Access at last ….. update

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid ECU ELM327 Bluetooth OBD-II and TuneECUFurther 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.

Access at last ……

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid ECU connection OBD-II TuneECU 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!

LCD Dashboard end of May update

Just a quick update on the LCD dashboard – yes it’s still a work in progress! Lockdown here in the UK has freed up time for all sorts of fun and games and the LCD dashboard has hogged more than its fair share over the past few weeks. The board finally went from a desktop/fake-input dummy display to a fully enclosed dashboard with real-world inputs yesterday evening.

Apologies for the rough and ready video, but a long day was coming to an end, so I just grabbed the nearest dashboard case, blew off the dust and slapped the whole thing together to get the video. I appreciate the tacho needle is missing and the clear-lens has some scratches, but hey …. this is a prototype!

Next step … finalise the power on/off circuitry and maybe a nice splash screen for a few seconds at key-off, let’s see. But by far the biggest job is still to get the ECU data to the display in a way I’m happy with. One thing I’ve come across which is proving really useful is a software package called Megunolinks which allows real time graphs of data buzzing around the system – the demo version already helped massively while tweaking the various inputs and how to filter the data …….. next stop, the pro version! That should really help speed things up.

One thing I was always sceptical about, was the displays ability to function properly in bright daylight. I honestly expected this whole thing to be nothing more than a what-if project that would stay on a workbench. But I’m pleased to say that it doesn’t appear to be the case at all …. yesterday, the display was perfectly readable throughout the day with very bright sunlight streaming in through the garage door – square on or at an angle I had no problem reading it.  And that alone has boosted the enthusiasm to see this move from workbench to bike … let’s see how the next few weeks pan out.

Dashboard – Multi function display screen – 4

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.

Dashboard – Multi function display screen – 3

Here we go then …. the plastic inlay carrier was treated to a real good bash around and the display popped into place. Looks nice with the inlay on top, but believe me, there’s plenty to do underneath to make the mount safe for thrashing around on a motorbike!

The good and the bad so far ….. the good – fits (ish) and should be straight forward to finish off, it’s as good as the original in bright light and looks kind of nice as in black as opposed to grey when it’s turned off. The bad … we’ll the eagle eyes among you may have noticed that the plastic pegs for the ‘Mode’ and ‘Set’ buttons are missing. The display is just that bit to long for everything to stay. So I’ve decided to not only move them, but replace them with a 5-way switch that will allow better interaction with the new screen. The old buttons will stay simply to look retro!

Dashboard – Multi function display screen

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Arduino 4D Systems SDK-ULED-35D-AR displayMore 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!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Arduino 4D Systems SDK-ULED-35D-AR displayWell 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!

TuneECU IS your friend … just don’t forget it!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid TuneECU TPS resetI’ve just had a fun few hours preparing the Capo for its MOT (annual inspection) and one of the issues I wanted to get around to sorting was the slightly high tick-over.

For quite a few months now the idle has been 1,500 – 1,550 when warm – not enough to be troublesome, but noticeable. Problem is ….. I’ve plain forgot to do anything about it once the ignition was turned off! So today I dusted off the cable and charged the old ASUS notebook and plugged in.

Thankfully it was just as I hoped, the TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) was not at zero with a closed throttle. It was reading 1%. A tap on the ‘TPS Reset’ had it reading 0% and the idle was fine once again. So, the question is, have I got a TPS on its way out, or was it simply the fact that I hadn’t done a reset in 18 months ( 20K+ miles), something I used to do at every service. I’m hoping it’s the latter and will endevour to make sure I hook up TuneECU during all future services. Funny really that a tool I used to hook up on an almost weekly basis slowly slid to the dark recesses of the workshop over time.

New INNOVV K2 arrives!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid INNOVV K2Yes folks, the all new INNOVV K2 arrived this sunny Saturday afternoon. I ripped the box lid off and took a quick pic of the new 1080p dual-camera WATERPROOF replacement to the K1. Out of the box, the recording unit is smaller, but better built and no longer has a screen. The cameras appear to be the same as the C5 but with different connectors, and the GPS is a new smooth (and waterproof) design – very nice! The lack of screen is of no issue, as the recording unit uses your phone (K2 app) to adjust settings and view both cameras. This is how the C5 works and I prefer it to be honest.

So on the workbench it went. Load up the K2 app on the Samsung Note 8 and within a couple of minutes its settings were adjusted, the SD card formated and it was away doing what it’s made for – recording!

As I write this it’s happily sucking up 350ma at 13.8v and working perfectly. The images look a magnitude better than the K1 and everything seems to run a little cooler than the old K1, I’ll know better after a few hours on the bench. So the upside is that it has arrived and looks a great leap forward from the none-waterproof K1, the downside is that I’ve now got to strip out the old system and install this one! Oh well, I guess that’s what the 3D printed mounts were destined to be ….. temporary!

Stay tuned for more pics and video when they’re installed.

Introducing the ‘Capogiro’ unit ….

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid & Capogiro dynamic brake light unitFirstly may I say that we here at moto-abruzzo wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and hope that 2018 brings good roads and big smiles on those shiny Caponords of yours!

Secondly, fellow Capo owner and electronics whizz Michele from Italy (MCR on AF1 forum) got in touch about his Mk3 ‘Capogiro’ unit. Based on the BMW Dynamic Brake Light system, it uses a microcontroller and a 3-axis gyro/accelerometer unit to control the brake light and hazard warning lights, as well as having other useful outputs. In a nutshell the DBL function is:

    • Normal brake light function under all light/medium braking conditions
    • Brake light pulsed at 5Hz when braking hard (>0.35g) from between 14Kmh (9mph) and 60Kmh (37mph)
    • Below 5Kmh (3mph) normal brake light function is restored
    • If still braking hard at below 5Kmh (3mph), the hazard lights are turned on automatically
  • They will then remain on for 60 seconds OR until the speed is greater than 20Kmh (12mph) for xx seconds

This then is the primary function of the unit. But Michele didn’t stop there, he’s added a raft of other useful functions as well, including:

    • Add a handlebar switch and you have rider switchable hazard warning lights
    • Drop the bike on its side and the opposite (high side) pair of indicators will operate in a kind of half-hazard mode to alert others of an obstruction on the road
    • Leave the indicators on too long and the system will give you an audible alarm to remind you to turn them off …. who hasn’t done that!
    • A basic but useful alarm function. Add a hidden switch and intercept a relay and the unit will use the gyros and accelerometers to know if it’s being moved and set off the horn/hazards as well as immobilise the engine.
    • It also has the ability to do what Aprilia never did – keep the headlights switched off until the engine is running, then turn them on, vastly reducing battery drain on starting.
  • And last but not least the ability to interface with an eCall device that alerts others that you may need assistance.

Each of these functions is well thought out with outputs all protected and battery status being analysed so as to not activate certain functions which could possibly prevent the bike from starting due to low voltage. All in all, a well thought out and professionally built unit. All this fits into a neat 122mm * 39mm * 31mm package that is designed to locate on top of the headlight behind the windscreen. Granted, if you use all the functions then there are a fair few wires to be connected, but if you don’t want to use a particularly function(s) then just don’t hook up those particular wires, easy! And the cost for this little box of wizardry …… currently €120, not cheap granted, but for the safety features and added additional functions thrown in, I think it’s well worth the money. You can download a copy of the installation instructions in English HERE or in Italian HERE.

OK, sounds great but is it legal to use? Well BMW have added a similar system because it conforms to EU legislation and they sell bikes fitted with it in the UK. But the fact is they DO appear to fall foul of the Highway Code rule 116 (watch their own videos):


“….. You MUST NOT use hazard warning lights while driving or being towed unless you are on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and you need to warn drivers behind you of a hazard or obstruction ahead. …… “


In other words, if the hazard lights activate while moving on any other road than motorways/unrestricted dual carriageways then that’s a legal no-no …. even if it is helping to save your pride and joy (and skin) from some inattentive muppet driving too close behind!

So the bottom line seems to be that a big manufacturer can bend the rules but we, no doubt cannot. Fitting it then may be legally questionable, on the other hand if it increases safety, makes no visible changes to your bike in day-to-day use AND will most likely never be noticed during an MOT test or roadside inspection ……….. well then that’s up to you, I cannot condone anything that would possibly break local or international law in any way shape or form, no siree Bob. Me? I’m only testing it off-road of course. 😉

If you’re interested in more information or would like to buy on, please drop me a line with your details and I’ll forward them to michele for you.

And that just leaves me to express my own gratitude to Michele for not only sending me a Capogiro to try, but also sharing ‘under the bonnet’ details so that I can get a better understanding of how the functions work. I owe you one Michele! 😀

The blip is back!

After a couple of rides, here’s the verdict on the Oxford Adventure heated grips – utterly Fantastic! Not only are they awesome in their toastiness, they really do help my old wrist as well. The extra diameter and better texture compared to the Ariete grips is lovely!

One thing lacking in my riding over the last few months has been blip-ability, the quick tweek of the wrist to grab a few revs … almost every downshift became a novice-style, crunchy-clunky affair, blips either non-existent or late. The head was doing the throttle blippy thing but the wonky wrist just couldn’t or wouldn’t play ball. Fair to say my blip-mojo was lost in sore tendons and swollen joints.

Now with fatter grips I’m chuffed to say my blip-mojo is back with a vengeance, sharp, snappy downshifts complemented with slick as Slick-50 on Teflon clutchless up-shifts as we slice through bend after hairpin bend. If the grin got any wider I’m sure the top of head would have fallen right off. At last, me and the gearbox are best mates again!

But that’s only half of it – These things work superbly as HEATED grips as well! With the days now struggling to reach 10-12C and wearing summer gloves, it takes but a couple of minutes at 100%, then swiftly backing the heat down to 40% before my fingers catch fire! That’s way better than the Aprilia grips ever performed. I do wonder if a big part of the Aprilia grips poor performance was not only down to the high-resistance heaters, but also the feeble wiring to the grips. I swear that stuff is rated to little more than 5 Amps, maybe 8 Amps on a good day with the wind behind it! Either way, they’re history now after a sterling 9 years service and I’m looking forward to seeing how well the Oxford grips last. Bring on a January ride through Switzerland ……. 😯