Tuesday, July 26, 2005

00061 Charge!

Home made charger for home made rechargeable battery pack
previous page on the rig design

The last piece of the geeky jigsaw has come together. I just finished the charger circuit, which lowers the current to a suitable level for charging the home-made battery packs. And it works!

The next thing will be to put it all together - I've glued the doorbell circuit to the timer circuit and bolted them both to the rig. Next up I'll probably reinforce the rig which will also give me a place to attach the battery pack.

When this is all over I'll be off on the next project in the continuing battle to prove that I have too much time on my hands - if you hadn't guessed yet, I'm winning and opposition is proving minimal.

And the next project is ... the kite messenger.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

00060 Rig five - work in progress

Rig five - work in progress

previous page on the rig design

Geeking out badly now.

After several iterations I've built the timer circuit to work with the wireless doorbell, which I'm sure will give me around 18 seconds of continuous shooting from the Optio.

James Gentles has been fantastic, answering all my questions about the electronics, however stupid. He also mentioned that I could save weight if I bought tagged 2/3 size rechargeable Ni-Mh AAA batteries - so I did that knowing full well that I'd have to build a battery charging circuit to recharge the packs that I'm soldering together. All that means that from an electronics point of view, I'm flying blind. I mean what the f"&%* are all these components doing? And why are they all minutely different from the ones I used in other circuits? I have a vague idea, but I feel like an old lady with foggy specs and a valium overload being guided across a busy road.
... well, probably something like that.

Anyway it's all coming together and I'm really tempted to find out when they'll be surf kayaking in offshore winds or if the horses are going for a swim on Vazon soon. Ooooo the possibilities are ... well the possibilities are fairly trivial, but, man, that's my tune.

next page of the rig design

Monday, July 18, 2005

00059 New rig

12 second timer
12 second timer,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
My new KAP rig is coming together slowly. This is a really tiny circuit designed by James Gentles. It's going to work with the wireless doorbell sent to me by Peter Bults. The idea is that I want to capture dynamic images, but that means taking pictures in quick succession. Even with the 1Gig SD card I bought for my Pentax Optio I will only get 10 minutes max if I jam the shutter button and loft the KAP rig. So this number is going to allow me to trigger a continuous burst of shots from the doorbell (tiny thing), which will last for about 12 or 24 seconds (depending on how many capacitors I add to the circuit).

I should point out that I know very very little about electronics, but bugger me - it works!

Upside: It's miles cheaper that a radio control system, and the transmitter and receiver are minute meaning you can still KAP in low winds and it's a doddle to transport anywhere.

Downside: It's got a range of 80 meters - but I reckon it's plenty.

The motivation for this was to capture images of Chris Harvey, a surf kayaker who I understand is ranked No.2 in the UK. He seems up for it, least I can do is try to make a rig to do the job.

More really fascinating images to follow (if this kind of thing flicks your switch). This is based on a set up by Peter Bults, using the wireless doorbell - although his rig takes one image at a time. Like Peter, I'll be using a Gentled, this particular one is an intervalometer with a low firing interval - man, that James Gentles is good, what a product!

next page of the rig design

00058 Beaches

Beach football - half time
Beach football - half time,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
This last week we have mostly been visiting beaches.

We've been at Petit Bot with the kids and occasionally friends and kayaks. The sit-on-top is proving to be money well spent and we're swapping between playing with the kids and exploring the gulleys and bays.

Thursday was a rush from beach to beach ending at Vazon where I got this undynamic photo of half-time at the Langlois/Jarrald's beach footie match. They all looked well serious about their game, so I just stuck up the Genki and ran up the beach to get the height to take the picture - but naturally, as soon as the rig was up, they called half-time. Bastards.
To make matters worse (ooooh my life is sooooo hard) as we packed up, a couple of horses (and riders) pitched up and went swimming in the glassy sea against the perfect sunset backdrop. Man that would have been the KAP shot.

No wind to speak of this week so the Mauricio Pro and the Kites are all staying in the garage. Bummer.

Friday, July 08, 2005

00057 Packed day

Sabre 1690
Sabre 1690,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
Ok so it started with a sedate coffee morning, but then I decided to head out to Ladies Bay to see if the wind was up. Sadly not enough wind to temp the experienced kitesurfers, so not safe for me on my todd (but, man I was tempted). I called up one of the guys, Dan, and he said he wasn't into a minimal wind day, but would I like to come wakeboarding. "would I?!?!", says I. I knocked off a quick Gig of KAP shots including this one and then took the call to go to the North Beach (it's a car park with a jetty attached).
So I go there and we go out at what seems to me like breakneck speed to a couple of places to find the least choppy water. Eventually we find a place that looks barely do-able and I fail miserably to get up on my kiteboard while Dan and Simon (windsurfer) are up and away. Second time around (after getting over some wierd whiplash thing in the tendons on my forearms that they warned me would happen if I held on too long) I was up! My new Mauricio Pro and me, flying along behind a rib. Needless to say it didn't last long, but I got up again a couple of times and I'll be chomping at the bit to have another go some other time.
Strangest thing is that I'd definately rather have kitesurfed.
As I mentioned to Dan when I arrived at the Jetty, I seldom associate the word "spontaneous" with the word "wakeboard", but there they were, together at last.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

00056 Finger nails

Finger nails
Finger nails,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
On a very mundane note I have fingernails for the first time in 35 years - proof that my life must be a really relaxed affair.
A good scary film should see them gone in no time.

Monday, July 04, 2005

00055 Two kayaks and a kite

Two kayaks by the rocks
Two kayaks by the rocks,
originally uploaded by Lenny & Meriel.
Broken news - another kitesurfing outing, this time with the 11m. Tried a Wipika Maurizio Pro board and am now considering buying it off the present owner after falling in love with it. The worry was that any board that I learn on will soon become useless to me as I progress, but I got up on this one and even managed to ride "powered up" for a short spell and it looks like I'll be able to use it for years to come. It shall be mine.
In other news "Two kayaks by the rocks" just got sold to a guy called Rick (although surely where he's from is more relevant here - but I don't know where he's from so have his name in lieu)