electronic mods – ’82

June 2005

Digital volts and amps in the dash.

Ben wanted to replace the original analog volt meter with a digital one, but since he is such a tech head he could not just have volts, no, he had to go for amps as well……heh, here is how not to do it!

Ben bought the Jaycar volt/amp meter combo gauge (no link cause keep reading). The first one he got turned off after exactly 2 minutes. He was sure glad he opened it carefully and tested it on the bench first. It got returned and a replacement was sent. It tested just fine. The volts were pretty accurate, but the amps, oh, woe is Ben, the amps measure from 0 to 200, so in order to get the electronics to span that range, they have a resolution of 3 amps, so the meter reads, 3,6,9,12 and so on up to 200. Well, it was not perfect, but he figured it was better than nothing, and he had paid the money, so here goes nothing. Well, after a lot of stuffing around trying to get it to work, Ben found that nothing is pretty much what he had bought. The way the amp gauge works is by dropping a small voltage across a known resister and this gives you the current. The resister is known as a shunt, and the Jaycar one was stuffed. A total waste of time. So he replaced it with one he had bought from Oatley. Of course it was a different value, so he had to re calibrate the meter.

This is a photo of the Oatley one before it got wrapped in heat shrink and stuffed behind the battery. If nothing else Ben will have a good shunt installed for the next amp meter project.

The major downer about the whole project is that you can not see the green LED display in the sun, like even over cast dull days its very hard to see. How ever, on the up side, Ben now know his bike uses around 12 amps driving down the road, so he has plenty of alternator grunt to use with a few more gadgets! Yah!

May 2006

Currently, the dash board lay out is pretty much settled. It consists of a 4 line 16 character back lit LCD display that is driven by a PICAXE microcomputer. Ben wrote the software himself. On the top line we have air intake temperature (this is just a temperature sensor on a longish lead, so it can pick up the temperature from any location on the bike) and outdoor air temperature. On the 2nd line we have main battery volts, and secondary battery volts. On the 3ed line we have current produced by the alternator and current being used by the bike. On the last line we have the difference of those two currents (this is what is going into the battery, i.e. recharge amps) and lastly a bit of a tongue in cheek theft deterrent. The words “Alarm on” are constantly displayed. The idea is to have some extra data there while riding, and switch the alarm message on when the ignition is off).

dash in the day

Because it is back lit, it looks fantastic at night, and because its a mono LCD, its crystal clear to read in full sunlight. I have a switch to turn the back light on and off as required.

dash in the night

In this day time photo, you can see that I have been riding the bike, hence the intake is still warm. The ign is off, hence the 0.0v for the main battery. The secondary battery was a bit claged, so its very down in voltage, it should read (as the new one now does) about 12.8v when off charge. You can see that I have not calibrated the current sensors. They now read 0.0 A when the motor is off…..notice the double “AA” at the end of the second current, Ben had some screen refresh issues, but some better software coding has cleaned these up now.

before zeroing of current sensors

This is a photo of the back light connection on the Veypor. This red wire takes the 5v to the LED back light strip. If you feel (as Ben did) that the back light is too bright on the Veypor, then insert a 200 ohm resistor here, and it will drop the light to about half. Ben put a switch across this resistor, when the switch is on, the resistor is shorted out and the light is at its usual full intensity, when the switch is off, the resistor is in circuit and the light drops to half. Ben uses full in town and half when out in the back blocks.

veypor back light

This is a photo showing the Veypor back light at full brightness. Not the position of the switch.

veypor back light bright

This is the back light at half, note the position of the switch.

veypor back light dim

Here is a photo showing how well the Veypor fits in the 1982 Goldwing tacho case. You only have to round the corners off a fraction, and the Veypor still fits perfectly in the original case.

veypor fits in speedo case

This is the top view of the Veypor, sorry about the fuzzy image.

veypor folded out

This is how the screen folds out from the main circuit board.

veypor half unfolded

Top view of the Veypor, this is before Ben cut the back light power feed.

veypor front view

This is how the Veypor sits together in its original case. Note the bit of black padding keeping the PCB off the back of the screen. Makes for a nice safe snug fit.

veypor screen padding

Ben extended all the cables out the back of the Taco case so the original Veypor connectors will just hook into the same places. The white rectangle connectors are a common connector and should be available from your local electronics shop.

veypor rear

This is how the back of the Veypor looks when you open the case. NOTE! You need to open the case if you want to remove the RAM mount. The two nuts are not held captive and they will drop into the circuit board if you don’t open the case and take them out.

veypor removing screen

If you don’t want to open your Veypor, it will fit on the bike, it just doesn’t look as finished as fitting it into the Taco case.

veypor in stock case


veypor stock case close up

Here you can see that the mapping device really is a Gameboy. More about this on the GPS page.

veypor and gameboy

How did Ben program the PICAXE when it was on the bike and the programmer is in the house?

video and programming screen

Using a video camera to look at the screen and extending the PICAXE programming leads did the trick.

video camera for picaxe programming

Here you can see what is getting programmed on the PICAXE LCD screen from the house. It was a simple matter from there to set the screen up how he wanted.

video screen close up

Adding a few different GPS’s the bike.

Ben hacked his sons GameBoy SP to do the GPS mapping on the Goldwing. (Don’t worry, Terry did ok out of the deal, he got a new DS!!)
Long story short. Ben is a huge fan of hackaday.com. One day there was a Russin hack to make a moving map display out of a Gameboy (post edit, remember, this was years and years ago before moving map GPS’s were common or affordable!).
Ben had most of the bits on hand, so yeah, into the speedo housing the gameboy went!

GPS front view

The game boy only has a 3.3 volt serial port, the GPS you use will have a 5 to 12 volt serial port, if you hook them up, you will blow up your Gameboy, build a simple voltage clamp with a few diodes.

gps gameboy serial port clamp

Hook up the switches so you can use the Gameboy functions while it is in its new case (in Ben’s case, the old Speedo case)

gps gameboy switch interface

Another example of how the switches are picked up and relocated to out side on the bike somewhere.

gps gameboy external switches

Over view of the “A” button and back light buttons hooked up.

gps gameboy external switch connectio overview

Here is the back of the Gameboy and how the battery and relay are stuck into the case. (Ben found that the Gameboy did not power up with out the battery, so he added a relay that switched the battery into its original position when on and dropped it out when the bike it turned off.)

gps gameboy overview

Here is how the Gameboy screen fits into the back of the old Speedo case. The switch fits in where the trip meter knob used to be.

gps gameboy fits in speedo case

I wanted to fill the empty hole in the dash, I also wanted a kph speed reading (the kph numbers on the Gameboy speedo are small, red and *really* hard to read), a trip meter would be nice, and a compass would be icing. Sadly, I have pretty much neglected to take any photos of the process. I am not sure it would have helped anyway as it was just so much of a custom job that it would be hard for anyone (even me!) to do it again as you see it here.


hmmm, better photos coming. Trust me, it looks fantastic, you can easily see it in the bright sun, at night the back light is perfect. The green volt meter and amp meter on the other hand is a total waste of space. I will be replacing it soon with an LCD version. Watch this space

This is what the GPS screen looks like. The nice thing about the Global Map 100 is that you can build custom screens for it……

gps map and speed

Here is another of the original screen layouts.

gps map and bearing speed

This is what it looks like at night. The back light has about 4 levels of brightness.

gps screen night view

This is one of the custom screens that Ben uses most of the time.

gps standard screen

Fun, games and hacks with GPS

What’s a gadget guy with no gadgets? GPS has been my fascination for many years now. Long before it was popular, long before it was as accurate as it is today I have been messing with different GPS units. First was the ICOM, a small white circle of frustrating joy. Then there was the Magellan Trailblazer. Then there was a Garmin something, now days I have 4. A Garmin GPS12, a Lowrance GlobalMap100 and two GPS modules.

The GlobalMap is destined for the Goldwing. To make it fit nicely I have had to make a few changes. Freddy says they have to be easily reversible, I love a challenge!

The start of the plug and play modifications I made to the GlobalMap100. (as usual, click on the picture for a bigger version)

Of course one thing that had to be done was to extend the keypad so that I could at least drive the basic functions from the handel bars of the bike, so here is the results of a rather tedious 1/2 hour.

Button = pins (short these out to trigger this function)

Pages = 3+8 Exit = 6 + 9 Enter = 5 +9 Power = 1 + 2 Menu = 3 + 4 Up = 7 + 8 Left = 7 + 4 Right = 7 + 6 Down = 7 + 5 Wpt = 8 + 9 Zoom out = 3 + 6 Zoom in = 3 + 5

There is a little dot on the PCB near the keyboard connector, this is pin one. All’s I have done is run the 9 pins to a DB9, there is a matching DB9 that goes up to the handlebars. In the box on the bars is a bunch of switches, they simply short out the correct pins and thus drive the GPS. Since the mapping function is truly nonexistent, I don’t need all the functions, thus not all the pins are used, thus not all the buttons are on the handlebar control box. I mainly am using the clock, trip meter (its in Km’s, which is nice compared to the miles on the speedo) and ground speed (again, Kph, and its nice and clear, unlike the speedo). Over kill? Maybe, its my bike, my GPS and so far I’m quite enjoying the whole exercise.


Adding HID headlight and driving lights to an 1982 Goldwing.

The ’82 Goldwing only has a 300 watt alternator, so you have to be a little careful about what electrical load you place on the bike. Its far to easy to over load it.When it came to seeing where he was going at night Ben was far from happy about the standard H4 halogen headlight. It was hopelessly unsafe for any speed over about 80kph. He tried changing the globe for one of those new brighter-whiter-no-more-power-used globes. It was an improvement. And he he rode for many a month with that 80w/100w globe…..all the while dreaming about seeing where he was going at night.

Enter the HID headlight.

While surfing the web for LED rear blinkers Ben came across a Melbourne company called Bright Light Auto Parts.
They offered a great range of LED lights for the front, and back of the ‘Wing, and, they had HID lights and ballasts for motor bikes and thus a reasonable price. (We only need one globe after all……).

Did not take Ben long to put an order together and for the stuff to arrive.

Here is an animated gif of the hi/lo function of the globe.

In the back of the light fitting is an electromechanical actuator that physically moves the globe in the housing, this shifts the light and the angle that it hits the reflector, thus giving you a high beam pattern and a low beam pattern.

To make room for the high/low beam actuator, you need to take out a bit from the back of the faring.

hid make room for hi/lo actuator

Its not a lot, but it makes all the difference. The headlight shell still needs a small washer at the back, but it now works well, and the extra time is well worth it, as the HID now flicks from low to high in a nanosecond, and it really gets everyone’s attention when you flash your lights at them!

hid close up

Ben also bought a nice new ‘crystal’ head light shell from the same place, it gives a much sharper reflection. The old H4 was just all bloby compared to this one.

Here is is the high /low beam pattern on the neighbors fence so you can clearly see it.

Note that the cut off is pretty sharp. I have never, in over a year, been flashed by on coming cars. It just does not get into their eyes.
The other thing that is worth noting is that this is not a dichromatic reflector, what this means is that the light does not twinkle all those annoying colors like you often seen in the newer cars. Its just a bright white light.

Remember, the light you are seeing here is from a single 35watt globe. Yes, thats right, 35watts!!!!!!! Astounding!

I guess you are all wanting to know by now what its like to ride behind a light like this………one word. Amazing. I wish so bad that you all could have the chance to ride behind this light. Its just amazing on lots of levels. One of the first things you notice is that when riding at night, ‘everything’ is a different color. We are all so used to seeing the road, signs, tress and the like with a dull yellow light, when you ride behind one of these, you notice that it looks like you are riding during the day. Its like riding your bike at night with the sun shining out the front of your bike. This is because of the temperature of the globe, it really is closer to daylight.
The other thing you notice is during the day……..cars see you.
I can not pause here long enough to let this sink in to your mind…..cars actually see you……. They move out of your way, they don’t turn in front of you, its astounding. In broad day light, cars see you.
I thought I was imagining it, then I had to disconnect the HID for a few days, I was not imagining it, same trip into town, same weather, different head light. The cars were back out to kill me!!!!!!
Thus I came to the conclusion that this HID light was one of the best safety features that you could put on your bike…… The difference is truly astounding.

So, this new light took me up to 110kph. Life was mostly good. I really like riding at night and wanted to see further. This headlight and globe gave a great wide spread over the road, but I wanted to see a little deeper. Enter what Ben calls the death ray.

Twin Narva 160’s with 35w HID’s. Here is an animated gif of all three light combinations. Low beam, high beam and then the twin driving lights.

I have measured reflectors to 1.2kms, objects at 900 meters and thus an unknown top speed.

Notice I keep talking about speed. It struck me while riding behind the death ray that really one of the best ways to measure your headlights performance is to talk about how fast it is.
If an animal jumps in your path 20 feet in front of you, your probably toast, but if it moves on the road at the edge of your light beam, how fast can you be going and still stop before hitting it? This is the speed of your headlight. I went from 80kph to 110kph to uh, faster than my old ‘Wing can take me!
Its more than nice riding behind these lights………and the best thing? With all three lights on, I am only drawing 105watts. That’s right, this much light and I’m only using 5 more watts than my old headlight on high beam.

Here is another shot of me standing at the front of the bike so you can get some idea how good they are;


Have a look at this shot;


Now, please click on the image and see a larger version of it…… Note that I am standing only a few meters in front of the bridge.
Now click on the image to the right and you can see how far away that bridge is. Obviously I am not standing there, but you get the idea of how powerful and how color correct these light are…..see my red and blue jacket? That’s the right shade of color! Trust me, it makes a HUGE difference to how you see things at night.

Note that these four photos of me and the bridge are with the 3 lights on. That’s the head light on high beam and the two driving lights.

You have to be super careful using the death ray, it would be all to easy to blind the on coming traffic…..

To install the lights is very straight forward;



The ballasts go in the fairing pockets, the globes in the stock driving lights. Fuses and power. That’s it.

Ok, well, that’s about it. Its probably up there with the single best safety and pure enjoyment change you can make to your Goldwing.