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Old 11-23-2009, 06:35 PM   #1
bpeckm OP
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Installing an Acewell speedo/computer on an airhead --

I have now had the pleasure of "doing" two airheads, one a 1976 non-running R60/6 that became my little cafe; and the other a franken-beemer that had been sitting unused, but "was running when parked". Fun projects, both.

I guess that in the natural "evolution" of these bikes, and our tastes, and our desires of what we want (or think we want!) we all play with different combinations of this, that and the other thing.

So, it ends up that I put an Acewell electronic speedo/tach computer (sorta..) on Frank N. Beemer.



Yes, I am liking the result. A lot!

For those looking around for an alternative to the BMW instruments, for whatever reason, this is an excellent alternative. For those who don't know an Acewell from a hole in the ground (groan....), this is the Acewell unit:



Nice looking, in a modern but sorta-retro way.

Also under consideration had been several other possibilities. The Vapor has been widely used by the GS and offroad crowd. It does some similar functions, but definitely has a more contemporary look:

The Vapor has a few more "computer" functions meant for rally riding, etc, but pretty much works on the same principle: a little magnet and sensor on the front wheel and forks count how many times the wheel goes around, and computes the speed of the bike, based on rolling circumference and time. Simple concept, simple execution that works. Precisely.

And, there are other very nice, very retro-looking electronic speedos that could be mounted in much the same way. The only difference being that they are speedos, period. So, if you want a tach, and the usual cycle idiot lights, you have to add them.

One speedo that got serious consideration is from VDO, available in either black or white, and several other styles, but I liked these:

Nice looking units, each of them, but about 3" in size, and there is a matching tachometer as well.




Cost? The Acewell, all up, is about $130, maybe $150 for the Vapor once you add in the surround with the idiot lights:


The VDO's were not horribly expensive at about $120 plus the sensor, but then you have to add the tach, and the lights, and.... In the end, you are back to a pod of some sort. Nice, very nice, but not really what I was after.

And then there is the always-classic solution that was specific to the /5, and truly elegant:



So, those were some of the things that had come up while looking around and seeing what works. I found some truly gorgeous $800 speedos, but.... that ain't gonna happen, not in this lifetime.....




But then, if money were no object, maybe the beauty of perfection would shine through:



Sigh.
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Old 11-23-2009, 06:45 PM   #2
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I really do like the /5 solution, in spite of its shortcomings (the usual BMW speedo issues, and the broken needles, and the squirrely-acting cable),



(looks r e a l l y nice in white....)





but the clincher was....

the headlight.





I happen to like a nice, big headlight. I love these 8" headlights, clean up the lens and put in a new H4 bulbs, and they work! Now, I am not an 80mph-at-night rider. No, my night rides are simply because, here in Florida, in the summer, it is absolutely delightful to feel the balmy breeze of the night air. Daytime: hot hot hot. Night time: perfect! Plus, the bluehairs have already gone to bed, or are downing their cocktails, so the roads have only the young, the rowdy and the drunk.... and I will take my chances with them ANY DAY rather than the bluehair set. Plus, the 8" headlight has good presence during the daytime, when the blue-set is out and holding back traffic......

So this is what I ended up with:


It looks good, works great, and took some work.... hence the thread to get some of you'se guys on the right track.....
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:03 PM   #3
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We (Frank N. has been sold, and the new owner wanted me to install the Acewell for him (!)) ordered the unit. There are a couple of places that handle the Acewell, it seems, but Electrosport seems to have the full selection, a nice website, and an efficient way of getting the product out. Good things to say about them!

There are several choices of models, we chose the Ace 2803, as it seemed to have the look, the lights and the options that we wanted. The various models give you combinations of idiot lights including turn signals, oil pressure, genlight, high beams, and fuel level. The 2803 has all of them except the fuel level (we airheads are resourceful... we open the filler cap and look in!).

Frankly, if it did it again, I might just order the 2802 since it does away with the genlight... more on why, later.

You must select a speedo adapter at the same time, so we ordered the "S" model: the universal front wheel magnet. They also make specific speedo-cable adapters which, I hear, can be easily modified to use the BMW speedo cable output. The whole package came to something like $130 iirc.

This is what showed up:







As you can see, the unit is quite small. It has a nice heft, though, the casing feels very solid, and it has a small bracket attached to the bottom, with a wire/harness hanging out. My first impression was of a good, solid unit. Their promo stuff states that it is 100% waterproof, vibration-tested to 8g's, and impact-tested to 100g's....!! Time will tell, but it is designed for this application, it is not a light-duty bicycle unit.
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XS650 becomes a VT BackRoadRunner
Loving the 80ST
I love projects that take twice as much effort as should be needed. Should be an Airhead motto. (disston)
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:21 PM   #4
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Before I go too much further into the nitty gritty, I have to acknowledge that I have been a fan of what fellow-ADV'r MIOB has been doing over in Holland, and he was quite insistent that the Acewell was the unit to use.....

This bike is THE essence of cafe, to me:





Clean, one of a kind, and reflecting MIOB's vision and taste of what a bike really IS ...
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Old 11-24-2009, 03:48 AM   #5
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Good site and good prices - some sellers are adding EU35-for the cable adapter , on top of prices a good bit higher.

The little 50mm tacho on my G/S has flickered its last -anyone know of a 50 mm unit that will work on a Beemer , at a sensible price.
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Old 11-24-2009, 06:17 PM   #6
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After admiring the new unit, the first step was to test the wires on the bike and figure out what would go to what....

So I clipped together the "harness" that is supplied with the Acewell, and used their wiring diagram to help diagnose....



Yes, those lovely plastic plugs come with the unit... I cannot imagine how or why anyone would use them, but for me they were handy so that I could simply strip the ends and stick them into the pod harness: the square rubber jobby that plugs into the back of the BMW /6 and /7 pod. Yes, each of those little holes are for a specific wire, and knowing which is what, is key to the whole shebang....

We are, in a nutshell, trying to get the wires on the left to hook up to the wires within the plug on the right... something like breeding a cat and a dog, methinks....


I was fortunate enough to have a couple of extra square plugs, so I simply used an ohm-meter to test which color wire goes to which # plug.

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Old 09-29-2012, 06:13 PM   #7
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What did you end up paying shipped I the us? Assuming you got the $200 one.
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:36 PM   #8
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What triple tree ? Sweet !
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tete View Post
What triple tree?
That is a Toaster Tan triple clamp. See http://www.pbase.com/toastertan/top_braces .
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmweuro View Post
I'm going to wire the one up on my R90/6 this weekend. I'll post my results.
If you don't mind posting ur wiring diagram. I have a 90/6 and mine should be here weds. I order the 2853 with the tach cable.

Thanks
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tete View Post
If you don't mind posting ur wiring diagram. I have a 90/6 and mine should be here weds. I order the 2853 with the tach cable.

Thanks
tete, what year is your bike? I know there is a wiring difference in same year models (R90S vs, R90/6). I have both bikes and both schematics. I am getting mine connected and will post photos soon.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:43 PM   #12
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Mine is a 1975 /6

Thanks
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:35 PM   #13
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Yes!
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:36 AM   #14
craydds
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random pictures

pictures of installation in no particular order.

out with the ol' speedo cable:


in with the Acewell S11 speed sensor:


speed sensor plug "C" (acewell schematic). red an white wires from the sensor connect into acewell harness green and black. red-to-green. black goes to ground (-), but the purple shown on the acewell schematic is also negative. so, white-to-black, or white-to-purple? a simple test of the connections should show if the speedo functions. has anyone done this connection?
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craydds screwed with this post 10-11-2012 at 01:21 PM
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:46 AM   #15
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yellow tach wire to coil:


there is an temp sensor. guess I'll use it for oil temp. will drill and tap into oil pan:


there is a mode selection / lap timer switch. plugs into acewell harness. I'll try it. If I don't like it or don't need it, it can be removed:
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