Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

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Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by amberwolf » May 11 2018 2:26pm

New version for the dogs; usable for cargo too, with removable air conditioning for the dogs (if the parts I have work out).

Previous versions are here:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=18671
and here:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=54323
and here:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=63781
and here:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=76539

Still in design phase, sketches attached.

It will have an enclosed and insulated area 4 feet x 4 feet x 4 feet, so just a little wider than the last one, and about the same length.

Basic frame design is nearly the same as the Mk IV, just wider and with enclosure between the wheels, which had been planned for Mk IV anyway, just never done for lack of time and the right materials for that plan.

1 inch square tubing for the framework, with some solid rod and/or cable with tensioners for stuff that only stays in tension (is a little lighter that way, as this will be quite heavy even unloaded).

Metal grillwork as cage inside the insulation, to prevent dogs from digging thru (ones I have now dont do that but I have had some that would, and could have again in future). Theyre big enough to dig thru even plywood if they wanted to (Nana did).

Insulated panels will be removable so they can have a view (and people can see them, too) for the half-year its cool enough to do that. Rest of the year the insulated panels would enclose the entire trailer box to keep the heat out. At least 1 inch of styrofoam between plastic sheets, most likely, possibly in a wood frame to make install/removal cleaner.


Air conditioning:

I have a harbor freight inverter that might be able to handle the smallest window A/C unit I have. Theres reports on the web of people using it for larger shop tools, so it might be able to handle compressor starts.

Itd run off a pack of EIG NMC cells like the trike itself does. All this stuff would probably weigh almost 75-100lbs by itself, depending on the battery size needed for it, and the extra mounting hardware to set it up on the triangular frame just in front of the big box, behind the hitch tongue.

If I could find an RV-type A/C unit being scrapped out (but that still worked) Id put that on there, but not much chance of that. Theyre too expensive to just go buy something meant to run on DC, unfortunately, and I think that all of my window A/C units use capacitive-start/run compressors (I could change teh blowers to DC types, but I cant do anything about the compressors).

So if the window A/C unit wont run off the inverter, then Ill have to work out some evaporative cooling method, like a mini swamp cooler.

Either way, Ill be putting a wired-remote thermometer of some kind in there, so I can monitor temperatures on the handlebars during a ride, in case something goes wrong, so I can stop and deal with it.



Wheels:

I have two realistic easy options, with parts I already have. The first is just to take the axle out of two bike wheels, and install them both on a longer axle (like solid or threaded rod) that goes thru both of them. Most likely Id take out the regular bike bearings and use cartridge types, just to make the whole build process easier with parts I already have, without finding threaded rod that fits the existing bearing-cup type axle hardware.

Basically two independent bike wheels (26 inch, as I have enough of those, and bigger diameter is better rolling/ride) on a single axle. Provides redundancy in case of flats, and spreads the load out under normal conditions. I have some old knobby MTB tires that will work, though Id prefer fatter ones for a better ride, but Im pretty much out of repairable tubes, so I would have to buy those, which likely adds up to $80 to the cost of the trailer.


Second, I could use the pair of motorcycle wheels and tires I have. Tehyre basically like cast wheels, so much heavier than the spoked ones I wish I still had (that appear to have vanished after the housefire 5 years ago, probably stolen). One is probably a 19 inch and the other probably a 21 inch, a front and a rear off the same bike. IIRC they still have their bearings, just no axle, so Id have to come up with a solution for that.

The tires are so thick I could possibly pull the empty trailer even if they were flat, though not likely with the dogs in it. ;) But theyd be nearly bulletproof for my application, and they are designed to take this kind of weight and more. The catch is they probably add another 100lbs to the trailer, between the pair.


More later, as I work it out.
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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by John and Cecil » May 11 2018 2:31pm

Dualies - I love it! :)

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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by amberwolf » May 13 2018 1:36am

Theres a few bicycles Ive seen around the web with dualies, usually trikes, but a couple of trailers. Some interlace the wheels, spokes from one hub going to the other rim, some use special hubs built for the purpose, and some just do what Ill be doing, two regular wheels on one axle, independently rotating.

I also ahve a pair of motorcycle wheels I might use, but theyre each as heavy as the Mk IV trailer, just about. :/ Would probably be essentially failure proof for my purposes, though. ;)


Some more thoughts on cooling. I sketched up an evap cooler that could run directly off a 48v / 52v battery, as I have a couple of 48vdc box fans, and I think I have a 12vdc water pump that could provide enough pressure to force it thru misters rather than just a dripper (and a 48V-12v converter). I definitely have plastic tubing or pipe that could be used for the drippers, and I think I have some misting heads for garden dripper-sprinklers left.

Have to come up with excelsior for it, but I think I have some in a portable AC-powered evap if I still have that unit. If not, it hsould be cheap enough to buy some. Dont need much, for an evap the size of a tiny window-A/C unit.


Have to come up with a water tank. If I use something that can be pressurized, I can use a tire air pump thru an old innertube valve to pressurize the tnak to push the water out, rather than using a water pump.

Soda bottles would be one easy thing to use, if I put the valve at the bottom end and the water fill/exit at the cap end. Just have to figure out how to get the valve off an old innertube down into the bottle and secured from the inside without cutting the bottle open (other than the valve hole itself). Can even use several bottles in parallel if a lot of volume is needed.

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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by John and Cecil » May 13 2018 10:13am

Cooling, I assume for the dogs? We ride in 100+ degree weather here on the motorcycle, Cecil and I both have evaporative cooling vests. I have 2 cooler bags on the motorcycle (and now on our e-bike) and I pack them with large mouth bottles of ice water in the summer. Every 30-45 mins or so I soak the vests in the ice water and then wring them out a bit. They work very well. Cecil used to squirm in his box when we would wait at a red light in the summer, but when wearing his vest he never squirmed again. I guess it would be much more difficult for you since your dogs are so large, and I am not sure how long you ride but perhaps this may be helpful.

I am curious why you would not want to use small diameter trailer wheels. I would think your speed is not so high as to make the small but wide tires an issue, and if you can find aluminum rims they would probably not be too heavy.

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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by amberwolf » May 13 2018 12:54pm

John and Cecil wrote:
May 13 2018 10:13am
Cooling, I assume for the dogs? We ride in 100+ degree weather here on the motorcycle, Cecil and I both have evaporative cooling vests. I have 2 cooler bags on the motorcycle (and now on our e-bike) and I pack them with large mouth bottles of ice water in the summer.
Ive tried evap vests before (homemade) and they work well enough on shorter haired dogs, and on me, but on big shaggy monsters like these they dont work as well, and they really dont work at all without wind blowing past them.

The problem I have run into here is that there are frequent complete stops for up to several minutes at a time, for traffic controls, and there is little to no breeze during those times. And thats stuck in the middle of a bunch of running cars waiting at a light, so it can get hot enough to make *me* feel faint, with all the engine heat around me not being blown away by any breeze.

I could make the wind necessary by having battery powered blowers, essentially making the evap cooler right on their bodies, but only if they will stay near enough the blower that the air from it moves enough to cool them. Or making a high enough velocity blower, which would be pretty loud. Yogi probably would move as far away from it as he could; hes not a fan of fans even when theyre quiet.

If I must take them somewhere in the sometimes 110-120+ degree F heat under those conditions (vet, etc), they couldnt take that well without better cooling, especially if already stressed enough to need a vet. So Id rather run actual air conditioning if I can, despite the weight and power costs.

I dont normally take them anywhere unless its cool enough to do without any kind of measures, but there are times I must (like when I had to take Tiny with me to work whenever she was sick in her last couple years), so these cooling precautions will let me take them wherever I need to, whenever I need to, immediately without trying to put things on them.

Every 30-45 mins or so I soak the vests in the ice water and then wring them out a bit. They work very well. Cecil used to squirm in his box when we would wait at a red light in the summer, but when wearing his vest he never squirmed again. I guess it would be much more difficult for you since your dogs are so large, and I am not sure how long you ride but perhaps this may be helpful.
The rides we normally take are usually only a few minutes long, unless there is a lot of traffic, in which case it can be 30-45 minutes (because theres shortcuts I cant take and things I cant risk doing with the trailer full of dog attached).

A vet visit ride could take as long as 30 minutes to an hour under normal conditions because there are some high traffic areas I have to cross, and sometimes I simply have to wait a while because even with traffic lights the drivers are impatient enough I wont risk going across under some conditions.


I am curious why you would not want to use small diameter trailer wheels. I would think your speed is not so high as to make the small but wide tires an issue, and if you can find aluminum rims they would probably not be too heavy.

Smaller wheels make a much harsher ride vs the larger wheels with the same width tires, partly because there is more air volume in the tire, and partly because the wheels more easily roll over bumps and holes that smaller tires may not even be able to clear at all.

There are potholes around here that are quite a slamming impact for a 20 inch wheel for instance, even one with a 2.5 inch moped tire on there--enough to damage a rim or break an axle, on the trike, on a couple of times Ive had no way to avoid them. The 26 inch wheels with just bicycle tires even on the loaded trailer have hit similar holes with a jarring bump but nothing like the impact the smaller wheel had. Theres not a lot of that kind of pothole, but the ones there are are in places I cant avoid passing thru, and with traffic conditions that sometimes force me to encounter them.

Another issue is spokes--they work better the longer they are, because there is more spoke to take up shocks from such impacts, without damage to the wheel or spoke. Theres also more rim and tire circumference to pass the impact to via the air volume in the tire itself. I havent broken spokes on my 20 inch wheels on the trike, even when breaking rims and axles, but the longer spokes would help with those two things as well.

If I had a bunch of wide 29 inch wheels and tires around here Id use those instead, just for the larger diameter. But the only bigger wheels I have are the really skinny old ten-speed type, which wont take tires wide enough to hold enough air to help under these conditions and loads.

This is one reason the Raine Trike (it has its own thread) for my brother is built with all 26 inch wheels, with the trike/deck suspended below the axles, just like this trailer and the Mk IV, as an experiment in how such a trike will handle, so that whenever I am at the point I have to rebuild the back end of my own SB Cruiser trike, I can switch it over to the same method if it turns out to handle as well as what I have already, simply because it would give a better ride and be easier on the wheels.

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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by John and Cecil » May 13 2018 2:27pm

Ah I guess you have gone cage free too (no car). :) 120 degrees is brutal hot, even vests wont help much in those situations especially without fast moving wind currents.

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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by amberwolf » May 13 2018 11:13pm

Thankfully the 120F temps are rare, but over 110F is not. However, even if it was 130F or more out there, I still have to ride to work at least, and theres always the chance I might have to take the dogs somewhere in it (never so far, but....).

As for cage-free, I guess Ive really always been that way (other than occasional rides from others with cars, usually to group events, sometimes to events or places bikes or bike riders werent welcome at, and riding sucky public transit with or without bike, back in the early-mid 90s).

The only car I owned I bought around late high school, as a fixer upper along with a parts car...and basicaly right after I got it, my moms car died unfixably (at least not within our budget), so we fixed a couple of key things on mine and she took it over, and I kept my bike, and thats how it stayed. When my mom died, the car she had at the time (different one) was sold to someone down the street. (I did also get another car for parts for free from friends around a decade ago, and after picking thru what I could from it for projects the rest went for scrap).

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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by Chalo » May 13 2018 11:29pm

Your project makes me think of one of my friends who lives in pretty rudimentary conditions. I remember him saying, "I'm not going to treat my dogs better than I treat myself." Evidently that's not your style.
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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by amberwolf » May 14 2018 1:08am

If I could afford it, theyd get quite the luxury treatment...since I cant, they get the best I *can* do with what I have. :)

I probalby dont treat myself very well, but I dont really matter. The dogs do, though--theyre the biggest and most real reason I stick around (I mightve given up on everything long ago if it werent for various dogs that need someone to take care of them, and only had me).

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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by John and Cecil » May 14 2018 2:19pm

Dude, the only luxury treatment a dog really wants is love - and you apparently give them that in excess! All the money and the items in the world cannot make up for that. Dogs are so loving and faithful, and to have that reciprocated back at them is all they will ever need :)

I think I understand you pretty well. Dogs are so much wiser than humans, they have an inner wisdom that will likely forever be lost on our race :( I wish I did not wait until I was in my 40's to get my first dog...

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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by The fingers » May 17 2018 3:39pm

Oliver says “woof woof”. :lol:
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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by amberwolf » May 18 2018 11:40pm

Yeah, having had dogs all my life, i know how loyal dogs can be, regardless of how they are treated...but the better I treat them, the more I can accept that loyalty. :oops:


I've been exhausted the last...hwoever many days, and just kinda caught up with myself the past couple, so havent' wroked on or thougth about this at all.

Today I was going to test out the A/C unit on the inverter,
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=75149

https://usermanual.wiki/Harbor-Freight/ ... 1669804385

but I misremembered it's input voltage range, thinking it was up to 48vdc, when it's only 12-15vdc. So I have to build a 12v pack that can output a crapload of amps with little or no sag before I can do the test.

I have enough EIG cells to do it, given that they'll handle up to 100A in 1P, and 200A in 2P, and I have a simple way to setup 2P packs. The only catch is that these cells are 4.1v full, 3.65v nominal, so a 4s pack is 16.4v full, which is too high--the inverter will autoshutoff if anything above 15vdc comes in. I could just not charge them fully, cutoff at 15V, but that leaves a fair bit of capacity on the table, somewhere around 30% of it. starting off at 3.75v per cell.


3s is only 12.3v, which is barely enough to run it. The actual voltage of the LVC built into the inverter is not specified, so I'd have to test that. If it will run down to say 10VDC, then I can use 3s packs, and the cutoff will be 3.33v per cell.

3s is only 75% of the wh of a 4s pack, so even at 2p, 40Ah, thats still only around 140wh, which probably wouldn't run the A/C for even a few minutes. So I'll need to parallel a number of 3s2p packs for enough capacity, which will also reduce the C-rate the cells have to handle.


Of course, with the luck I'm having lately, I'll build the pack and hook it up and the A/C unit won't run on the inverter, or one or the other will go up in smoke. :/
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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by amberwolf » Jun 13 2018 2:29am

I haven't gotten to building this trailer yet (or rebuilding the Mk IV into it), but tomorrow I have to pick up an upright piano found on Freecycle, so the past few mornings I've been spending the very little free time I have before getting ready for work to modify the Mk IV to handle the piano's weigth and load.

The person giving the piano away doesn't know it's weight, or enough info for me to find that out, so I'm hoping it's a smaller one, which will be in the weight range the trailer has already proven itself for, 400-500lbs. If it's a big one, it could be up to double that weight, and I doubt the trailer could handle taht as-is. (it'll sound better if it's bigger, but I doubt I can really handle moving it myself, and I know no one that can help me at the time and day I have to do it).

Pics of the work tomorrow, after it gets light enough to take some and I get enough done to be able to take a break and cool off. (if stuff takes too long, have to post after the piano pick up)

So I've added a complete rail around the trailer except at the rear (where the piano gets loaded on), about 6" above the main frame, level with the top of the triangular wheel frames, with triangulation from the top rail to the main frame provided by 1/4" rod ratehr than more tubing.

The rear section will bolt on rather than be welded on, so that it can be put into place after the load is on, to stiffen it up (it'll probably need it). If the trailer center sags much, it may be a challenge to actually do the bolting on.

So it's going to be made as part of a double-channel style ramp, hinged from the bottom of the main frame. The channels will be former rack-mount cabinet rails, spaced to center the wheels of my strongest two-wheel dolly, which I'll be putting under the piano (if possible) and strapping securely to it. Most likley I'll have to use straps to crank the dolly up the ramp onto the trailer.

The lighting bar (turn signals, tail/brake light) is presently welded to the main frame at the center rear; it will be moved to teh bolt-on section instead (so it won't be in the way of loading the trailer), and be itself bolted in place so I can unbolt it for loading.


I also need to add the second set of wheels (making it a duallie), for redundancy as well as to spread the load. I don't have long enough rods to use as axles for a pair the way I drew it up in previous posts above, so I'll have to put the outer ones on their own independent set of dropouts, axle in line with the inboard wheels.


I figure I have at least 3-4 hours worth of work left to do to the trailer before it'll be ready to go get the piano (which will happen in midafternoon of what is predicted to be a 109F day, which may well turn out to be a 115F day if temperatures are over predictions as much as previous days). So I'll start as early as I can, once there's light to see and I won't be disturbing the neighbors with the cutting and grinding out in the yard.


This should be an interesting adventure. :?




The good news is that all this work will be generally usable for the conversion into the full Mk V enclosed air conditioned trailer for the dogs.

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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by amberwolf » Jun 14 2018 12:51am

The piano pick up went just about as planned, other than several boards of the decking (old pallet wood) not being up to the task. Stayed tied down fine, just harder to get off the trailer when I got it home (havng to lift it's wheels out of the holes).

Was really really hot out there though (112F last time I looked before it got just a little cloudy past noon; it got hotter after those went away). So I had to do some resting up after i got back before getting on here and posting this stuff.


As promised, pics:

First, those of the whole setup loaded with the piano, just after getting home.
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Next, those of the setup unloaded, once i finally got the piano off.
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The ramp as it is above is designed specifically for my heavy-duty dolly, so I can't accidentally roll off of it with the wheels--just pull it up the ramp and lay it down (or stand it up) with whatever heavy item is strapped to it, then strap the whole thing down to the trailer.

Really heavy stuff I can use a pair of cargo ratchet straps to inch it up the ramp, cranking one strap tight utnil it's reel is full, then the other, then resetting the first, etc etc until it's up on the deck. Tha'ts how I loaded the piano, though ti was complicated by it's size, so it actually dragged the baseplate of teh dolly on the rails (since I couldn't tilt and roll it up) once it was around 1/3 of the way up the ramp.

Because the rails have threaded screwholes (they're rails for a 19" rackmount cabinet), I can make a "solid" ramp out of some plywood I have here, that bolts to the rails, sitting between them, just under the metal flanges with the holes. That leaves the rail guides for the dolly in place and available, but gives a regular ramp too. Didn't have time to do it today, but it would've been handy if I'd had it, to get the piano off when I got home. :oops: I can also add further hinged framework at the edges of the trailer deck and rails that allows a full width ramp, with more plywood between them.
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Presently the taillight/signal lighting bar is bolted to the bottom/back of the rails, so it faces rearward when the ramp is up, and faces down under the ramp when the ramp is down. For cases where either the load is long enough (like the piano) that the ramp can't be raised, the lighting bar unbolts (one wingnut and screw on either rail) so it can be strapped / etc to the back of the load instead.

No provision for the SMV sign yet.



Some construction details:

I did not have time to build the same hanging-deck type framework for the outboard wheels as I did for the inboard, so I just ran a straight rail at just below axle height for the outboard side rails, and connected it to the inboard outer rail (now the center rail) and by a short horizonal strut at each end, and a diagonal down to the main deck. At the rear I left the vertical of the center rail at the height the metal started at, because I might add to it for the rear ramp to "pin" to, later.
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I added a horizontal strut from the front of the front stiffening rail to the upper rear face of the hitch tongue, so there will be less tendency to flex that area as I brake/accelerate and hit potholes/bumps. It made a big difference with the piano on there (without that strut, I've seen it flex even with just Yogi on it, and he weighs probably a fourth or fifth of the piano).
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This is the rod used for triangulating that center rail, from teh forward top rail down to where the axle-deck hanger tubing meets the deck.
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These are the dropouts of the outboard wheel vs the inboard. Top pic is the right side, bottom wheel outboard, offset to the rear. Bottom pic is left side, again bottom wheel outboard, offset to the rear.
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Other assorted pics:
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Re: Amberwolf's Flatbed Kennel Trailer Mk V

Post by amberwolf » Jun 15 2018 11:39pm

A note about the wheels: The inboard (original) wheels are slightly off the ground when the trailer is unloaded, but when there's close to 200lbs on the trailer, it flexes enough to put thsoe wheels on the ground, so all four can then spread the load between them.

This means there's less rolling resistance in typical use, but still the ability to carry more when it has to, without me doing anything manually.


It wasn't exactly intentional, it just worked out that way, but it is a useful feature. :)

Part of it is caused by the specific wheels/tires I had at hand; I had to borrow the two front wheels off other bikes not presently in use for the piano trip, as I didn't have time to put tubes and tires on the wheels I'd set aside for the trailer upgrade, before heading out to get the piano.




BTW, the piano stayed tuned (as tuned as it started out, anyway--the entire thing is 1/2 step flat (A440 is tuned down to A-flat, etc); whoever tuned it last either screwed up, or deliberately did it this way for unknown reasons). I'm retuning it a few keys at a time as I have time. It's a Kimball, probably from the 1970s or 1980s, at a guess.

The bass strings (first octave or so) are a single string. The next couple octaves are double strings. The rest are triple strings. So the double and triple ones are supposed to be tuned so each set of 2 or 3 are the same note, to give it "extra harmony". Personally, I think it just gives it extra PITAness trying to tune it, because I have to finger-mute each of the other strings on a particular key while I tune a string. They make mutes for the purpose, but I don't have those, and havent worked out a DIY version yet.

I don't have an actual piano tuning "hammer", so I'm using a 1/4" drive socket for an 8mm hex nut, with an 8mm allen key in the socket's hex end, and using this to drive the 1/4" square ends of the tuning pins. For better control, I'm using an 8mm hex nut driver on teh other end of the allen (the long end). It works, though it's not quite as easy to use as a regular piano tuning hammer would be. (a bit more floppiness due to the multiple "joints" in it).

For anyone that hasn't tuned a piano before, this youtube channel has good videos on techniques
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr_CSp ... MC89sazTnA

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