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Digital Gear Indicator for the XS650

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by TwoManyXS1Bs, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Has anyone ever installed one on their XS650?

    Ever wanted one?

    Have you ever found yourself upshifting while already cruising in 5th?
    Have you ever wondered if you're in 2nd, or 3rd, while doing the 'find neutral' before stopping?

    Are you having trouble counting up to 5? And back down?

    Have you ever found yourself at the base of the stairs,
    wondering if you need to go up, or already came down?

    Are people offering you discount tickets to "Stupid Island"?
    weekendrider likes this.
  2. cra-z1

    cra-z1 XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    TwoManyXS1Bs likes this.
  3. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Still Looking Good Top Contributor

    I was doing 40mph and the rev counter showed 2500rpm. The bike felt like it needed the next gear so I went for it. Guess what?

    No sixth gear!
    TwoManyXS1Bs likes this.
  4. CoconutPete

    CoconutPete 1979 XS650 Special

    I sometimes do a light tap upwards to see if there is another gear there. One hasn't shown up yet!

    What I do find myself doing is thinking "am I in 2nd or 3rd?" when I'm looking for neutral while slowing down to stop.
    TwoManyXS1Bs likes this.
  5. JesseeS

    JesseeS XS650 Addict

    I don't normally pay attention, I like it to be a surprise each time
    TwoManyXS1Bs likes this.
  6. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty, Demi & Gretel: I ask, THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Not the I am aware of - and with only mechanical instruments and no gearbox provisions for sensing shift drum position....it doesn't seem like a trivial task.

    Yes - had one on my '79 Suzuki GS850 shafty and found it be a genuinely useful gizmo.

    Yes - I like the low rumble of the exhaust at lower revs...

    Yes, but then, I am usually trying not to be killed by nearby cagers and so I often forget lots of things.

    Yes, that is why I took three degrees in Engineering - I hoped to learn to count reliably and accurately. While I think that I have now learned to count, I have found unfortunately that I have an amazingly poor short-term memory.

    Yes - usually I cannot remember what I was looking for - so the up or down question becomes somewhat secondary.

    Yes, but only from my wife.
    Michaelo and TwoManyXS1Bs like this.
  7. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Admission to "Stupid Island" should be free but they should charge big time to leave, lol.
    JesseeS, TwoManyXS1Bs, robinc and 2 others like this.
  8. gggGary

    gggGary I'm listening, change my mind XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Mom is in a memory care unit, code on the door to get in and out, I start sweating as I approach the door on the way out......
    You can't fool me WAY too many, you already have a working prototype! :bike:
    Last summer on my royal star venture an 890 lb 1200 V4 with overdrive at an unfamiliar intersection I had to change lanes at the last second. when the light went green I thought it was acting sluggish. fully loaded, I got it underway in 5th. Who needs a transmission? :rock:
    theDQG, TwoManyXS1Bs and MaxPete like this.
  9. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty, Demi & Gretel: I ask, THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Yup, that's the way it is with the ST1300 - I pulled away in 4th a couple of times and shifted up to. 5th....thinking - hey, it's a two-speed, just like the old GM Powerglide!

    Tee Hee.
    TwoManyXS1Bs and gggGary like this.
  10. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Haha, ROFLMAO! Youze guyz seriously crack me up.

    I guess we don't have to worry about cra-z1. He's running on all 12 cylinders, zipped thru this like a land-speed-racer zinging thru a voting booth.

    Yes, it's elusive. If you had a 6th, would you be looking for a 7th?

    I would.

    We were told that 6th would be delivered after the last installment payment.

    Somebody dropped the ball on that one.

    AND another "2nd or 3rd?" joins the club.

    Haha, good one. I now have this image of a DADDYG custom, jockey shift lever made from a slot machine handle, gear indicator displays combinations of apples, cherries and BAR...

    You're right Pete, not trivial at all.
    Like trying to put an automatic transmission on a Conestoga wagon.
    But, good to hear that it could be a useful item.

    Well, alrighty then. I have a fistful of day passes, so we'll get into it.

    gggGary, you know me well. Too well, in fact.
    Expect a visit from some dark-suited, sunglass wearing, dry-witted gentlemen.
    Just do as they say, don't fight it.

    OK, no need for a gear indicator on the behemoths.
    Just need to know if in neutral, or not...
  11. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Researching current gear indicator offerings, found a boatload of them, including Google search info, forum discussions, and YouTube videos.

    Ranging from "Harley bling" expensive to Chinese 'floor sweepings' cheap.

    Seems that they could be classified into 4 groups:

    1- Using digital speedo and electronic tach info, derives the gear number from a calibrated ratio of those 2 values. Takes a bit of time to devine the solution. Requires a clutch switch, so it knows that its really in gear.

    2- Uses a multiple-contact shiftdrum rotary encoder. This is the most reliable of the versions, reading actual shiftdrum position. Uses many wires. We really don't have the room behind the XS650 sprocket for the multi-contact encoder. The shiftdrum end and its roller bearing shell would need serious modification, and an oil seal, for this.

    3- A variation on the rotary encoder, found on a (I forget now) Suzuki something. Uses a single wire, reads multiple resistances to ground. Now, this one sounds promising. Could simply use the existing XS650 neutral switch to contact a press-fitted commutator on the shiftdrum. Difficult to install, complicated commutator design. But, maximum stealth.

    4- The more popular aftermarket gear indicator, simply reads the up-down motions of the shift lever. Easiest to install on some bikes, tricky on others. Occasionally glitches. $15-20 on eBay. This is the one I chose to experiment.
  12. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    The $15- $20 eBay digital gear indicator is a quite simple item. It includes a tiny magnet and 2 reed switches to detect shift lever movement.

    However, it's up to YOU to design and fabricate some sort of mounting for the reed switches. And, there's limitations. They must be positioned at critical locations, with a certain minimum spacing. Some install examples:
    ShifterSensor01.jpg ShifterSensor02.jpg ShifterSensor03.jpg
  13. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    While testing my unit, by touching the sensor wires to ground, I found that the indicated gear number would frequently zing up or down thru multiple gears. Other forums noted this same thing, sometimes going 2 or 3 gears too far.

    Well, there's NO debounce circuitry for the 2 up/down sensor lines. Given the vibratory nature of our XS650s, this needs fixin'.

    Also found that the unit will go up to number "8". Need to limit this to "5", and discovered a trick to do just that.

    Our shift levers travel only about +/- 11° for up/down shifts. To get proper reed switch spacing and placement would require upwards of 4"-5" of magnet distance from the shiftshaft. Dangling out there, and probably fugly.

    To avoid fugly, keep the sensing mechanism hidden, and avoid vibration-induced switch bounce, I plan to mount a miniature sealed on-off-on momentary toggle switch beneath the shiftshaft guard, triggered by a small adjustable clamp on the shiftshaft. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind, stealth, and a simpler 2-wire solution.
  14. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Let's crack this thing open, see whut's in there. The little box holds the LED display, and all the associated circuitry. The lens easily pops off. Dig out a blob of hot-glue, and the guts can be carefully pried outta there.

    Top side, showing the LED digit.

    Bottom side, showing a tiny microprocessor.
  15. Signal

    Signal XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    2M I do love your innovative ideas. In my minds eye is a toothed wheel on the shift shaft operating a micro switch sort of like the old dial phone pulse encoders. Thanks for posting, watching with interest.
    TwoManyXS1Bs likes this.
  16. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    The problems of switch debounce and gear limitation of "5" could easily be done by patching and reflashing the code in the EM78P153 microprocessor, but that's beyond the scope of this thread.

    Instead, I'll have to design circuitry on a separate paddle-board that will intercept and condition the sensor inputs.

    Plus, this thing is too big for the space between my instruments. So, I'll be using a smaller 7-segment LED display, in green. Remote mounted, so the gadget box can be hidden elsewhere.
  17. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Hey, Signal! Thanx. Yes, I have a pair of microswitches on the bench, like what are used as limit switches. But the single toggle switch will use much less room, and less adjustment. Just haven't built its mount yet. Too cold out there...
  18. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty, Demi & Gretel: I ask, THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Eight segment display.......does this mean we can have an 8-speed tranny on our 650's?

    Seriously though, a lot of the ST1300 guys (Incl. me) have bought a $12-15 Chinese system that looks like this but uses signals from the electronic speedo and tach. Apparently you can train the thing to recognise the relationship between road speed and engine RPM - and turn that into a gear indication. No fiddley magnetic or reed switches and by several accounts, it DOES work - but only a few have been installed. The ST has so much electronics already the a lot of folks are hesitant to start messing with the wiring.

  19. gggGary

    gggGary I'm listening, change my mind XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Paging Rube, Rube Goldburg..... Your simplicator is ready for pick up at the service counter.
    I thought cabin fever was a "great white north" thingie.
    TwoManyXS1Bs and robinc like this.
  20. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Still Looking Good Top Contributor

    I would like one of these, even if it only flashed in second gear. The bit that puts me off is how to incorporate it and look nice on the bike. The XS has that spare bulb on the controls to show when the headlight blows. Perhaps it is possible to do something with that, a simple logic circuit involving a switch on the gear change and the neutral switch?????? This is my Christmas thinking project!
    txxs likes this.

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