Finding Your Motorbike Using Wi-Fi

An urban planner once told me that every car requires at least four times as much space as they actually occupy. Each needs a spot on the roads, and three available parking spaces: one at home, one at work, and one to shop. Motorcycles are much smaller, but they still spend most of their time parked.

Motorcycles are the primary means of transport in Southeast Asia, and learning to safely drive one is an essential part of adapting to life here. Assuming it’s not pouring rain and you’re not flooded past your ankles, it’s actually quite a pleasant experience… until you have to park.

Unlike the parking lots you may be familiar with, there’s no expectation that your bike won’t be moved. In fact, it might very well end up on another floor, in another parking lot, or behind hundreds of impassable parked bikes on the roof. In the latter case, the attendant will shrug and suggest you come back in a few hours. Eventually, this won’t even register as a frustration – you will simply reason that there are plenty of other things that are more convenient here, like the weather (recent typhoon aside) or unlimited symmetrical fiber to the home for USD 5 a month.

That being said, with a little technology the problem could be lessened a bit while waiting for automated parking lots to become commonplace. On rare occasions I see people with little radio emitters that make their headlights flash, but they’re not terribly common here and require carrying yet another thing on my already full key chain (homes here typically use several different locks). It seemed pretty easy to pull off something similar using my smart phone with an ESP8266 running NodeMCU. I had been meaning to try out the sleep modes to save battery power anyway, so off I went.

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Adding footwell and glove box lights to your ride

[KonaStar] shows us that adding some light to you car interior isn’t very hard. It’s just a matter finding some unused space and routing the cables so that they’re out of sight. Here he’s added LED lighting to the footwells and glove box of his car.

He managed to find some depressions in the molded dashboard of the car which were just the right size for a small four-lead LED. He drilled holes for those leads, and soldered some protoboard to them on the inside of the dash. This way there’s nothing unfinished to catch your eye, and the protoboard provides an area to host the resistor and interconnect.

There are switches in the glove boxes that turn the lights off when closed. These work for the footwells too. In addition, the LED lighting harness is wired to the parking lights so they will not come on when the car’s lights are off. Because he started with a lighting harness intended to add ambient light to a vehicle, the system responds to the doors being opened as well.

It’s a nice addition if you don’t mind pulling out several pieces of your interior during the install. We’re more comfortable with something along the lines of this turn signal hack.