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Thread: Hello- motorcycle dash project

  1. #1
    Newbie 2Wheeler's Avatar
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    Hello- motorcycle dash project

    I recently found this forum after doing some work with the Arduino microcontroller. I have a 1985 Honda Sabre motorcycle that has a combo electronic speedometer/tachometer and LCD for gear position, coolant temp, fuel level, and clock. The Arduino is very inexpensive, but requires a lot of code writing, and interfacing to a larger display is not always very easy- I ended up with a VGA adapter that I have not tested yet.

    I was looking to make an entire replacement panel using a 7~10" LCD, but it became an issue waterproofing the monitor. I have the Samsung 7" sunlight panel that was reviewed elsewhere on MP3car.

    One thing I had considered was interfacing my sensors through a PC, but the interfaces were incredibly expensive (like $1,000+) or used OBD2, which of course my old bike doesn't have. Enter Fusion Brain. $70 or less for the interface is very reasonable.

    It looks like I may be able to find a source for waterproof tablet PCs, but they appear to run on Android. I see FB runs on XP or Vista. I'm going to do some more reading, but so far this looks like a great product for what I'd like to do.

    If I end up going this route, I'll make a thread for future reference.

  2. #2
    Raw Wave
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    I think you'll find the Arduino will be far cheaper and simpler than the FB.
    A uPC is (generally!) more powerful than a PIC, and far more versatile.

    And the Arduino can operate as a stand-alone. (I understand the FB dosn't.)

  3. #3
    Newbie 2Wheeler's Avatar
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    I'm going to finish up my Arduino project, which will use a 4 line LCD to monitor 4 engine & related functions that aren't on the bike's panel.

    There seems to be a lot of support for exactly what I want to do with FB, whereas the Arduino is a jack of all trades. I had looked at two options as I noted above. From what I've read here so far, it will be much easier for me to manage sensor data and put it into a PC than to try & do so with all the code for the Arduino and then try to get it to display properly.

    The deciding factor is the ability to use a waterproof "rugged tablet" PC for the dash panel. The FB will integrate with this nicely, and I believe I will be able to make a quick-release system so the tablet can go with me off the bike as well as be used on another bike. If I stayed with plan A with the Arduino, I'd have to waterproof a monitor (no one that has tried this has made it yet)- or use a rugged tablet via the VGA port. If I'm going to use the tablet, why not use the FB that will integrate with it?

    I may be way off here (wouldn't be the first time ), but time will tell. I have a lot of reading & learning to do. I just recently learned how to construct a 1/3 frequency divider to use a snowmobile tach on my other bike with a good bit of help on the Arduino forum. It's amazing what all of this electronic stuff can do.

  4. #4
    Newbie 2Wheeler's Avatar
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    I have a question as to inputs. I'm planning on the dash having the following functions, which will require input from either the bike's harness or sensors I will add:
    1) Speed via 0~8V speed sensor and the FB voltage divider board to get it under 5V
    2) RPM will likely use coil pulses, so this would be via a frequency to volts board
    3) Coolant temp via factory sender converted to measure volts or an add-on 0-5V model- not sure what the high temp range is for the one for FB here
    4) Fuel level via factory resistive sender, it's like 10~100 ohms, will also convert to volts
    5) Oil pressure via 0-5V transducer
    6) Oil temp same as coolant temp
    7) Ambient temp via FB three wire sensor
    8) Gear position- bike uses a total of 7 wires here, each one grounds to complete 1, N, 2,3,4,5, & OD (6). I'm thinking there is a way to do this on one wire by assigning each one a different resistor, otherwise it would be too many inputs.
    9) Voltmeter
    10) High beam indicator
    11) Left turn indicator
    12) Right turn indicator
    13) Oil pressure low indicator
    14) Tail light out indicator
    15) Neutral indicator

    I'm looking at the version 6 FB, which has 15 analog inputs. Am I missing anything here that would prevent me from using this for my bike? I'm figuring anything I want displayed would use an input. 10 through 15 above could be replaced by LED bulbs on the bike, but I'd like it to be an all-in-one unit I could use on two bikes via a quick-release for the tablet PC.

    Also, an obscure question but one that came to mind. If I end up with a 10" screen, it will be pretty huge. Does the FB output require the entire desktop on the monitor or can it be scaled as a window? I was thinking about having a portion of the screen for a GPS display. I currently ride with an Archos 5" tablet that does that and also streams audio via Bluetooth to my helmet. If I could incorporate this (presuming the tablet has BT audio) it would be one less device.

  5. #5
    Raw Wave
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    I thought you wanted a single CPU rather than 2 (ie, Arduino plus FB).

    But as a rule, for anything that is a pulse rate input (like tacho, and generally speedos), I count them and divide by sample time etc. I fail to see the reason to convert pulse (frequency) to analog only to convert it back to digital (via ADCs) - unless perhaps all counter inputs were taken, but then I'd probably run an external counter and read that.

    Analog down-scaling (voltage reduction) is merely 2 resistors - aka a voltage divider.
    Digital inputs & outputs can be multiplexed.

    As I recall, the Arduino had more inputs & outputs than an FB, though like any uPC, I suspect it is reasonably easy to add additional interfaces (since the address bus is available externally), and maybe extra memory/program space etc.
    But even though I have a couple of Arduino Dueys, I don't know their capability as opposed to the uPC itself (ATmega328) - I tended to look more at the uPC specs....

    One thing I learnt was to have a rough idea of the coding required. I found many PICs to be far to limited.

  6. #6
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    it's gonna need to be the blind leading the blind until a knowledgable FB person steps in..

    i bellieve the FB is capable of running by itself-- as long as you don't require the pc to preform a action when a certain sensor is activated..

  7. #7
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Wheeler View Post
    I have a question as to inputs. I'm planning on the dash having the following functions, which will require input from either the bike's harness or sensors I will add:
    1) Speed via 0~8V speed sensor and the FB voltage divider board to get it under 5V
    2) RPM will likely use coil pulses, so this would be via a frequency to volts board
    3) Coolant temp via factory sender converted to measure volts or an add-on 0-5V model- not sure what the high temp range is for the one for FB here
    4) Fuel level via factory resistive sender, it's like 10~100 ohms, will also convert to volts
    5) Oil pressure via 0-5V transducer
    6) Oil temp same as coolant temp
    7) Ambient temp via FB three wire sensor
    8) Gear position- bike uses a total of 7 wires here, each one grounds to complete 1, N, 2,3,4,5, & OD (6). I'm thinking there is a way to do this on one wire by assigning each one a different resistor, otherwise it would be too many inputs.
    9) Voltmeter
    10) High beam indicator
    11) Left turn indicator
    12) Right turn indicator
    13) Oil pressure low indicator
    14) Tail light out indicator
    15) Neutral indicator

    I'm looking at the version 6 FB, which has 15 analog inputs. Am I missing anything here that would prevent me from using this for my bike? I'm figuring anything I want displayed would use an input. 10 through 15 above could be replaced by LED bulbs on the bike, but I'd like it to be an all-in-one unit I could use on two bikes via a quick-release for the tablet PC.

    Also, an obscure question but one that came to mind. If I end up with a 10" screen, it will be pretty huge. Does the FB output require the entire desktop on the monitor or can it be scaled as a window? I was thinking about having a portion of the screen for a GPS display. I currently ride with an Archos 5" tablet that does that and also streams audio via Bluetooth to my helmet. If I could incorporate this (presuming the tablet has BT audio) it would be one less device.
    The FB software can be any size or any percentage of the desktop. However, it is windows only. Most tablets are android and tampons are iOS. It is in written in a way that it could be compiled against other OSs, but never has been or attempted. Also keep in mind you will need the tablet to have a USB port if you are wanting the info to be displayed.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldSpark View Post
    I thought you wanted a single CPU rather than 2 (ie, Arduino plus FB).

    But as a rule, for anything that is a pulse rate input (like tacho, and generally speedos), I count them and divide by sample time etc. I fail to see the reason to convert pulse (frequency) to analog only to convert it back to digital (via ADCs) - unless perhaps all counter inputs were taken, but then I'd probably run an external counter and read that.
    Agreed. If using a microcontroller already, use an input capture port and a timer to get the frequency.

    Analog down-scaling (voltage reduction) is merely 2 resistors - aka a voltage divider.
    The board he is referencing is actually an optoisolated scaler.

    Digital inputs & outputs can be multiplexed.

    As I recall, the Arduino had more inputs & outputs than an FB, though like any uPC, I suspect it is reasonably easy to add additional interfaces (since the address bus is available externally), and maybe extra memory/program space etc.
    But even though I have a couple of Arduino Dueys, I don't know their capability as opposed to the uPC itself (ATmega328) - I tended to look more at the uPC specs....
    It would be about the same in terms of numbers. Every pin of the uC is used.

    One thing I learnt was to have a rough idea of the coding required. I found many PICs to be far to limited.
    I don't find that the case at all. I have built many many things using a PIC. I have used AVRs and I found them too limited and the coding IDE was a nightmare.

    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    it's gonna need to be the blind leading the blind until a knowledgable FB person steps in..

    i bellieve the FB is capable of running by itself-- as long as you don't require the pc to preform a action when a certain sensor is activated..
    Not sure what you mean here. It can "run by itself" in the form of continue to take samples but overwrite them, and the outputs will remain at the last state they were at. How are you envisioning this to work?
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

  8. #8
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    i was thinking of applications like:

    input 1 is the turn signal wire,
    output 1 is the turn signal indicator

    when input 1 goes high, turn on output 1 to turn on the indicator....

  9. #9
    Newbie 2Wheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldSpark View Post
    I thought you wanted a single CPU rather than 2 (ie, Arduino plus FB).

    But as a rule, for anything that is a pulse rate input (like tacho, and generally speedos), I count them and divide by sample time etc. I fail to see the reason to convert pulse (frequency) to analog only to convert it back to digital (via ADCs) - unless perhaps all counter inputs were taken, but then I'd probably run an external counter and read that.

    Analog down-scaling (voltage reduction) is merely 2 resistors - aka a voltage divider.
    Digital inputs & outputs can be multiplexed.

    As I recall, the Arduino had more inputs & outputs than an FB, though like any uPC, I suspect it is reasonably easy to add additional interfaces (since the address bus is available externally), and maybe extra memory/program space etc.
    But even though I have a couple of Arduino Dueys, I don't know their capability as opposed to the uPC itself (ATmega328) - I tended to look more at the uPC specs....

    One thing I learnt was to have a rough idea of the coding required. I found many PICs to be far to limited.
    I have paid for the parts for the Arduino, so I will follow through for the time being in making the 4 line display. If I go this route, I still have about $225 worth of speedometer & tachometer to buy. Ultimately, I'd prefer to have a full dash. As far as coding, from my experimenting with the MDX software, I believe it will do what I need it to do, and easier than the Arduino. I'm still learning about both.

  10. #10
    Newbie 2Wheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
    The FB software can be any size or any percentage of the desktop. However, it is windows only. Most tablets are android and tampons are iOS. It is in written in a way that it could be compiled against other OSs, but never has been or attempted. Also keep in mind you will need the tablet to have a USB port if you are wanting the info to be displayed.
    Thanks for your reply & your work on the FB. I have found a tablet that runs on XP, I think the OS is actually called XP tablet. It has a USB port and is waterproof and sunlight readable (two main issues for the bike).

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