Motorcycle current gear indicator

[Vassilis Papanikolaou] just finished building a gear indicator for a motorcycle. This quite a simple implementation compared to some of the other vehicle information displays we’ve taken a look at. You should be able to build and install your own without breaking the bank. An ATtiny25 microcontroller reads data from a couple of hall effect sensors and the neutral switch, then displays the current gear on a 7-segment display.

There’s a magnet on the shifter and two hall effect sensors at the position for ‘gear up’ and ‘gear down’ shifting. The AVR chip keeps track of these and even stores the last position in EEPROM when you shut the bike off. If the device somehow gets off track, it will automatically recalibrate itself next time you shift into neutral, thanks to the bike’s neutral sensor switch.

Comments

  1. Cynyr says:

    Anyone have a working video link? the one at the bottom is broken.

  2. lucy_in_the_sky says:

    My motorcycle already has a gear indicator for all of the gears. I thought it would be helpful for me if I found a way to relay that information to my helmet so I dont need to look down to see my gears.

  3. mess_maker says:
  4. mess_maker says:
  5. jc says:

    Nice solution. I was planning on replacing my neutral switch sensor with one from a different year/model of bike that had a gear indicator. This is an elegant solution, and IMHO beats the heck out of the ones that look at the RPM and speed to derive the gear. They’re flawed because as soon as you pull in the clutch, they’re confused.

  6. wojna_93 says:

    AVRs turn you into a pure homosexual male in a matter of miliseconds, VIVA ARM!

  7. cpmike says:

    The gauge cluster that I’m using in my car includes an embedded 7segment LED, which is not currently hooked up to anything.. I’ve been meaning to mount 4 hall effect sensors and a magnet to do nearly the same thing, but it would be deducing gear based on X and Y of the shifter’s position. So many projects that I’ve been invisioning, that the longer I wait, the more of them I see being done and posted on HAD…

  8. ino says:

    Did the same for a friend last year with a pic.
    Since, it has been laying on his desktop at work because it’s not as easy to integrate elegantly on the bike board.
    Show me some nice finish product and I will say “kudos”.

  9. Matt says:

    Yeah but I would hate having to find/goto neutral after a mis-shift just to get it back on track again

  10. AJ says:

    I agree with Matt – looks like it would create more problems rather than solutions in terms of it getting “out of sync” with the actual gear the bike is in…

  11. draeath says:

    That doesn’t happen on a bike, it’s just a lever or something I thought. I don’t drive one though.

  12. Matt says:

    draeath – it happens on my Ducati monster.. when I am riding around all lazy like… my bad shifting of course.. I don’t blame nuttin on my Ducati though!

  13. bzroom says:

    Should combine the hall sensors with the rpm/speed method. If the clutch is in, it uses incremental reckoning. If the clutch is out, it uses the rpms and speed.

  14. Thanks for your comments. I will get back with more info on the actual installation. I am messing with the housing for now :)

  15. backSLIDER says:

    I really like this method. Some bikes have very interesting wiring setups, Most of the BMWs come with a gear indicator and they use a 3 wire system to tell what gear. Some of the older Kawasakis had a wire for every gear! I was thinking of something like a limit switch on my bikes shift linkage. It could be thrown off by missed shifts and the like. The problem is that is when I would want to know what gear I’m in, I really do like the hall effect idea much better.

  16. mike says:

    this looks like the kind of thing that could have been done with a simple up/down counter chip and a binary->7-segment converter chip

    while an avr is a bit overkill, it does let you do it all in one chip and store the gear in eeprom across powerups

  17. backSLIDER says:

    lucy_in_the_sky there is always the expensive but gorgeous sportvue hud.

  18. Steve says:

    1) This isn’t really necessary, as a rider who’s paying attention should know what gear has been selected, and what’s coming next. There are also a number of problems created by any additional need to be looking at the instruments in lieu of looking where you’re going. If you NEED to use something like this in order to keep track of what gear you’re in, do yourself a favor, and don’t ride.

    2) If/when you miss a shift, the lever’s been pushed past the sensor, counting a shift that hasn’t happened (yet). The only cure will be to find an easy way to read the shift drum’s actual position.

    -If you want to create something truly useful for a lot of riders, how about an easy way to make a bike’s turn signals self-canceling, after both sufficient time and distance have passed. A few bikes already do it; most don’t, and it’s really easy to ride for miles with the turn signal going.

  19. soapdodger says:

    I’ve never seen the point of gear indicators on bikes,

    if the gear is too high shift down, if its too low shift up!

  20. supershwa says:

    bah, I don’t want gadgets for my bike – I like the simplicity of it’s 2-stroke mechanics and lack of other crap to eventually repair (dirtbike here) :P

    Cool lil hack though – if I ever needed it, I’d definitely go this route. Excellent no-brainer details on the website, too.

  21. The Steven says:

    One down, four up…. How hard is it to remember what gear you’re in?

    I’ve only been riding since ’82, but I still seem to be able to do the math in my head, +1, +1, -1, +2, -2…

  22. Daley says:

    I’m kinda with The Steven here. Been riding long enough that I can keep track of what gear I’m in.

    Besides, how important is it to have an indicator tell you what you should just be able to “feel” from the feedback of the bike itself?

    Cool hack, but I think I’d rather use that micro to calculate clutch slippage or something else more useful.

  23. Hackius says:

    You’re not supposed to be looking at your dash when you’re riding

  24. ino says:

    I totally agree with the previous comments, but it’s seem that a gear indicator is a must have for occasional riders.
    I still don’t know why tho…

  25. Kilo414 says:

    This would be great for some one learning. My girlfriend has a 97 mustang and she is learning how to drive stick so this would be great for her. im not sure how you would install this on a car thou…

  26. dan says:

    Even when you’re just starting to learn, you can tell what gear the car is in by looking at it! After about fifteen minutes of driving you can tell by touch.

  27. @ino : will come soon !

    Thanks for all your comments.

  28. New information + operation video is now available at the end of the article : http://www.electronics-lab.com/projects/automotive/006/index.html

  29. tz says:

    The gear (and neutral) is broadcast on the Harley j1850 data bus. Probably others. I added it to my minigpsd program.

    The value isn’t available with the clutch in (the clutch being in is indicated). But this would likely occur with the above.

    Having it helps since I have 6 gears and when I have to slow down, I don’t always remember if I downshifted twice, or three times. It avoids me hitting the stop from trying to upshift beyond 6.

  30. A limited amount of factory PCBs will be available soon. Check the article.

  31. The device was tested on the motorcycle and works perfectly, without losing a single gear. Check the updated article.

  32. Victor says:

    In which all devices are the current sensors being used in motor cycle ?

  33. Marius says:

    This looks really great!!!……but I am unable to open the zip files when unzipped. Both the “Eagle” and “Source” files. I am using Alzip to unzip the files. What could be the problem??

  34. try 7zip

  35. Marius says:

    I did try to open the zip files with Zip7, but still no luck. Is it possible to mail me the zipped files? Both the “Eagle” and “Source” files.
    PLEASE!!!

  36. VA7DB says:

    Recently built this unit and it works like a charm and is far more reliable and precise than the one that was standard on the bike.
    Well done Vassilis and thanks for a great project.

  37. Jeff says:

    My first attemped didn’t perform like it should. The LED just light-up “0”. Had the counter IC (4026)changed to a pin mounted type because the SMD type is in a mess. Still not performing. Can I substitute the IC or it has to be the SMD type?
    Just don’t know where I went wrong.

  38. gaurav says:

    i’ii try to make this projejt

  39. Tony says:

    While agreeing with others that a gear indicator is pretty pointless (you can feel if the gear is too high/low), I’m wondering why bother with the hall effects?

    Since you’re only using them as switches not proximity sensors, why not just use reed switches? Same as bicycle speedo’s use, they’d be easy to mount and the code is easy.

  40. It seems that you didn’t understand how the whole thing works…

  41. Pj says:

    How about a Bluetooth indicator for a motorcycle that could transmit beeps to a sena headset? Everyone eventually messages them on

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