Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Electronics design project - Bicycle Dynamo and battery charging manager

 Changed; 23-11-2020, 25-11-2020

This electronic design exercise is an addendum to Bicycle-hub-dynamo-maintanance-project  Including USB output for speed-o-meter, battery status and cyclist dynamo loading priority controls setting how the tilt sensor is used to manage charging the battery.  These additional features require the development of a phone or tablet computer app.

1970's Eveready front light, Pifco rear light, unknown age Eveready rear light. The Eveready lamps are fitted 
with 2.7V 420mA bulbs that could be wired in series and run from the dynamo. The Pifco lamp's bulb is 2.5V 
300mA so this lamp could not be used with the dynamo without expecting bulbs to fail often. The Eveready 
lamps are clean and corrosion free inside so wires could be soldered to the brass contacts. The switches 
wired to short the lamp out in case a bulb fails so that the other lamp will operate.

 Plan for a bicycle dynamo lights and battery manager;

Microcontroller based bicycle dynamo light and battery manager with a speedometer.  Design idea and exercise with STM32 microcontroller.   With interface by USB cable for speedometer display on a tablet for example.

The dynamo will output up to 20V when the bike is ridden fast I understand.  If we assume the dynamo will deliver 300mA then the output power is 7W but we can probably count on getting at up to 5W.  In order to get the maximum power from the dynamo the current taken needs to be regulated so that voltage does not drop and the maximum power is transferred.

I also understand that modern bicycle hub-generators work from 2 MPH, produce up to 30V out and are rated 3W at 6V (0.5A).  That is 15W so you may count on up to 10W.  The firmware should include calibration of the many voltages such as a mechanism of zeroing when there is no current flowing but also quantifying the generator's maximum power transfer (the setting of maximum current of the particular generator connected) and storing these calibration constants.
  • Manage two cell NiMH battery charging using a coulomb counting method. Therefore it is best not to remove the battery's in order to maintain the battery state of charge and capacity.  Therefore use the USB port charging either direction.
  • On PCB bootloader switch for fast programming via USB port plus software debug connector.
  • Software proposed functions;
    • Switch to turn on surplus Dynamo power to the USB (out), turned off for USB to provide charging current (in)
    • Switch to turn the lights on. 
    • Red/Yellow/Green - battery charge status LED. 
    • Blue - USB connected status LED.
  • Manage maximum power transfer from a bicycle dynamo. 

Tilt sensor used to reduce the power taken from the dynamo using parameters set by the cyclist such as from a USB connected tablet computer.

LED lighting is much brighter than this but these do work in the dark if placed low down to light the curb. One should be placed high so the cyclist can be seen.  Red rear lamps are difficult to attach to the rear rack if you have panniers.

The power diagram;

Could be based on an industrial motor control system similar to that found in factories but also used to manage power from a wind turbine.  In this case without a power dump of excess power.  This circuit requires 12V peak to start so the bike needs to be moving at a good speed initially;
 AL-0036-01F Power diagram based on motor control to operate at low-frequency boost switch-mode
 using the inductance of the motor.  A voltage multiplier boosts the input voltage enough so that 
the power supplies to start up.  Most function blocks and parts are not shown and part values 
are not correct.  Expect the dynamo to whistle when running in the same way that the inverters 
and motors in a modern electric trains whistle.  The 5V and Vbatt operate as power in or out.

A dynamo power management based on an industrial motor control system but scaled-down looks promising but a solution based on standard IC type power supplies will probably be cheaper. The circuit will only work when the dynamo's output peak voltage is > 8V (6Vrms) for IC to start up. The input boost section from the dynamo should be very efficient. This solution is software-driven. Note the additional 0V screen wire connection to the Dyno-hub to minimise electrical emissions.  
 Comparison of motor driver or gate drive ICs;
  • L6201  ST 1-4A Motor drive bridge driver - 12V minimum, therefore, the dynamo would need to run at 10V AC out or the circuit would require a voltage doubler to start up from 5V AC but won't start up from 1.8-2.5V battery. Operates up to 100KHz. 
  • L6205, L6206, L6207  ST 8-52V (8-52V) 100KHz 2.8A dual bridge motor driver with various protection and current control options. These operate down to DC due to the Vboost charge pump.
  • L6225, L6226, L6227  ST 8-52V (7-52V) 100KHz 1.4A dual bridge motor driver with various protection and current control options. These operate down to DC due to the Vboost charge pump.
  • TLE9201SG Infineon 6A half-bridge motor driver - only operates to 20KHz, 8 - 28V.
  • L99MOD51XP, L99MOD54XP ST motor drive 3x half-bridge drivers 6A, 7-28V. 
  • BTN8962TA Infineon Half-Bridge motor driver - 30A, 8-18V or 5.5V-40V derated.  Maximum frequency unknown and is oversized.
  • DGD05463 Diodes Ltd. ISL6208, ISL6208B Renesas - Gate driver and discrete transistors. No significant frequency limit (500KHz) but requires more parts and is an expensive option. 
For Vbatt (1.8V - 3.5V) to 5V bidirectional - TC78H653FTG Toshiba dual half-bridge up to 2A, 1.8V - 7.5V, 500KHz.  Provides the option for a better power path with shortest paths to and from the battery.  Unfortunately, the IC can not be configured as simple half or full bridge drivers but only as a motor driver or use just use two of the four drivers.
A motor drive solution based on L6205 IC is promising but will not be pursued further but a boost input is drafted below in AL-0002-03? -04? and -05? which are simpler in software to implement. They also start-up and run at a lower bike speed.

Simplified power diagram AL-0038-01E.  This design features no large step-up or step-down voltages.  The micro-controller 
is powered directly from two rechargeable NiMh cells.  The rectified dynamo output ripple is transferred to the LEDs. 
The low voltage drop rectifier is not implemented in any of the designs below but could be implemented using two TAE1993TS or TAE1999TS synchronous rectifier controller for the low side.  For the high side a cross-coupled, bistable multivibrator using p-channel MOSFETs with gate protection would switch on alternately.   This feature would save 200mW over using a Schottky diode bridge rectifier and is not worth implementing.

An efficient solution is likely to be to use a buck-boost configuration has not been pursued but these parts have been considered A  half-bridge bidirectional 5V to Vbatt 1.8V to  3.5V but the function blocks are likely to be more costly and turn out not be so efficient.  Here are some buck-boost controllers; LM5118-Q1, LM5170, LM5174, TI, LTC3779 ADI, MAX20048 Maxim.
Generator model is not simple - The series inductance is so high but the open-circuit voltage not so high, that very little power should transfer.  Alternatively, this is an incorrect the generator model is something like a very high voltage source clamped? 

Summary of full circuit and refinements;

The diagrams below are mostly worked through but for a software assessment of there viability.  The microcontroller needs to be changed to an at least 64 pin part instead of a 48 pin part with all pins used.  Thereby allowing the crystal oscillator, where used, to have grounded pins rather than using the port pins provided.

Above some basic functions are provided but full control requires a tablet computer be connected but other settings would enhance the unit without requiring the tablet and improve  the systems water resistance.

Smiths BL/BMC Mini speedometer, odometer, 

fuel gauge with other indicator lights

  • Tilt control potentiometer or up-down buttons with graphical representation on an LCD display - the inclination of the unit and therefore the bike where the maximum power is taken from the dynamo.

    • When the battery charge is very low the inclination control will be over-ridden and the battery charged to a varying degree.   Otherwise the battery is charged at the maximum rate and if power is available a USB device can be charged or powered as well.
    • Over ride buttons to boost or minimise the power taken from the dynamo.
    • Button and LED to indicate using learnt mode where the computer has adapted the strategy to the pattern of user use.
  • Speedometer and odometer LCD display.

The final circuit options;

It took a long time to find these parts for what I wanted to do originally and the solution based on power supply ICs is good and was found more quickly.  Most of the ICs can not be configured as simple drivers instead of motor drivers.

The final is likely to be based on a high frequency, inaudible, input boost power rail but using a bridge Power factor correction and power supplies will do the job well.  The dynamo could be boosted to 7W. 
Link to CADSTAR 18 and STMCube files

List of files;
There is a spreadsheet list of files *.xls

--- Basic bicycle dynamo battery and lights manager  ---
  • AL-0002-01F Circuit and PCB's - draft.  The design should fit in under 100 x 100mm.
  • AL-0033-01E.ioc Micro-controller selector and configuration project file draft.
  • AL-0039-05B.ods  Spreadsheet resistor networks modelling.
Advantages and Disadvantages of this design; 
  • Large capacitor fitted is still not adequate to prevent the battery from needing to carry some ripple current so therefore the battery life is shorted.  A bigger capacitor could be fitted.
    • The battery current ripple can be eliminated by modulating the LED and USB output currents at 2x Dynamo output frequency.
    • The LED flicker may not be very noticeable.   The main power supply will run from 5V boost when the dynamo voltage is low (to be added to the current diagram).   The battery will provide power when the dynamo speed is very low thereby could not provide enough power and so thereby avoid flicker frequency's that are a health issue.
  • This is a simpler, efficient solution and shows the basic function.
  • This does not have a boost rail and so the operating range is not so wide and perhaps more suitable for a newer dynamo but is good for an old dynamo.

Improvements to perused and the next version has not been created;
  • AL-0002-02?
  • Use micro-controller with on chip op-amp - probably; no cost difference and no space saving but more software work.
    • Use STM32L433 because it also has VBatt monitor pin and input so that the battery protects the RTC and its voltage monitored more efficiently than a resistor network.
  • Create software driven power supplies - is likely to be more costly than adapting standard power supply ICs.
  • Use a larger microcontroller and provide more switches and LED's in order to configure  the unit better.  Controls to vary the dynamo power take depending on road conditions and cyclist fatigue, without requiring attaching another computer.

--- Software-driven boost input, can be PFC for boost supply for lower voltage operation --- PCB size under 120x100mm 4 layer components on one side. 
  • AL-0002-03F
  • The LEDs do not flicker at 2x dynamo frequency and the boost PWM approximately draws current proportionally to the output voltage or can be programmed to do that in order to maximise the power transfer.
  • To  operate high-frequency boost or with some minor modifications lower frequency using the dynamo's inductance.   Low-frequency boost (if this works) with the input capacitors be reduced in value to say 10nF and other modifications.
  • Therefore to work from a lower voltage with a slow and loose voltage regulation should be efficient.
  • AL-0033-03E STM32L052C6Tx {£3.00 1off} 48 pin, STM cube micro-controller project file.  
  • AL-0039-03B  spreadsheet models various PSU resistor networks.
  • This design and layout to be refined after software review. 
  • USB current monitoring to improve spare power control.

Advantages and disadvantages;
  • More functions of the input power supply and synchronous rectifier have been moved into a larger micro-controller. 
  • PFC function need not be implemented. A slow response loosely regulated boost is all that is required.
  • Current regulators for LED drive instead of voltage regulators to improve efficiency has not been implemented.  This is best implemented in the lamp units from the 2-3V lights output.
  • A battery isolation transistor to allow the dynamo to run the lights even if the battery has failed short circuit.   This is is not required for NiMH or NiCD battery safety and could be omitted.
  • The crystal oscillator is used to manage the coulomb counting accurately but unfortunately port pins either side of it so the oscillator may be compromised? 
  • STM32L052K {£2.93 1 off} 32pin
  • STM32L052C {£2.72 1 off} 48pin
  • STM32L072K {£2.96 1 off} 32pin
  • STM32L072C {£2.89 1 off} 48pin
  • STM32L151C {£4.04 1off} 48 pin also has two operational-amplifiers that would allow the I_Batt amplifier.  Has no USB_VDD so the VDD need to be increased to 3.3V and the battery protection transistor turned into a buck regulator or switch for battery operation.  This is likely to be more expensive.
  • STM32L433R {£4.20 1off} 64 pin and others have an operational-amplifier that would allow the I_Batt amplifier to be removed but this uC is likely to be more expensive than keeping the amplifier.  The cost and space difference is marginal. 
  • STM32L433C {£3.86 1 off} 48pin
  • STM32L552R {£4.85 ~ £5.50 1 off} 64 pins 2 op-amps. New product.
  • STM32L552C {£4.58 1 off} 48 pins 2 op-amps. New product.
  • To be refined after software review.
AL-0002-04? this variant has no advantages the cost is the same but it shows that the on micro-controller op-amp is practical although that op-amp has less margin.
  •  AL-0002-04C Circuit and PCB
  • AL-0039-04A  modelling such as resistor networks.
  • AL-0033-04B Cube MX 6.x microcontroller project file.
  • Advantages and disadvantaged;
    • Probably more costly because there are more pins to be soldered although there are fewer parts to place. 
      • Provides opportunity to add more switches and lights to configure the unit without using a USB connected computer.
    • More issues in the earlier versions have been resolved.  
      • Such as protecting the 5V tolerant I/O from voltage differentials > 3.6V to VDD.
      • Extra protection to isolate the battery is not essential because the NiMH and NiCaD type will vent if over charged.
    • This variant has a little power saving provided by switching the resistor dividers for the ADC off.
  • Use STM32F303CB {£4.04 1off} 48pin this does not have such wide voltage range low power of the STM32L series but this uC can be run at low enough power.  VDD needs to be increased to 3.3V in any case.
 Link to CADSTAR 18 and STMCube files
-- AL-0002-05 this variant uses Lithium rechargeable (LiFePo4). Uses the on micro-controller op-amp which are good enough but must be turned off when the unit is inactive to save power.
  •  AL-0002-05B   PCB and circuit.
  •  AL-0033-05B   MXcube microcontroller project.
  •  AL-0039-05A   modelling such as resistor networks.  Also lights 2 buck-boost SMP inductor.
  • Uses STM32L151C 48 pin IC and its internal oscillator. - This needs to be changed to a 64 pin type.
  • Lithium protect may is less demanding than for a laptop because the cell is LiFePo4
    • In this case the uC be permanently connected to the battery and software manage the battery protection. 
    • The power path is more efficient because the voltage is high so the step down from the dynamo is smaller.
    • The battery is more efficient only requiring charging 110% more power put back rather than 150% that a NiMH requires.
    • Rapid charging LiFePO4 is not possible but they charge at 0.3C, 0.5C or 1C (1-3 Hrs) depending on the type chosen.  By comparison NiMh cells can be charged at up to 0.4C (2.4Hrs) or NiCD 2C to 4C (15 or 30 minutes) depending on the type chosen.
Advantage and disadvantages; 
  • Lithium Ion Phosphate (LiFePo4) - is slightly lower capacity Li-ion, less raw materials used. 1.2Ah or higher.  Less safety precautions required eg a lead-acid like battery charging.
  • Does not support Lithium ion (Li-ion) - these require additional safety circuits within the battery that disconnects the battery if the supply voltage is too high or the cell voltage drops too low.   
  • 3x NiMh can also be used - normal but no special safety precautions required.  

  • The second lights regulator provides up to 500mA at 1.2V to 5V and is efficient because no series resistor should be fitted with the LED and and the voltage is never too high to damage an LED if it were reverse connected.  
    • Using a STBB3JCC buck-boost switch-mode current regulator
        • STBB3JCC - 100mV Feedback +-10mV --- the part used.
        • STBB3JR - 500mV Feedback +-10mV --- could be fitted by changing some parts so that the output is fixed but closer tolerance voltage regulated.
      • The current is set by Pulse-width-modulation
      • This regulator's current output could be re-configured by changing the programming resistor (Resistor = 100mV / Current_required).  
        • Resistor = 100mV / (Current_required - 50mA) this has a maximum output voltage of 5V.  The LED lamp is connected between Lamp- and Lamp+
        • Alternatively a regulated 5.2V can be taken from Lamp+ and 0V.

    LED power supply for one or many identical LED's connected in parallels.

    Average current limited set by pulse width modulator up to 450mA at 1.2-5V out suitable for white or any other not-pulsed LED.  The LEDs used if connected in parallel in the same assembly and from the same manufactures batch.  Alternatively lower voltage drop red LED's can be paired in series then multiple pairs connected in parallel.

    This current regulator could be duplicated and situated in the lamp.  2V - 5V input, 450mA set by R15.
    AL-0002-05B sheet 5 is the small red square near the centre of the PCB below.

    LED lights; - see section of Bicycle-hub-dynamo-maintanance-project

    Power for Low Power Wireless sensor.
    For smaller Internet of Things a D-Cell lithium primary cell may last up to a decade,  alternatively, energy harvesting strategy can be used.  Depending on the power required.

    A much smaller sized variation of the above design could be developed.   http://www.rotalink.com/ http://www.rotalink.com/our-products/10/ac-motors-optional-gearboxes.html make geared motors with strong ball-bearing bearings.  For example;
    • 4116 synchronous motor (48V or 24V) + 227 gearbox (25:2) with ball bearings.
    • SB2513 bipolar 24V stepper motor + 222 gearbox (~7:1) with ball bearings.
    The bearing is strong enough to stand having a pendulum and weight fitted in order to create up to say 1W.

    A lower power, power supply based on a higher voltage say 24V 48V  motor based on the circuit AL0002-01? above may be suitable using a low power switch mode power supply.
    • 60V input, 50mA output switch mode power supply such as ADP2360 may be suitable?


    Thursday, 28 May 2020

    Pandemic cycling and bicycle selection, going forward

    Changed; 05/11/2020 - 26/09/2020

    You never forget how to ride a bike.
    Experimental cycle lanes segregation in Tunbridge Wells.  
    This solution addresses the concerns new cyclist have about 
    road safety following the lifting of the national lock-down.  

    That awful meaningless phrase "Going forward".  This blog intends to discuss different types of bicycle, share sources of tips and recommendations about bicycles and cycling.  The page also discusses changes that might come about as a consequence of the pandemic where people are cycling more but people are also worried about their financial security and the old hated being kept in.  Although the environment is very damaged by human activity species died, the climate changed but even in this short period big improvement in air quality is being enjoyed all over the world.  People are enjoying there own better health.

    Check for loose parts and low-pressure tyres, pressing your thumb into the tyre as a quick guide before you start. 
    Listen for rattles, rubbing noises and other changes, work out what they are and fix them on your bike.  
    Look over your bike before moving off.

    I plan to add more bicycle details at the present time this blog page discusses more of the other issues.

     Thank you, Nicholas Bates (Facebook) for allowing me to use your photo

    Nicholas's grandad said his bike was made by Colson - he referred to it as 'The Fairy Bike'.   I have previously heared of a "Fairy cycle" as a general term for a child's first bicycle.  "Hi Andrew.  It's black and white with added colour by me - I did a few for VE day to chart my Grandad from being a lad in the village through to the day he landed on the Normandy beaches and beyond.  The colour somehow made it more real - and more relatable for my own children. Of course, you can use it for your blog. That'd be fantastic."

    Riding an adult bike for the first time;
    Sit on the saddle don't pedal but scoot along using your feet on the ground. Some small children's bikes don't have pedals and are similar to 18th-century boneshakers in which the rider sits on and scoots the bike along.
    • Avoid dérailleur gears (or ask someone to select a gear for you then don't change gear) they are very distracting,
    • Chose either no gears bike but a hub gear bike is good (select 1st or 2nd gear if it is a three-speed or four-speed hub whilst moving the pedal a little, the bike can be stationary) it is very easy.  
    • A short wheelbase bike is easier to balance at low speed, such as mountain and folding bikes.  Long wheelbase bikes need more space to turn in and you need to be moving faster.
    • The Video; Put the pedal and pedal arms back on the bike (if you removed them) and carry on scooting then transfer your feet and pedal.  Finally set the saddle higher when you feel secure otherwise the bike will be hard to pedal.  Your front brake should be applied just before you apply the rear brake,  you should ensure most of your braking is at the front.

    The film clip of the policeman scooting off then swinging his leg 
    over the bike to get going.  You 
    can just sit on the bike and give yourself a good push off.  Old long-
    wheelbase adult bikes need a little more speed in order to balance.  

    Riding a bike again after a long time; 
    The next hurdle is to get your cycling strength up - just cycle up and down a road on a quiet day.  Doing no more than 200M then rest then repeat 200M, build up to 1KM over a number of weeks after that progress as you feel fit to. 
    • You should make up your mind in advance and start to manoeuvre early so that if you don't see what is behind you or don't manage to signal others on the road will see what you are doing in plenty of time.   Don't take your hands off the handlebars if to do so would make you unstable, such as the road has a bad surface ahead.  It is always better to push the bike on the pavement across a road junction or around a parked vehicle on a busy road with limited width.
    • Cycling on the pavement is fine if you take care and don't get caught.  The point is to put your foot down and stop or dismount if doing it worries pedestrians.  Cycle slowly on pavement even if you don't see anyone.  Modern policing mostly does not apply rules unless you are do harm.
    • Cyclists need to take their position on the road just the same as a motorbike user would be taught to or they/we will be driven into the kerb, broken glass or knocked off their bike.
    Keep looking forward. Looking confident helps you feel confident and makes you safer. Give yourself plenty of space on the road don't cycle close to cars or the curb.

    www.cyclingweekly.com  13-ways-increase-average-cycling-speed

    Bicycle selection;
    • Differences between types of the bicycle;
      • Short wheelbase bicycle - mountain bikes very noticeably go in and out of all the bumps and take pedalling effort doing that.  You can turn sharply and move and manoeuvre at very low speeds.  A fun bike but more work to peddle and have a range of low to very low-speed gearing.  Some variants have higher speeds as well and others are much better bikes than the one pictured.  (Cheap Mountain bike pictured has [3 x 6] 18 gear dérailleur which provides 8 speeds, the bike is lightweight and sprung will protect the frame). This bike is not suitable for a heavy person.
      • Small wheel unisex, shopper and commuter bicycles - these are also short wheelbase and heavier to pedal if you try to travel at the speeds you would comfortably with a long wheelbase bike.  I guess you can balance easily at a lower speed than a long wheelbase bike so if you have one of those bikes and my guess is that you should not need to or expect to go anywhere quickly.  You can carry lots of shopping and move faster than walking.  [This paragraph needs observation to be checked]
        • The step-thru bicycle pictured (Astra made and imported in about 1985) is a good all-around bicycle.   Particularly because you can mount and dismount easily.  Step-thru bikes are heavier than bikes with a cross-bar.  These bicycles have a longer wheelbase which makes them a lot lighter to pedal.  This Soviet-era high tensile steel frame bike is lighter weight than a conventional steel frame bike at 15.5Kg.
        • Modern town bicycles - these also have greased bearings like the other modern bicycles.  The hub gears make gear changing very easy when stationary or moving so they are not a distraction when cycling on roads.  (The Astra pictured has a thin oil lubricated, 3-speed Sturmey-Archer AW hub made in England which is known for its robustness)
            • Bikes made before the late 1970s (I am advised) have a longer wheelbase makes the bike seem to fly over the bumps rather than go in out of them.  The increased length of the bike is small but the benefit is amazing (it is said).  You see a bump, feel the bump in your arms and have a moment to transfer your weight from the saddle to the pedals.  The flexibility in the Reynolds 531 steel frame in the Lenton pictured also contributes the lightness, smoothness of the ride and as well as giving the bike a very liked "alive" feel and light to pedal.  The wheel hubs are also thin-oil lubricated making these bikes transmission very efficient.  -- Longer Wheelbase mountain bikes are starting to come back again, I am advised.   Others also say bikes made before 1970 are better.
            • Pre-1961 bicycles are the lowest or comparable friction to any modern superbike the crank is also thin-oil lubricated but can be greased.  In addition, they have a long wheelbase which makes these bikes feel wow this bike seems to be helping me go along but hills are hills and spokes also break occasionally;   1946 Raleigh Lenton sports pictured cleaned with linseed oil, patched such as the bottle top for a pedal cap that I had crossed the thread on as a boy.  The low left-hand side lamp that shines into the gutter allows you to see hazards in the kerb when cycling in the dark.
          The gearing on the bike, high tensile steel frame and the long wheel base make the bike lighter, smoother as you go up the gears and go faster.  As if the frame were highly tuned.
            • Modern superbikes -  many people have the old lightweight high tensile steel frame bike and a modern lightweight such as a carbon fibre frame bicycle.  These superbikes and old bikes also have low friction ceramic comparable to the old thin-oil lubricated bearings.  Many people like both many others say the much older bike is lighter to pedal and is better others say the newer bike will be 3-5Km/Hr. faster.  I believe this is true of some bikes made after 1890 and all hub geared bikes 1920 to 1961, these sports bikes are low, long and Raleigh's engineering was excellent during this period. [Comparison a competitive sports cyclist may start the day with a hearty fried breakfast, smoke before competing in the past but that is unlikely now]
            • The rack and the rear and panniers are good and stable.  It is best to avoid carrying any weight in a front basket. Alternatively, a front basket that is mounted so that it does not turn as you steer is more stable, I am advised. 
          • Pedals - metal types are better because they don't slip so easily as rubber pedals.  I have not ridden a bike with toe clips they scare me and I am advised that people do fall over with them.  My father used toe clips and a cycling cape with the Lenton sports pictured.
          • All bicycles are helped a lot by having gears either hub gears or the cheaper dérailleur gears.  Wide spacing gears for general use but medium or closer spacing gears are liked for sporting use so the cyclist can maintain his cadence.  Hub gears cater to both requirements but also allow gears to be changed when the bicycle is stationary.  Both British made elliptical gears and dérailleur gears have comparable efficiency but the hub gear is much more robust.  (Pictured; Bike stand so that dérailleur gears can be adjusted made from a second-hand car bike rack)
            • Some modern mountain bicycles have the gears in the crank (bottom bracket) with helical cut cogs for quietness and efficiency otherwise these are not new and here is a link to a 1937 Helvetica bicycle.  All the power is transferred by cogs to a lay-shaft then back the main shaft using cogs.  By comparison, only a fraction of the power is carried through the cogs in bicycle elliptical gears achieving good efficiency.   There have been a number of bottom bracket elliptical gears such as Dana USA but I don't know of a modern equivalent?  These are mostly heavier, less robust or less efficient than a British made Sturmey-Archer type hub gears. 
            • Generally, derailleur gears are close or medium spaced but wide spacing achieved by having many gears (Up to about 15% spacing compared to an AW 3-speed hub which has 33% spacing).  But it is possible to have widely-spaced derailleur gears but with poorer shifting.  Note derailleur gears are also called Disraeli gears.
          • Where the modern aluminium alloy or carbon fibre bicycles score is that they are lighter to carry and take on a train for example.  But only steel or high tensile steel and brazed lapped joint frame bikes have a reputation for not cracking or corroding.
          • Where most modern bikes score is they require less maintenance but the cost is that they don't last long.  They cost more to purchase or are so cheap and poorly made that they disappoint the cyclist.  Many new bicycles get very little use in any case. 
          I don't have the personal experience of many bicycle types but I have reference such as the video shows you how to set up a bikes Rod and Stirrup brakes.

          I recommend the amateur videos made by Velocipedium on YouTube.  They take care to show you how to maintain and enjoy a bicycle.  Even if you are not a starter do watch the videos anyway.  I had a bike with Rod and Stirrup brakes when I was a boy and I have replaced the brake blocks on the bike in the 1960s, I don't think you could still buy just the rubber part?  I have also bent calliper slightly as shown on my Lenton Sports cable and calliper type brakes to align the brake block that had always been slightly out of alignment tending to ware one block one end more than the other.

          Covid-19 a cartoon below circulating at the time that the lock-down started to be lifted in May 2020;

          Picture left Southborough 4th July 2020; 
          First day that cafes and pubs can serve sit down, eat and drink food since 20th March.

          It looks like Government thought the NHS was fine despite a decade of austerity then people in government got ill themselves and got scared.   The less important ill were kept out of hospitals sent home in case the more important people got ill.  Now people can visit a hospital but many have been scared or are staying away.
          By comparison Germany and northern parts of Europe had capacity in their health systems but took a varying degree of cautious approach and have coped better.  Sweden trusted their people but brought in measures as they became necessary in a measured way.  Sweden and all these countries will probably come through with the best outcome, that is that the people feeling most satisfied the best was done.

          USA's health systems only look after those who can pay and ill people who don't have money would die anyway.  Of cause, southern and northern states are quite different and each state has there own policies.

          The cartoon expresses the sort of concerns people have on the lifting of locked-down.  The government is managing the lifting of lock-down by manipulation and retraction thereby creating annoyance but as required slower return to normal or a new normal.  Fortunately "Social distancing" is not occurring but people are talking to each other and enjoying there families at a safe distance.

          Picture left; Barnett's Wood Nature Reserve, April to July 2020
          People enjoying nature, home cooking, cycling, social media, their children instead of work, cafes, consumption and shopping. 

          Momentum Labour at the last General Election, in December 2019, offered a path of social responsibility.  The government offered to promote peace in the world, the environment and toward each other.  Different from both New Labour and Old Labour, in not promoting self-interest.  I was very surprised that Momentum Labour captured so much support.  Momentum Labour's modernised 1945 Manifesto was very inspiring and I expect that Coronavirus would have been handled differently.

          The Iconic CND symbol - Designed for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament can 
          be used freely and is made up of the semaphore for "N" and "D" (Nuclear, Disarm).

          The Victorians built sanitation system in order to protect the rich from catching a disease from the poor.  Cricket and sport encouraged for the health of all.  But I doubt that the vastly rich will impose health, better food, air, cycling on us, this time but in order to save the planet from the adverse consequences of human activity. 

          I have had enough of being playing by the media (called politics), people set against each other - I'm going to ride a bike;

          Time will tell but I hope people do not become reliant on big pharma and disinfectant for a sort of living instead I wish we all learn to like good health and much less waste as a way of life.  There be less reliance on factory-farmed meat and more plant-based food.  A high correlation between poor air quality (such as in cities) and Covid-19 fatalities but vehicle emissions and crashes is the major cost to the National Health Service.  I hope people change their minds about cars.

          During this Covid-19 pandemic, people have been cycling more and enjoying better health due to the better air quality whilst road traffic has been greatly reduced.  Poor air quality in cities has been strongly linked too poor respiratory health long before the clean air act of 1956 and poorer survival to Covid-19.

          More Cycling
          This Astra bike (pictured above), which I purchased locally cheaply,  now has lights and reflectors.  It also has new tyres, all re-greased and running nicely.  The bike is easy to maintain and fully service and the bikes cost so far have been about £90.  The Astra imported from Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia badged England and sold in the 1985 (the date on the Sturmey-Archer, England, 3-speed hub) The rims are German and the frame is a nice lightweight Soviet high tensile strength steel. [this paragraph to be replaced by other bikes]

          A rose, The De-La-Warr Pavillion, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex.  Built by the Socialist Town Mayor, Earl De-La-Warr in 1935
          This building is one of the most beautiful architecture anywhere.  I can not be captured on film and I have not seen a picture
          that captures the impression that the building has now or had before its renovation.

          The pictures above were taken on a Canon AE1, using Fuji Slide film.  The best amateur camera of its time, 1976.

          The pleasure of owning an old bicycle;

          Many people run an old bicycle those bikes were made to work hard for a very long time and must be maintained regularly.  This bike is has been nicely kept and has a secret conversion to E-bike.  A lot of bikes run and look lovely just as they are but for being maintained and the frame cleaned with an oily rag or linseed oil.  Other bikes are brought back to almost new with detail restored and artisan finishes as well.

          Raleigh bicycle maker of Britain was once the biggest manufactured of bicycles in the world, representing the best in engineering.  British engineering, textiles and film industry were for a long time second to none.  Statutes to war leaders and heroes, slaver traders, bankers and the city of London are good representations of the country.  Perhaps the most prominently placed statue should be a heron to mark 125 years (1887-2012) that Raleigh existed in Britain and looking forward to cycling, walking, cleaner air, better health and kindness towards each other and harmony with nature.

          Like so many things The Mallard, Pacific A4 class locomotive distinctively beautiful design by the British engineer Sir Nigel Gresley.  Along with the Flying Scotsman, A3 class were the fastest surface public transport in the world.  Although by the 1920s and '30s trains could now be made to be very reliable, but they were not efficient or clean.  At this time bicycles were as good as they were ever going to get.


          Electric trains started to be introduced on a substantial scale in the 1920s in South East England.  This region has the highest density rail network in the UK.  After World War two faster cleaner diesel and electric trains started to introduced all over the country.  Electrification of the rail network is still ongoing. 

          Old lessons have to be relearned by a subsequent generation of engineers; There are many subtle design features in machines that are not apparent until the designers have left.  A change to a design makes it apparent that there was an important design feature.  Each telephone made until about 1985 had a low pitch bell and each bell had a different pitch.  The low pitch telephone bell in an office made it easy to tell where the phone is and the different pitch if it was your phone.  The same mistake was made when the two-tone ambulance klaxon was replaced in the 1980s.  I suppose it is possible that the shortening of bicycles wheelbase that occurred in the 1970s, making bikes more work to pedal happened by accident?

          Newer hub gear designs;

          The Rohloff hub weighs 1.7Kg, British made Sturmey-Archer Hub gears weigh 1 to 1.4Kg but most hub gears weigh 1 to 2Kg.  But despite the long power train higher efficiency has been measured but other studies don't rate this hub's efficency highly.  It has 14 speeds but as with bicycle elliptical gears, only a percentage of the power is carried through the meshing cogs, which is why bicycle elliptical gears are efficient.  The spacing between speeds (13.6%) is similar to a medium ratio Sturmey-Archer hub.  None of the speeds are high efficiency but also the high ratios are surprisingly good - on paper.  By comparison, the vintage Sturmey-Archer FW is highly efficient in Normal (3 of 4), when its most apreciated and Bottom the least efficient highest ratio is not heavy when hill climbing when the efficenty is least noticed.

          Very typically German engineering design.  The design is an assembly of simpler functions blocks built up.  The first part of the video shows a Sturmey-Archer hub its design much more like a complex single function block where parts slide and move changing many things as they move.   The Sturmey-Archer design is typical of British design being elegant robust and cost-effective.  The design is simpler also because of the limitations of the time 1902 but in 1973 the s7, 7-speed hub used a rotating operating rod in which cams operate a different section of the hub was introduced.

          The advantage that fewer speeds is that the cable operation is reliable if higher or lower speeds were required with the old bikes you can unscrew the large sprocket and change the chain (see picture left). A complaint about modern bikes is that not all gear work and some bikes are difficult to set up.  The Rohloff Speed hub above resolves the indexing issue by placing the indexing mechanism within the hub.

          Pictures - The Riley 9 car (1930s) was fitted with a Wilson preselector gearbox.  This is an elliptical gear gearbox with friction clutches that operate selectively on the ring gears.  Otherwise, this type of gearbox is different from a bicycle gear hub having just one speed for each elliptical gear.  The gear oil should be changed every 3,000 miles but the oil-bathed friction bands need re-lining after at least 160,000 miles.

          The Wilson gearbox is very heavy to operate due to the effort operating the clutches but more modern power assited preselector gearboxes are lighter to operate.

          Willson preselector gearbox gear change can be operated stationary, moving or powered.  I have seen a video of bicycle gearing that does that based on elliptical gears Constantly variable planetary but the power direction is reversed and it is unlikely to be efficient.  Daff/Volvo varomatic and moblette moped V-belt drive automatic gearing are fairly efficient and this variation called Inception Drive probably is efficient.  With an additional no-slip between speeds feature added using freewheel mechanism on the lowest speed, perhaps another bicycle crank gear could be developed based on a Wilson pre-selector with friction bands.  This solution is likely to be big and heavy to operate.  The variable speed elliptical gear hub patented 118 years is very good and the variants developed by 1960 covered most things required.

          During the Coronavirus lock-down 2020 there was a big reduction in vehicle movements  I first noticed that my breathing improved between mid-March to the end of May when the traffic came back on the roads.  Also that my Tinnitus diminished greatly and quickly when I stopped drinking coffee; https://www.tinnitus.org.uk

          I hope for more kindness in the world.  UN Secretary-General's Appeal for Global Ceasefire during this pandemic;

          Cycling is a good exercise in that you can work hard then rest on the flat, particularly so on a 4-speed hub gear bike made before 1961.  You are not pounding sore feet and ankles on the ground.   In this respect, a bike that is at least 45 years old or is one of the newer long wheelbase bikes, with ceramic bearings coming is probably better.  You can still get off and push and also lift the bike onto a train.  Also, you tend to have higher peaks of effort than walking or e-biking which is good for reducing high blood pressure,  the Doctor tells me.

          I recommend you understand your bicycle so, therefore, carry out your own maintenance.   Cars, bikes and motorbikes all used to be easily maintainable - I have posted some pictures of some 1930s to 1950s publications below.  These are very comprehensive some have a cover price some were available on request such as Car Care from CC Wakefield Ltd. London the manufactures of Castrol oils.  Two colour lubrication diagrams for any car on were also available on request, for example.


          Envisioning a post-Covid-19 transport landscape: surface travel
          Prof John Whitelegg, Liverpool John Moores University, looks at how The UK can transition to a sustainable transport system by building on some of the changes pursued during the Covid-19 ‘lockdown’. In the first of two blogs, he focuses on surface travel. 

          The carbon footprint of British military spending is a level is similar to the emissions produced by over six million average UK cars;

          The military-industrial complex becomes a useless liability in the pandemic;

          If we don't look after the natural environment we will get unwell

          Sweden, light touch Coronavirus measures - May 2020

          Kent County Council - Learn to ride, Cycle training for children or adult;

          Department of Transport - Bikeabilty

          Cyclecraft by John Franklin (ISBN: 978-0-11-708243-4) - has been recommended.

          Active Travel - package of funding announced by Government during the Covid-19 pandemic;

          Transport and environment after the COVID lockdown
          To Tunbridge Wells Borough Council - requires login

          The Highway Code;

          The bicycling museums all over the world here are a few;

          Facebook - Disraeli Gears

          Facebook - Vintage bicycles UK

          Facebook - Raleigh Lenton and all the derivatives

          Facebook - Vintage Raleigh Bikes

          Facebook - The Raleigh Roadster Club. (Incorporating the Raleigh Superbe Owners Club)

          There are very many other cycling groups on Facebook but many bicycle brands were owned by Raleigh which in turn merged with Tube Investments.  Many of the bicycle groups on Facebook have document sections with good descriptions on how to do things.

          Picture; Brokes Wood - Informal BMX bike track
          now closed to the public by the present landowner.
          Reference given to me for wide the widest dérailleur you will find are modern
          1x systems. E.g. sram 10-50 12 speed cassette. This has a range of 500% with a spacing of about 15% between speeds.

          Sometimes it is necessary to buy a specialist tool in that case here is a US company with some useful tools (I have not used this company);

          Video right; A press tool like the one shown is also the best way to remove and put back the cotter pin. It is not just needed for a bike in poor condition. I've used a vice and a socket or ring spanner successfully. Don't hammer a cotter pin or tighten the nut too much but use the press because the metal is soft.

          More Bike Advice;
          Bike parts; Some bike shops can advise and supply but if you know what you want then
          SJS cycles supply parts efficiently.

          I am also told Laura Wakefield can supply parts that are not made anymore.
          Many people including can be found on many of the Facebook bike groups who paint, restore, sells head badges and hub-gear parts.  One of those members for example also dates bikes made by Raleigh.

          Other links;
          Story of my Lenton sports bicycle + General maintenance advice, technical and history;

          Dynamo maintenance and operation in theory (untested)