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.

42 thoughts on “Motorcycle current gear indicator

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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”.

  5. 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…

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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…

  11. 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.

  12. 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…

  13. 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.

  14. 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??

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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