Gear indicator for Suzuki motorcycle

This little board serves as a current gear indicator for a motorcycle. It was designed with the Suzuki V-Storm motorcycles in mind as they have a sensor built into the gearbox. Other gear indicators rely on sensors on the shifters themselves, but reading the voltage level from a gearbox sensor gives much more reliable information.

The voltage measurement is handled by an ATmega88 microcontroller which in turn drives the 8×8 LED display. Also built into the system is a temperature sensor and photoresistor. The firmware takes advantage of both of these inputs, displaying temperature when in sixth gear or at the push of a button, and dimming the display based on ambient light. There are also settings for screen rotation, and user preferences.

We didn’t find schematics or software but this should be pretty easy to replicate. If you need a primer for AVR programming we’ve got you covered.

[Thanks Michal]

Comments

  1. tyco says:

    small correction – should be “V-Strom.” Don’t ask me why Suzuki chose this spelling; it’s very typo-prone.

    • Serge says:

      Strom is the German word for “electricity”.
      This fine motorcycle is built as as much lower cost option to the dual usage BMWs, hence the German word… Best bang for the buck Motorcycle I ever owned :o)

  2. Ken says:

    I wish my intruder had a gear indicator. Hard to get too terribly lost with only 5 gears… though I do seem to manage.

  3. vonskippy says:

    Wow, an indicated for what gear you’re in. Perhaps he should make another device to tell all these noob riders what direction is up (can’t be too careful with that one).

  4. macw says:

    Neat build and it could be really useful for any number of things — directional arrow for a GPS unit, radar detector readout, temperature (as shown), etc — but I don’t see why you actually need a gear indicator. Everyone with more than a few hours of experience in/on a vehicle with manually-shifted gears gets to know instinctively what gear they’re in from the engine sound, the available torque and the current speed. Hell, I can tell what gear I’m in on my bicycle just from the pedal resistance, and individual gears there are less than 10% different from each other.

    It seems like a useful little generic display but the intended purpose is dubious.

  5. biozz says:

    id wreck trying to read that while riding
    i like how mines set up with a bright blue graphic display so i can take a few short glances to read something

    every second your eyes are off the road is a second you can hit a car or a car can hit you

  6. Stephen Zuercher says:

    why wouldn’t you just use this chip instead for voltage measurements? http://www.national.com/ds/LM/LM3914.pdf I know you don’t need all 10 outputs…but seriously, way over complicated solution if you ask me.

  7. Ben-G says:

    What about the SV650? the engine is amolst the same

  8. I don’t see the point. You don’t need to know the gear number. You need to know if you need to shift up, or shift down and you ears should hear that even if your ass doesn’t feel it.

  9. Abbott says:

    It’s quite simple – if the bike is screaming, upshift. If she’s bogging, downshift. I don’t know how much more difficult it can be. The rider should be focused on the road, on the ride, rather than on his gadgets.

    This probably sounds odd coming from me, as I love technology, but as biozz said, every second off the road…

  10. I can see it as convienence (sp?) I have on occasion, pulled in the clutch, and slowed down, only to not know what gear I am in. But then I just down shift until I cant any more.

  11. Ryan says:

    Kind of cool build, but ultimately useless for anyone but the most novice of riders, then arguably dangerous for them.

  12. simon says:

    wait…other people on motorcycles actually take their eyes off the road when riding? the only time i EVER look at my gauges is to check whether or not im actually in neutral. and all that is is a little green light.

  13. Hackius says:

    All you need is a neutral light. Stop looking at the instrument panel when riding!

  14. nes says:

    My ’79 Suzuki already has this… well a row of seven little lamps along the bottom edge of the instruments. I think it was intended more as a marketing gimmick than a useful rider aide but it looks darn cool.

  15. Whatnot says:

    Might be more fun to make it light up some light, maybe on the exhaust, with increasing colortone as you get in higher gear.
    Or how about a wireless transmitting to a POV display in the wheel with the gearstate.

  16. Whatnot says:

    Addendum: My suggestions might seem overly blingy but you can do these things in a more subdued way too, subtle and yet unique.

  17. fartface says:

    Any suzuki or yamaha can have this. you simply replace the neutral switch with a switch from one of the higher end models that detect what gear you are in.

    Did it for several friends, along with replacing the ECM with a racing one from Ingitech.

    nothing like gutting the ignition computer and replacing it with a programmable one to get more HP out of the engine and racing functions that reduce ET’s by nearly a second.

  18. fartface says:

    @simon, on my BMW I have a radio, GPS, toaster, Coffee maker, I have to adjust my heated seat and grips as well as the windshield.

    But then I can ride well into december while the crotch rocket riders shrivel up and die when it rains or temps go below 60.

    I’ve got a friend that rides all year even in snow. Far bigger balls than most motorcycle riders.

  19. bill rowe says:

    nice build and not at all useless. I’ve built a few versions of this for my triumph and I find it quite handy – obviously this depends on the bike and the rider.

    For sure I can tell whether I NEED to shift – that’s not the point. Mine is unobtrusive but in sight so I can tell at a glance if I’m in top gear on the highway for instance.

    They are also good fun to build and mount, you’re learning about your bike and automotive power environments in general. In my case I wanted to learn interrupts and I was quite pleased at the result handling hundreds of interrupts a second from multiple sources while integrating and displaying the results.

  20. lwatcdr says:

    Okay folks stop the hating. OEMs put these on bikes so no it isn’t that dumb to want one or that useless.
    The use mode for this is at start up. Yes you can click down all the way down to first before you start or you can just look and see if you are already in first.
    Is it necessary?
    No.
    Is it useless or dangerous? No.
    Is it a nice little hack?
    Yes.
    Think of it as a starting point if nothing else. Add a GPS, speed sensor, and rev counter and you have a data logger for track day.
    Really what is it with the hate and critics on here. This is a nice little hack and kind of cool.

  21. BiOzZ says:

    @lwatcdr
    the equipment in OEM bikes are placed and made with hours of study and research in very persice positions and with displays made for easy recondition where you only need to take your eyes off the road for a second putting some untested hard to read display in a rocket on wheels is not just dangerous but stupid

    my bike display comes with a super bright 120X90 blue/white display with very clear and easy to read gear count and speed (i only have it set to display speed) and it came with a large front and back fine print peace of paper saying to use it at your own risk and that it is dangerous … its not an OEM bike its a ground up 1000cc custom crotch rocket but it was put together by professionals
    this device IS dangerous and should only be used by professional riders who know both there bike and the road but any one with more than 12 hours on there bike know what gear your in by the speed and the sound of there engine
    the only real use in one is knowing when your in neutral

    also while your riding taking any hand off the handlebars for any reason or any period of time is illegal unless you have a (properly named) suicide shifter

  22. Olivier says:

    @lwatcdr: it is useless and dangerous.
    I don’t even understand your explanation : when you start your bike, you’re probably in neutral and most (maybe all ?) bikes have a light to show you’re in neutral.

    So there’s no point in this kind of display.

  23. Don says:

    My 1975 Suzuki GT-380 has a factory-installed LED gear indicator digit that works just fine even in bright sun (it’s red of course). I just figured it’s a step up from a neutral light (early example of feeping creaturism), but really there isn’t much benefit to it, though sometimes you can see where you are after a sudden stop from a high gear when you haven’t had a chance to gear down (thee GT is a 6-speed).

  24. Alan says:

    <3 vehicle display hacks

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