This is a great find. The only disappointing thing was the size of the box it was delivered in from B & H Photo:
Couldn’t it have been sent in a bubble mailer? 😕
Disassembly & Prep
If you’re looking to gently take off your original jack, it (dis)assembles the same way as the replacement.
My old jack was bent, so there was no point in saving it. I cut the wire but made sure to not cut the strain relief sleeve. Alas I realized you must disassemble the old jack to get the strain relief sleeve out anyway.
Once it’s free, drop the sleeve into the new replacement casing.
Put the sleeve and casing on the wire, followed by the included clear insulation sleeve.
It’s imperative you put these on before soldering, because you can’t put them on after soldering 😬
Carefully strip the outer cable sheath. It’s very flexible and rubbery. Inside the three wires don’t have traditional insulation. They have a braided insulation that is similar to the wire itself. Separate them and wet your fingers to keep the twists tight.
To keep everything together, pre-tin the wires.
Here’s the layout of the jack. I double checked with a multimeter before soldering.
I started by soldering the sleeve wire. Then I used a tweezers to thread the other wires through the holes.
Test & Final Assembly
With all wires soldered, but before crimping, test it out. I carefully plugged the headphones into a computer and verified sound in both ears and double checked correct left-right balance.
With everything confirmed working, we can now button it all up. First crimp the jack to the cable sheath with a needle nose pliers.
Technology is great and technology sucks. It’s true that it’s the best of times and the worst of times. Technology is great when it works, but it’s terrible (and often unfixable) when it doesn’t.
This may be a farewell to my Fitbit Charge 4, and a warning to fitness tracker developers out there. Rigorously ensure sure it works or people will not just abandon your product, they’ll abandon your platform.
I brought my new kayak to Lake Minnetonka and planned to paddle around Big Island. I’ve tried both GPS settings on the Fitbit Charge 4: Built-in GPS and Dynamic. Dynamic will use your phone if it’s nearby, then fallback to built-in. That day, I had the watch set to “built-in GPS.” I went down to the dock and hit start on my Fitbit. It was still trying to get GPS signal by the time I had my boat ready.
I went out on the water thinking the clear view of the sky would help it quickly lock on to GPS signal. I sat there for several minutes, then decided to switch to Dynamic since I did have my phone in the boat. After several more minutes of no GPS signal, I got my phone out. Opening the Fitbit app on my phone immediately established GPS signal. So I got underway.
Then as I rounded the first corner of the island, the watch vibrated. The screen displayed “Cannot establish a GPS Connection. Turning GPS off” 😡
You can see how far I had gone when the Fitbit gave up, it’s the untracked distance between the start and finish point.
The Strava app proved to also have (different) problems than my Fitbit
I already had my phone out of my dry bag, which I didn’t want to do, because I’m in the water 🌊 But here I was, so I fired up the Strava app and hit record. Before got into the channel I got out my fish finder just to see if there were any lively spots that we should hit later on the pontoon. 🎣
But while getting out the fish finder, the Strava app decided to engage “auto-pause.” Auto pause seems like a good idea until it doesn’t auto un-pause. I was on the other side of the island before I noticed it was paused. While on the water I had to figure out how to unpause. I went into the settings and turned off auto-pause. Auto Pause settings are accessible by using the gear icon from the record activity screen. Not the main screen gear icon. ⚙️
But it was still paused! The only way to forcibly un-pause the activity was to click “Finish” which brought me to a confirmation screen, then I was able to choose “Resume” which un-paused the activity. It’s not clear that there will be a confirmation after clicking finish, so I’m showing an example here:
You can see the line that goes through the island on my activity. Clearly I didn’t do that, but that’s how it will be recorded “because technology.” Now imagine if this was your first experience with either of these devices and services. I wanted to throw both my watch and phone in the lake! 💦
But since I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ll be trying something else to replace these failed experiments. Currently looking at the Amazfit GTR series watches because battery life looks good. Recommendations welcome – please comment with your suggestions!
In my shed I still had my canoe trailer for my bike, what should I do with that? An email to Wike revealed all I needed to carry a kayak with it instead was a different width crossbar. I made some measurements and ordered a new crossbar so I could keep the trailer for the ‘yak. Here’s how I tow my new Perception Joyride kayak:
This kayak uses perception solo mounts for ram accessories like fishing rod holders. They’re two large screw-in ball mounts. There’s an interesting side-effect of using these mounts – the ball serves as a rigging point for the Wike trailer straps.
The best rigging setup I found is illustrated below. The wike towing tee has a strap that would normally hook up to a canoe seat, but instead I run it around the solo mounts (shown in red). Then the straps from the cart go over and in front of the solo mounts, securing the tee strap in place (shown in green).
One of the most important pieces of this setup is a third strap that is not provided by Wike, from their site:
A third line (you must provide) from the bow ties to the post of the ‘T’ to keep the front of the canoe kayak from tilting up or down.
I used a small bungee to go around the beefy perception handle at the front and secure the Wike tee to the front of the boat. It seems to be at the perfect angle where the back of the boat doesn’t touch the ground, and the tee is at an angle where it doesn’t interfere with my bike rack.
Death wobble ☠️
One issue I have yet to solve is a fish-tail that seems to happen when I’m going very slowly uphill. It seems the cadence of my pedaling while standing, and perhaps the sway of the bike combined with the short length of the boat create a feedback loop. What happens is the nose of the kayak starts to turn left and right. Then the feedback begins and it starts turning more and more, as my pedaling seems to amplify the effect 😲
Death wobble is a misnomer – nobody died. It only happens when I’m going up a hill at 4-5MPH. I only describe it as death wobble because the sensation can be a bit unnerving.
The solution might be to stay seated as long as possible and adjust my cadence. Maybe I could load the kayak to put a little more weight on one end? If you have any ideas, comment below and I’ll try ’em.
You’re not going to get 230 miles range while towing.
Well duh! We have a Highlander Hybrid that gets 24-27MPG normally but when it’s pulling a boat it gets 10-12. Towing cuts the effective range of any vehicle to about half. Anyone that thinks it would be otherwise is fooling themselves. Why is this such a surprise?
It’s not going to get me to my mother-in-law’s house in rural North Dakota
Again, you’re probably right, but how often are you actually going there? In 2022 I did one road trip that was longer than the total range of my electric vehicle. You know what I did? I took the van. Most couples/families have two cars. Even if both were full electric, you could rent a gasoline car if you’re driving to BFE where there are no charging stations. Guarantee the money you saved on fuel the rest of the year would cover your rental.
EVs don’t charge fast enough
This complaint is only valid on road trips (see above) and how many are you taking a year? I’ve driven my Chevy Bolt EV to Chicago multiple times and it is one of the slowest charging EVs – accepting a max of 53kwh. It takes about 45 mins to recharge so I plan my charging stop around my lunch break. Literally every other EV out there charges faster. Without experience, you have nothing to complain about. 99% of the year it will charge in your garage and be fully ready to use every morning. When was the last time your gasoline car did that?!?
When we moved back to Minnesota and started looking at houses before Jules was born, my realtor took us to a house in Fridley. I was dead against the place before we even arrived because I had mentally determined it was too close to my parents house.
I don’t know if our realtor did this on purpose or not, but he approached the house from the east (a route I wouldn’t have chosen), which showed that just down the hill is a lake.
There’s something in my lizard-brain that made me not hate the house because of its proximity to the lake and to my parents (for childcare reasons). I swallowed my pride and we bought it.
I wound up buying my parent’s canoe in hopes we’d launch on the lake nearby, but canoeing is an activity that is better with at least two people. Convincing my family to go was rare 🛶 So we sold the canoe and got two kayaks from Menards.
Those kayaks were fine, but eventually I wanted one with a couple of extra fishing features, without going to a full fishing kayak – because sometimes I like to just paddle around and sometimes I want to fish.
Finally the price listed was “view price in cart” so I did and checked out, saving almost $200 off the regular price.
How is it?
Construction, like the Swifty, is very sturdy. The handles are molded into the boat so they’re indestructible. For car transportation, I’d normally use the handle eyelets to run an extra strap to the rear hitch. The handles are too big for my normal strap hooks. I’ll have to add some rope or something. Bringing it home from the store was unnerving because the van has no sunroof and normally the handle strapping is what lets me know the kayak is still up there.
What I sort of forgot was that to equip fishing rod holders, I’d be investing another $100 in ram mount equipment. If you just want a couple of holes to drop your rod into, the Swifty and Mustang options are good choices.
The boat itself is great. It tracks very nicely. Strangely there’s no drain plug like on my cheapo Menards rig, so when the cockpit gets rain inside, it can be tricky to dump. I got a huge car wash sponge from Walmart to assist. I’ll likely buy a cockpit cover to keep water out during storage.
The back compartment is completely sealed from the cockpit, which is nice. In my old kayak any water inside the boat was going to get to the back too.
But there are several ways to measure. My torso is 30.5″ which calls for 210-230cm. My height is 5’10” and the boat is 29.5″ wide which calls for a 240cm paddle.
Having spent too much money at Dick’s on the kayak, I had a $20 reward to put towards a paddle. The Vibe Journey Paddle is the one that is in stock at every store, and it was on sale for $37 so I could get it for less than $20 with my reward. But it only comes in 230cm 🤔
Ultimately it didn’t matter because compared to the hardware store paddle I had, it was larger. 😎
On the water
On the lake it tracks very nicely. Not that the Menards one was bad, but this is clearly a step up. It’s got a nice place to hold my phone (put it in a dry bag!) and a water bottle, plus an indent to rest the paddle.
The problem that I have is not with the kayak, it’s with my nearest waterbody. I wish is that Moore Lake wasn’t bisected by a state highway 😞 It’s so easy to go down there, but it’s not as relaxing as it could be. The noise from the cars nearby is unrelenting. It’s especially bad if you want to go for a quick paddle after work, when everyone is battling their way through rush hour.