TideLog Archive for the “Bus Info” Category

This week’s been quite interesting, so I’ll summarise on a day to day basis. I’m catching up late as our internet has just been fixed.


Tuesday I had a practise match with Hopwood, against Rikku’s social team. She has a group of 12 lady friends she has playful matches with now and again, their social tam name is Firebird LFC (given the red kit they wear) and they’re very good at football. They were all really understanding! I was playing with the Hopwood girls, and Rikku with the Firebird ladies, it was a really fast paced match, I was able to keep up pretty well, and our side won 2-1!

Being the only guy mixed in with two ladies teams, I now know what I’m in for (I think, anyway!) on Sunday. I’ve only ever watched teams play in a full size ground, so to actually play in one will be a real experience! Talk about a once in a lifetime experience!


I’ve sold Ami, I got £200 for her. So, I decided to try my luck at sniffing out some more bargains to re-sell. And got them. I’ve bought a Tiny A360+ Pentium 3 1.1GHz laptop, that I’m absolutely stunned by, in a good way! These machines are hitting 10 years old, and this one is perfect, as if it’s hardly been used! It has a 30GB HDD, DVD-CD-RW combo, and the original Tiny branded Windows XP install! It just needs a new keyboard, some of the keys don’t work, and one of the two Shift keys seems to have stuck on permanently, as when Windows loads, the StickyKeys bloop bloops its bloop (say that when drunk!) about three times, and all icons get selected upon one click of a single icon, like a Shift & drag select gesture. It comes with original power adapter, too! All for the Tiny (no pun!) price of £39, and I can get around £90 – £110 once the keyboard is replaced!

I used to be a freelance engineer for Tiny, and have done hundreds of their FIC manufactured machines, including the A360, A360+, A430, A440 and A535, and still do in my daily work!

I’ve also bought a Clevo M360C, an ex-college machine, that needs a new screen (the one fitted has stylus marks and scuffs on it), optical and some plastics. It’s a Celeron-M (JUUUNNNKK! Going to be replaced with a Pentium-M! As soon as possible!) 1.2GHz, with 512MB RAM and webcam. I need to stick a HDD in, and install Windows yet. I bought it for £39, and am hoping to sell it for £80 – £90 once repairs and installations are done.


Tonight I’m spending a little lovemaking time with Mika, before heading off to Jenny’s later. She’s coming up to Birmingham for a bit, and I’m taking her along roadtesting Rikku’s new BU10 plate Alexander Dennis Enviro 300 later too, once the roads are clear about 1am before Jen takes us back to Bolton! Riky wasn’t expecting delivery of this bus for another two weeks! Time to see how they do at full throttle down the M62 when brand spanking new!

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I’ve had a hectic few days!

Monday I had to fix our main Hyundai 52″ HD plasma, as the power supply went bang last Friday. Mika was missing out on her Sky+HD Corrie catchups, and kept mithering me, in a sweet little girl-even-though-I’m 29 voice, to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Jenny’s internet went on Wednesday morning, at 1am. She’s switched back to ADSL from Virgin, because she doesn’t use the internet as much these days, so wanted to save a bit. Virgin weren’t supposed to cut her off till the end of the month, but they did, so I had to go to Whitefield from Birmingham, pick a router up for her, go all the way down to Bolton, fit the router and set it all up. Then go all the way back to Birmingham, to pick Jill up from after school class at 4.30pm. Which I successfully managed, which made Rikku proud, and made me look ever the sweet loving dad she thinks I’ll be when I have kids of my own.

Then last night the leased Zen line Kassie had set up for us before she went back to Tokyo went down. I had to contact her to get Zen to sort it, as she set it up. We can’t use Kassie’s leased Sprint line for general internet, as that is a crucial vein for all her servers, which links us to her datacenter in Altrincham that holds servers for backups and redundant servers if our main ones go. Meanwhile, I’ve been out and bought an 02 dongle, which compared to 20MB leased fibre optic, is painfully slow!! But, it works, I can keep up on eBay, and Mika and I can keep up with Kassie on Messenger.

Then today our 56 plate B7RLE has developed a weird problem. When the engine is cold, she’ll start, without hesitation. If the engine is warm/hot, and running, then switched off, she just won’t start again. Cranking sounds perfect, speeding up as though she’s gonna catch and tick over on her own, but it never happens. Let it cool and it starts perfectly. I think it’s a temperature sensor somewhere.

Bloody buses and sensors! On a typical Volvo B7RLE with Wright Eclipse Urban body there’s ALL these:

1. Body mounting sensors

2. Body door sensors (bonnet, driver’s cab, emergency door and passenger entry door)

3. Engine sensors, including gearbox and temperature monitoring as well as all fuel/air intake sensors

4. Impact sensors for the airbag (a godsend, I’m glad THAT’s there, but they do go funny sometimes!)

This computer controlled vehicle malarky is getting slightly old, and I’m a computer expert! Today, though, is my chill day, with lil Mika. I was hoping Tuesday might have been OUR catchup day (yup, that’s the one!) but she was too busy catching up on her TV stuff! Ah well, at least I’m busy!

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Today was quite fun, other than my earlier HDD disaster! I’ve started work on Rikku’s mobile disco, that started life as a Volvo B9TL, but with a difference! I started today by taking all the seats out, on both upper and lower floors, and I was surprised how much roomier it looks without them in! I’ve wired in a CD player (see why the B9TL/B7TL dash is good? The CD player slots!) and wired in some new speakers, to both the cab, and gangways, upper and lower. The thing is bloody loud too! I haven’t fitted them permanently, as I’ve got to mould and drill all the interior of the bus to accommodate them, and the wiring. I had it all trailing everywhere, and nearly broke my neck just 5 times, coming down from the upper deck! I’m glad the interior is plastic, if it was fibreglass, it’d be so much harder! The plastic Wright use is great, if you heat it up enough with a heatgun it softens just right, and is great to cut.

Hobbies are great, aren’t they? I’m doing this just for Rikku’s love, and maybe a ferry load of Pepsi Max!

I was going to do a photo diary, but the gearbox on my Nikon camera’s lens system is jammed, I think it’s been knocked around in my rucksack, and all I get is whirring, grinding, and “Lens Error” on the screen. Kassie gave me that camera, and it’s got a lot of sentimental value! Damn…

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Is when they’re in vehicles, especially Volvo buses. Rikku cornered me this morning, telling me that her brand new B9TL executive double decker wasn’t changing gear correctly. This thing’s a brand spanking new 59 plate bus, and has only been used for 3 corporate runs. So, being the vehicle loving guy I am, I went round to the garage, jumped in, and took her for a run on the rolling road (going nowhere fast, literally!). It had decided it wanted to ignore 3rd and 4th gear entirely, on upshift and downshift, clanking as it did so.

Now I know there’s nothing wrong with the gearbox (it’s a Voith, rather than ZF like our B7RLE’s), so I looked to the ECU, both main computer, and gearbox. Somewhere, the code for gearchanges wasn’t being executed correctly. A quick re-flash of the original BIN dump I did when we got it solved the problem, she’s happy as Larry, until next time!

There’s times when I wish buses had MANUAL gearboxes! The last time I drove a manual was a big Leyland coach when I passed my PSV for Blue Bus, in 2000, and even that was a big 20 year old junker. It had a tiny gearstick, you changed gear, and 10 seconds later the gearbox actually changed, with a big jerk! I hated the thing!

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Wow, the bookies are sure eating their words now! Some of them were upping odds on bets that it wouldn’t be a white Christmas, and Mother Nature is proving them wrong!

It’s causing havoc on the roads though. I have to get the buses out of the garage for Rikku every morning. Some of them are stored outside, and would not start! Outside our yard there’s a small road leading out onto the main road, and this is NEVER gritted, I was trying my hardest to control several slides this morning. The good thing is there’s no parked cars on the road, and there’s plenty of room, so it was quite enjoyable pulling slides in a 12 ton bus. The airbrake is useless, so I use my revs, steering and brakes to control it, fighting against the TCS to slide round the corner.

I can tell when the bus is going to slide, and when the ECU will kick in. When you hit the gas, and hear it over revving over 1,500rpm, that’s the time! The great thing about the Volvo buses (B7RLE and B9TL) is the TCS can be turned off via a switch in the cab, so it’s you, 12 tons of monster, and ice!

Our Dennis Dart is a great fun little thing on ice! They’ve got the right name, for sure!

Caution: Don’t try this at home. I’ve done my Advanced PSV driving skills test, and am fully competent at controlling such a big powerful vehicle on snow and ice.

Coming Soon: Strictly Come Powersliding (in a bus!) on Ice from Matsuki TV!

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