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Arduino RPM and Speedometer for Fast Bikes (or Cars) :: Student Project

The need for speed.  It’s been around for a long time…

I remember reading Dead Souls by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol, and being amazed by Chichikovs love of driving fast in a horse drawn carriage:

“Selifan flourished his whip and shouted, “Hi, hi!” as the inequalities of the road jerked him vertically on his seat; and meanwhile, reclining against the leather cushions of the vehicle’s interior, Chichikov smiled with gratification at the sensation of driving fast.

For what Russian does not love to drive fast?

Which of us does not at times yearn to give his horses their head, and to let them go, and to cry, “To the devil with the world!”?

At such moments a great force seems to uplift one as on wings; and one flies…”

A customer of ours, Stefan, has the need for speed, and also the desire to achieve high speeds as safely as possible.  For this reason he is developing an Arduino based speedometer that will show him the speed at a better visual angle, save the highest speed, and control lights that indicate the best times to shift.

Arduino with breadboard and attached to LCD screen

Stefan, why the heck did you build an Arduino RPM and speedometer for fast bikes?

For my own safety.  I got the need for speed and want to reach about 250 km/h on my bike.  You need to check if you had hit the goal for the ride, and it takes many meters to lower the eyes and look at the original speedometer.   With this design, I’ll be able to look at the top of the fairing and have a quick glance on the status.

I also plan on adding shift lights for better personal performance when accelerating.

It’s time for a field test when I have fastened the hall sensors on the bike and checked the signal output from the ignition box.

What was your biggest struggle as you worked through this project?

Doing the coding when C isn’t my native language.  I tried avoiding fancy functions. I will keep it simple and fast for now. (Editor’s Note: Sounds like the spirit of prototyping!)

Did the project end up as you expected?

It’s working on the bench right now, but needs some more coding yet to be what I am after exactly.

Looking back on this project, what can you say you have learned about programming and/or electronics through the creation process?

[I’ve realized] there is a real need for thinking through and planning a project.  It’s not without struggle, but a plan is very useful.

Was the training at Programming Electronics Academy able to help you build your skill?

Yes, I got motivated to program and do things. (That being said, Stefan says he stills like to crack open a book too!)

What type of Arduino board, Arduino clone, or Arduino compatible board does your project use?


What components did you use in your project?

LCD display, Hall Sensor, SD Card Reader, LEDs, Duct Tape (love it!)

Arduino Code:

Here is Stefans code that he was kind enough to share.


About Stefan:

Motorcycle rider with helmet, smoking back tireStefan is a IT consultant from Sweden, who manages networks and servers by day, and apparently drive motorbikes really fast (he’s a self proclaimed adrenaline junky).  I am sure he follows all applicable speed limits…uh, well…maybe.  He has been studying electronics for the past year, and has gotten into programming Arduino over the last couple months.  You can check out some other cool stuff he is up to here (let’s just say it includes weapons and I let your curiosity be the driver).

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