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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Gyroscopically stabilized car/motorcycle thing

So yeah, this thing exists. Well, at least some pretty interesting looking prototypes of it do. It’s the C-1 from Lit Motors (anyone else think that’s a reference which belongs in /r/trees?). The idea here is that the small form-factor of a motorcycle is very efficient and easily maneuverable. But the cage protecting the passenger from harm, and the canopy keeping the elements out give it some of the desirable traits of a car.

Design aside, check out the video after the break. The prototype uses two horizontally positioned gyroscopes placed beneath the passenger seat, just in front of the rear wheel. The builders take it out on a hockey rink and give it a few kicks and slide a few tires into it. Sure, it reacts to the impact but it doesn’t fall over.

Want to see some fast-motion welding of the C-1? Right now there’s a one-minute clip up on the company’s main page.

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Motorcycle lighting upgrade ensures other drivers know you’re there


[Pete Mills] recently bought himself a motorcycle, and as people are known to do, they start trying to scare him with gruesome stories of cycling accidents once they hear about his purchase. While he tries to shrug them off as people simply not minding their own business, something must have resonated with him, because he started tinkering with the bike’s taillight in order to ensure he was always seen by other drivers.

He swapped out his motorcycle’s incandescent taillight for a smart LED-based lamp that he constructed using perfboard. Not only does his new brake light feature ultra bright LEDs, but the onboard ATtiny85 rapidly flashes the lights each time he hits the brakes, making his presence impossible to miss. Before everyone starts with the claims of, “Flashing red lights are illegal!”, let’s all take a deep breath and read on.

We’ve seen these sorts of lights on the back of motorcycles for years, though being a careful guy, [Pete] wrote to the state of Michigan in order to ensure that his modifications won’t get him pulled over. He has yet to hear back, but in the meantime, he merely needs to start the bike with the brakes applied to trigger the ATtiny85 to run the lights in “normal mode.”

Continue reading to see a short demo video of his brake light mod in action.

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Bodging up a diesel motorcycle

[Alex] has been working on a diesel motorcycle project for a few months now, and the project is finally bearing fruit. It’s quite an accomplishment for something [Alex] describes as an industrial Chinese engine, a modded Honda Superdream, and a few Royal Enfield parts thrown in for good measure.

[Alex] bought his Honda CB400 from someone who had already done a diesel motor conversion; a 200cc single-cylinder motor provided just enough horsepower to putt around town. [Alex] wanted a bike that could keep up with highway speeds, so he replaced the wimpy 200cc motor with a 406cc diesel engine used for industrial purposes and an amr500 supercharger.

Although we’ve seen a few insane motorcycle builds, most of Hackaday’s bike builds focus on electric or scavenged parts motorcycles. If you’ve got an awesome motorcycle build you’ve been working on, send it in on the tip line.

You can check out the video of [Alex] testing out his new motor with vegetable oil (for him, it’s easier than getting diesel fuel) after the break.

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