the trailer on to another vehicle then you will probably need a jockey wheel on the trailer. I tow the logs how behind my VW Polo (small car).

It is very unlikely that ownership of a 4x4 will pay for itself from cutting logs for use at home. Heat from mains gas or oil costs 5p / 10c a KWh. Say you keep you stove lit for 100 days a year, and it is a 5KW stove. This equates to a £600 / $1000 saving. Just to a fuel a 4x4 for a year would cost more than that let alone buying a 4x4.

Notes on Using Douglas Fir for Fire Wood - Cutting

Douglas Fir blunts a chainsaw blade a lot quicker than a hard wood tree. Soft wood you would think would be easier to cut, but no it is not. A chain will probably need a sharpen every few hours when cutting fir.

As a minimum you will need a saw and an axe. A chainsaw is preferential of course, although more dangerous. I cut logs for a number of years with a bow saw, but you can only really cut thin trees, and it is very hard work.

After cutting off the side branches, which can be don with an axe or a saw. Start to cut the trunk in to split-table sections. Choose a length that will fit in you stove say 40cm, but vary the length dependent on where you find knots:

Cut Across Knots

Top Tip: Cut through the knots! You will notice that the knots are clustered in "layers", you do not want these knots in the center of a log (end to end) that you are trying to split, it will make splitting very hard work. Instead cut through these knotty sections, so that they are at the ends of the log you are splitting.

Examples of Good and Bad Logs

Notes on Using Douglas Fir for Fire Wood - Drying / Seasoning

Douglas fir has a very high moisture content when green and will not burn very well at all. You will need to leave your wood for 1 year before you can burn it, wood cut in the spring will burn "OK" in the autumn, but it need to be early spring, and then stored in a shed after splitting. Burning green or slightly green pine can leave deposits in you chimney so best avoided.

If you are starting out you will need to make some headway, fell enough trees for 2 or 3 years worth of logs. Leave the branches un-trimmed as this will keep the trunk off the floor and damp. Leave the trunks un-logged for a year or more. Keep a year ahead at all times.

So. . .if you are reading this in the summer, you will probably need to go and cut down an ash tree, as these burn OK even when green.

Notes on Using Douglas Fir for Fire Wood - Conclusion

You will need to plan ahead. Split more logs. And sharpen you saw more. But Douglas Fir is just fine for use as fire wood.

Environmental Consultants London 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

6, 9 or 12 MOSFETs - Are more MOSFETs Better?

1 - Introduction

I am unsure what other applications MOSFETs could be used in other then EBike controllers, as that is as far as my limited knowledge of electronics extends, but I have pondered long and hard as to whether it is a worthwhile exercise upgrading my 6 MOSFET Controller, to a 9 MOSFET or 12 MOSFET controller.

Will there be any benefit?

2 - What is a MOSFET?

A MOSFET when used in an EBike controller works like a valve or gate that allows current to be drawn from the battery and used in the motor. The MOSFETs are there so as to switch off the current supplied from the battery when it reaches its minimum safe volatage.

The MOSFET is left "open" while the battery has charge left in it, but once a minimum voltage is reached the MOSFET is "closed" to prevent the battery becoming over discharged, which can damage the battery / cells.

3 - Are more MOSFETs Better?

A quick look for MOSFETs on google shopping will show you that they come in all sorts of sizes, in terms of their rated current. Some can handle 0.5A whilst others will handle 50A. So in order to say whether more MOSFETs are better, one would need to establish whether they were the same type of MOSFET, when comparing 2 controllers.

3 - 6, 9 or 12 MOSFETs

When looking at a controller from the same manufacturer say Crystalyte you can see that there controllers have more MOSFETs relative to the current they can handle. Their 15 Amp controller has 6 MOSFETs, whilsts their 25 Amp has 12 MOSFETs.

4 - Conclusions

If you are comparing EBike controllers from the same manufacturer then there is a chance that their 6 MOSFET controller will handle half the current of their 12 MOSFET controller. But this presumes the same MOSFETs are used in each.

So really the number of MOSFETs is not really important, concentrate instead on whether the controller receives good reviews, and pick the correct Amperage for you intended application.

For more advanced users some controllers can be programmed so say a 40A contoller with say 12 MOSFETs can be used to provide a maximum of 10A. This would possibly provide a benefit in terms reducing over heating, but using a high Amperage controller, when you do not need the amps, and have no means of controlling them may damage your motor.

Energy Strategy

Property Investment Company London 

Custom Lithium Battery

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Choosing a EBike Headlight

Choosing a EBike Headlight

Choosing a EBike Headlight - Intro

EBike have variable voltages 12 volts, 36 volts, 48 volts . . . . .and more exotic. So you would think that finding a headlight would be tricky, but with some very simple wiring and a few bits from EBay there are tons of ways to get a great headlight on your EBike.

LEDs are the light of choice as the use the least energy.

Very Bright - Can be Dangerous Dazzling Other Road Users

Choosing a EBike Headlight - A "Universal" Light

If you have deep pockets Busch and Muller make a EBike Headlight that takes 24v - 50v it is that easy. Just connect it up and away you go. But these lights cost £50 / $80 upwards so pretty steep.

However if you look hard on ebay you can find a Chinese equivalent for £5 / $8. There is no set term for these lights but try "universal scooter head lamp" or "universal ebike headlight".

NOTE: One important difference between a high quality Busch and Muller lights and the cheapo chinese versions is that the Busch and Muller Ebike lights have an excellent beam pattern, that is to say 95% of the light goes on the road ahead, and not up in to the sky, or in to oncoming drivers eyes. An 80 Lux Busch and Muller light will draw 3W and yet provides so much light on the road it compares to a 15W light that splashes light all over the place.

Choosing a EBike Headlight - 12V Lights

By far the most popular volatge for lamps and headlights (of any type) is 12V, this is because cars and 4x4s etc. use a 12V system, so there are plenty to choose from trying searching for "12V LED work lamp" and you will see for off road use there are some amazingly bright lights that will run off 12V.

I would not recommend any thing more powerful than 3W for on road use, as you will dazzle oncoming drivers. Of course you could set up a big headlight for off road, and a smaller headlight for onroad use.

But the problem remains that you have a 24, 36 or 48 volt battery, and a 12 v headlight, so you need to provide a 12 volts supply. . .  .

Choosing a EBike Headlight - Supplying 12V 

These lights do not use a great deal of energy especially is you keep under 5W, they will run for 12 hours on a 12 ah battery.

Choice 1 - Separate Battery

Although this complicates charging it also means that you will not be taking power from your main battery. You could choose a 12V SLA battery and charge with a cheap charger, or there are lithium 12v offering that although expensive do not require constant charging as they do not self discharge.

The choices (2 and 3)  below without spending a lot of money are limited to about 1amp current, which means another advantage of a separate battery is that  you can run very powerful lights.

Choice 2 - Variable Voltage Regulator

This a great choice, you connect you main battery (24v, 36v , 48v) one side and adjust the voltage to required which could be 12v or 6v if you wanted to re-use some older dynamo lights. You can choose. Most of the cheaper regulators are limited to around 1amp current of a 10W (at 12V) LED headlight.

Choice 3 - Buck Converter

A buck converter will drop a set voltage say 36V to 12V so you can run your headlights, this is probably the easiest option. Make sure you choose the right volatge, most reasonably priced buck converter will kick out about 1 amp so you are limited to about a 10W headlight.

Illustrator Devon

Thursday, 3 November 2016

TerraCycle Chain Idler and Chain Tube Guide

TerraCycle Chain Idler and Chain Tube Guide - Intro

I think these chain idlers and chain tubes are mostly used on recumbent cycles, but there is also a benefit to using these on any bike where there is a long run of chain, such as long tail cargo bikes or longtail cargo ebikes.

In fact the latter of these two alternate options is where I am using the TerraCyle idlers and chain tube.
My Bike - Nicer Pictures to Follow

TerraCycle Chain Idler and Chain Tube Guide - Idlers Explained

Idlers are a sprocket which can run on bearing or bushing and provide a mid point upon which the chain may be guided. TerraCycle do two types of idler, one for loaded (power) chain i.e, going towards the pedals under tension, and one for unloaded (return) chain going away from pedals which is normally slack and floppy.

The loaded idlers are toothed, and come with alloy or titanium sprockets, and the unloaded variant come with no teeth.

The mounting brackets for these idlers typically incorporate some sort of lateral slider, so the the idler can move from side to side, but not up and down.

You can buy the idlers separately or buy a kit. The idler will run on a shaft and this shaft is clamped to the bicycle frame. There are a limited number of clamp sizes available. Below nice images courtesy of TerraCycle, terrible blurred scruffy images below courtesy of me.
Note Shaft for Lateral Movement

Loaded chain run over the top of idler. 

TerraCycle Chain Idler and Chain Tube Guide - Chain Tube Explained

The chain tube is used to stop the unloaded chain flopping about during its trip to the rear sprocket. I have often seen these on bike and thought how terrible they are, but in fact they work really well, even on loaded chain, provided the chain does not exit or enter at a steep angle.

Chain Tube
Some very long tails use very long lengths of chain tube. . .

Mega Chain Tube

TerraCycle Chain Idler and Chain Tube Guide - My Setup

So as mentioned I used these on a longtail ebike, I want to introduce a triple chainring up front but I had to divert the chain under the rear foot plates.

Chain Idler used to direct chain under foot plate. 
Through no fault of the idler kit the gearing did not work out, (running 5/6/7 speed chain on a single speed rear sprocket is not pretty or quiet), so I opted for a larger front chainring, optimised to match speed of front hub motor. It is a really good option, and I can use the idler to tension the chain if required.

As above but different angle.
The kit I purchased (for Xtracycle Freeradical) also included a chain tube, which I used to stop the chain slapping against the lower rear chain stay.

Chain Tube - Way better than it looks.
One of the most important things for me is that the idler and tube both run quietly, there is little in any rubbing noises, which I have experienced on say after market chain tensioners in the past.

Most of the attaching for the chain tube is down with zip ties, which means that clamp sizes (as is the case with idlers) do not have to be worried about.

TerraCycle Chain Idler and Chain Tube Guide - Conclusion

Chain tubes are a very easy way to introduce some form of chain management to your bicycle / tricycle / quadracycle, they can be attached with zip ties and simple brackets. 

Idlers are trickier to fit, but if you can buy a kit to fit you model of bike then it should be a doddle. 

They really do make for a quieter and more pleasant ride. 

Eclat Ridgestone Traction Tire Review

Eclat Ridgestone Traction Tire Review - Intro

This is a BMX tire, with trendy marketing etc. But will fit most wide etro 406 rims (i.e. 20"). I was looking for a 20" tire to use on a cargo bike, which has . . .

  • Semi -Slick Tread
  • High Pressure Rating
  • High Load Rating
  • Very Wide
. . .and this tire seemed to tick all of the boxes, I would have liked some schwalbe type puncture protection, but I put some slime in the tubes instead. Plus these were £10 each on ebay, so pretty cheap. They are available in three widths from 2.2 to 2.4 inches. 

Eclat Ridgestone Traction Tire Review - Description

The Eclat Ridgestone Traction tire is a slightly nobbly version of the Ridgestone Slick tire. Whilst the ridgestone slick has a smooth center tread, the ridgestone traction has slight steps on the center ridge, allowing for perhaps a little more traction. Although the difference would be slight.

Ridgestone Slick (Left) vs Ridgestone Traction (Right)

The side wall tread of traction is significantly more knobbly than the slick variant, with enlarged lugs, and more aggressive tread off centre of the central ridge. 


Eclat Ridgestone Traction Tire Review - Build

The tires are very sticky rubber, so will probably wear quickly if used for commuting, i.e. high milage use. These tires has a very high TPI at 120, a quality touring tire such as the big apple from schwalbe would use a 67 TPI carcass so why such a high TPI?

Sheldon Brown links a high TPI tire to a thin wall, but these are fairly heavy tires. but one would assume this is for greater flexibility and thus lower rolling resistance. 

These tires are rated for 100psi, I doubt I will ever run them at that pressure. But it gives an indication of their quality. I have carried close to 200kg (including bike) on these tires. 

Used for EBike on this Occasion

Eclat Ridgestone Traction Tire Review - In Use

If you are using these on a BMX then perhaps it is time for you to tune out. As I am using these on a longtail cargo ebike, which will never do a jump or a bunny hop in its life. 

There is tire hum on the tarmac when in use owing to the slight knobbles on the centre ridge. I swapped these after using Schwalbe Jumpin Jacks for a while, but they just munch the battery being so knobbly (this would translate to leg ache on a normal bike). The eclat ridgestone traction tire role very nicely on tarmac.

On rough stuff these are grippy as you would expect. In heavy clay they struggle of course, but the advantage is that the shallow tread clears easily once you get back up to speed. 

These tires are not very puncture proof, a set of Schwalbe Dirty Harrys would be a cheap alternative to these, with better puncture protection, but these would not role as well, nor are they as grippy. 

I have been riding these through the hedge trimming season, in the UK with roads littered with thorns, and have unsurprisingly suffered numerous punctures, I am running tire sealant (in tubes) and this has stopped the tires deflating on most occasions but there is white sealant visible in numerous places on the outside of the tire. I have puncture during the "thorn" season with other kevlar or better tires, so this is not really a sign of weakness. 

Eclat Ridgestone Traction Tire Review - Conclusion

A performance grade tire, that is well suited for use on heavy duty cargo bikes, although its lack of a puncture protection belt is a slight draw back this can be easily got around by using tire sealant

Saturday, 29 October 2016

DIY Cordless Flood Light

DIY Cordless Flood Light - Intro

It is important to realise that you can buy a cordless flood light on ebay or similar for £20, and making the below described flood light will cost probably £40 or £60.

BUT . . . . if you make it you can repair it. All of the bits are stand alone parts that can be purchased if they go wrong. This is particularly true of the battery, sealed lead acid batteries that are normally used have a short life span, and in a few months you floodlight may stop working, at which point you can replace the battery easily in your DIY model.

Sturdy, Dependable and Very Repairable

DIY Cordless Flood Light - Bits

List of bits required with description of each needed for constructing DIY cordless flood light.


A lithium battery LIfePo4 being the best bet as it is light and will last for maybe 500 - 1000  charge cycles. But one of these with built in BMS at 12v will cost £70 (EV Power) and so it rather expensive.

I had a sealed lead acid battery left over from a project and so I used this, it is 22ah capacity which will give the large flood light 3 hours run time (9 ah used), as you should not discharge a lead acid battery past 50% regularly.

Basic Wiring

Really choose the battery first based on how long you want to run you flood light between charges.

For example if you wanted your flood light to last the whole working day of 10 hrs, you would need to use a less powerful light say 10w, which would equate to 1A of current, a 22ah lead acid battery run down to 50% would provide 12 hours of light.


Many will already have a 12v charger that is used for your car battery, and in most cases this will be OK to use.

If not head to ebay and but a suitable charger a small inexpensive charger will deliver 1.0 - 1.5 amps of charge. So will charge a large battery over night.

Crocodile clips can be clipped directly on terminals, or you can fashion a plug and socket as described below, so as to avoid opening your case every time you charge.


For my plug and socket I purchase a " male and female kettle lead" I then chopped this in half, and used the end to connect the charger to the battery, drilling a hole in case to pass the wire through.


An ammo box is ideal. An ex. military one is cheap enough around £10 on ebay. They are very tough and will last a life time. Make sure it is big enough for your battery.


A toggle switch of around 3A rating will be OK, but for size and robustness you may prefer to opt for a 10A variant.


Rather unglamorous, but something to pack around you battery to stop it shaking around inside the casing is important. Some stiff foam would be ideal or at a pinch bubble wrap or similar packed around the the battery.

DIY Cordless Flood Light - Tools

  • Drill
  • Drill Bits
  • Soldering Iron & Solder or Wire Crimps

DIY Cordless Flood Light - How its Done

Drill all the whole required to pass the wires to the battery via the switch, solder it all together. And that's pretty much it. It is very basic electronics just check your polarity before you connect anything up. 

The charge lead is live all the time so use a male end of the kettle lead to prevent exposed connectors. 

The toggle switch can break the negative of positive to the light. 

Place toggle switch so it does not foul battery when closing lid. 

Leave charge lead long to it hangs down, this prevent water running in to hole. 

Friday, 30 September 2016

Cycling in a Vacoped Boot

Cycling in a VacOped Boot - Intro

This relates to an Achilles Tendon Rupture.

Marooned. Stuck for 2 weeks without any form of transport. And then you are fitted with your VacOped Boot. Dimensions for VacoPed Boot. If it is your right foot then you will still not be able to legally drive. . .BUT. . . you can cycle.

On fitting you boot you might ask you Physiotherapist what you can and cannot do. But my physiotherapist told me "no one has had their achilles re-rupture whilst wearing a vacoped boot".

Green light! Although there are a few physical constraints / problems to overcome. . . .

Cycling in a VacOped Boot - Caution

Obviously I am fairly stupid to be doing this. So do not copy me.

If you have been in plaster for a few weeks, prior to being fitted with a boot, then your legs muscles have probably wasted, and cycling even a short distance can cause cramps and pains in the affected leg. Wait 3, 4 5 days before you try to cycle, so you muscles get used to walking around a bit first.

Cycling in a VacOped Boot - Pedals

Toe Clips and Clipless pedals are not going to be possible. As the boot is huge. But if you get hold of some wide pedals, then you will be able to cycle fairly well. I am not talking about competition level, but you can get about.

Even a Wide Pedal is Narrow Compared with The VacoPed Boot Sole

The 15 - 30 degree wedge sole that comes with the vacoped boot is a bit awkward to cycle in as it has a  channel running up the middle, but if you buy the rain cover, this bridges that gap and provides a little bit of support.

Buy some pedals that are wide, with spiky grippy bits on. These dig in to the sole of boot, and stop in slipping off. The boot will not fully fit on the pedal so it is important that the pedal is grippy.

When you migrate to you flat sole, I guess cycling will become even easier.

Cycling in a VacOped Boot - The Bike

All my bikes are sensible upright affairs but if you have a very sporty bike with low handle bars this may make things a bit uncomfy. The leg with the VacoPed boot on it will be longer than usual, and so it comes up closer to your chest than usual. It you have low handle bars will this cause problems. . . I don't know, but something to consider. 

If you live in a hilly area, you may wish to lower your gearing. I have found that a 32 tooth ring up front with a 34 tooth ring at the back will get me up most of hills around where I live even with a wasted right leg. Normal mountain bike gearing should be fine. 

Cycling in a VacOped Boot - Conclusion

It sucks sitting around waiting for your leg to fix, particularly if you enjoy the outdoors. I can't walk very far, but on my bike I can do a few miles and it keeps me sane. 

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Fixing Boot Problems - After GRUB, Linux or Partition

Fixing Boot Problems - After GRUB, Linux or Partition - Intro

If you have been using some kind of multi OS boot loader on you computer and then decide to go back to a single OS you could run in to problems with booting your computer.

If you are migrating from a Linux type boot loader then start at step 1. If you have only been using windows then skip to Step 2.

Fixing Boot Problems - After GRUB, Linux or Partition - Step 1

The first thing to check is that your your disk is "flagged" a a boot drive. The easiest way to do this is to boot a copy of puppy linux from a live CD, and run "gparted". Once you are at the puppy linux desktop choose:

Menu > System > GParted Partition Manager

  1. Select the Drive with Windows (sda internal drive for example)
  2. Click OKAY button.
  3. Right Click on the Windows Partition
  4. Select "Manage Flags"
  5. Check the "Boot" check box.
  6. "Close" the check box screen
  7. Shutdown system
At this point remove the puppy linux live CD and try to reboot. This may work on its own. If not proceed to Step 2

Fixing Boot Problems - After GRUB, Linux or Partition - Step2

Next we need to fire up the recovery console, which is done by booting from your relavnet operating system CD / DVD.

For XP
  1. Boot from CD
  2. Choose to Repair Console. At command prompt. . .
  3. Type "fixmbr" press enter, confirm prompts.
  4. Type "fixboot" press enter.
  5.  Type "exit"
For Windows 7, 8 and 10

  1. Boot From CD
  2. Run Start Up Repair
or . . .  .

  1. Boot from CD
  2. Run Reocvery from Command Prompt
  3. Type "cd\" to change directory to hard drive. Enter
  4. Type "bootrec"
  5. Choose a switch such as /fixboot or /fixmbr e.g. bootrec /fixmbr
  6. You can also "rebuidlbcd"
After try all of the aaove if you still can't boot properly . . .

Fixing Boot Problems - After GRUB, Linux or Partition - Step 3

A full repair i.e. copying over you windows install. 

For XP this is:

  1. Boot from CD
  2. Press Enter to "Setup XP"
  3. Press "r" to repair.
This will look like you are doing a fresh install, but really you will be re-installing over the existing OS so much should be the same.

 Please post any comments below. .  .

 Sustainability Consultants Bristol

Setting Up a Canon Network Printer on Linux

Setting Up a Canon Network Printer on Linux (Debian) - Intro

Whilst I am in love with the idea of a free OS, and a bundle of apps to go with it, I do require an OS to function fully. I have found that if you have Canon printers, you can spend hours (8 or 9 hours) trying to get the printers configured, with no success.

This is no doubt the fault of Canon, but in short if you intend to use Linux with a Canon Network Printer you are in for a battle. Particularly if you are new to linux.

I have tried to get things to work using Lubuntu (Ubuntu light)  & Puppy Linux (Slacko). I found the OS's to be feature rich, and snappy (especially puppy), but I will be reverting to windows owing to lack of print ability.

Linux Versions Tried

  • Puppy Linux - Slacko
  • Lubuntu - Version 14

  • LBP6300n
  • LBP7100n

Setting Up a Canon Network Printer on Linux (Debian) -What is Involved

I did not get my printer to work. Here is a list of the things I tried. In order to start the install process you will need the IP address of the printer, which is hopefully static. You can get this by logging in to your router and looking under attached devices or similar.

  • Installing a large variety of "generic" print drivers included in the driver data base included within each OS.
  • Downloading Drivers from HP and try both auto and manual install procedures.
  • Adding in numerous services / packages at the console (similar to command prompt in windows).
  • Copy and paste missing files in to root directory using root privileges at command prompt.
So in short you are looking at copy and paste of quite a bit of code, hours of web research, and likely no success.

Like I say most things I can do computer wise but I have fallen flat on this one.

Setting Up a Canon Network Printer on Linux - Process as Tested

So first download and extract (right click on downloaded driver file), and put the files in a new directory to keep things tidy. Then you can look for ppd files, which are buried 7 levels down in a single folder. Or search from within console (Ctrl+Alt+T).

Press "/" and enter to get the ">" sign up and then type or copy in:

locate *.ppd

You can then use this ppd, when prompted for in the printer install utility. After you have done this, in may case I was told I needed to find a missing file:

"Printer 'Canon-LBP6300-CAPT' requires the '/usr/lib/cups/filter/pstocapt3' program but it is not currently installed.  Please install it before using this printer."

So back in console. . .  .

locate pstocapt3

it will tell you where the file is and the copy it in too the director that the printer package tells you to

for example:

Idle - File "/usr/lib/cups/filter/pstocapt3" not available: No such file or directory.

You can not just paste a file in to the OS section, you will need "root" privalages, so you need to type.

sudo pcmanfm 

In order to open the file manager with root privileges to copy files over. In Ubuntu (rather than Lubuntu) I believe Nautilus is the file manager.

So then the problem persists and nothing prints still, and this was where I bowed out.

I hope you have better luck, or Canon make things easier somehow, I have heard that HP printers set up a lot easier.

Sustainability Consultants Bristol

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A List of Wide Bicycle & Bike Pedals

A List of Wide Bicycle & Bike Pedals  - Intro

Could not find a list like this anywhere else. Please post a link to another list in comments if you have come across one.

A List of Wide Bicycle & Bike Pedals  - The List

Pedal Width (mm)
Shimano Saint MX80  96
Nukeproof Electron Evo  98
DMRV12 95
Race Face mega bucks 104
DMR Vault 115

DMR Brendog  115
Wellgo MG1  (100mm!)114
Wellgo Mg 2 112
Wellgo MG3 111

Also . . . .  .

VP Harrier                                          118 (Thanks to Matt Campbell)

A List of Wide Bicycle & Bike Pedals  - Conclusions

What ever you reasons you are looking at DMR Vaults or WVP Harriers. The widths of the above are measured in a deceiving way with the wellgo M1s (apparently similar widths to DMR Vaults) being on 100mmm widest platform size, as they include part of the axle in the measurement! SO check what the platform with is, if that is what you actually want. 

VACOped Boot Dimensions

VACOped Boot Dimensions - Intro

It is hard to find dimensions for these boots on line. They are a cast alternative for the treatment of orthopedic injuries.

The VACOped Boot

VACOped Boot Dimensions - Table

Please scroll down as the table is a bit too wide. . . .

Shoe Size US  M 5-8 | W 6.5-9.5 M 8-11 | W 9.5-13 M 11+ | W 13+
Length Positions (Min/Mid/Max) 9.3" / 9.7" / 10.1" 10.4" / 10.8" / 11.2" 11.3" / 11.7" / 12.2"
Foot Width 4.1" (104 mm) 4.7" (119 mm) 5.3" (134 mm)
Ankle Circumference 5.5-11" 8-16" 12-18"
Calf Circumference 9-15" 13.5-20" 15-23"

VACOped Boot Dimensions - Other

I hope you fin these useful for me I wanted to know the the widths, so i could find out whether I could cycle with this thing on my foot.

All the best. And happy recovery.

Environmental Permit Applications  

Friday, 2 September 2016

Tandems and Cargo Bikes on Car Bike Racks - UK

Tandems and Cargo Bikes on Car Bike Racks - UK

Can you put a long bicycle such as a tandem or cargo bike on the rear of the car in the UK?

Well apart from lots of sites telling your to get a light board, you will find scant information of wide loads that stick out of the side of the car / van etc.

Plenty of sources advise on lawful requirement of light boards.

But what about the width? Is this (below) OK?

This is just about OK although handle bars should be turned in line with wheels. 
Yes. Just.

Over 305mm projection on either side of the vehicle requires:

• Two clear working days notice to Police (C&U schedule 12, para 4)
• Marker boards front and rear (C&U Schedule 12, para 3)
• Additional lights required during hours of darkness or poor visibility.

The lateral projection (sideways sticky out-ness) is measured from the widest part of the vehicle proper and does not include the mirrors.

So the wider the car you have the wider the bike you can put on the back. The above rule change again once you reach an overall width of 2.9m.

Marker boards and an email to the police will be required if you want to go over this 305mm protrusion on either side. This is not such a big hassle.


Environmental Consultants London

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Cycle Holiday in Île de Ré, France Charente Maritime France

Cycle Holiday in Île de Ré, France Charente Maritime France - Intro

We did not go to Île de Ré for a cycling holiday, but that is pretty much what it turned into straight away owing to the flat ground and excellent traffic free cycle ways that crisscross the island.

Car Free Paths CrissCross the Island

Rides can be done fairly easily with a yougish family. With kids as young as 8 completing the various trips on their own bike, younger than this and you will need some way of carrying them on longer trips. Ditch the car and enjoy two wheels, we did not touch our car for the whole stay!

Cycle Holiday in Île de Ré, France Charente Maritime France - Where to Stay

To explore the whole island with bikes a central position is advisable. By chance we stayed in Bois-Plage en Re, but Saint Martin de Re would suite as well. This will enable trips to other settlements and exploration of the salt pans at the westerly end of the island.

The Quiet Streets of Bois Plage en Re

Saint Martin de Re is the premium location in which to stay, and it is easy to see why at is has an interesting historic fortified port, which gives it bags of character.

Loix is an altogether quieter settlement as is Bois Plage. La Flotte is again a bit busier.

Cycle Holiday in Île de Ré, France Charente Maritime France - Bike Hire

To hire a bicycle will cost around 50 euros a week, and bike trailer to carry 2 kids will cost 50 euros a week also, so it is quite easy to spend a lot of money on bike hire.

You may consider taking your own bicycles, but this also presents problems, as roof mounted carriers lower fuel efficiency and over a 1000 mile round trip from the UK, this can add up. We normally get 600 miles to a tankful of fuel, but got 400 on our trip, with roof box and bikes on top of the car. So based on 3 tanks, the extra spend was around £60.

Taking you own bikes may not be cheaper.

Another consideration is the additional costs of the ferry with a £30 additional charge payable each way for "tall" roof loads. A trailer would create similar surcharges.

Travelling by plane, would likely create extra charges, and lots of faff, so the 50 euros per week starts to look better all of the time.

Cycle Holiday in Île de Ré, France Charente Maritime France - Routes

Routs to the north west of the island are a little long for smaller riders. Although there is a strong wind that blows from west to east across the island, which makes return journeys very easy if you are sited in the east of the island.

Routes to the North West
The easiest routes are between Bois Plage and Saint Martin, which are pancake flat, and largely car free cycle way.

Routes to the South East

Cycle Holiday in Île de Ré, France Charente Maritime France - Conclusions

Cycling effortlessly through vineyards and along coastal paths, was a great feeling, and really added to the holiday as a whole. With the flat ground and car free paths, it was great to see ours kids cycling around in confidence covering considerable distances provided they were topped up with ice cream now and then.

Pancake Flat - Easy Riding

I a relaxed day you can cycle to 2 settlements taking lunch, drinking wine with meals, visit the beach, and then stop for evening oysters and chilled white wine, all by using pedal power. It is a great way to spend a week or two.

Sunlight and Daylight Assessment 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Busch & Muller Handlebar Bracket - Review & Setup

Busch & Muller Handlebar Bracket - Review & Setup - Intro

Nearly all dynamo lamps come with a bracket to mount the headlamp to your fork crown, and for many this is the ideal place to put the headlamp, as it is out of the way of the cables that run down from the handle bars, and leaves more space for control and cockpit gizmos, such as phone holders etc.

The bracket allows for you to mount the lamp above or below the level of the handle bar. 

Busch & Muller Handlebar Bracket - Review & Setup - Why?

So why if you have a nice stainless steel fork crown mounting bracket do you need a handlebar mount bracket? I suppose there are three reasons, which I can think of.

1 - Front Rack - If you are touring and have a full sized front rack, this may occupy the crown mount point. So you may have to attached you dynamo lamp elsewhere.

2 - Suspension Forks - Many of the better suspension forks on the market do not have a crown mounting point. Although you can buy specific mounting brackets for suspension fork crowns.

3 - Mud - This is my reason. Even with mudguards when travelling at speed mud will flick (blow) back on to the lens of the lamp, on country roads this can mean stopping to clean the lense every 2 or 3 miles. Eventually you will end up scratching the lense.

Busch & Muller Handlebar Bracket - Review & Setup - Review

This is the most money I have ever paid for a small piece of plastic. But I have been thinking about getting one of these for years on and off. The bracket itself is of high quality and is easy to attach to the bike.

In use the light is coming from a high angle . . I am not sure if this changes anything in terms of lighting quality, but it may help visibility, as a be-seen light source it may catch drivers attention better. . .not sure on that one.

When riding off road I have often had near misses from low branches etc. as the Busch and mUller light are so good at keeping all of the light on the road / trail / track. With the light positioned higher on the bikes, this may help spot those low branches, before it is too late.

As a potential negative point you may loose (as demonstrated in the hopelessly inaccurate diagram above) some near field lighting. The more moreful the light you are fitting the less noticeable the effect will be, as a power light pointing far in to the distance will have to changed in angle less as it is raised upwards. . . I think.

Busch & Muller Handlebar Bracket - Review & Setup - Fitting

My bike has a very long stem so I have to extend the wires so it would reach. The bracket is well thought out, and even on a very wide stem it enable you to line of the lamp, in a good central position. The bracket has a advantage over the standard crown mount, as you can adjust the angle of the light in virtually every dimension. This is largely due to the washers provided which are the same as the ones that you find on v brake pad to allow for angle adjustment.

As with most lights you will need to go for ride in the dark to get them dialled in properly, venture forth in to the night taking with you the correct size allen key. . .

If you have a Tall Stem / Headtube, you may need to Lengthen you wires. 

Even with a very wide stem, it is possible to get the light bang in the center.

Busch & Muller Handlebar Bracket - Review & Setup - Conclusion

Expensive for what it is.

Is very well worth it (and you're only choice) to fix some of the above mentioned problems.

Desktop Study
Flood Risk

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

LBP7100Cn LBP7100Cn Power Saving / Sleep Mode / Auto Shutdown

LBP7100Cn  LBP7100Cn Power Saving / Sleep Mode / Auto Shutdown

The below instructions can be found at the following link:

LBP7100Cn  LBP7100Cn Power Saving / Sleep Mode / Auto Shutdown

I had assumed with was a power saving mode on the LBP7100Cn  LBP7100Cn which of course it does save power, but could not find how to turn it off.

Canon call this feature "sleep" or "auto shutdown" rather than power saving mode both of which you can turn off from the below menu. .

This is a must if your printer is on a network remote from where most of the users are.

Environmental Permit Applications  

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Brooks B135 Saddle Review

Brooks B135 Saddle Review  - Intro

I have been sitting on a Brooks B67 for 4 or 5 years now and it has been very very comfy. But one of the rails broke the other day, and whilst I can get a spare and will do, it also happened to be my birthday at the time, so I bought a B135 as a present. . . for me.

Wide, Chunky and Weird Looking . . 

Brooks B135 Saddle Review  - Overview

The B135 is a chunky saddle, it is the second most chunky saddle that brooks make after the B190, which is massive. The B135 has pretty much the same top as the B67, that I also have. But is has some other extras which I was attracted too.

  • More Springs
  • Double Rails
More springs, may add to complexity, but I think it is worth the cost. The main reason for choosing this saddle is the double rails which make it strong. I am quite heavy and I ride off road, often smashing down on the saddle in the process. Hopefully this double rail B135 will not break like the B67 did. 

Double Rails - Stronger than Single Rail?

Brooks B135 Saddle Review  - Appearance

This saddle might look a bit weird on bikes that are themselves not "alternative", too mount this a race bike, or a trendy mountain bike. . .  you could do it of course but would it look OK?

Springs Galore!

The saddle looks old school. But it also looks pretty awesome on the right bike. I do not have the right bike, but I care little for appearance.

Brooks B135 Saddle Review  - Comfort


A Very Wide Saddle. Great to sit on. 

Brooks B135 Saddle Review  - Proofhide

The sdalle comes with a tiny little sachet of Proofhide, which is a tallow (beef fat) based leather treatment, this will just about cover the underside of the saddle. But really you will need to buy a tin, I used half of one 40g tin to do a proper job of treating this saddle. My B67 was "fed" on vegetable oil (olive oil, rapeseed) and seems to be OK, but I thought I would give the proper stuff a go this time.

Lard and vegetable oil mixed together might be a good move? . . . 

Brooks B135 Saddle Review - Fitting

This is where thing are not so good. Double rails will require the use of the supplied clamp, which fits on an plane seat post, or the use of a breeze double rail convertor. 

Do not waste you time with the clamp that is supplied, it is terrible quality. The nuts used to clamp the bracket to the seat post have to be done up very tightly, you will need a socket set or ring spanner to apply sufficient force. When tightening the washers will bend, causing the nuts to bite in to the washers, which makes the job even more difficult.

Thin Washers on Clamp - Not Good

There is also the problem of positioning. Most micro adjust seatposts have a rearward offset of around 20 - 25mm but used on a plane post, with the supplied bracket you do not get this. This result is a saddle that is set to far forward (for me - may be OK for you). I have ordered a breeze double rail adaptor, so hopefully that will rectify this problem. 

Also (yes there is more) after tightening the nuts on the supplied bracket, the bolt sticks out, and when you straighten your leg whilst in the saddle, it pokes in to your  thigh. Nice. 

Brooks B135 Saddle Review - Conclusion

A lovely saddle that is let down by the poor quality clamp that is supplied. 

Brooks B135 Saddle Review - More Pictures

Cool curly spring at nose. 

2 lots of springs at rear. 

Note Tensioning Screw

Chrome Rails