Thursday 10 December 2015

Bike maintenance, computer maintenance.

I've ordered a replacement for the pannier that fell apart, it should arrive in a few days.

Then I pumped up the tires - that turned out to be more difficult than I expected. I have three electric pumps. Two have their own battery (they are the kind of box that is a 12 volt battery with jump starter leads, plus a lamp, plus a tire pump), the third is stand-alone.

One of the ones with its own battery is broken - it just goes "Wheee" when I use the pump. The other one with its own battery didn't work, because the battery was discharged. That's worrying, because that's the one I carry in the car as an emergency starter and tire pump. So I put it on charge.

Then I plugged the one that doesn't have a battery, into the charged battery. The pressure when quickly up to 100psi, there was a bang, and it stopped working.


I have an old battery+pump. It's so old, the battery doesn't hold a charge. I dismantled it, took out the pump, and fitted it into the battery+pump with the non-working pump. And it worked! So I used that to pump up the bike tires.

I thought of buying a replacement pump-without-battery (£7 on Ebay), but then I thought, there's no point, I have two working pump-with-batteries. One is dated 2013, the other 2014. These tend to last about three years, so I'll buy another one in 2016 (about £35 on Ebay).

Next, the bike brakes. When I was out yesterday, I was finding that stopping was a bit iffy; I was having to put my feet down to help the brakes stop the bike, and that's not good! I checked the back brakes, they looked fine, but the front brakes were worn down, so I changed the pads. And I checked the rear carrier; all the bolts are tight. The rear carrier is really important for my bike, because that's what carries the batteries, repair kit and other equipment; there's about 25 pounds of kit there. It means that when I'm 10 miles from the car and I get a problem, I can fix it on the spot.

A quick squirt of oil in the chain and suspension spring (if you don't oil that, it makes an annoying squeaking noise as you bounce along), and the bike is now ready for my next trip out.

And now the computers. The computer hosting my malware cleaner stopped working. I nudged it, and it worked again for a short time. So I examined it more closely, and saw that the wire carring the power from my remote-control relay to the Raspberry Pi was cracked, so I soldered it and now that works fine.

The other computer with a problem was one of my secure servers. It was crashing. And when I rebooted it, it worked for a while, then crashed again. I opened it up, and noticed that the hard drive was too hot to touch, and I think that's a good test; if it's too hot to touch, then it's too hot. So I put it into a cooling bracket, so that an 80mm fan is constantly blowing air over it. That keeps it nice and cool, and it hasn't crashed since.

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