Beaver Dam: Rising Water

The furry engineers in charge of maintenance laid several layers of branches along the breast of their dam:

Beaver Lodge and Dam - raised dam - 2020-03-31
Beaver Lodge and Dam – raised dam – 2020-03-31

Their pond is maybe nine inches deeper than a few weeks ago. The rail trail has little danger of flooding, even as the water creeps closer, because the roadbed is higher than the far shoreline.

Go, beavers, go!

Monthly Image: Albino Squirrel

We’re riding home with groceries when a small white shape scampered across a yard and jumped onto a stump:

Albino Squirrel 2020-03-03 - 680 crop
Albino Squirrel 2020-03-03 – 680 crop

If you’ve ever seen a gray squirrel, you’ll recognize the shape, even in this gritty enlargement:

Albino Squirrel 2020-03-03 - 680 - detail crop
Albino Squirrel 2020-03-03 – 680 – detail crop

Wikipedia says this one is likely a leucistic white squirrel, rather than a true albino squirrel. There is, of course, a website. tracking “white squirrel” sightings.

The relevant coordinates, for science:

41°41'39.9"N 73°52'56.6"W
41.694410, -73.882374

Can’t say if this one had black or pink eyes, but it was pure white!

Batmax NP-BX1 Batteries

Having recently lost one of the year-old DOT-01 batteries, a quartet of Batmax NP-BX1 batteries for the Sony HDR-AS30V helmet camera just arrived:

Batmax DOT-01 Wasabi NP-BX1 - 2020-04
Batmax DOT-01 Wasabi NP-BX1 – 2020-04

The orange curve is the last surviving (“least dead”) Wasabi battery from the 2017-08 batch and the dark green curve just above it is another DOT-01 from 2019-02. The problem is not so much their reduced capacity, but their grossly reduced voltage-under-load that triggers a premature camera shutdown.

The Batmax batteries measure better than the craptastic Wasabi batteries, worse than the STK batteries, and should survive the next year of riding. As before, I have zero belief that Amazon would send me a “genuine” Sony NP-BX1 battery, even at six times the nominal price, nor that it would perform six times better.

Batmax is one of many randomly named Amazon Marketplace sellers offering seemingly identical NP-BX1 batteries: Newmowa, Miady, Powerextra, Pickle Power, LP, Enegon, and so forth. Mysteriously, it’s always cheaper to get a handful of batteries and a charger, rather than just the batteries, so I now have a two-socket USB charger:

Batmax NP-BX1 - USB dual charger
Batmax NP-BX1 – USB dual charger

Despite the “5 V 2 A – 10 W” and “4.2 V 0.6 A – 5 W” label on the back, charging a pair of batteries after a ride started at 700 mA from a USB 3.0 port. The charger makes no claims about USB 3 compliance, so I’d expect it to top out around 1 A from a generously specified port.

Losing the Battery Bag

Because the cheap batteries I use in the Sony HDR-AS30V camera provide just slightly less runtime than our longest usual ride after a year of use, I carry a spare battery in a small red felt bag. The bag also holds a USB card reader helping to make the MicroSD card somewhat less lose-able on its trips betwixt bike & desk.

Here I am, swapping batteries in Adam’s Fairacre parking lot before starting the trip home:

Losing the Red Bag - setup - 2019-02-25
Losing the Red Bag – setup – 2019-02-25

You can see it coming, right?

Eight minutes later, we’re turning onto the Dutchess County Rail Trail:

Losing the Battery Bag - flight - 2019-02-25
Losing the Battery Bag – flight – 2019-02-25

And then it’s gone:

Losing the Battery Bag - gone - 2019-02-25
Losing the Battery Bag – gone – 2019-02-25

Mary drove past there on her way to a distant meeting, but the little red bag was not to be found anywhere. Maybe it’ll reappear on a fence post or taped to the bulletin board; I’ve tried to return things I’ve found that way.

I expect somebody got a nice present and, if naught else, it’s good to drop happiness into the world.

There’s another reader and a quartet of batteries on their way.

Dutchess Rail Trail: Beaver Lodge & Dam

A beaver family built their lodge next to the Dutchess Rail Trail:

Beaver Lodge - DCRT N of Golds Gym - 2020-02-23
Beaver Lodge – DCRT N of Golds Gym – 2020-02-23

It’s just to the right of the fence post, on the far side of the pond.

Dutchess County’s aerial survey in 2016 showed a dry-ish area west of the rail trail, with a culvert to the north:

Beaver Lodge - DCRT N of Golds Gym - 2016 CIR image
Beaver Lodge – DCRT N of Golds Gym – 2016 CIR image

We went back the next day and stopped at the culvert. Their dam spans the entire near side of the pond, upstream of the ditch (just above my hand) leading to the culvert:

Beaver Lodge and Dam - DCRT N of Golds Gym - 2020-02-25
Beaver Lodge and Dam – DCRT N of Golds Gym – 2020-02-25

The helmet camera pictures look west from the rail trail, with the lodge in the northernmost open area. The wide-angle camera lens exaggerates the distance, but the lodge is only about 35 feet from the fence.

A stand of birch trees near the lodge now looks like a combination buffet and construction yard. When beavers discover ferrocement, their structures will become much more obvious.

Go, beavers, go!

Video-rated MicroSD Card Status Report

Having just returned from the fourth ride of the season, it’s worthwhile to note how the MicroSD cards in the cameras are doing.

The Sony HDR-AS30V helmet camera has been running a 64 GB Sandisk high-endurance video-rated card since late August 2017:

Sandisk - 64 GB MicroSDXC cards
Sandisk – 64 GB MicroSDXC cards

In those 29 calendar months (maybe 20 riding months) I’ve ridden 4500-ish miles at perhaps 12 mph, so call it 375 hr = 22.5 k min. The camera fills a 4 GB file every 22.75 min, so it’s recorded 1000 files = 4 TB, which is 62× its capacity. This is better than the defunct Sandisk Extreme Pro card (3 TB & 50×) and much much better than the Sony cards (1 TB & 15×), although I have caught the camera in RCVR mode maybe twice, which means the card or camera occasionally coughs and reformats itself.

The Cycliq Fly6 rear camera uses a Sandisk 32 GB card that’s been running flawlessly since late 2017:

MicroSD 32 GB - Samsung EVO and SanDisk High Endurance
MicroSD 32 GB – Samsung EVO and SanDisk High Endurance

The new 16850 lithium cell continues to work fine, too.

The SJCam M20 rear camera also uses a Sandisk 32 GB high-endurance card and has worked fine since early 2018. An external battery eliminated all the hassle of its feeble internal batteries, although the one that’s been in there has faded to the point of just barely keeping the clock ticking over during winter weeks without rides:

SJCAM M20 Mount - Tour Easy side view
SJCAM M20 Mount – Tour Easy side view

All in all, paying the premium for video-rated MicroSD cards has been worthwhile!

Anonymous Bike Taillight Current

Along with the (defunct) Blackburn Flea, the bike pack also disgorged an anonymous taillight with a battery resistant to recharging through the USB port. Gentle suasion cracked the solvent-glued joint around the case:

Bike taillight - cracking case
Bike taillight – cracking case

As with most modern electronics, a battery occupies most of the interior volume:

Bike taillight - opening case
Bike taillight – opening case

For posterity, the connections:

Bike taillight - connections
Bike taillight – connections

I unsoldered the cell and charged it from a bench supply:

Bike taillight - external recharge
Bike taillight – external recharge

The voltage started out low with the current held to about 100 mA, eventually rose to 4.1 V, and stayed there while the current dropped to zero. Unlike the Blackburn cell, it appears not too much worse for the experience, although I haven’t measured the actual capacity.

Clipping the Tek current probe around the LED supply wire produced this waveform for the “dim” setting:

Anonymous Taillight - Low - 200 mA-div
Anonymous Taillight – Low – 200 mA-div

Adding a voltage probe across the LEDs and clicking to the “high” setting:

Anonymous Taillight - High - 200 mA-div
Anonymous Taillight – High – 200 mA-div

The intense ringing at the start of the pulse seems an artifact of the measurement setup, but ya never know; these days, RFI can come from anywhere.

In any event, the COB LED strip draws 800 mA from a fully charged battery, about 26 mA for each of the 30 LEDs. The 5% duty cycle in the “dim” setting is decently bright and 18% in “high” is entire adequate.

A trio of blinks works for daytime rides, although the fastest one seems seizure-inducing.

I’ve strapped it around a rack strut and run it at the slowest blink, on the principle you can never have too many blinky lights