Manual Transmission Gear sensor

[Ben] bought a remote starter for his car but needed a way to make sure the manual transmission was in neutral when starting. He built this infrared sensor frame to detect the position of the stick. It uses four beam paths which will tell him the exact gear or neutral position of the shifter. For this project he just needs to detect neutral but exact gearing is apparently necessary information for his next hacking project. We initially were worried about sunlight interfering with the sensor readings but he’s building this to go under the collar that is used to cover up the mechanical joint at the base of the stick.

56 thoughts on “Manual Transmission Gear sensor

  1. @Ben

    Oh dang! Don’t use mercury switches, lol!!!

    Anyway, it just seems like the use of a microcontroller and an array of optics is waaaaay too much work for this. Maybe I am lazy. For instance, you could have just used transistors and a logic gate. You could have used a simple magnet on the shift lever and used reed switches, once again coupled with a logic gate or transistors. Depending on what type of transmission you have, it would have been painfully easy to install switches under the hood – If you have a front wheel drive model that has a cable *or* rod operated shift linkage, use two reed switches and blamo! Done.

    I dunno. Like I said, +1 for putting this much work into it, I am lazy. I like the KISS concept – Keep It Simple, Stupid. Something that is simple and stupid shouldn’t ever fail, and if it does, it should be stupidly easy to fix!


  2. @Ben

    Oh, man. I totally didn’t click on the circuit diagram and notice that you *didn’t* use a microcontroller, lol. You got’s my respec’, bro. I always cringe when I see a microcontroller used for something so simple, and I’m sorry for not reading your post in its entirety!


  3. Nice project!

    To the people who would rather sense the shift linkage – that brings into account make and model of car leading to a less applicable solution. It also means having sensors and electronics in a much more harsh environment that may lead to a more probable failure.

    To the people questioning safety – What? All that this device does is make the system more safe. The worst that can happen is this system fails, and your remote start works as it did from the factory.

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