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Electric motorcycle hits the racing circuit

electric-motorcycle-hits-the-race-track

Check out that beefy electric motor hanging out where the swing arm connects to the body of this motorcycle. It’s the muscle that makes this recently completed electric motorcycle ready to race.

[Jackson Edwards] has been hard at work building this from the ground up. His goal was to make it competitive with production line motorcycles and his most recent test runs are pointing to success. The film shows off a couple of problems with the rear suspension. This actually led to him dumping the bike on a turn. He was unharmed but the control panel on the handlebars was unfortunately trashed. A bit of work fixed the handling and he was able to ride with confidence. We’re struck by how quiet the thing is as it tears past the camera at the very beginning of the video.

Sure, we’ve seen other electric motorcycles before. Those were all conversions from gas. Designing from the ground up really opened up a lot of choices not possible with a retrofit. Make sure to dig through all the posts on his blog to get the full picture.

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Brake Light Backpack overpowered with LED pixels

led-motorcycle-backpack

Here’s another Flora Arduino based project from [Becky Stern]. It’s a backpack with brake lights and turn signals for use when motorcycling, but it should work just as well for bicyclists. From this view the project looks pretty normal, but things get downright crazy when she decided to use the WS2801 pixels for the LEDs. Sure they take all the work out of driving an array of LEDs, and they offer full color and dimming levels. But when you see the bulk of cabling and PCBs this adds to the project (shown in the video after the break) we think you’ll agree that this was an interesting choice.

That issue aside the project is a lot of fun. The system doesn’t patch into the motorcycle’s electronics. Instead, it uses an accelerometer to detect when the brakes are applied and light the LEDs according. The turn signals are switched with an RF remote control that can be mounted on the handlebars.

Anyone looking to hack outerwear with electronics can learn form the fabrication techniques used here. [Becky] details how to make holes in the bag and sew parts to them, as well as using Sugru to waterproof vulnerable components.

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Gyrocam keeps the horizon level even when the camera isn’t

[Derek] likes to get a little bit of drivers-eye footage when racing his motorcycle, but there’s an inherent problem with mounting a camera to a moving and tilting platform. When he leans into turns, the camera can’t keep the horizon level. Cinematography and electronics go well together. so [Derek] built a horizon-stabilized camera mount for motorcycle videography.

The build was inspired by footage shot from [Valentino Rossi's bike in 2010. Of course the professional model costs a small fortune, but [Derek] managed to make his own out of 3D printed parts and a hobby servo.

Based on the Contour Roam camera, [Derek] had a pair of gears printed at Shapeways to fit over the camera and attach to a servo. The electronics are an ATMega32 with a L3G4200D gyroscope. When the ‘micro detects a change in the gyroscope it rotates the servo in the opposite direction, keeping the horizon in the video level.

It’s a very cool build, and judging from the action videos after the break, makes for awesome track footage.

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Helmet of many LEDs built for Burning Man

This motorcycle helmet was heavily altered to accept all of the hardware that goes into driving that huge array of LEDs. [Brian Cardellini] built it to wear at burning man. He claims to have been in over his head with the project, but we certainly don’t get that feeling when we see the thing in action. It’s light on build details, but there are plenty of demo shots in the video after the break. The animation and fading action really gets started about a minute and a half into it.

One of the early frames of the video is a shot of the parts order webpage. Since it’s an HD clip we were able to glean a few bits and pieces from that. It includes a MAX7219 LED Display Driver and fifteen 25-packs of Blue LEDs. Now that chip is a great choice, and one of the later shots shows two of them on breakout board driven by an Arduino. The look is very clean since he carved out most of the helmet’s padding to make room for the electronics.

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Junkyard scavenging nets a tachometer to play with

We never thought to hit the automotive junkyard to find electronics we could play with. But [Istimat] was able to pull this working tachometer from an otherwise destroyed motorcycle dashboard. The Kawasaki part has just three pins on the back of it. By connecting 12V to the IGN pin, ground to GND, and tapping a 12V wire on the unlabeled pin he was able to make the needle dance and knew he was getting somewhere.

His microcontroller of choice for the project is an Arduino board. But the 5V logic levels aren’t going to put out the square wave needed to drive the device. A search of the internet led him to a 2-transistor circuit which lets him get the results seen in the video. His plan is to add functionality that uses the Arduino to pull data in from just about any source and display it on the dial. That computer desk that featured all the CPU load readouts immediately comes to mind.

Do you think the square wave circuit is more complicated than necessary? Could this be done with just one NPN transistor and a pair of resistors?

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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.

Electric motorcycle is awesome, goes 54 mph

The folks over at the Cincinnati hackerspace Hive13 were wowed last week by an electric motorcycle built by one of their own.

[Rick]‘s new ride is built from a 1989 Honda VTR 250. After removing the 24 HP motor, the frame was loaded up with four deep cycle batteries and a DC golf cart motor. Even with the addition of the four heavy batteries, the new electric bike only weighs about 70 pounds more than the stock Honda, allowing all that power to be translated into speed. Right now, [Rick]‘s build can reach 54 mph; comparable to an earlier ebike we saw, but [Rick] can also go 100 about 20 miles on a single charge.

After the break you can see a short time lapse of [Rick] tearing down his bike, the first ride though the Cincinnati hackerspace, and a very nice road test showing off the speed of [Rick]‘s new ride. There’s also a great Flickr slideshow with some really great pics of the build in progress. Very nice work, [Rick].

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