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Help me start, making a servo controller for motorcycle use.

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motoracer

New Member
Hi,

I am a motorcycle mechanic looking for a place to start on a project. I have a BS in Computer Science but have no experience in electronics. I have toyed with R/C projects etc. as well.

Here is what I have. I am building a 250cc twin cylinder 2-stroke race bike for competition. The bike as delivered from the factory has power valves on the cylinders. These valves change the size and height of the exhaust port, which changes the way the engine runs at different RPM. This is much like VVTi or VTEC found on 4-stroke engines in cars. The point is to give the engine more power at lower RPM, while the motor is really tuned for power at high RPM.

The power valves are controlled by one servo motor. The servo motor has 2 power wires and 3 control wires. The CDI (ignition box) controls the motor currently.

The problem with the current system is that it has 3 positions. Down, middle, and up. These positions are decided by throttle position (TPS sensor) and motor RPM. I would like to make a controller that is adjustable and analog. It would take the RPM signal and then output to the servo to control the position. I would start with the general specs of the stock machine, then tune for max power on our eddy current dyno. One day I would also like to make a programmable ignition for this and other bikes.

So, what I need is to be pointed in the correct direction. What book should I read to get started (intro to electronics, etc.) then what fields should I research (controllers, analog circuits, motor control, etc.) As with most projects, the hardest part is knowing where to start.

Thanks for your help in advance.
 

motoracer

New Member
Thanks for the link. Looks good so I ordered it. Lets see how that goes. Any other ideas are greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

UberGeek

New Member
I had some more thoughts (amazing, eh? :lol: )...

This sounds like a good microcontroller application for a few reasons: Your CS background would help with sofware development, the finished product could be in-sytem programmable via a laptop, and the hardware itself would be simpler to design, IMO. There are many resources available for info about interfacing sensors to your micro, controlling motors, etc.

There are lots of different microcontrollers out there. Most people here seem to prefer the PIC, which is a line of micros from Microchip. I prefer the Atmel AVR line for cost/feature reasons...and ease of programming (again my opinion). That's only two of probably dozens that are out there.

If you decide to use a microcontroller, there's no reason you couldn't pick up a book and read it concurrently with the last book I mentioned. You could use the first as a reference. Lastly, if you decide to use an AVR I'll be happy to point you toward some book and online resources.

Hope you'll keep us up to date on this project.
 

motoracer

New Member
Programmable via laptop will be very cool. I am going to run a digital dash for data logging and guages. That also downloads info to the laptop for analysis.

The idea of a microcontoller is great. What book would you recommend for me to read concurrently?

As for the various types of microcontoller. An issue is vibration and general environmental concerns. The bike will vibrate, crash, etc. I will make a good case, but it will still have to be durable.

I am excited to start. Thanks for the good help and pointers. Other people feel free to chime in. Should I repost in a different section?

Thanks
 
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