Category Archives: Motorcycles

3D printed handlebar phone mount (with wireless charging)

S5Mount27

As you might know by now, I ride motorcycles. When I do, I like to use my phone as speedometer, GPS and music player. There are plenty of generic handlebar mounts out there, but they all have the same limitations;

  • Having the screen constantly on draws a lot of battery, and there is no easy way to charge the phone while riding. Sure, you could connect a power adapter and fiddle with the connector every time you place or remove your phone from the mount, but that is cumbersome – and unsafe if it’s raining.
  • Riding in direct sunlight requires setting the screen brightness to 100% to be readable. Aside from the increased power draw issue, no available products I’ve found had a visor that could increase readability on the screen.
  • Most handlebar mounts are not made for high speeds. I have previously used one advertised for “bicycles and motorbikes”, but that one came apart while riding over 100km/h on the highway. The phone was only saved by the fact that I had a wired headset plugged in, leaving it hanging until I could safely pull over.

I decided to design and 3D print my own, specifically for my phone; Samsung Galaxy S5, which is itself waterproof unless you open the plastic tab to connect a USB cable to charge it.

After a number of revisions, I had a fully working prototype that included wireless charging. After testing it out, I could refine it further, and I finally had a design I was happy with. It will probably not win any beauty contests, but it’s extremely easy to use and works just as intended. I used the previous revision for more than 10’000 km (from a single print), so it’s been extremely reliable.

I have since made additional improvements and the next version is ready.

Features

  • Wireless charging.
  • Access to all buttons, including volume. Power button requires you to flip up the visor.
  • Weatherproof.
  • Drain holes (if left outside in rain).
  • Auto locking visor.
  • Headphone access.
  • Recess for camera.
  • Robust

How to use

Flip the lid up, slide the phone in, flip the lid down and you are ready to go. Starting the bike will turn on the built-in Qi charger, which will detect if the phone is in place. If it is, the charger will engage and power the phone wirelessly using resonant inductive coupling. This allows you to have the screen on at all time and still arrive to your destination with a fully charged battery.

Material

I used PLA filament for my prints. I considered ABS, which would at first glance appear to be a better choice, were it not for it’s high sensitive to UV radiation (sunlight). PLA is on the other hand more sensitive to heat, but the temperatures in Sweden rarely go high enough to compromise the structural integrity of pieces of this size. New materials come out all the time, and I’m sure there are better options out there by now, but PLA has worked for me.

Stainless steel mounting

Mounting the holder on the handlebar requires 4 x stainless M6 40mm bolts with Allen/Hex socket heads, along with matching locking nuts. One extra bolt and nut of the same size is used as hinge for the self-locking visor.

If you can get it, use non-magnetic stainless steel – test by holding a magnet to it and see if it sticks. This is to avoid causing interference in the induction-based wireless charging, which can also cause magnetic metal in close proximity to get warm. The charger does have a shielding plate, and even without it the distance to the bolts should be big enough, but better safe than sorry.

Note: Even when specified as non-magnetic stainless steel, bolts and nuts can still have a weak reaction to a magnet. This should be just fine).

Electronics

A cheap Qi charger or DIY Qi kit is placed in the compartment directly behind the phone, which will transfer the power from the charger to the Qi receiver pad in the phone.  Both the charger and receiver pad can be found on eBay for less than 3€ each, including shipping.

These chargers/kits usually have Micro USB sockets for power input. The power socket is placed downward, at an angle that makes it impossible for rain and splashes to get to it. The charger is then fastened and waterproofed using hot glue or silicon sealant. To power the Qi charger, you have a few options:

A. Use a portable USB battery pack. There are a plethora of options out there in different shape and size. If you don’t want to make modifications on your motorcycle, or want  to use this mount on a bicycle, this is your best option.

B. Power it directly from the motorcycle. To do this, you need a 12V to USB (or Micro USB) adapter, you can find cheap waterproof variants on eBay.

Many bikes already have a relayed auxiliary 12V jack inside the headlight housing, this would be the easiest option. If not available, using a relay to only provide power when the ignition is turned on is highly recommended. Though the power draw from the Qi charger itself is minimal when no phone is detected, some power adapters can drain the battery if left connected with the bike not running for a couple of days. A simple switch can be used to prevent this, but you always run the risk of forgetting to turn it off. Using a relay completely eliminates that risk.

This is free

If you want to print one yourself, I’ve made the 3D model freely available on http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:911206

Shopping list

If you don’t already have it, a Qi receiver is needed. This is placed inside your phone between the battery and the back cover. It usually have 2 or 3 pins, depending on model. Additionally, you will need:

Qi charger
Qi charger
Waterproof 12V to Micro USB adapter
Waterproof 12V to Micro USB adapter
5 x Stainless steel M6x40mm hex socket bolts with locking nuts
5 x Stainless steel M6x40mm hex socket bolts with locking nuts

Assembly instructions

  1. Print all parts. Recommended layer height is 0.1mm if you want it smooth. I went with 75% infill to be on the safe side.
  2. Sand, polish, prime, paint, acetone treat or anything you like (optional). The print shown in photos here did not get any post treatment except for removing supports. This will show you the raw look pretty much straight out of the printer.
  3. Test the Qi charger – if you have still not installed the Qi receiver in your phone, see step 8 for an example. Mine shows a faint red light when power is on but no phone is detected, and a bright blue light when a phone is detected and charging. If a phone is detected but has a bad connection (coils in charger and receiver doesn’t line up), it will blink. As you can see, the lower/right side of the phone has a better connection than the upper/left:
    Red light. No receiver detected.
    Red light. No receiver detected.

    Blue light. Receiver detected., charging phone
    Blue light. Receiver detected., charging phone
  4. Place the charger in the cavity of the printed mount (body) with the port down. Plug it in and insert your phone. If it charges keeps and doesn’t lose the connection every 10 seconds or so, you can just glue the charger in place and skip ahead to step 16. If not, we need to line up the coils in the charger and receiver.
  5. Unplug the charger and pry it open:

    Look Ma', no hands!
    Look Ma’, no hands!
  6. Unscrew any tiny screws that holds the PCB to the case:

    The ancient art of balancing precision screwdrivers
    The ancient art of balancing precision screwdrivers
  7. Remove the innards of the charger and turn it over. This one has a cracked shield, but should still work:

    It's not all it's cracked up to be
    It’s not all it’s cracked up to be
  8. Next, time to have a look at the Qi receiver. Remove your phone’s rear cover and determine where in the Qi receiver pad the coil is. If not clearly marked out, you can usually feel it by pressing down on it. Here I have marked it out with a colored pen to demonstrate the next step:

    No need to be fancy, this will be covered up
    No need to be fancy, this will be covered up
  9. Now we need Line up the the printed charger cover to the center of the phone (hint: It’s at 71mm), with the opening of the cover facing towards you. Make a vertical line on the inside of the cover along the center of the receiver coil:

    Rule number one
    Rule number one
  10. Line up the printed charger cover to the top (from your POV) of the phone. Make a horizontal line on the inside of the cover along the center of the receiver coil. After this you can put the cover back on your phone.
    Rule number two: Do not talk about ruler club
    Rule number two: Do not talk about ruler club

    Read ahead a few steps, the following should be done in a fairly quick order:

     

  11. Add a few dabs of hot glue or epoxy glue to  the charger coil:

    Hot dang!
    Hot dang!
  12. Turn the coil over and place it as close to the cross marking on the cover as possible while still being able to  reach the Micro USB port through the opening of the case. Attach a cable to make it easier to see if the port can be reached and is straight:

    Work fast
    Work fast
  13. Hold the PCB straight and apply hot glue or epoxy generously to the port with the cable still attached. (Tip: If you don’t want to clean up glue from your fancy cable, use a sacrificial or already broken cable. It only needs to be attached in this step to prevent glue from entering the port.)
    Keep adding glue until it it reaches the brim of the cover, while holding the PCB steady until the glue begins to solidify. The glue will both keep the PCB in place and keep moisture out.

    Don't be afraid of using too much glue. It is non-conductive, will not short anything out and will not damage the PCB .
    Don’t be afraid of using too much glue. It is non-conductive, will not short anything out and will not damage the PCB.
  14. After a minute or two, before the glue (or epoxy) is fully hardened, unplug the cable while holding the PCB secure. We only want the cable loose, not all the glue.

    Will be cleaned up
    Will be cleaned up
  15. Let it solidify completely, then trim the excess glue along the port edge. The entrance to the cover should now be completely sealed, while allowing a Micro USB cable to be connected.

    It's functional
    It’s functional
  16. Time for the next chapter. We will now attach the charger/cover to the main body of the mount, then seal the edges.
    Start by masking the body (cavity side) with masking tape, then trimming the edges with a scalpel or craft knife, This will help us get a nice sharp edge for the sealant.
  17. Place the charger/cover in the cavity with the port facing the bottom hole of the body.
  18. Apply a sealant as hot glue, epoxy glue or silicon along the edges of the cover. If you don’t want it all over the cover, you can place something round in the middle, such as the bottom of the original Qi charger case:

    Bottom of original Qi charge case is used to create a nice edge for the hot glue
    Bottom of original Qi charge case is used to create a nice edge for the hot glue
  19. Before hardening completely, remove the center object (if used):

    Scalpel used to make sharp edge
    Scalpel used to make sharp edge
  20. Trim sealant with something sharp:

    Excess sealant trimmed with scalpel. Qi case bottom used as center sealant blocker removed.
    Excess sealant trimmed with scalpel. Qi case bottom used as center sealant blocker removed.
  21. Remove masking tape:

    All cleaned up
    All cleaned up
  22. Place phone in the mount to make sure the sealant is not protruding so much as to block it:

    It fits!
    It fits!
  23. Place two nuts in the upper holes as in the photo. Nylon lock (if used) should point up:

    Lock it up
    Lock it up
  24. Place the visor so that if blocks the nuts. Fasten it with a bolt and nut:

    Holding the nut with pliers might help while tightening the bolt.
    Holding the nut with pliers might help while tightening the bolt.
  25. You should now have something that resembles an angry pig:

    Angry pigs are angry
    Angry pigs are angry
  26. Place the phone in the mount and make sure that you can close the visor:

    Almost done!
    Almost done!
  27. Connect a Micro USB cable to a charger and verify that the phone is charging:

    It's alive!
    It’s alive!
  28. Insert the remaining two nuts. You can now attach it to your handlebar using the clamps and bolts:

    Everything in place
    Everything in place
  29. Connect the 12V to Micro USB cable. You’re all done!
    S5Mount27

Enjoy your new mount! Now you never have to worry about getting lost or your phone running out of battery while riding again. Just remember to keep your eyes on the road!

The Yamaha XJ 550 fully interactive electrical diagram

About a year ago, I was doing a little project for one of my motorcycles. I noticed it was hard to come across a good, accurate electrical diagram for Yamaha XJ 550. So I decided to make one myself. But one magnitudes better. And interactive.

The result?

http://www.lumien.se/stuff/xj550/XJ550ElectricalDiagram.html

Click to see full XJ 550 diagram
Click to see full XJ 550 electrical diagram

Can’t use Flash? There are several other versions to be found here:
http://www.lumien.se/stuff/xj550/

A lot more info about the diagram, including the source file, is also available from the link above.

Frank’s Roadtrip Collection 2011

Frank's Roadtrip Collection 2011As I recently wrote, I collected a lot of (in my opinion) great songs for a roadtrip album last year. Originally to listen to while riding motorcycles, it should work just fine in a car as well. 😉

This year I decided to to it again, waiting for the season to turn and getting the bike out of storage. The list is constantly evolving, but I have currently narrowed it down to about 85 songs. As last time, the songs are from around the last 60 years or so, but this time the focus it is slightly more on modern rock.

Since several several artists occurs more than once in the list, I usually sort it by song title, not by artist:

Title Artist


#41 Dave Matthews Band
25 Miles Edwin Starr
40 Day Dream Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Aint No Mountain High Enough Marvin Gaye
Airstream Driver Gomez
All of Us Blindside
American Woman Guess Who
Another Travelin Song Bright Eyes
Another White Dash Butterfly Boucher
Are You Gonna Be My Girl Jets
Babylon David Gray
Bad Motor Scooter Montrose
Beautiful Day U2
Blinded By The Light Manfred Manns Earth Band
Bohemian Like You Dandy Warhols
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams Green Day
Bright Side Of The Road Van Morrison
Brother Lee Citizen Cope
Bullet And A Target Citizen Cope
Call Me The Breeze Lynyrd Skynyrd
Carry On Wayward Son Kansas
Crazy(Album Version) Gnarls Barkley
Dingdong Thing Gluecifer
Don’t Believe a Word Def Leppard
Electric Worry Clutch
Engel Rammstein
Float On Modest Mouse
Free Fallin’ Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Grounds For Divorce Elbow
Highway 49 Muddy Waters & Howlin’ Wolf
Home Depeche Mode
Home Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Hotel California Eagles
Hurt Absurd Minds
Hush Kula Shaker
I Don’t Want to Be Gavin DeGraw
I’m in love Madrugada
Innan Allt Försvinner Bo Kaspers Orkester
Just Like You Imagined Nine Inch Nails
Let It Ride Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Let It Ride Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
Machinehead Bush
More Than A Feeling Boston
No Cars Go The Arcade Fire
No Good, Mr Holden Graveyard
Ol’ 55 Tom Waits
One Headlight (Radio Edit) The Wallflowers
Open Your Eyes Alter Bridge
Our Love Saves Us Blindside
Piece Of My Heart Janis Joplin
Ride Like The Wind Saxon
Road To Hell Chris Rea
Road To Zion (Radio Edit) Damian Marley Feat. Nas
Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo Rick Derringer
Roll Me Away Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Route 66 Them
Ruby Kaiser Chiefs
Rushing Rotersand
Rusty Cage Johnny Cash
Sailing To Philadelphia Mark Knopfler
See The World Gomez
Six Days On The Road Dave Dudley
Slania’s Song Eluveitie
Somebody Told Me The Killers
Son’s Gonna Rise Citizen Cope
Speed Montgomery Gentry
Steve Mcqueen Sheryl Crow
Suddenly I See KT Tunstall
Summertime Blues George Thorogood
Take It Easy Eagles
The Kill 30 Seconds To Mars
The Mob Goes Wild Clutch
The Promised Land Chuck Berry
The Way Fastball
Time To Pretend MGMT
Travelin Band Creedance Clearwater Revival
Tush Zz Top
Under The Milky Way The Church
Uprising Muse
Walking In My Shoes Depeche Mode
Weightless Black Lab
Widower The Dillinger Escape Plan
Wishing Well Free
Worm Drink Clutch

 

Again, friends that I know personally can ask for a copy.

Frank’s Roadtrip Collection 2010

Frank's Roadtrip Collection 2010Last summer I did quite a bit of roadtripping on my bike.  And without music it tends to become pretty repetitive. So I started riding with earbuds (which you still want to use to dull the noise) and an mp3 player. But as most albums have their bad parts and it’s hard to skip songs when you’re riding at 110km/h, I decided to put together a roadtrip collection.

This collection features music from the last 60 years or so, but the focus is mainly on 70’s rock. I’ve been going through thousands of songs, made many revisions and kept only the ones that really works for me, over and over. Of course, it wasn’t the only thing I listened to while riding, but it’s still over 6 hours straight. Originally the list was 130+ songs, but now it’s down to 88. An example of a removed song is Guns & Roses – Paradise City. Sure, it’s a great song, but only if you listen to it once or twice a year. After 7-8 times in 3 months you kind of want to skip that song when it comes up.

A small warning: Several of the remaining songs are related to my childhood and what we listened to in the car when I was very young. Mostly the country songs. 😉 A few of the songs are also in Swedish.

Oh well, to the list! Since several several artists occurs more than once in the list, I usually sort it by song title, not by artist:

Title Artist


All Right Now Free
All There Is The Guilty Ones
Already Gone The Eagles
Alright Supergrass
Angel on My Bike The Wallflowers
Another 45 miles Golden Earring
Bad To The Bone George Thorogood
Black Betty Ram Jam
Black Hole Sun Soundgarden
Born To Be Wild Steppenwolf
Born To Run Bruce Springsteen
Boston Augustana
Children Robert Miles
Chop Suey System Of A Down
Come To Life Alter Bridge
Crosstown Traffic Jimi Hendrix
Dancing in the Dark Bruce Springsteen
Drive My Car The Beatles
Dunce Cap Lost Dogs
East Bound And Down Jerry Reed
Everlong Foo Fighters
Free Bird Lynyrd Skynyrd
Gasoline Audioslave
(Ghost) Riders in the Sky Johnny Cash
Grace Will Young
Here I Go Again Whitesnake
Hold The Line Toto
Hot Rod Lincoln Commander Cody
I Am The Highway Audioslave
I Can See Clearly Now Johnny Nash
I Put A Spell On You Diesel
I’m a Ramblin’ Man Waylon Jennings
I’ve Always Been Crazy Waylon Jennings
I’ve Been Everywhere Johnny Cash
In The Air Tonight Phil Collins
In the Summertime Mungo Jerry
Interstate Love Song Stone Temple Pilots
It’s A Great Day To Be Alive Travis Tritt
Kickstart My Heart Motley Crue
King of the Road Roger Miller
La Caja Del Muerto The Barbwires
Lake Shore Drive Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah
Learn to fly Foo Fighters
Life is a highway Tom Cochrane
Lost Highway Bon Jovi
Lullaby Assemblage 23
Mercedes Benz Janis Joplin
My Hero Foo Fighters
My Name Is Jonas Weezer
No Particular Place To Go Chuck Berry
Pamela Toto
Papillon Editors
Perfect The Smashing Pumpkins
Perfect day Lou Reed & Friends
Ride The Vines
Riding with The King B.B. King & Eric Clapton
Runnin’ Down a Dream Tom Petty
Running Up That Hill Placebo
Sången Om Allt Hans & Greta
Scenic Routes Lost Dogs
Schizophrenic Conversations Staind
Shout Disturbed
Sign Of The Gypsy Queen April Wine
Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana
Somebody To Love Jefferson Airplane
Stairway To Heaven Led Zeppelin
Statesboro Blues Allman Brothers
Stylo Gorillaz
Superbeast Rob Zombie
Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd
Take Me Home Country Roads Olivia Newton-John
The City Stromkern
The House Of The Rising Sun The Animals
The Passenger Iggy Pop
The Solo Tyskarna Från Lund
The Weight Smith
Truckdriving song Galenskaparna & After Shave
Turn The Page Bob Seger
Unchain My Heart Joe Cocker
Unrecorded M83
Watching Over You (live) Seabound
Vehicle Ides of March
Whiter Shade Of Pale Procol Harum
Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me Keith Urban
Whole Lotta Love Led Zeppelin
Vingar Mikael Rickfors
Vision One Röyksopp
With A Little Help From My Friends Joe Cocker

Friends that I know personally can ask for a copy. 🙂

Update: Don’t forget to check out the 2011 roadtrip collection as well!

Alive

Howdy,

Yes, I’m still alive, even though I’ve been out riding my bike for the last few weeks. It actually makes me feel more alive. Yes,  I know it’s a terrible cliché, but it’s true nonetheless.

Been making a few mods as well:

  • Modifying and attaching the mounting thingy to the new saddlebags. They now support more weight and are easy to attach and remove, which is great for going shopping since they easily hold a full grocery bag each, and I don’t need to have them on all the time like the last ones. Should make longer road trips a whole lot easier as well, as I don’t have to unpack them at each sleepover, I can just pop them off.
  • Reversed the passenger pegs to move them forward and outward to not interfere with the previously mentioned bags. The excellent guide on Volusia Riders forum was a great help, even though I used shorter bolts and spacers than described in the guide to avoid long term twisting of the frame mount. M thought that her riding position improved a lot with this and made riding easier on her back, so two good things in one!
  • A custom made brake fluid reservoir lid. Pictures may come later.

I’ve also bought a new, chromed horn that I plan to install next week as the current one is on the fritz.

More things have happened in my life, but I’ll keep that private for now.

Catch you on the flipside.