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 has been a long time coming … and I mean a looooong time. Think a decade! Back before we had TuneECU a few Capo owners pooled thoughts on how to get access to the ECU and read its contents, but we all gave up when TuneECU came along because it did it all for us – for (almost) free. Now however there is a real need for that access if the new dashboard display is to do what it is supposed to, and that has been the hurdle of hurdles to get across. If I am totally honest this problem alone was guaranteed to bring the project to a grinding halt if nothing was. So for the past few weeks, I put the display to one side and concentrated on cracking the ECU.
Well I’m not only chuffed, I am totally blown over backwards because as of this afternoon, I can finally access and interrogate the ECU independently of anyone elses equipment or software – ECU serial number, map number and all the sensor parameters plus self test functions and TPS reset! I’ve still got work to do interpreting some of the data, but that is not such a big issue and should be finished tomorrow.
Tonight though, I think a cold beer or two are in order!
More years ago that I care to remember, fellow Caponord owner (Beasthonda) and I discussed the idea of replacing the dashboard LCD panel with an LCD screen that could be made to display just about anything we wanted. At the time, we looked at 4D Systems and made a few notes on feasibility, but in the end the idea fizzled out – primarily because at that time the panels were expensive!
Well here we are, a toe-dip into 2020 and the idea has been resurrected. This in part is due to the panels being better and cheaper now as well as the Arduino boards being much more powerful and faster than the old generation. So as I write, winging it’s way from Australia is an SK-ULCD-35D-AR kit …. basically a 3.5″ non-touch sensitive screen with all the cables and bits to program and connect it to an Arduino device.
The idea is to emulate the existing panel layout for day-to-day riding. However the device will have alternative screens available. The first will be the real-time display of sensor data from the ECU, the second will be a detailed trip computer, displaying continually updated fuel consumption and fuel tank range among other things. The next will display GPS position using a fusion of on-board GPS and Bluetooth mobile link for map downloads.
The display turned up a few days ago. Early the next morning, while the world shivered outside, I managed to program it with a couple of basic screens and power it up for the first time. The displays need to be scaled to fit the aperture in the dash overlay, but other than that it’s pretty much ready to hook up to some data. Role on the weekend!
Well it’s time to test out the prototype of the BMW-clone Dynamic Brake Light System ……… but how to keep an eye on the tail-light and hazards when riding around? Dig out a bit of scrap metal, the old Shorai battery and the Tarot 2D gimbal/GoPro camera combination – that’s how! 😀
Pardon the pun … but the Shorai battery was a complete non-starter as far as getting the Capo to wheeze into life (below 12C anyway!), so it spent the next few years doing various duties. Replacing the battery in my computer UPS (uninterruptible Power Supply) for one, then running the dashboard test-rig for a while before being the power supply of choice to run the Tarot gimbal or any home-brew datalogging/test kit that needed 12V. To be fair it’s 4½ years old, stored in the barn for extended periods, recharged with a crude 6V/12V charger, run flat as a pancake and overcharged …. and it still keeps working!
So now we’re ready to rock the highways and byways with the gimbal/GoPro hopefully grabbing the footage I need. Once it’s done I’ll turn the gimbal around and grab some more quirky footage facing backwards! 😯
Stop the Bus (or your Caponord) and grab yer smartphones again, TuneECU has just been updated to V2.2 ………… worthy of mentioning? Oh Yes! Alaine has addressed the poor connection (cable) AND the screen freezing if you swiped it when logging issue. Now TuneECU connects to the Capo quick as you like, just as it used to. I tried it numerous times and never once had a problem – fantastic! All-in-all a positive step forward …..
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 ………
Hooking up the netbook to the ECU when datalogging has always been a pain. Seats off, fumble around for the Molex connector, run the cable under the seats, refit the seats …… and away we go. So when I saw a neat little MIL style connector that Andy has fitted to his Capo, I couldn’t help asking about it.
Turns out it’s made by Deutsch Autosport and they make a whole range of high quality connectors specifically for the motorsport industry. Here’s a link to the catalogue. Anyway, all-round nice guy that he is, Andy made me a chassis socket and plug assembly with 300mm of loom at each end. Not only that, he popped them in the post to Italy … and they arrived a couple of days ago. And I must say ….. WOW! ….. beautifully machined and fully waterproof with a nice machined cap to keep the greeblies out.
So now I’ve reworked my old TuneBoy cable and installed the connector on the dash. I’ve used shielded cable back to the original molex plug to reduce interference on the data lines and it all works fine.
So it only remains to say a big thank you to Andy for doing this for me. I owe you one! Now if you’re thinking of hot-footing it over to the AF1 forum to send Andy a PM – don’t. This was a one-off kindness and he won’t be making any more, so please don’t ask.
It’s official …. Moto-Abruzzo has been bitten by the infamous Caponord coil failure syndrome. It was a lovely day so a spin round the block was on the cards, the Capo fired up sweet enough before starting to flash the dreaded ‘EFI‘ warning lamp. Oh deary me.
Turned out to be a rear coil (Code 36) that had died, no worries I thought, I’ve got a couple of spares on the shelf – although of unknown history. Turns out one was toast and the other intermittent, so both are useless.
This morning I adapted the mighty Moto-Logger to display the coil ‘Dwell’ data in real-time so I could have a look at the intermittent coil in operation. Interesting – but wholly depressing on a nice sunny day when I’d rather be riding the damn thing. Rather strangely, the coil began to work OK once it got hot …. very peculiar! Anyway, new coils are on order so it won’t be long.
It’s been a couple of months since I posted an update on the ‘Moto-logger’, mainly because other than using it, I didn’t update it! During that time notes and thoughts of improvements to the layout, function or stability were scribbled on bits of paper and sprinkled around the PC, waiting for a rainy day.
Last week it rained.
So here’s a screen shot of V1.7, now with a left-hand side bar and two selectable displays. One for the raw GPS data being received and the other ( a bit of a gimmick admittedly) is a ‘fuel calculator’. The Capo doesn’t register road speed in the ECU unlike the Triumph’s … so it made me wonder if it were possible to calculate fuel usage and tank contents from GPS data and the pulse width of the injectors – the duration the injector is open and passing fuel to the engine.
So here it is .. and it works. Well the needles move, the numbers jump around and the LED blinks with 5 litres remaining, so hey, it’s a runner! Clicking either gauge resets the calculators and ‘fills’ the tank to 25 litres. Turning off the bike/software doesn’t lose the calculations either, so taking a quick road-side slurp of coffee doesn’t mess up the figures. Happy days indeed!
A tickle round the mountain, five logged files and two and a half hours of logging later …. it’s no longer a work in progress, it’s a runner!
It may only be a couple of weeks ago that this little project kicked off, but for the life of me, I can’t quite remember why I started, or in fact where I really thought it would lead. So I guess this is most definitely a natural end to this part in the development cycle. It starts, stops, logs and displays more than I originally intended. I guess there’s nothing more to do except get logging!
As for the other stuff on my wish list ….. well the aquisition of external info such as speed (measured not GPS), brake line pressure and gear position may well be handled by this little device. 8 x 5v analogue inputs should be fine … all looks fairly straight forward in the instruction book anyway. We’ll see!
So what have I learned from the data so far? Firstly, the air intake temperature is a fairly consistent 15ºC above the ambient air temp at all times – higher when the bike’s in stop-start traffic ….. all very power-sapping. Secondly … truthfully there isn’t a secondly just yet, but what I’m interested in looking at on the next couple of runs, is the barometric (air pressure) data. It’s measured in the airbox and with the restrictive ‘snorkel’ in place I’m expecting to see a drop in pressure at high RPM/throttle opening …. but will the data bear this out? And how much will it fluctuate by?
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