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Old 02-16-2013, 12:33 PM   #1
JulianGS OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Oddometer: 3
El Cockpito: Custom dashboard for my R1100GS

The R1100GS is indeed a great bike. It is so good that I have just bought my second R1100GS (the first one sold it a few years ago, and that's right in my list of stupid decisions I made).

Lately, I have been buying a bike every year to making a radical customization, then take her for a trip and finally let her go after summer time. This time my GS is here for good, but I still needed to do something radical with her.

I'm sure I will hurt someone's feelings here, but as much as I love this bike, there are two things I strongly dislike about them. First, the frightened mosquito look on her face. That big squared headlight looks like stolen from some ugly car from the 80s, plus that long nose and silly windscreen. Second, the dashboard. The poor thing is so ugly.

The first part was cheap and quick. I made my own twin headlights, replaced the windscreen with a clear, longer version made in the UK, and replaced the long nose by a shorter one made in Germany. It is not a great look, but it is a lot less ugly than before.

The second part is fun. I simply build a custom dashboard on a custom metal frame, plus an acrylic cover. Inside, I have Raspberry Pi computer, a GPS, a USB 3G dongle and a custom circuit board I made for interfacing 12v signals against the computer's GPIO ports.

I still need to make a few changes and I have a long to do list in the software, but at least it is a lot more functional and looks much nicer. These are the new features, which were unavailable in the original dashboard:

- Latitude, longitude, real speed and altitude
- City database. Contains 400,000 cities from all over the world. I found them in some free excel file, which I massaged and imported into the built in SQLite database.
- Distance to selected cities. A list of up to nine cities can be selected and it is displayed along with the current distance in real time.
- GPS logging. It simply writes every single GPS reading into the database, which then I can export to GPX (or any format I want)
- Large gear display. The original was quite small. I interfaced the three 12v lines to the GPIO ports and I show the gear number in my display.
- Motronic alarms. I wired the 12v diagnostics line from the Motronic to one of the GPIO ports. The diagnostics computer is ridiculously expensive, and reading a blinking led or a jumping analog tester needle simply sucks. My dashboard, instead, can display any errors in plain English.
- SMS position updates. GPRS/3G is not available in all countries and roaming charges could be painful. However, sending an SMS message is cheap and works mostly all over the world. El Cockpito sends automatic updates via SMS to an SMS gateway (which then is forwarded to an email and catched by my server). These updates can be defined every X kilometers and/or every time the speed reaches zero. I can also send an SOS update at anytime.
- Single button operation. There is a single button on the left that I can press to switch modes.
- Indicator lamps are all replaced by LEDs

Things I have lost with the change:

- Tachometer. However, I might add it in the future. It won't be a big deal to count pulses, I think.
- Oil temperature and fuel level. However, this is work in process since I am wiring these to an analog/digital converter card for the Raspberry PI.

Some pictures follow below...

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Old 02-16-2013, 07:15 PM   #2
Just another Rally Rat
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Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Charlotte, NC
Oddometer: 1,144
Man you are a heck of a techie. 1/2 of what you wrote went right over my head!

Way to think outside of the box...
'12 R1200GS Rallye Edition, '99 R1100GS,'77 R100S

I lower my passenger pegs for those riders that have gone before me
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:03 PM   #3
Ginger th wonder dog
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Joined: Feb 2004
Location: The woods and mountains of Alabama
Oddometer: 10,571

I agree, your vintage GS is not very pretty from the front due to the ugly headlight. A nicely fashioned pair of projectors would have a nice look and be more effective at lighting the roadway.

Next, your computer seems to have plenty of power and functionality.

I suggest you get together with roger04rt. He knows the language and workings of the Motronic engine control computer. There may be some interesting information that you could display on your screen that would be helpful for you.

Next, are you thinking of commercializing this? If so, it might be wise to also think in terms of later GS models. I say GS because most riders of other BMW model owners are not into the technology side of BMW ownership however, I'll likely get some flack for saying so.

Finally. more photos of your creation would help us further understand your project and the merits thereof.

Very interesting so far.
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:17 PM   #4
roger 04 rt
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Location: Massachusetts
Oddometer: 2,296
The GS-911 doesn't display any real time information for the R1100 so the OPs English language interpretation of the Motronic MA 2.2 error codes sounds good.

I just learned recently that the MA 2.2 has a simple TPS calibration function. Here is the description I found:

Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) Test:
To test the TPS
Ignition OFF, Ground Pin #3 and monitor Pin #1 with a 12V LED (+lead to Battery + and -lead to Pin#1). Ignition ON, Engine OFF (Pin #3 should remain grounded during this test)
The Test LED will be ON at idle (closed throttle) and OFF just above idle. You should also be able to watch the temperature warning lamp on the tachometer blink ON at idle and OFF just above idle.
Pin #1 should be Low at idle and High just above idle. In other words, if you are measuring from ground to Pin #1 with a voltmeter, Idle should be close to 0 Volts and just above Idle should be close to 12 Volts. (This test also works for Oilheads (1994-2001) with Motronic 2.2 Engine control Units but since there is no temperature warning lamp, you must use either a voltmeter or a Test LED as described above).
NOTE: Measuring the voltage between pins 1 and 4 at the TPS connector should indicate
0.375 Volts at the idle setting (closed throttle) with ignition ON engine OFF.
Snap the throttle open/closed a few times to ensure a consistent reading. To adjust the TPS, loosen the two screws slightly and rotate the TPS until the temperature warning lamp (or the Test LED) 'just' comes ON at idle and goes OFF just above idle. If you are using a voltmeter, adjust the voltage to 0.375 at idle (closed throttle). This voltage MUST remain below 0.400 Volts at idle.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:20 AM   #5
JulianGS OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Oddometer: 3
Thanks a lot for the detailed info. I will play with it and see what can I come up with. No plans to sell these for now. I'm just having fun for now, but who knows? More pictures coming up soon.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:17 AM   #6
Airman Jack
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Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Oddometer: 129
Very cool project! How have you mounted the acrylic cover to the dash? Are you worried about it cracking around those bolts? If you have a set of more detailed pictures covering the build process I'd be very interested!
2004 BMW R1150GSA Adventure
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:11 AM   #7
JulianGS OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Oddometer: 3
You bet Airman Jack. I've never worked with acrylic before, so this is a learning experience. The first attempt was a bit out of shape. The second attempt was better but, as you described, I cracked when fastening a bolt. The third version comes with a metallic support glued to the back of the acrylic. Some pictures of the building process follow.

Currently, I'm starting to work on a second unit that will replace the current one, which then will become a testing/development unit. I want the second one to look perhaps a bit rougher, to better match the rest of the bike.

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Old 02-17-2013, 06:08 PM   #8
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Joined: Jan 2005
Location: The Badlands (of NJ)
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Originally Posted by JulianGS View Post
.... Inside, I have Raspberry Pi ...
Wow, I finally have a useful application for my Pi! Thanks, Julian, I will be following your project.
Robert in Northern NJ __ '09 R12GS, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS

-->> James Bay & North Road Solo Blitz -->> Patagonia / Tierra del Fuego Cappuccino Tour
-->> Trans-Labrador Highway Solo Blitz --->> South African Cappuccino Tour
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:02 AM   #9
I'll fix that
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Location: pines & sand, NC
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Dude, that's freak'n sweet. Way to apply the pi.
"Herding drunk cats drunk. That takes it up a notch." -SkidMarx
Give me riding.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:02 PM   #10
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Impressive... Great job!
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:31 PM   #11
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More details on the electronics would be great!
- Eric
2002 BMW R1150GS
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