Sunday, December 21, 2014

Solstice and Scooter, SS for short

I think these are both good topics to think of, the Winter Solstice and my (or any) scooter!

Winter Solstice

This is nice because it means spring, which generally leads to more abundant times, new growth, new beginnings, and all that happy stuff.  This general theme is something that is also part of The Meaning.

According to Wikipedia, this is the shortest day of the year, and also the longest night (seems to me that would've made sense anyways).  It is also the start for where daylight increases (until summer solstice).

Barbara Carrellas, author of Urban Tantra (and a few other books), sent out an e-mail wishing everyone a Happy Solstice, so am passing on the well wishes to everyone!  I've met her in person and took a couple classes from her in NYC (group setting), and she's truly the real deal.  Here are her steps on:

How to Have an Ecstatic Solstice

Stay in the present moment.
Don't try so hard.
Stay in the present moment.
Drop your expectations and your judgements.
Stay in the present moment.
Stay in the present moment.
Be conscious.
Stay in the present moment.
Practice doing all of this throughout your holidays... the present moment.

Scooter news!

While this isn't the big update I have planned, it is something which I recently had the pleasure of doing with the scooter.  It is to fix it (one more time) by replacing the battery and the starter solenoid (relay).

Spent some time at an Escapee Coop in Florida for couple weeks.  I was due to go visit parents for Pizza (YES!) and, much to my dismay, scooter wouldn't start.  Was able to crank it for a little bit but wouldn't start so kept trying until one last spurt where it just failed to do anything other than one single click.  PHOOEY.  Had to call them to come pick me up, a small letdown to my pride, but such is life.

First things first, knew battery was dying, and almost dead, so decided to first replace it.  Took a trip up to Tampa, FL for couple different reasons, with this being the top reason.  Trip was nice and they replaced the battery without a problem.  At least on this scooter, batteries seem to last about two years. Got my last battery from Cycle Gear in Tacoma, WA, as a store brand, and it came with a lifetime warranty!  Now it comes with a one year warranty and can buy second year for $5.00.  Hopefully don't use it but feel that cost is acceptable so spent $5 for a battery with two year warranty!

Got back to RV and still no joy after installing new battery.  One click and that's all it gave me, even after charging it on both a regular charger and a trickle charger.  Next came some research and debugging which led me to this post that explains how to replace the relay.  The trick is, at least on my scooter, it wasn't in the location they showed...  Here is a description, and not so good image, of what the relay looks like, new.  Mine is all old and rusty and don't have a picture.

As mentioned, problem was finding it.  According to this parts diagram (page 59, part #1), it was in the general location of the battery and it seems like was slightly above the battery at first glance.  Nothing matching that description was up there.

I then remembered hearing a clicking and feeling it someplace. Assuming that this clicking was the relay, I simply kept pressing the starter button until pinpointed it and found the offending unit.  Turns out it was right above the radiator, tucked away in a little rubber sleeve.  Getting it out was a different story, but suffice it to say, finally got it out, unhooked the wires (after disconnecting the battery).  It was very rough and tough to get out.

Headed to autoparts store (AutoZone I think) and they were unable to find a relay similar to this one.  After that headed to Tractor Supply, which they had one but not exact one I needed, though I purchased it for $21.99.  After got back and looked at post again, realized this one looked exactly like what was in the post, and they had to do the same type of retrofitting I had to do.

Right out of box
I chose to do something different, mainly due to where this would sit and length of wire had to work with, and that is to solder wires onto the relay, then plug it into the wiring harness.  I utilized wires snipped off old relay, stripped little insulation off, and broke out the soldering iron.  Once heated up it was a breeze to apply heat, apply little solder, and viola, all done!  Used a 40 watt soldering iron from Radio Shack and worked like a charm!

Soldered on other side
Next step was to install it, start scooter, and take for a test spin.  All this was done fairly quickly and effortlessly (in comparison to finding it).  The starter relay worked as advertised and had no problems hooking everything back up.

Lower part, ziptied
In these three pictures can see how I mounted it.  There's a main structural bar just behind the radiator and fan.  It is to this bar that I ziptied the relay.

In the first picture can see I bent some metal tabs where routed the zipties through.  The upper ziptie is seen fairly easily, but there's also a smaller ziptie below so it doesn't ride up and down the pipe (insert "snarky" comment here).

Picture showing whole unit installed
 Second picture shows the whole thing clearly.  At the top is where the two battery cables are connected (with 1/2 inch nut on copper studs and lockwashers).  Then are the two wires I soldered on (to activate relay from ignition switch), then the two zipties I used to secure this in place.  Pretty simple stuff in reality.

View from top
Last one is a quick view from the top.  Doesn't show much.  The round edge at bottom of the photo signifies front of the bottom gas tank.  The "ribbed" round thing in bottom left corner is the ring which holds the fuel pump in place.  Put these two references in for those who can envision where it is.

And now scooter is humming along like a champ!  This worked and am quite happy that have wheels again, other than a bicycle.

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