Sunday, 27 March 2022

Zeeclo will tear us apart

(...or the other way round really, but anyway)

The weather is favorable for some scooting again, even if doesn't look like that from the photo.

But I modded the electric kickbike a little, it's missing a piece in the above image.

I already previously wrote about my intention to remove the wooden deck and replace the grip tape.

This is partly because I felt there's 0.8cm of extra height to an already high deck, and secondly I didn't like it aesthetically.

So here are some notes of this project. After ordering suitable grip tapes (2 just in case!) I could start working.

Removing parts

The old grip tape came off quite easily from the corners. Then I removed the bolts with 4M Allen/hex key.

But because the deck wouldn't come off I removed the entire grip tape in case there might be more bolts. This was also very easy to do, so replacing just the tape would have been quite simple.

As a side note it can be seen the surface can get rather dirty easily.

Because I couldn't find any more bolts I deduced the wooden deck has been glued in after all.

I begun pulling out the deck, prying it up from the corners using a strong knife. Sadly I could not be patient enough and the deck was split in half from the middle. Well, it came off easily enough after that! 

It would have been better to pull it up from the ends rather than from the corners.

Yet I'm not too disturbed as it has been my intention never to re-attach the wooden deck anyway.

Well, what was then revealed is the real surface of the chassis, metal painted black. The remaining glue needed to be removed, which was the bigger chore here. The excess glue here has a filmic and paper-like quality, and wouldn't budge easily.

I began removing it carefully with a sharp blade, and although this was doable, it turned out to be far too slow. Kicking the glue around with the edge of a wooden block proved to be more useful.

The small amounts of remaining glue could then be removed using acetone, wiping the melting gunk out with a piece of cloth. I really had to lather the surface constantly with acetone to make this work.

Removing the glue altogether took more than an hour.

Now that I'm looking at the results, I think the wooden deck wasn't there for nothing.

Firstly it is meant to cover all the bolts from moisture and rain, not just the ones used for the deck but the protruding ones at the front and back. It obviously protects the metal surface too.

Secondly the piece also extends the length of the usable deck with a few centimeters, because the bolts are no longer in the way.

Thirdly I guess it gives a nice and even surface for the grip tape.

Interestingly, there are more bolts here at the front than in the comparable T4 (Maxwheel etc.) and the Zeeclo U322 itself, which doesn't have the wooden deck to begin with.

The not-to-scale image above shows some of the parts involved here. The structures holding the front and the real wheel are welded into this inner chassis structure. Here the "inner chassis" has been imagined as somewhat pulled out from the outer case.

I became curious about the metal cover. It appears that the "wings" are also part of the cover and not removable plastic additions such as the lights at each corner.

I had a notion that the cover and the wings could be removed, but now I realised the metal case is a kind of outer "pipe" to which the inner structure is apparently slid into.

It might be interesting to try to dismantle the whole thing, if it's even possible. As it appears it is not all welded shut, it ought to be doable.

However, as I understand it, removing the outer case would result in something that doesn't stay in shape, so I'm not too keen to do that now.

Attaching the tape

The surface isn't exactly even, as there are two inclinations, possibly for the grip tape strips that are seen in other scooters. For the grip alone this might be enough here, but I had to take into account protecting the metal surface in the middle. Sand particles under my boots would easily scrape the surface.

I measured the free area and cut a precise 490x129mm piece of the tape.

With a skateboard, you'd position the tape over the deck, process and cut the remainder. Here the piece was smaller, and positioning it exactly was the hardest part. After that there isn't anything to it, just patted it some.

For now I took the lazy option and did not fill the additional bolt holes (the ones holding the wooden deck in place) but simply covered them with the grip tape. I can see myself doing this better at some later time.

For example this piece does not prevent the rest of the surface from getting damaged, like the wooden deck would have done. Later, the piece might be roughly shaped like a plus sign. But the main point here is to test the grip quality.

All in all, although I understand the protective idea of the wooden deck, this looks better to me and does not seem to compromise grip quality. And it is 8mm lower!

I drove about 10km and didn't feel there was anything wrong with it, my feet fit on the deck just as well as before really. The unprotected parts did become somewhat dirty though, the paint surface will probably be scratched through eventually.

Sunday, 13 March 2022


I don't usually get the latest TV/hi-fi tech. On a whim I bought the Jaffa-cake sized Chromecast dongle, stuck it into the ~2008 Philips TV set HDMI port and had a look. After running the Google Home app on my phone I could teach it the home network and then start "casting".

Even now I was mostly interested in seeing if this could cast the Linux desktop, and if it wouldn't, then I'd still have my Android phone for casting videos. Then it became the current TV watching solution.


But about that desktop casting. On Linux Mint 19.3, with Chromium browser I found no problem. I could also mirror the desktop or the browser window. This is very laggy (at least half a second) so it could work for showing slides or photos.

So I quickly learned the casting is really only supposed to be done with the "cast" icon and the desktop/browser casting is just a tiny added extra. Youtube obviously works. Yle Areena, the national streaming service, could cast a film and it looked rather fine. I didn't see any problem arising from the Linux environment here.

Outside the browser, VLC does cast too, but there's a problem with the subtitles and there are apparently no really good solutions to it. The only 100% working approach is "burn the titles prior to watching".

TV streaming

Ever since the TV transmissions turned digital (analog ended in 2007) I've been somewhat disappointed with upgrades and hopping between services, not that I bothered to do that really. The crappy bundle tied with the ISP had kept me somewhat happy, thinking this was the only way to meaningfully watch something on that old TV set.

But now the old me finally saw that channels such as Netflix, HBO, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Ruutu, Yle Areena etc. are also apps in the appstore, tied to a monthly subscription. Probably something like Apple TV+ isn't on a Google service, but otherwise the coverage on the Samsung phone looked quite good.

So I could subscribe to one and pick another when something interesting pops up. But it might also be I'm too lazy to unsubscribe the channels (which is what the companies hope for I guess).

Watching shows is easier than having to fiddle with the digi-receiver which even tended to crash-mid show if it hadn't been rebooted lately. And although I still need the TV remote control, the phone now becomes the remote, too.

It can be slightly annoying that different services use slightly different conventions.

Netflix appears to work flawlessly, and casting just the interface itself provides some useful information besides just the logo. Ok, so it might just be an ad for another show, but anyway. HBO Max exactly only shows the service logo on TV screen. With HBO Max I had to find where to adjust the subtitles, and when I got them to work the 'titles were of the somewhat ugly white-on-black box variety.

With HBO Max there might have been a tiny hiccup in the streaming too, something I never saw with the Netflix app. Could be the Max has more bits in the stream by default than the lowly Netflix subscription, however I turned off the phone energy saving and never saw the hiccup again. Occasionally, after viewing a show, the HBO app says it is "offline". Fortunately this did not affect watching the stream in any way.