If you’ve ever considered modding your vehicle’s electrical system, [Josh Oster-Morris’s] Motobrain PDU (power distribution unit) might make life easier by providing precision control and protection for auxiliary 12V outputs in your car, bike, boat, etc. Once the Motobrain is paired to a phone over Bluetooth, a companion app displays real-time telemetry and lets you program up to 8 output channels.
Each of these 8 outputs can be directly controlled in the app, but the real power lies in the 4 programmable inputs. Here you can tie systems together and dictate exactly how one should respond to the other, e.g. detecting high-beams and disabling the auxiliary light bar you added. There’s even a “delayed on” option. Programming also has PWM capabilities, so flipping a switch could raise the brightness of some lights over 4 levels of intensity. If those lights are LEDs, the Motobrain can also provide constant current to specification. Each circuit can supposedly handle 15A continuous current and has a programmable circuit breaker, which would make fuses optional.
You can watch an overview video after the break to get a better idea of how it all works, but stop by [Josh’s] project blog to see all the features explained across multiple videos and blog posts as they are developed and tested.
Continue reading “Motobrain: A Bluetooth controlled PDU”
[Alex] has been hard at work on his second vegetable-oil-powered diesel bike build. The last time we checked in, he was finishing off work on his Honda CB400. Unfortunately, he felt it wasn’t quite big enough to ride comfortably, and as most first builds go, it was burdened with its share of problems. Now he’s snagged a Yamaha XJ600 off eBay, cleaned it up and started the modifications. [Alex] extended the frame to accommodate a new engine, rebuilt the gearbox, and perhaps most daunting: turned down the pulleys with a vintage 1950’s lathe.
Now that [Alex’s] bike has passed the MOT inspections, he can enjoy cruising around while doing his part to save the environment. His build log details the process, and is packed with enough pictures to keep you busy for a few hours while it walks you through each step. You can watch the bike’s test-run video below. For you off-road types, check out the all-wheel drive motorcycle from last month.
Continue reading “Diesel bike build: Round 2”
Take one look at the front fork of this dirt bike and you’ll notice that it’s not really a front fork at all. A custom front end replaces the traditional design in order to give this motorcycle all wheel drive. Look closely and you’ll see the chain that drives the front wheel. The swing-arm like addition lets the front end retain all of its suspension and steering and that’s where the project gets tricky.
We actually saw this thing in person at the monthly meeting of our local hackerspace: Sector67. [Martin Lawson] got his seven minutes of fame during the presentations (they use a prototype of this scoreboard to limit each presenter), and then was mobbed with a ton of interest afterwards. We were able to get a pretty good look at how the front drive works. It starts with an additional cog fastened beside the one that drives the chain for the back end. This feeds up through some tensioners and transfers out on the left side (from the rider’s perspective) of the front end. From here the rotational force is transferred to the right right and includes a U-joint to account for steering. The last chain goes straight down to the wheel.
The idea is that when the rear wheel loses traction you’re still being pulled by the front. This is illustrated well in the video after the break. [Marty] — who has a patent on the design — is trying to get some interest from manufacturers. He says the ability ride right through poor traction terrain make this a lot easier than a traditional dirt bike for beginners to ride. But it’s obvious the professionals are having fun on the thing as well!
Continue reading “All wheel drive motorcycle”
[Lukusz] has a new motorcycle – a Yamaha XJ6SA – and since it hasn’t been in an accident yet, he thought building a black box to record telemetry from the last 30 minutes of riding would be a good idea. While the project isn’t complete yet, he’s already reading data coming straight from the engine control unit.
After figuring out most of the pinout for his bike’s ECU connector, [Lukasz] found one wire that didn’t actually do anything. This was his ECU’s K line, a serial output that is able to relay the state of the gauges to external devices. The electronic spec of the K line is a bit weird, though, but luckily after finding a chip to convert the signal into something a logic analyzer can understand.
With a logic analyzer connected to the K line – and setting it to receive on at 16064 baud – [Lukasz] was able to get a whole lot of data directly from his bike. In the future he plans to pass data such as speed, indicator lights, RPMs, and the current gear to a Raspberry Pi for logging.
We’ve seen a fair share of carputer builds involving a Raspberry Pi in the last few months, but even the power of a Raspi can’t compete with the awesomeness of this Arduino-powered scooterputer.
Like all awesome projects, this build is the product of a massive case of feature creep. Initially, [Kurt] only wanted a voltage monitor for his battery. With an Arduino Duemilanove, a voltage divider, and an evening of coding, [Kurt] whipped up a simple device with three LEDs to indicate the status of the batter: either low, good, or charging.
The project was complete until he ran across an awesome OLED screen. Using a touch screen display for just battery monitoring is a bit overkill, so [Kurt] made a trip over to Sparkfun and got his hands on a temperature sensor, real-time clock, accelerometer, GPS sensor, and even a cellular shield.
The resulting scooterputer is a masterpiece of in-vehicle displays: there’s a digital speedometer and GPS unit, and the cellular shield works as a tracking device and a way to download real-time maps of the scooter’s current location with itouchmap.
While the majority of the electronics are hidden under the hood of the scooter, the display of course needed to be out in the weather. To do this, [Kurt] found a nice enclosure with a rubber boot that perfectly fit the OLED display. The display is connected to the Arduino with a cat5 cable, and everything should hold up pretty well as long as [Kurt] doesn’t drive through a hurricane.
You can check out a video of the scooterputuer below.
Continue reading “Scooterputer, the all-in-one scooter computer”
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.
Continue reading “Electric motorcycle hits the racing circuit”
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.
Continue reading “Brake Light Backpack overpowered with LED pixels”