Project Superceded by Netbook On or To a Motorcycle (here)

Adding a Raspberry PI to or on a Motorcycle:

WARNING: This is my technical reference and notepad for this particular project, parts in bold are genrally solutions to the pitfalls..!!

For a long time now I've not really though of a pi as having a viable use for anything! Until recently... I own a motorcycle, yes it's fast, yes, it's heavy but it cheap to run when comparing performance against a car. I have a helmet camera and record most journeys, even the 30 mile commute to work I do each and every day! To that end suddenly, a Raspberry Pi with a massive 1 or 2TB hard disk becomes a very useful little gadget. At first I though DVR.. I can dump the data from the camera straight onto the Pi drive then, I had a brainwave, actually, not to put to finer point on it a brain tsunami! So, let us count the ways in which we can use a Raspberry Pi on a motorcycle:

  • Video storage.
  • On bike DVR with 2 static cameras and a helmet cam.
  • Maybe a third, high resolution camera for pictures.
  • GPS track storage and recording.
  • Speed camera location identification.
  • Advertising/Digital Banner space via LCD screens on back/side boxes.
  • Lean angle/acceleration display and recording.
  • Mobile WIFI hotspot/Wardriver.
  • Fuel econonmy measure in real time.
  • Last but not least, a fully function, connected PC!

Project Superceded by Netbook On or To a Motorcycle (here)

These are but a few of the uses a Raspberry Pi can have on a motorcycle. There are many pitfalls to overcome and undoubtedly many more uses that will present themselves along the way. To begin I need to break down the pitfalls based on function and see how many pitfalls are cross referenced, there is a set of primary needs that are at the top of the list!

Components:: A power bank. A SPDT relay. A 12v to 5v 5A regulator.
The 5 volt system is powered from a rectifier that drops the 12v system of the bike to 5v.
The rectifier is driven by a relay that is powered by the back light.
So the ignition is turned on, this powers the back light and relay, the relay switches the 12v system on.
At this point the 5v system is live and is feeding the pi power straight from the rectifier.
When the ignition is turned of the relay switches back to the other position and the pi does a hot shutdown - NOT GOOD!!!

  1. Power - Source: Back light power feed (comes on with ignition) -> relay -> connect/disconnect main battery -> UPS battery -> 12v to 5v converter -> pi auto boots on when power applied.
    • 12V to 12V and 5V with enough fused wattage to drive all peripheral gadgets - Power Requirements: 2A (pi) + .5A (EXTHD) + .5A (WIFI) + .5A (CAM) + .5A (BT) = 5A gives plenty of head room.
    • Main power feed monitoring with battery backup for shutdown (when the ignition is turned off the pi shuts down, when the ignition is turned on the pi powers up)
    • Charging circuit for shutdown battery - 10AA Nicad batteries run 12v then convert that to 5v for the pi. Charge at a trickle of 1A
  2. Physical Storage/Mounting Space (somewhere to put the Raspberry Pi and it's peripherals).
    • How much room will the pi and peripherals take up. Can it be stored on the bike or does it need add on storage space (the back box will do, it never comes off the bike) - It'll fit in the back box just need to make an enclosure for it to protect it against luggage.
    • Can I add some sockets for I/O in different protocols - Means cutting holes in the £400 backbox but hey, I'm skilled with a dremel!
  3. Weather proofing/ Environment.
    • The environment on a bike is really rough, harsh accell/decelleration and constant vibration. The pi (and especially the mechanical external hard disk) needs to be firmly attached but isolated from all of this - The back box will not protect the anything from vibration and other forces, the enclosure needs to be "padded" somehow, not sure how just yet!
    • On a bike at 70MPH in the rain water gets everywhere! Which makes the GIVI back box ideal as it is waterproof. Any internal/external connections will need to be waterproof.
    • The entire kit and caboodle needs to be relatively easily removed if need be.

Project Superceded by Netbook On or To a Motorcycle (here)

Parts list, cost and sizes:

Part Price Width Height Depth Weight Power Req Connection
Raspberry Pi (model 2 or greater) £35.00 85mm 60mm 20mm 0.310Kg 2.00A NA
USB Video Camera £40.00 120mm 70mm 120mm 0.100Kg 0.50A USB
USB Video Camera £40.00 120mm 70mm 120mm 0.100Kg 0.50A USB
12V 5A Relay £6.00 25mm 25mm 25mm 0.100Kg 0.00A Wired
10 AA Cell Battery Box £2.00 75mm 58mm 29mm 0.500Kg 0.00A Wired
WIFI Dongle £10.00 25mm 25mm 10mm 0.200Kg 0.50A USB
7 Port USB 2 Hub £20.00 100mm 25mm 60mm 0.130Kg 3.00A USB + Wired
1TB External Hard Drive £40.00 110mm 13mm 80mm 0.500Kg 0.50A USB
10AA NiCad Batteries £30.00 0mm 0mm 0mm 0.500Kg 0.00A Wired
7 Inch HDMI Monitor £50.00 200mm 150mm 50mm 1.000Kg 1.00A Wired
12V to 5V converter £20.00 mm mm 0mm Kg A Wired
USB Bluetooth Dongle £10.00 25mm 10mm 25mm 0.020Kg 0.50A USB
Waterproof USB socket £10.00 mm mm 0mm Kg A Wired

The power problem in detail:

The container for it all

Project Superceded by Netbook On or To a Motorcycle (here)



On Tue, 31 Jul 2018 18:16:12 +0100 MrE though we needed to know:
I got a cheep camera two Chanel off of eBay for my bike I ran the relay off the fuel pump as it comes on when the motor is actually running. it records the front and rear both cameras are waterproof the camera recorder unit is about the size of a box of matches (a little bigger) micro sd card auto overwrite is huge for a few quid. I don't have the room for a camera but was considering a pi too but can't think of any real useful applications


On Tue, 31 Jul 2018 19:33:53 +0100 Robert Geake though we needed to know:
I'll be honest the fecking aggro I had getting it to encode at a decent rate (even with a quad core laptop) was just beyond a joke! After a few evenings (about 10 hours) of trying I pretty much gave up.. I will go back to the PI at some point because even without the video it can do a fair few things that I would find useful


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