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Thread: Adding a Useable Speedo for Shift Light Steering Wheel Owners

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    Kim
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    Adding a Useable Speedo for Shift Light Steering Wheel Owners

    As those of you with the Ariel option steering wheel with the shift lights know, due to its size and position it is impossible to see your speedo or tach if you are 5'10" or taller, as seen (though exaggerated in height) below:



    If you're stubborn (like me) and want to keep the wheel, options appear few as lowering the SPA dash doesn't seem workable, nor does raising the steering column. I asked my brother Alan to tackle the problem. His idea is pictured here:



    The custom GPS speedo has SPA-like, original-style blue background lighting, matching font numbers, as well as highbeam indicator and turn signal indicator that will now be visible. It has shallow depth, so for the moment we're looking at positioning it directly over and slightly below the original SPA speedo such that it is entirely visible to the driver.

    One of the benefits is that, inasmuch as it is a GPS-driven unit, it is pretty much self-contained and includes a button-activated data box that has neat features like 1/4 mile speeds, top speed, odometer, trip odometer, etc. In fact, it seems like such a good solution he's creating a matching tach that will sit side-by-side to the speedo - and still be able to read the digital readout on the SPA dash.

    As the project evolves I will post more pictures.
    Last edited by Kim; April 26, 2011 at 08:55 PM.
    Kim
    2010 Atom 3 #131 - K20R/DBW Stage Two
    "I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather; not screaming and terrified like his passengers."

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    Proton Terry Kennedy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim View Post
    If you're stubborn (like me) and want to keep the wheel, options appear few as lowering the SPA dash doesn't seem workable, nor does raising the steering column.
    Is there insufficient travel in the steering column? On the Brammo cars, sometimes the bolts for the steering bushing at the dash bracket were bigger than the slots in the bracket, giving the appearance that it couldn't be raised. The problem was exacerbated by the Brammo Individual Seating option, which raised the driver 3-4 inches compared to the "tub" seat.

    Or, you could switch to a Microdash and have a completely different set of problems:



    The custom GPS speedo comes with an Ariel logo, original-style blue background lighting, matching font numbers, as well as highbeam indicator and turn signal indicator that will now be visible. It is shallow, so for the moment we're looking at positioning it directly over and slightly below the original SPA speedo such that it is entirely visible to the driver.

    One of the benefits is that, inasmuch as it is a GPS-driven unit, it is pretty much self-contained and includes a button-activated data box that has neat features like 1/4 mile speeds, top speed, odometer, trip odometer, etc. In fact, it seems like such a good solution he's creating a matching tach that will sit side-by-side to the speedo - and still be able to read the digital readout on the SPA dash.
    Interesting. Is GPS reliable enough over short distances for this to work? Comparing my TomTom's speedometer with my car's speedo, the TomTom matches it over long distances but is woefully inaccurate in stop-and-go traffic.

    What are you using to connect the steering wheel wires to the car? Brammo (and SPA) used telephone handset cords. When I added extra buttons on my steering wheel, I had a custom 6-wire coiled cord made for me. I had to buy a bunch, so I have some left over if you'd care to try one. With sufficient wires, you should be able to send the raw speedometer pulses to the steering wheel and skip the GPS part.



    As you can see, I have the removable steering wheel. I changed the LEMO connectors that SPA uses for the Microdash to 6-pin ones from the stock 4-pin ones. They're awfully expensive and hard to get in small quantities. If I were doing it from scratch, I'd probably use something like a DB-9 (9-pin PC serial connector) but with clip latches rather than the screw-down that are used on a normal DB-9.

  3. #3
    Neutron
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    That looks very cool.

    By the way, shift lights are really easy to make and move somewhere else.


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    Kim
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolus View Post
    That looks very cool.

    By the way, shift lights are really easy to make and move somewhere else.
    Bolus:

    Nice helmet lights; that would probably have been a better solution. But with a not so insignificant investment in the TMI optional wheel with built-in shift lights, I felt compelled to find someway to make it work.

    Terry:

    The Micro-Dash looks great and is closer to the solution Ariel opted for in the Atom 500. A lot more expensive, however. The GPS speedo cost less than $300 complete. Not sure about its accuracy yet, as it's not installed. I'll let everyone know when it is up and running - which will be in about a week when the tach arrives.
    Kim
    2010 Atom 3 #131 - K20R/DBW Stage Two
    "I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather; not screaming and terrified like his passengers."

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    Neutron
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    Can you see those wheel shift lights? On sunny days wearing a tinted helmet I couldnt even see them.

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    Kim
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolus View Post
    Can you see those wheel shift lights? On sunny days wearing a tinted helmet I couldnt even see them.
    Not well enough. Here's a video of a shakedown test at Palm Beach International Raceway. Nothing spectacular, to be sure, but you can see the shift lights pretty well. Of course, it's late afternoon and the helmet didn't sport a tinted visor.

    http://youtu.be/-Rph3r7rn_E

    One neat thing is that the new tach we're installing will have a built-in (and with the SPA unit, redundant) shift light. One or the other should catch the driver's attention.
    Last edited by Steve; May 3, 2011 at 07:23 PM.
    Kim
    2010 Atom 3 #131 - K20R/DBW Stage Two
    "I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather; not screaming and terrified like his passengers."

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    Neutron
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    This was my older shift light design. I could definitely see them


  8. #8
    Neutrino
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    if you speedo works at temps over 85 ambient that's more then the spa dash can handle.


    so you've got an advantage there.

    I have an escort radar detector 9500i that has GPS for MPH and I use that as my summer speedo....mounted in the bubble so it's visible all the time.

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