Further to the last post about accessing the Caponord ECU, I have added a couple of new pages under the ‘Aprilia Caponord Rally-Raid / ECU’ drop-down in the menu. A further page will be written shortly I hope. Apologies if they seem to ramble somewhat, but a terrible week, a stint in hospital and some rather strong pain meds have left me a little tired and woolly-headed. But I needed to get this stuff down before I forgot it all again!
I guess I also need to say that although I’m 100% for innovation, curiosity and experimentation ….. if you do decide to experiment with your own ECU and ultimately turn it into a rather decorative door-stop, please do not come running in this direction! The info I provide is not verified and could quite easily have typos – make sure you are 100% confident about what you are doing and that you thoroughly understand the consequences if you get in too deep. If you are unsure about something then feel free to drop me a line …. I’ll happily try to assist.
It’s fair to say that these strange and worrying times will touch all of us in some way or other, so may I firstly send each and everyone of you all my best wishes as we each deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. That said, life still moves on and this site is about the beloved Caponord ETV1000 we are lucky enough to enjoy, so it’s content will stay focused to that end.
Recently the fantastic company I work for has taken the difficult decision to furlough us until the end of May, but the flip side of this particular coin is that I’ll now have a lot more time to add new material to the website and spend some well needed hours spinning spanners and generally giving the Capo the TLC it so richly deserves. So please, stay safe, and pop back once in a while and see what’s been added!
First on the list ……. the front mudguard. I’d only had the Capo a year or so, when one fateful day a rather inquisitive chicken decided the front mudguard was a smashing place to perch, but not very grippy. So after lots of slipping around and trying to dig its claws in, it gave up and flapped away in a huff leaving nice scratches in the surface of the mudguard. Since then, a coat of black bumper polish every now and then has gone some way to masking the marks, but it needs applying every few weeks to maintain the effect. Later that fateful day, the chicken mysteriously decided to perch inside a hot oven with some lovely roast spuds ….. and close the door. Who knows what goes through a chickens mind eh!
Last year … yes, last year (the shame of waiting so long!), I got hold of a rattle-can of ‘PlastiDip’ satin black. This stuff is quite interesting, it sprays like a paint but can be peeled off later like a vinyl wrap. Just do a search, there are loads of YouTube videos about this stuff. So the plan is, off with the guard, a good wash and degrease then when thoroughly dry, a few coats of Plasti Dip – if I don’t like it, simply peel off re-polish and put it back on the bike – nothing lost. That’s the cunning plan anyway …
Next on the list …. another little update to the 4DSystems screen software! An extra page has been added that now allows control of heated grips and seats. Here’s a little video of it in action … again, it’s a work in progress and will have a couple of graphic tweaks and an extra function added into the software, but for now it’s a working prototype with three PWM (Pulse Wave Modulation) outputs (one per heater set) that will drive a high power circuit controlling the heater elements. These circuits are capable of handling 12A each, so more than tough enough for grips/saddle heaters.
It uses the 5-button switch assembly so that the grips can be adjusted on the fly, rather than have to use the smartphone app like the other info pages. The basic functions are:
Press and hold OK to access the screen or return to main screen
Use the UP and DOWN buttons to select the heater you want to adjust
Use the LEFT and RIGHT buttons to adjust the heat settings – a single press adds/removes 1 block (10%) while press and hold a button ramps up or down until released
Double click the LEFT or RIGHT button to set all heaters to 0% or 100% instantly. When set to 100% there is a five minute timer, then the grips return to preset values – this is ideal as a pre-heater on wintry mornings!
Finally, Double click the OK button to return all heaters to preset values
In-built safety cuts all heaters when the ignition is turned off
Updates in the pipeline …… addition of a settings page in the smartphone app to allow some flexibility. For example – a timer when the ignition is turned off, so the grips can remain live for a few minutes (like the Oxford grips do) … and the ability to inhibit the pillion heater completely if you never carry a pillion or feel the need to heat luggage you have strapped on!
First off ….. a bit of code change to the website should mean that all other pages, not just the front page will now display at a greater width than previously. I hope you find the general readability and layout better.
Secondly, I’ve now swapped from an Arduino Uno to an Arduino Mega 2560 to drive the 4DSystems display. This was due to the Uno only having one hardware serial interface, while the 2560 has three. Now I’m driving the display off one and a HC-05 Bluetooth module off another. After a frustrating few evenings playing with the MIT App Inventor, I managed to get a working app on my Note 10 that drives the display. It flicks between screens, resets the two MPG indicators and allows me to change the time of the Real Time Clock.
With the new inlay nearly complete and sufficient testing of the modified dashboard to prove its reliability in day-to-day use, it’s now time to move on and complete the next stage of miniaturising the circuit board. The big grey box and wiring loom holding the Arduino Uno stays for the time being, but now it will house the smaller circuit board and Arduino Nano. Once thoroughly tested, the box and loom will disappear as the board finally gets mounted inside the case.
This time around the microcontroller will be programmed differently to speed up the start time and free up more memory space. For that I’m using a Pololu 1300 programming device ….. Something I’ve never done before, let’s hope I don’t fry it! If all goes well, that then leaves me an Arduino Uno spare and it would be rude not to find another Caponord related little job for it! So here’s the next project…..
I’ll be installing the Uno and three of these naughty little puppies along with and LCD screen into the redundant grey case. Self-powered, it will measure current flow through the 30A rec/reg fuse and the two main 30A fuses simultaneously. The screen will then display measured and calculated data as well as storing the data onto an SD card mounted into the display. So it’ll be a data-logger as well!
The idea is to have the three ACS714 devices, wiring loom and a single multi-pole connector under the saddle. The unit will then simply plug into the connector and merrily measure away. A decent battery and memory card should make data logging for 2hrs + pretty straight forward. So watch this space ………
Phase 1 is over, Phase 2 begins …….. yes, the reworked dashboard with voltmeter/tacho and fade-in/fade-out auto-dimming backlighting is off the workbench and finally onto the Caponord. I know it doesn’t look too inspiring at the moment, but it is only a prototype unit for development. The white tacho face is simply a temporary inlay printed on a piece of A4, so it better not get wet!
Inside the box lives an Arduino Uno with a homemade interface board that switches and adjusts the signals to/from the dashboard as required. The single connector plugs into an additional fused loom that runs to the battery positive terminal. I’ve tried to build in safeguards against under/over voltage, battery disconnection and reconnection spikes and its own failure with regards to how the dashboard functions, hopefully most if not all eventualities have been covered …. fingers crossed!
I’ll run this setup for a while and try to iron out any other issues as they crop up, but what then? Well Phase 3 has already started in parallel with Phase 2! A new microcontroller board that uses the same chip, but with a footprint that is an astonishingly small 8% of the Uno has been ordered. Not only is it small, it also loses the peripheral bits and bobs that I don’t need – and that means much lower power consumption. I’m really hoping to get the whole thing inside the dashboard case if possible, but the worst case scenario will mean a small box fixed directly to the back of the dashboard – so no wiring loom or bulky connectors!
As well as getting the inlay reprinted with the added voltmeter graphic, I’ve also decided on a little re-arrangement of the existing graphics and functions. For example, why oh why is a ‘side-stand’ light prime-center of the display when it already has a safety circuit to stop you riding away with the stand down? ….. Magneti Marelli over-egging the pudding I think.
So the side-stand is moving down to the (unused) ABS lamp spot, the low-fuel then moves up to the side-stand lamp and the low-fuel light then becomes the right-hand indicator – as it should have been all along. Yes, a turn repeater for both left AND right hand signals!!!
With all this in the pipeline, I can now source a decent place to have the new inlay card made. I’ve spoken to a couple of companies in the UK already, but I’ll keep looking around for a little while longer …….. do you know anyone you can recommend? If so, I’d like to hear from you.
Last but not least, here’s another short piece of video with the panel working on the bike.
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