5th Gen Gear Indicator

Discussion in '5th Generation 1998-2001' started by Rio800, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. Rio800

    Rio800 New Member

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    Hi all,
    Does anybody know whether the gear indicators being sold on Amazon etc work on the 5th Gen as plug and play or is it more complicated?
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Wiggo

    Wiggo New Member

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    No, there's nothing on the 5th gen to plug into. You would need the type with two switches, a magnet and a neutral switch connection. I have one - tested but not fitted yet...
     
  3. Rio800

    Rio800 New Member

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    Ah right, thanks wiggo, would you mind reporting back if you get it working?
     
  4. Wiggo

    Wiggo New Member

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    OK, so life got in the way and it took a while...

    1. Wiring it up is straightforward (with an exception, see later).
    2. It's a PITA.

    So, first things first, this was a generic Digital Gear Indicator from Ebay. There are three types - one that plugs into the ECU and reads the gear directly (not an option for the 5th gen as the ECU is too primitive and doesn't have the connector), one that connects to a digital speedo and rev counter and works out the gear from the speed/revs (like the GIpro and others costing around £100) and the cheap and cheerful Ebay type that use two switches to detect up/down shifts and neutral.

    This type has 6 wires coming from the display: +12V, Ground, Neutral and three wires for the switches - one to a wire on each switch and the third connected to the other two wires from the switches. +12V and Ground are obvious, and the Neutral wire needs to be connected to the gearbox neutral switch.

    The two switches are little reed switches that close when a magnet passes near them, so they need to be mounted close to the gear shift lever. The only place I could see was the water pump mounting bolts, so I designed a little bracket and 3D printed it. This pushes over two of the bolt heads on the back of the waterpump, and the switches are fixed to it with hot melt glue:
    [​IMG]

    The wires were wrapped in a piece of spiral conduit and tie wrapped to the bottom of the left radiator before disappearing up behind the instrument cluster. Next, in order to make the switches work, you need to attach the small magnet to a bracket from the shift lever. This was made by folding up a piece of the perforated steel strip you get to steady car radios from Halfords and then mounting it under the pinch bolt. The magnet is then glued in place. More on this in a bit...

    [​IMG]

    Lastly, the display was attached to the inside of the fairing with a piece of double sided foam (the sort for sticking number plates on, again from Halfords).

    [​IMG]

    Now, you need to connect to the neutral switch. READ TO THE END FIRST BEFORE DOING THIS BIT!!! You can either join the wire to the light green/red wire coming out of the left hand multiway connector on the instrument pod (the one on the top right if you're straddling the front wheel looking at the back of the instruments), or you can splice it in to the black lead from the switch itself. The switch is on the right, below the oil filler, and the lead runs in a piece of black plastic sleeving over the top of the right radiator. I cut and joined it just above the radiator before the wiring disappears under the tank.

    With everything connected up, and the bike on the centre stand, I then began buggering about. You need to bend the bracket with the magnet on to get it to just the right spot so it detects up and down shifts. Got that OK after a bit of fiddling, but for the life of me, it wouldn't detect neutral. After a bit of Googling and a poke about with the multimeter, it seems the neutral switch doesn't completely connect to ground - it has about 100Ω resistance and that's enough to mess it up.

    So, back to Halfords for a 12V relay. One side of the relay coil is connected to 12V, the other to the gearbox neutral switch (or the light green/red wire from the instruments). One of the switched relay contacts is connected to ground, the other to the neutral wire from the gear indicator. Now when the gearbox neutral switch closes, the relay clicks and connects the gear indicator wire to a clean ground.

    How well does it work? So-so. From Neutral, stomping into first works just fine. However, if you are even the slightest bit hesitant going up to 2nd, it detects neutral as you pass through it (it's too fast for you to see the neutral light on the dash light up, but this gear indicator detects it) and it doesn't see the switch signal to tell it you are in 2nd. It sits there reading '0' even though you are in second. Now it is fine going up and down the box, but always reading a gear low - it says '2' after you shift up to 3rd and so on. It will sort itself out once you go back to first, but even so...

    As long as you shift up sharply from 1st to 2nd, it seems OK though. I may experiment later with a simple resistor/capacitor circuit to see if I can make it less sensitive to seeing neutral as you go from 1st to 2nd. I also think a couple of microswitches and a mechanical contact would be a better bet than the reed switches, but I can't be arsed right now. I may revise that opinion after a few miles actual use, if the thing turns out to be temperamental, though...
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  5. VFRIRL

    VFRIRL New Member

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    I don't know why you need a gear indicator, when you get to know the bike you'll know what gear your in, I do anyway. just got footpeg lowering blocks, should be easy enough to fit, not sure about brake lever adjustment if needed.
     
  6. Wiggo

    Wiggo New Member

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    I know. I bought it ages ago after I first got the bike, because I thought it would be a good idea. I only fitted it in the end because I had the fairing off anyway, and I was curious at that point to find out if it was any use.

    Also, I'm used to riding a Suzuki VL800, which is basically a two-wheeled tractor with a 5-speed box, so I keep forgetting I've got an extra gear. And the Suzuki doesn't care what gear you're in anyway, so I keep trying to pull off from lights on the VFR in third...
     
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  7. Rio800

    Rio800 New Member

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    It wouldn't be a complete gear indicator thread without somebody questioning your desire to have one ;)
    Having said that I've gotta hand it to you Wiggo for your ingenuity and determination I don't think I could muster sufficient of either!
     
  8. Wiggo

    Wiggo New Member

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    That's just how I roll...
     
  9. VFRIRL

    VFRIRL New Member

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    No gear indicator needed for Joey:)

     
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  10. Wiggo

    Wiggo New Member

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    It showed at 1:46, too... ;-)
     
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  11. Rio800

    Rio800 New Member

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    Great find not seen that before!
     
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  12. Wiggo

    Wiggo New Member

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    OK, I took the beast for a spin yesterday. That gear indicator is as much use as the chrome ashtray I fitted the other weekend.

    Sometimes it misses second, sometimes it changes two gears not one, both up and down. At one point, I was in 5th with the poxy thing resolutely telling me I was in 1st.

    Bah! Humbug!
     
  13. VFRIRL

    VFRIRL New Member

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    Well at least you gave it a shot, God loves a tryer!!
     
  14. Wiggo

    Wiggo New Member

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    Thing is, if the bugger worked reliably, it would actually be useful, I think. I suspect that if I replaced the reed switches with microswitches it might be a bit better, but the bit about reading a single gearchange as two tells me the debounce circuitry inside the unit is the problem...
     
  15. Rio800

    Rio800 New Member

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    I don't mind that frustrating dead search for 7th lol, it's a fact of life! You jam your boot upwards and nothing there [​IMG] But it's the real slow speed at a give way am I in 2nd and take off nicely or am I in 3rd and risk a stall:(. Or first god forbid and fly into a hedge lol.
    I will defo get better
     
  16. Wiggo

    Wiggo New Member

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    My old Suzuki seems to have more neutrals than gears some days. Still, I like it.

    I'm 100% with you on the 'trying to pull off in second' thing (the Suzuki will happily pull off from lights in third, but that's another story and probably why I am a bit slack about knowing what gear I'm in). Anyway, the cheapo Ebay special got consigned to the spare parts box (and may yet resurface on Ermintrude, my beloved Suzuki bobber) and Millie, the Viffer, now sports a shiny GIPro X-series indicator.

    That was jolly easy to fit, once I found where Mr Honda had hidden the connector from the speed indicator, and works by comparing the speedo with the tacho reading and calculating the gear from that. You have to 'teach' it by going up through the box with the bike on the centre stand, but that's it. First impression? It's very accurate, and work flawlessly BUT... At low speeds, e.g. slowing down coming up to a junction with a couple of downshifts and slipping the clutch, it decides it has no clue and just flashes "-" same as it does at a stop with the clutch pulled in. In other words, if you are 'making progress' it is fine, but as you approach a junction, or stop in traffic it is useless (until you start moving again) so is of no use at all preventing that 'stalling at the lights' thing.

    Live and learn, live and learn...
     
  17. Rio800

    Rio800 New Member

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    Well you have served your cause for humanity by trying both versions, respects are due.
     
  18. Wiggo

    Wiggo New Member

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    I'm happy to set up a JustGiving page to fund my researches...
     
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