Motorcycle Needs Custom Latching Switches For Turn Signals

While modern cars have been getting all kinds of fancy features like touch screens, Bluetooth, crumple zones, and steering wheel controls, plenty of motorcycles have remained firmly in the past. Some might have extra options like a fuel gauge or even ABS if you’re willing to spend extra, but a good percentage of them have the bare minimum equipment required by law. That equipment is outdated and ripe for some improvements too, like this ergonomic custom turn signal switch built with custom latching switches.

Since motorcycle turn signals don’t self-cancel like car signals the rider has to cancel it themselves, usually by pushing an inconveniently tiny button. This assembly consists of four separate switches, two of which control the left and right turn signals. Since both can’t be on at the same time, they include circuitry that can detect their position and a small motor that can physically de-latch them if the other one is pressed. The entire assembly is 3D printed, including the latching mechanism, and they are tied together with a small microcontroller for the controls.

The truly impressive part of this build is the miniaturization, since all four buttons have to be reached with the thumb without removing the hand from the handlebar. The tiny circuitry and mechanical cam for latching are impressive and worth watching the video for. And, if you need more ergonomic improvements for your motorcycle there are also some options for cruise control as well, another feature often lacking in motorcycles.

42 thoughts on “Motorcycle Needs Custom Latching Switches For Turn Signals

  1. I guess the writer of this article lives in some remote country with an outdated motorcycle industry and no knowledge about the rest of the world…
    My first bike in 1976 was a Yamaha RDX125, it had a self-cancel turn signal based on distance.
    Since the begining of the 21st century most bikes on the EU market (and many other part of the world) have a fuel gauge and the ABS, an engine with injection & catalytic converter, can bus, etc.

    1. And? It doesnt matter, the execution and documentation here if very good. Dont solely focus on the motorbike field only: It could be used with a IOT stuff or with a 555

    2. Agreed! My 2012 Harley sportster which is the most basic line they produce had self canceling signals which worked off lean angle. Also has fuel injection, proper smog equipment and abs. Which is not my idea of great options. in my opinion riding a motorcycle is about being bare bones. In a world of electronics I have an attraction to mechanical feel that can’t be replaced by a circuit board! I use hand signals because they definitely attract more attention than my blinker. When you throw your hands up or down and point to show drivers where your going and what you’re doing…they take notice!!

      1. Totally agree with hand signal. I always wonder why. Maybe people believe the one on the bike is really human? Or worry that waive might land on their face if they ignore that? 😁

    1. Several companies make self canelling turn signal modules that also give you 4 way flashers and other features.
      Under $100 and very reliable, no modifing the hadlebar or switches general

  2. I don’t know about other bikes but my BMW G310R has a left/right switch and to cancel you just push the switch inwards which causes it to reset. Auto-cancelling turn signals aren’t really necessary. the first few times you catch yourself riding with a turn signal on, miles after you last made a turn, you start making a habit of thumbing the indicator reset after every turn, regardless of if you use it or not. nowadays I just hit it every so often just in case.

    My first bike, a 1976 Honda CG125, had a 3 way switch for the indicator, left-none-right, with no real detent in the centre. if you hit a bump hard enough it could totally knock the indicator on, which makes me dubious about OP’s switches. they seem kinda fragile for use on a bike.

  3. It’s not mechanical. You have motors. You’re building your own switches. Corrosion issues. Use commercial sealed microswitches. Push the button and it latches mechanically. Solenoid to release, not motor. More reliable and smaller. Can also just use double-pole relay to latch and release electrically or add a button to latch mechanically and release electrically or do it all electronically. Don’t fix on a solution which maximizes 3d printing. Make a solution which best solves the problem.

  4. That seems like a lot of work for something that is basically a SPDT switch. I would have gone with mild vibration in the handle as feedback. No need to look at the buttons to se if the turning signal is still on.

  5. Even thought it’s a cool build, it never seemed that “inconvenient” to switch off the turn signals on a bike.

    You just signaled, switched lanes, and switched it off.

    Maybe at an intersection there was a pause, but it was just a thumb motion.

    1. I do wonder if the position of the steering could be monitored and used to switch off the indicator lights when the rider straitens up after leaving the turn. I’m surprised it’s not a common feature.

      1. It’s usually done by distance. Steering angle wouldn’t really do it, or at least not easily due to the countersteering. Low speed turns you do turn in an appreciable amount, but for a high speed corner you should actually be counter-steering to initiate, after that the steering angle is really slight. I’ve sort of wondered about using an accelerometer but I’m so used to the manual cancelling ones on mine that I haven’t done anything about it. Lean angle on a lane change can be pretty small, almost more of a change in pressure than anything I’d consider a turn.

      2. I have a 2016 kawaski vulcan voyager 1700. Has ABS, self cancelling turn signals, 4 way hazards, cruise control, and info screen with idle adjustment which is adjusted by a switch. They do have the technology it’s whether the manufacture wants to use it.

    2. So, you don’t see them in your area cruising down the highway with their signal still on for miles and miles? Had a Yamaha with a switch that hated the off position, like someone already said, hit a bump and it flicks on. Riding with gloves for cool weather? Fuggedaboutit!

      1. “So, you don’t see them in your area cruising down the highway with their signal still on for miles and miles?”

        If you are talking about semi-trucks, yes, I do see them.

  6. Basically he built the switch that used to be used to move between stations on old b+w TVs. Almost exactly the same mechanism, the only difference being having two buttons, instead of ten or so.
    Granted tricky to 3D print, in any long lasting way.

  7. In UK, all motorcycles over 125cc must have ABS since Jan 2016.
    I had self cancelling indicators on a 90’s BMW K1100 LT and have the choice of enabling or not on my current 2013 Triumph Trophy

  8. I rode a Harley in the USA once a long time ago (2007 ish), and its indicator would switch off when the throttle is increased as you would after a turn or change of lane. I thought that was a very clever use of existing sensors signals.

  9. Why use a motor? Copy the system used by radios with mechanical station pre-select buttons. Only one can be pushed in. Pushing any other pops out the one that’s pushed. There’s usually a button at one end that just pops out the pushed one. For turn signals you’d use 4. One for left, one for right, one for both, and a cancel button. Could put a solenoid on the cancel button with a timer that only works with the turn signals. Would be easy to lock out the timer by using a 3rd switch to cut power to it, only pressed by the hazard button

  10. Since the buttons are installed as a pair, I’d build them in their final fixed position relative to each other, thus giving me twice the volume. Then I’d use a micro servo. A quick turn to either side would release the switch on that side.

  11. This technology has been out for some time now. World of electronics have made people lazy!!! If you’re not aware you left your blinker on than you’re awareness is not up to par for riding a motorcycle! If you ride a motorcycle down the road in your own bubble…You will die!!! I use hand signals in conjunction with the turn signals. When you start putting your hands up and down and showing other drivers what you’re catches attention! This guy shows a 35 year old duel sport (glorified dirtbike) in his video but wants self canceling blinkers, abs, fuel injection, navigation, air conditioning, heat etc etc… he bought the wrong bike! What’s he going to think of next? A seat belt? Maybe air bags?? Motorcycles should be mechanical machines that make you concentrate more on what’s going on around you and less gizmos to distract riders. My opinion if you want self canceling turn signals get back in your car. Motorcycles are not for you! Making other drivers aware of your presence on the highway is more than half the battle! Live to ride and ride to live.. think about it.

  12. I’m not sure what bike the author is talking about that has an “inconveniently tiny button” every bike I’ve seen since the 70s has one button. Slide left or right to engage turn signal, push it in to cancel. Simple and easy to use without having to think about it, and the button seems to me to always be perfectly sized.

  13. “Most motorcycles don’t have self cancelling indicators” the author said. He must be into pre 1969 British classics. Self cancelling first appeared on Japanese bikes in the no motorcyclist now but was as a kid. I sometimes wonder how much motorcycling these journalists actually do. Well I got my answer with this load of tosh.

  14. A solution looking for a problem.
    All my street bikes are: slide L/R on, push center off…what’s the issue?
    Even bikes with self canceling, muscle memory has me turning them off.

    Wanna be fancy? Use one of those solid state programmable boxes for wiring up custom choppers. Chanels can be programed for multi function, time on etc.

  15. Whilst this is an interesting project, I prefer to exercise extreme care when messing with my Hogg since personal safety is involved.

    I implemented a similar scheme using 4000 CMOS and 555 timers. Once triggered the turn signal flashes and remains in this condition until a LED/sensor reports the handlebars are in straight-ahead state AND the road speed exceeds 10KpH for 200 metres. This latter function is performed by a 555.

    The system also feeds helmet mounted indicator lights via BlueTooth.

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