Sunday, 18 December 2011

Santaskate: present with presents

As you'll already know if you were there: the Firebrox took its customary place behind the dancing reindeer at the front of the Santaskate, and pumped out traditional Christmas tunage for the three hours that we spent touring around town dispensing Christmas goodwill and cheer to all.

"Pics, or it didn't happen": click on thumbnails for bigger images. Here's the Brox arriving at the setup point:

From Firebrox santaskate
and a closeup of the new shiny drive axle
From Firebrox santaskate
Fully assembled
From Firebrox santaskate
Decoration in progress:
From Firebrox santaskate
And here it is in action (thanks Rebecca Cornford for taking the action photos and letting us use them)
We'll give it a full going over later, but the immediate feedback was that it did not break, that the new back brakes work nicely, and that the lighter faster single-speaker configuration is indeed lighter and faster. And many many people said they were happy to see it again. So now, what do we want 2012 to bring? A new home would be nice.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Brox with one box

Our correspondent from the garage writes:
Bit dark and rainy for a waking up the neighborhood stylee test, but there it is.

In fact, dark and stormy, heck: Igor, dust off the electrodes!

As you see in the picture, we have (or more precisely, Peter has) redesigned the top bracket of the bike to allow its use with either one speaker or two. As the speakers are about 7kg each, this makes the bike significantly lighter and correspondingly much easier for the average chap (or lady) to ride - especially when going fast or up hills.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Back with the back end

As shiny as only a lump of black metal can be, we have the new back end back from Kingsmead on schedule. Pictured, its emotional reunion with the front.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

So what's the plan anyway?

What's the idea here? Is this a one-off, or is the bike being fixed for a return to twice-weekly skating like it always used to be, or what?

We don't know. Right now, the plan is to put the bike back together for Santaskate, and hope that when it turns up glowing and piping and singing and sparking (OK, maybe not sparking) on the 17th December (subliminal message: get your tickets now) then lots of people will say "hey, I'd forgotten how much better the sound on the skate is when there's some proper bass as well as all the asbombs" and among them will be at least one who says "you can keep it in my garage if that helps". Or shed, or lockup, or living room even - almost anywhere that's secure and accessible and less than a couple of miles from Paddington.

In short, yes, we'd like to have it return to the skate regularly - twice a week would be ideal, but at least a couple of times a month and on special occasions - but the principal problem with doing so is finding storage. Let's talk figures for a minute: rented storage from the likes of Safestore or Big Yellow is likely to cost about £30/week - as private individuals (the LFNS is not presently funding the bike) we can't cover that, and even if someone does want to be that generous, that amount could buy us a new amplifier a year. So, does anyone have a spare shed?

Lights, camera

More time in the garage
  • cleaning up the perspex box and removing dirt from the paintwork
  • resoldering the connections for various LEDs
  • affixing headlight and taillight brackets so that the bike can actually be road-legal at night
  • refitting and testing the amp in place: now we have two subwoofers again
Meanwhile the very welcome news from Mark at Kingsmead is that "Friday pm or sat am looks good [for collection]. I decided to build you up a new frame at the rear, so you have a 20mm axles both sides." Looking forward to a more robust rear frame.

Monday, 5 December 2011

News from the garage

Peter writes: "Have spent some time tinkering with [...] the wood sections that support the perspex bit at the front, over the weekend, re-glued some joints, did some very light re-painting of some of the black bits but the main thing is increased the cut out/chamfer for the two struts, which sit lower in the single speaker set up"

Meanwhile I have been designing T-shirts. Look out for an exciting new range of print-on-demand Firebrox merchandise in the New Year (and the return of the classic Skatespotting T-shirt)

Thursday, 1 December 2011

I don't expect you can see it in the photo, but there's a dry joint on one of the pins for the left rear rca input. Now fixed. Still have to make sure it works after reassembly, but fingers crossed it looks like it will have been a simple job.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Going through channels

There was nothing actually wrong with the Brox other than the axle when we took it off the road - obviously, it had been on the road and playing music just before it coasted gently to a halt. But while it's away anyway this is a good time to look at some other bits that we think will need fixing in the near future.

Pictured right is the power amplifier. In 2006 this was a 4 channel 2000W amp (yes, we believe the manufacturer's power output figure, of course). By late 2010, four years of being shaken across London's road surfaces had turned it into a 2.5 channel amp (sometimes three, sometimes less - it's intermittent). Also pictured is the multimeter with which I hope to find the missing 1.5 channels, and the soldering iron I shall use to reattach them. And my feet, if you look closely.

The frame has now been transported to the good folk at Kingsmead for welding and new brakes. Yay frame. If today is the 30th November, we have 17 days remaining until SantaSkate

Monday, 28 November 2011

Axles of Evil

The problem: see figure, below. This was the drive axle of the bike, and is supposed to be a single piece of metal, not two.

The solution: take it to Canterbury, where the man who designed the Brox Compact has recently restarted in business building them. There he will "modify the drive side of your frame and bore out the wheel hub to 20mm. then repaint the frame"


dsc00317.jpg by dan_b
dsc00317.jpg, a photo by dan_b on Flickr.

Welcome to the new Internet home of the Firebrox. Spun off from the London Friday Night Skate, this iconic skater sound system now has its own dedicated team of fixers and bodgers, who are working flat out around the clock [*] to get it back on the road: follow this blog for all the news as it happens.

[*] subject to time out for eating, sleeping, working, skating, drinking, watching TV, and having a life, naturally