XJ600 Diesel bike – Electric decompression release

I do a lot of riding in traffic, and especially during rush hour, I can sit at traffic lights for 2 minutes at a time. As a result, I thought of turning the engine off whilst sitting at these lights to save fuel, as thats what these bikes are all about!

On my L100, I have a remote compression release in the form of a choke cable attached to my fairing. This arrangement is fine when getting going, pull the lever, press starter, release lever off you go. This arrangment is cumbersome if you are at a traffic light and its starting to change so I had the idea of rigging up some sort of electric release so that I could actuate it from a button on the handlebars.

Initially I looked at solenoids, servos and motors but they where either too expensive on their own, or too complicated to control. I then stumbled upon a couple of door lock actuators on ebay. These are essentially 2 wire motors with a gear reduction and a nice hook on the end, apply 12v one way the rod moves in, apply it the other way it moves out. Heres what it looks like:

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Its a pretty simple design, and at £5.80 ridiculously cheap. Great for a gamble in case it didnt work.

After I tested it to ensure there was enough movement and force produced I set to work installing it.

I bolted it to the bracing peice that holds my air filter in place, it puts it right in line for the decompression lever. There is enough space for it there and its pretty well hidden. I swapped out my “passing” switch for one that can handle 5 amps current and wired the output to the actuator.

I used a zip tie to attach it to the decompression lever which allows for some fine tuning and is strong enough.

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Here is the manual decompression release:

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All in all works pretty well and the engine can be restarted without taking my hands off the handlebars


Diesel bike – Injector line heater

As most of you know, I run my Xj600 diesel bike purely on WVO (Waste Veg oil). I mix it with 5% Petrol, but during the winter its still very hard to start. This is mainly down to the thickness of the vegetable oil at low temperatures.

To counteract this, I have installed an injector line heater. I used Kapton tape and nichrome heating wire. Kapton tape  a thermal limit of about 250 degrees C and is very thin so aids heat transfer better. I wrapped 2 sections of nichrome wire after wrapping the injector line in kapton tape. Each coil draws around 4 amps.

The temperature aim is around 75 degrees c, to measure how long I would have to run the coils for, I crimped one end of a copper pipe and wrapped it with kapton tape, then the heating coils. I filled it with WVO and inserted a temperature probe. It took approximately 1 minute and 50 seconds to reach 80 degrees C.

As a result, I have coupled the heating elements with a 12v timer circuit and a relay. The timer is set for aproximately 1 minute 45 seconds. The output of the relay also triggers the oil pressure light on the dashboard so I can see when the coils are energised, when the light goes out I can start the engine.

With pre-heating, the engine now starts within 3 cranks rather than 10-15 as before. Even at 0 degrees c.

Some pictures below:

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Digital Motorbike ammeter – Installation on an F800 ST

With all my charging problems I have wanted to install an ammeter to see if the battery is actually charging, as you can only tell so much from the voltmeter.

I spotted a small cheap ammeter with a shunt, the was capable of 200 amps measurement.

It was also very thin and fitted in the center panel perfectly. I have now officially filled that free space!

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The last picture shows my charging system generating 1 amp of charging current at idle.