03/19/17

ESP-DSC Works Not Well!

So yesterday I was all happy that I got my prototype ESP-DSC working. This ended up being short lived as I realized this morning that while it does technically work, the ESP8266 can’t keep up with two medium resolution (2,500 CPR) encoders.

Ironically, I found out that the code was too slow when I started to optimize the code and I realized that the code I has was very very conservative. My original optimization was to speed it up, but maintain that conservative ethos. I figured while I was editing the code, I might as well also add a test to see if the ESP-12F was dropping interrupts… Continue reading

03/16/17

New low cost digital setting circles: ESP-DSC

So a few years ago, I announced TeensyDSC, project that brings telescope digital setting circles to the iPad and Android devices using WiFi. I’ve been using my TeensyDSC successfully with my telescope and SkySafari on an iPad for a few years, but one thing always bothered me about it: the “COGS” (cost of goods sold) of the TeensyDSC was really expensive: nearly $100. A lot of that cost was in two parts: the Teensy 3.1 ($20) and RN-XV WiFi module ($35).
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03/15/17

Should you switch from EaglePCB to KiCad?

So I’ve been using EaglePCB for a number of years. I’ve designed and created some open source projects like my SV650 ECU Decoder and TeensyDSC. While I had a cheap ($79) commercial license for a one off commercial project I did, most of my work was done using the $169 “Maker” version for non-commercial use.

Then mid-2016, Eagle was bought by AutoDesk. I’ve only used one AutoDesk product before: Fusion360 which I really like. Sure, it’s not as good as SolidWorks, but I’ve designed parts for both CNC and 3D printing and they’ve come out great. And to top it off, AutoDesk is very gracious in it’s licensing terms- allowing makers like me to use it for free.

But recently Autodesk announced that EaglePCB was moving from perpetual licensing to subscription based. Simply put, this was not well received.
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03/14/17

Reverse engineering the SV650 SDS Protocol

So spent a bunch of the time in the garage this weekend working on reverse engineering the SDS protocol on the SV650. SDS is basically ISO9141 aka K-Line which something you often see in a car’s ODB-II port. Unfortunately, SDS is just different enough that you can’t use any commercial off the shelf ODB-II reader to read the messages. The way I have been going about this was pretty painful and taking a lot of time/effort to iterate over so I came up with a new tool chain.
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02/3/17

Analyzing Your Data with Race Studio 2

As racers, we’re always looking for an advantage over the competition- better brakes, exhaust, motor work, titanium bolts to reduce unsprung weight- you name it. With the advent of modern electronics, now data logging and analysis is becoming available for not just pro-racers, but club racers as well.

Most data loggers talk about how awesome their hardware is… see how sleek and sexy it looks? It has all kinds of features like GPS and accelerometers which are sampling at many times a second. Just imagine how much data you’ll collect! So then you install the data logger on your bike and you can’t wait until you can go out on track and try it out. Everything is great! Until…
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05/20/16

Decoding the SDS protocol on the SV650

So long story short, I replaced my old GPX Pro with an AiM MXL2 dash. One of the nice things is that the dash supports the Suzuki SDS protocol for the GSXR. SDS is sorta like ODBII for cars- if you’ve ever heard of a “K-Line”, well that is pretty much SDS. Long story short, the MXL2 dash can decode some of the sensors (TPS for example) but others are pretty far off (water temp).

I reached out to AiM to see if they could fix it, but they didn’t have the information necessary to fix their decoding of the messages. They suggested reaching out to Suzuki to get the specs, but I don’t know anyone there and nobody I know seems to know anyone there…

Long story short, I’m going to reverse engineer it myself.
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02/3/16

How to build a “Duzucati”

It’s been a few years, but I really wanted to do a write up how I came to build my race bike: a Suzuki SV650 powered Ducati 1098S- or as I like to call it, a “Duzucati”. A big reason why I wanted to write this up is because building custom/one off race bikes used to be a lot more popular, but with the advent of the modern “street bike” (really a race bike with mirrors and blinkers) custom bikes have gotten a lot rarer. People no longer need to do radical custom modifications to get a bike to make good horsepower and handle properly- you just need to walk into the local dealer and give him some money.

I had originally planned on glossing over some of the problems in order to focus on the positive parts of the story, but after a lot of consideration I decided to tell the whole story because I wanted to be honest about the experience. Building the bike and making it competitive wasn’t easy and it seemed dishonest to pretend that everything went smoothly.

With that said, here’s my story… Continue reading

02/2/16

Cheap Racing

So I was looking through my “Drafts” folder and found this post that I started writing back in September of 2011. This was back when I was racing my first race bike and before I built the Duzucati. Not sure why I didn’t post it back then, but looking back over the past few years I can’t say that much has changed. :)


So it’s almost the end of my third year racing in the AFM in a “cheap” class: 650 Production. Basically you take a relatively inexpensive motorcycle like a Suzuki SV650 and make it a race bike with limited modifications. If you’re not familiar with motorcycles, basically the SV650 isn’t a “race” bike like the sport bikes you’re familiar with. SV’s are great for commuting or just going out for a leisurely sunday ride, but they’re not that sporty, don’t make a lot of horsepower and hence don’t go through tires as quickly and since it’s production legal with a minimum amount of engine modifications should last a fair bit.

Boy was I wrong. Continue reading

01/30/16

Using AiM speed sensors for alarms with Arduino

So if you’ve been reading my blog, you know I created a SV650 ECU Decoder which decodes the data stream from the ECU that normally would go to the OEM dash. Recently I upgraded from the GPX Pro to the more powerful and physically bigger AiM MXL2.

So here’s the problem- the new dash is bigger which means I’m having a harder time finding a visible mounting point for my ECU decoder. And while the MXL2 can decode things like water temp, TPS and gear position from the ECU, it can’t decode any EFI warning codes. I didn’t like the prospect of not knowing when the bike was misbehaving due to a bad sensor or damaged wiring harness so I needed to come up with a solution. Continue reading