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Sterling Diamond noise fix…

Posted May 26 2010 12:00am

The Sunrise Medical Sterling Diamond scooter has a couple of noise problems. The worst is the direction indicator beeper, which is sodding deafening! So loud it attracts attention from amused, pointing, dorks over 100 yards away. It had to go, but how?

It’s hidden away inside the tiller moulding, and the plate which holds the buttons and indicator switch is the only way in. All you have to do is figure it out.

It’s held in place by four fasteners, which look like plastic, Phillips-head screws – but they’re not. You can turn the damn things til you’re blue in the face – nothing happens.

Yesterday, though, after a few weeks of hand signals, I got fed up – what the hell was the point of having signals if you couldn’t use them without looking – and sounding – like a complete tosser? The beeper was coming out, one way or another.

The secret proved to be my electric screwdriver. The fasteners are, in effect, expanding “rivets”. When the centre core is removed, they can be pulled out. To replace, insert and push back the core. It’s getting them out that’s the tricky bit.

The centre is threaded, but can’t be removed with a conventional screwdriver, because pressure prevents the very fine thread from gripping – it just turns, going nowhere.

Enter the electric screwdriver. I’ve had the thing for years, every disabled person should have one, it saves a hell of a lot of work, and pain, So, a No.1 Phillips tip is inserted into the “screw head” and – without putting any pressure on it at all, just let the motor spin it out.

I couldn’t get them all the way out, but they’d come out far enough to slip a knife-blade behind and a bit of old-fashioned brutality did the rest, and out the popped. Four of them, and there was the offending beeper, round, black, and stuck to the plastic moulding with what looked suspiciously like wood glue – pulled away with no difficulty.

Looking at the wiring, it was clear it wasn’t wired into the indicator circuit, but connected to a spur. Two wires, two snips, and it was history.

I did try bunging it up with Blue Tak, first, but that didn’t work. Burying the whole thing in Blue Tack might have done, but I was smitten by an attack of CBA**, and just snipped it out.

Of course, I have no indicator reminder but what the hell – I rode bikes for years with no indicator beepers (like they have now) – if I can’t  remember to cancel the things, maybe I should be on the road?

So that’s it, problems solved, and no my scooter is nice and quiet, as it should be.

** CBA – Couldn’t Be Arsed!

There’s also another problem, just as irritating but not as conspicuous – the rear suspension squeaks. I think it’s the springs. They’re progressively would (the coils get closer together as you get towards the top – makes them harder to compress). They’re also plastic-coated so, when the closely-wound springs compress enough to touch, they squeak. I think the rubber bushes also contribute to the noise.

It’s easily fixed – except you have to take the seat off, and it’s a heavy bugger. Anyway, off with the seat – look for your truss – and remove the rear moulding, which covers the power unit, batteries and electronics.

A squirt of 3-in-1 aerosol oil keeps it quite for about 12 miles. WD-40, for about 12 minutes. I need a permanent solution.

So, I went to the Chain Reaction Cycles website (where I’ve bought a load of bits for my scooter, including the panniers. I bough two products. Both will work, one of them should provide at least a semi-permanent solution. I got Finish Line Teflon Plus Dry Lube and Weldtite S max Chain Wax + Krytox .

They’re both chain and derailleur lubes, which, while lubing metal,  shouldn’t harm plastic (derailleur jockey wheels are plastic, and chain o-rings are either rubber or synthetic). The latter has penetrating qualities which I hope will lubricate the bushes, and the former dries to a tenaciously-clinging dry wax-like substance which stays where it’s put. That’s for the springs.

Between them, I hope to be squeak free. I have to confess, neither was may first choice. What I wanted was Teflon grease but they were out of stock. Well, almost – they had 1lb packs of the stuff at £24.99. With that much I could have gone into business! I’ve requested a stock alert for when they get more of the 3.5oz size, which is rather more realistic in quantity and price, at £8.99, just in case I need it. I actually thought I had some, but there was barely a smear in the bottom of the tub. Ah well…

If it works, though, the Finish Line product will be superior, as it won’t attract crap the way grease will, so my scoot should stay clean as well as de-squeaked. Watch this space…

Oh, and if you propose doing your own maintenance, and you’re able to, of course, materials and some tools used by cyclists will prove useful. There’s not a lot to do**, but paying for it to be done for you will still cost plenty, so I’ll return to this subject at a later date.

Lubrication and checking nuts, bolts and electrical connections are tight, is about it. And the carbon brushes on the electric motor have to be renewed periodically. Nothing is hard if you’re handy with spanners.

For now, though, I’m off to bed.

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