Adding the Apple ‘breathing LED’ to a motorcycle

[spiralbrain] has a beautiful KTM Duke 200 motorcycle, but he’s found the factory configuration is a little bit plain. Wanting to add his own unique touch to his bike, he decided to add a ‘breathing LED’ to the parking light that slowly changes its brightness much like the LED on recent Macs.

From the factory, [spiralbrain]‘s bike uses extremely inefficient (and somewhat ugly) T10 lamps for the parking light. This was changed over to a 12 Volt white SMD light bulb, but what really makes this build special is the way [spiralbrain] is controlling this lamp.

[spiralbrain] added a very tiny circuit consisting of an 8-pin microcontroller (a PIC12F683) that slowly dims the new SMD light bulb using the built-in PWM module. When the bike is taken out of neutral, the microcontroller stops at the highest PWM setting so the ‘breathing’ LED function is only engaged when not moving.

It’s an interesting mod that’s sure to draw some attention when [spiralbrain] is showing off his bike. As a bonus, the mod is completely reversible, so the bike’s warranty is still good.


  1. fffrrr says:

    I need your help. please contact me.

  2. aarku says:

    Not that anyone cares, but it’s kind of funny this is actually patented by Apple.

    • RebelHell says:

      What’s even more funny is my Lenovo laptop has the same ‘breathing’ LED’s.

    • sperryfreak01 says:

      Apple patented a breathing LED that has the same same repeat rate and fading function as a resting human’s breathing.

      IAMA an engineer who had to rip off the Apple breathing LED for the indicator LED on an iPod dock. So you know what I did? made it a little faster…

  3. ino says:

    “show off” is the right term.
    I don’t get the point of this mod. Lights are to be seen, not to look cool.

    • barry99705 says:

      It’s different, which will get your attention. Kinda like the newer bike headlights that pulse.

    • 112358 says:

      Your comment does have a little merit but it also seems a bit asinine. Most of these hacks are not just for “showing off”(nothing wrong with that either). It is having an idea no matter how trivial and the need to just build it and share with the community.
      I enjoy just tinkering with all my consumer goods and making them truly mine. Hey, if it does somehow get you laid then definitely nothing wrong with that too.

      • ino says:

        I agree, I could have been more gentle.

        But I can not stand people who want to mod their motorbike to make it looks “cooler” by hacking into the safety organs, or adding gizmo that gives little infos and distract them from the road (gear indicator anyone?).
        You want a cool bike, you add a wicked paint job or modify the cowling design.
        But when it comes to being seen by careless drivers, your life can depend on a light being too dim…

    • spiralbrain says:

      You are right, this may be a show off but in the Hacking community this is more like an example and will find many other applications.

    • 112358 says:

      You’re right about being more gentle about a comment (I should proof read more). In all fairness though the hacker did mention it only functions while parked. I agree about safety of others especially myself.

  4. Katrina LeFaye says:

    Besides being in violation of the breathing of apple this mod is also in violation of US Federal Law.

    Just a tip…

    Title 49 – Transportation

    (c) A motorcycle headlamp may be wired to allow either its upper beam or its lower beam, but not both, to modulate from a higher intensity to a lower intensity in accordance with section S5.6;

    (d) All other lamps shall be wired to be steady-burning.

    Additionally see
    “240 40 cycles per minute”

    Code of Federal Regulations
    Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999
    Revised as of October 1, 2000
    From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access [CITE: 49CFR571.108] [Page 236-307]

    • JA12 says:

      A violation?
      Vehicle and traffic regulations (usually) make sense since it’s about safety but it’s sad to hear that not only is the US patent office a joke, it also takes away peoples ability of critical thinking.

    • 112358 says:

      In a way I’m kind of repeating part of my earlier comment but how does that effect parked vehicles. The hacker said it is wired to the parking light.

      • stopthemadness says:

        The affect is……It is against the law and patent infringement. That in itself should be enough of a deterrent. If it isn’t here is something else to chew on. A light that flashes often gets left on. (See old people and turn signals) What happens if he forgets to switch it off and rides down the road distracting other drivers? Please understand I like the hack but it is illegal.

      • Jon says:

        “When the bike is taken out of neutral, the microcontroller stops at the highest PWM setting…” — Nothing to forget — The light brightens to full brightness when the motorcycle is in gear. Guess some people missed that part.

    • Henry says:

      The 200 Duke is also not available state side, so US regulation is irrelevant.

    • daler says:

      I highly doubt this violates Apple’s patents: the “breathing” effect by itself isn’t covered by the patent — it’s also the rate, intensity, color, etc. Furthermore, I highly doubt Apple cares, so long as he doesn’t sell it (motorcycle headlights aren’t a threat to profits or brand image.)

      In regards to the law: who cares? This device isn’t creating a hazard — so it follows the spirit of the law, if not the word.

  5. TiredJuan says:

    I’ve been looking at buying a bike, and I think this will be the first mod I do.

  6. debido666 says:

    Wish KTM sold this bike in the states.

    • xrayspex says:

      I wish they’d get off their butts and put the Freeride 350 for sale in the US. It’s EXACTLY what I’ve been waiting for (if it’s street legal here, that is, otherwise, pfffffffffftt.)

  7. spiralbrain says:

    Thank you HAD for including this hack!

  8. Chirpinchuckthehumanduck says:

    Relax its a parking Light.
    The hack is cool and the guy has good taste in bikes.

  9. KillerBug says:

    Italian and British bikes have had this for years…the light fades in and out and back again. The only difference here is that it is intended.

  10. Gabe says:

    He could just have exchanged it with me.

    My 82 Honda does not need a battery for much besides the headlight and spark, so the battery is negligible and the alternator gives out all the juice.

    That means, full headlight when moving, and totally random pattern when idle :)

    • KillerBug says:

      That’s what my last Italian bike did too…I even got a ticket for driving at night without a headlight, and there was no way to turn the headlight off. I brought the wiring diagram to court along with proof the bike was under a year old and got it dropped to defective equipment…the best description that bike ever had other than “p**sy magnet”

  11. neimad says:

    Apple is a bunch of corporate scumbags for trying to patent PWM fading.

  12. saif says:

    In duke 200 is hazard lights are there inbuilt

  13. hari says:

    Yo dude…I kinda liked ur trick….could u jz tell me how u did that… actually I too wanted to do that in my bike…. pls;-)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,577 other followers