|Written by The President|
|Friday, 02 January 2009 09:05|
Before I write the details of installing my digital speedometer let me say now that I am not criticizing anybody or anything nor am I pushing any particular product.
Due to the inaccuracy of the mechanical/cable speedo on my trike I decided that I would fit a digital/electric speedo.
I started to research the probability of doing this by visiting motorcycle shops, motorcycle wreckers and using the internet. I thought there would be lots of choices but surprisingly there wasn’t.
I managed to find three different brands, Dakota, Acewell and Vapor. Firstly the Dakota was similar dimensions but was very expensive. I then sent e-Mails to the distributor of the Acewell models and the Vapor models regarding specs etc. The Australian distributor for Vapor Computers (they call these things computers believe it or not) didn’t bother to reply. This seems to all too normal for Australian Companies as I have found this with other products I have enquired about. Anyway I digress, the Acewell distributor replied and answered all my questions and even offered a discounted price. He also advised me that they have a Forum that you can join and ask questions about anything to so with their gauges and installation. I joined the Forum and did in fact ask several questions and got some good info back.
I purchased an Acewell digital speedo. The model I selected (Acewell 2853) had the speedo, a digital or analog tacho, high beam, indicators, oil light, hazard light and neutral shift light. I was only really interested in the speedo and tacho but as they were there,I used the indicators, oil light, high beam and utilized the neutral light as the brake fail light. The alternator light and the hand brake light were left as they were and I will get to that later. (Other Acewell models have extra functions)
The original speedo was about 125 mm across and the Acewell was only 64mm across. I decided to use a piece of 2mm soft aluminium and make a panel to sit on top of the original panel. I used a piece of light card to make a template. Measured the top of the existing panel and cut up a piece of card accordingly. I used this template to cut the shape in the aluminium plate. I cut the holes using hole saws, and with kero as lubricant the wood hole saws cut this light alum fine..
As I know nothing about auto electrics I took digital photos of the wiring under the panel and also did a drawing of the underside of the panel, showing the location of all the six lights and a detailed description of what each light did and what wires and colours they had on them. This may not worry most people but it worried me, hence all the detail.
The indicator lights used the one panel light and that was not a problem. The alternator light has two wires, one live with the ignition on and the other becomes live when the motor is running, Live might not be the right word but it operates this way. The handbrake operated the same way. The other three lights are just positive with an earth wire. I then took all the bits and pieces out of the fiberglass panel, the six lights, the hazard light, the starter button and the lock. The ignition is glassed in so I left it. I then sat my card template in position and marked the hole positions. At this point I decided to drill two holes in the aluminium in case I had to fit any of the lights back in, and as it turned out I was happy I did this.
Once the plate was cut, all the holes drilled/cut, I then decided where to put the new speedo remembering it was only 64mm across and the original was 125mm across. It was just fitted central in the original panel hole, and this looked OK.
I decided to just cover the panel in lieu of painting or polishing and it looks OK. The new speedo comes complete with everything, a wiring loom, complete wiring diagram, a magnet and sensor. I had to make a bracket to hold the speedo in but that was pretty simple and also a bracket to hold the sensor, also pretty simple. I already had a magnet in the wheel hub as I had been using a Cateye bicycle digital speedo for some years so I just used this.
I put a bend in the bottom of the alum to suit the shape of the glassed centre section and fitted the speedo, the hazard button, the starter button and the lock. These also held the new alum panel in place. As the gauge I chose did not have an alternator light, I fitted one of the original lights back into the panel and used this. I did the same for the handbrake light. Doing this meant putting the alt and h/brakes wires straight back on.
The Acewell gauge had all functions earthed so the original live side of the gauge lights was connected to the gauge loom as per the diagram, including the L and R indicator lights. The Clock was different in that it needed power all the time so it was hard wired.
I then had L and R indicator, the high beam, the oil light and the Brake fail light on the new gauge, the alt light and the h/brake light on the original lights and the hazard light as original. The new gauge also had a separate wire for the tacho which I ran to the negative side of the coil, and then set as per the instructions. It works fine but as the tacho goes to 12,000 RPM it only uses a little bit of the bar graph.
The Speedo works on a magnet and sensor on the front wheel and after fitting them, the wheel circumference is programmed in to give the correct speed reading.
I have included some photos. Once again, I have described my project as an interest article only for anybody who wants to read it. I learnt a lot doing this and now it is finished I am reasonably happy with the end result.
Story & Pics by
Norm Mogg ( Nim)