Thursday, 16 February 2017

Wild Atlantic Way

I took a little liberty with the Wild Atlantic Way logo to create a trip sticker

A few things on the to-do list including: re-assemble my camera, currently dismantled, to be modded with an external microphone and re-work the new USB power outlet which seems to disagree with my Satnav.

Every time I turn the ignition off the Satnav does a hard reboot rather than sleeping. I suspect some nasty voltage is being passed down the USB lines...

Monday, 13 February 2017

The Route

The route now identified - subject to change and play by ear when on the road - but broadly as follows. Going to try a blast from the past and camping - but again - depending on how the weather treats me may succumb to some B&B along the way.

This page contains embedded google maps so may load slowly.

To/From Ireland

~411 miles Out: via a stop in South Wales then the Fishguard to Rosslare ferry,
~680 miles Back: via in-laws in Portadown, Dublin to Holyhead and then through North Wales.

The Coast Road

~888 mile four day run.
Taking in the south and west of the Wild Atlantic Way, pausing for a family holiday near Westport for a week before heading home.

Waypoints mostly along the coast, a few meanders to see some interesting inshore scenery and to include Cahir Castle where some scenes from John Boorman's Excalibur were filmed, a long time favourite movie, so going to try and see that.

If I manage that it averages around 250 miles per day, if I dont, then I have flexibility with the camping gear and can always cut some corners.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Ireland - Wild Atlantic Way - planning

The west coast of Ireland is marketing itself as The Wild Atlantic Way, it is unlikely to be hot, or even dry, but - given some half decent weather is a fantastic part of the world. The plan I'm playing with is to borrow some of the coastal routes, add in a few mountain passes and coordinate a road trip with a family holiday near in-laws in Northern Ireland.

Probably south to north route - taking in the Southern Peninsulas, Cliff Coast, Bay Coast - but then depending on progress cut straight to a week of normal tourism before heading home.

Usual 3-4 days at ~250 miles per day, late March/early April.

Route map purchased and some key waypoints already picked out...

First order of business after deciding the general destination is a trip badge. Borrowed logo adjusted and mocked up as a transparent sticker.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

ECU - AFR Targets and Cold Start

Finally the weather warming up to around 8ºC.
~10ºC is my rule of thumb for when driving the Zero becomes fun rather than asking for frozen hands/ears, in the garage I no longer get instant frozen fingers from picking up any metal tools.

A little tinkering with ECU settings.

An employee of Emerald who is active on the GBS Zero Facebook pages has been incredibly helpful with advice and some new settings to try. I also ran another round of cold-start adjustment. 

The current settings are listed in full on the ECU page, broadly the following has changed:

  • Semi sequential injection enabled - so fuelling timed closer to when inlets are actually open
  • 850rpm idle column added in all tables - to help stabilise idle
  • AFR Target table adjusted for leaner run in the idle/cruising area
  • Lambda settings modified
  • Cold start settings modified (again)

My primary map has the new flat/economy AFR targets on less than 30% throttle, secondary map remains on the power-map targets,  both still in adaptive for now to let it learn appropriate fuelling.

Target this year is to take the car through MOT early March, so I sync the annual test around summer driving months rather than having to cross that bridge mid season each year.

Starting to think about road trips... couple of ideas on the cards.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Wideband Gauge

Nice sitting down/post Christmas relaxing sort of project - playing with some parts to build a Wideband Lambda gauge/real time readout on the lambda sensor.

Inspired by the work of Jonas Bylund:

I'm making some modifications so my gauge will be a bar-chart and fill from lean to rich - the same direction the emerald software does and because it will give a visual representation of fuelling - more lights = more fuel. The gauge takes the 0-5v feed from the Wideband sensor and is just a calibrated volt meter to show a central 2.5v of that range.

Knocked up the simple circuit based on 3x LM3914 which do all the work, requiring only few external trims, resistors and a pullup system on the LEDs to make the display work in reverse: 5v = no LEDs lit,  0v = all LEDs lit.

Oldschool transfer to a veroboard layout using TinyCAD and VeeCAD - all free! Half the fun with vero is trying to get that optimal layout.

...mocked up part of the circuit to check operation.

This should give me a reasonably accurate 0.1AFR per LED across 30 LEDs - 12.6-15.5 AFR- either in the tested pre-formed units or an array which will let me hi-light specific values with different colours.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Lands End 2016 - Summary & Video

The journey let me visit some of my favourite West Country locations as well as discover a few new ones, a target end point is the excuse I need to get out in the weather and just drive.

The ~700 miles round trip were worth it for this picture alone.


Will be uploading some video to the Youtube channel, don't expect any major editing - more a scrapbook/realtime TV to jolt my memory. Mostly wet roads so certainly not pushing the car and definitely concentrating on keeping the rear wheels where they should be - behind the driver.

I really must sort out the sound - my camera position most of the time has a better view than the driver, but does pick up more whining diff than burbling engine. Perhaps the SJCAM can be modded to accept an audio input?

Happy New Year!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Going Home

The last leg - Sidmouth to home, not a direct route, via Lyme Regis, Dartmouth, New Forest.. but not really sight seeing any more, that going home mood takes over and its all about the end result now.

One pause outside Lyme Regis - this view along the coast and early morning sun was just stunning, the photo captures a little of the atmosphere.

The sky was clear and bright today, which also meant - cold, the coldest of the trip.
Fuel stops also now windscreen and headlight cleaning stops and once home mid-afternoon the once clean motor is showing the evidence of its approx. 700 mile journey.


  • I think the clutch cable needs adjustment - a couple of times its been a little tricky to get into 1st - possibly cable stretched a little?
  • The new USB power outlet, replacing the old 12v lighter sockets, also need some attention - its crashing the satnav on ignition off and not cleanly cutting power to the camera.
  • Camera is fine for picture, but picking up differential whine rather than nice engine noise - perhaps a mod is required for a remote mic.
  • Noticed at night, the shift light starts to glow, very dimly, about 1k revs under its set come on point. May indicate the Emerald sincs current on the shift pin progressively and perhaps an opportunity to build a sequential shift light based on that - i.e. line of comparators (LM3914) converting the linear current sinc to discrete LED indication.

Otherwise - everything ran fine, cannot beat that open to the sky feeling and a little of that pure escapism from a road trip.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Lands End, Mousehole, St Ives

This is the core of the trip - approx 164 miles, Lands End then the coast road to St Ives and back towards my home side of Dartmoor.


Wet overnight, but a clear start - cloudy but not too cold.

My first port of call is a mile down the road in Mousehole - narrow streets but luckily empty at this time in the morning and space to setup some photos on the quay.

I always fancied retiring to Mousehole, running the second hand bookshop and calling The Ship Inn my local. I would be a 'happy being grumpy' Black Books style shop owner. However its too early in the morning to check out the local establishments today.

Lands End

Then the drive to my end point - Lands End.

All closed up off season - two other cars in the carpark, one couple taking a dog for a walk and a group of 3 Chinese tourists. The situation does give me the opportunity for some good photos though.

A chat with the Hotel staff allows me to remove some bollards and get close to the cliffs. GN13 and me are now as far west as we can go in the UK before the roads run out. To the west are the Isles of Scilly and then the U.S.A.

...and the memento shot under the famous sign...

The Levant Mine

Onwards around the coast road towards St Ives, I randomly saw a sign to the infamous Levant Mine...

Officially closed - but had to be seen, so reversed up, carefully picked my way down the cobbled access road and went for a wander...

The miners followed the tin and copper for 2.5km under the sea in the 19th century, and lost ~30 men in one accident on the man engine in 1919. You have to admire the confidence of the engineering here - or perhaps the mix of engineering and business pushing the edge of what was possible/advisable?

Somewhere best part of a mile out and 700 metres down is the end of the mine, and less than a hundred years ago - men working in tunnels under the sea to retrieve metal ores.

St Ives

Getting towards lunchtime with St Ives around the corner. In the heatwave of 1976, in my childhood, we had a memorable family holiday here. Today its a little cooler - so after a wander around the streets and some Christmas shopping I holed up in a harbour facing chippy for lunch.

Fish, chips and mushy peas, pot of tea, ice cream for desert and a view over a slightly rainy, off season, UK seaside town - what could be better than that!  very happy!

After lunch its back towards home, across Dartmoor in the dark, past Exeter to overnight in Sidmouth. 

A Full day.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Dartmoor and Bodmin

This is going to be a day of cliches and favourite spots getting me close to the trip end point, another ~100 or so miles towards Penzance.

First thing I'm greeted with a wet drizzly morning - I also managed to dump a load of water from the tonneau into the drivers footwell - so spent some time bailing that out before starting. Hood up for this first bit.

The House of Marbles is my first stop - a chance to dry out, grab a hot chocolate and see some glass blowing. Sort of a habit to visit this place, wander through the marble museum and watch the weird contraptions ferrying snooker balls and marbles around metal mazes.

Then the north east to south west road right across Dartmoor.

Lights on most of the day through the low cloud, but running with hood off now, its not a particularly fast road - limited to 40mph, but good countryside - and really getting away from most man made things (apart from the road itself of course).

Pause for lunch virtually in the middle of the moor at the Two Bridges Hotel.
Each stop now, I wring out the rag in the drivers footwell and place it back to soak up more rainwater.

The Two Bridges is a friendly warm place - good food, open fires and friendly staff.
Bangers and Mash for lunch alongside a pint of Orange Juice and lemonade, gloves on the radiator to warm through before starting out again.

The weather a little clearer with good views as I pass the prison with its unmissable brutal architecture then off the moor and towards Bodmin to catch up with some old friends for a cup of tea and a chat.

The overnight stop at The Kings Arms in Paul, near Mousehole (another favourite Cornish place for me) and striking distance of my ultimate destination for the next day.

Monday, 19 December 2016

A303 West to Buckfastleigh

Just a road, except the A303 is the route to the west country.

As you get closer to Dartmoor, the road starts to roll over the hills - like a roller coaster - single carriageway, then dual & plenty to see along the way.

224 miles planned to take me to Buckfastleigh and the eastern side of Dartmoor.

Just as things snarl up behind a tractor Stone Henge comes into view on the right - seems much closer in real life than the camera picks up.

This speed camera might have got me - after what seemed like hours (minutes in reality) nose to tail plodding, the road opens with a passing lane and I may have been a little too exuberant with the right pedal!

Arrived at the hotel around 3pm.

Parked up - between random cars; however on closer inspection these are early 2000's Ford Focus's - so my diminutive Zero is using a similar engine to them: 2 litre Zetec -  ~1.5ton Focus vs. 720kg Zero.

Good time made, went for a wander around Buckfastleigh, and a small pub crawl from The Globe to The Abbey Inn for food, and then consider the route for tomorrow - over Dartmoor and on to Penzance.