Speed sensors and data logging systems

in Data

There’s a common misconception in motor sport that the use of speed sensors and data logging will always be prohibitively expensive. This view seems to widely held, particularly amongst bike racers. Actually this is a bit of a myth and isn’t necessarily true. A basic system can cost as little as £1,900: even if you were to add 2 suspension pots onto the system, you’re probably still only looking at a cost of £2,500 complete. When you consider that teams have very limited track time to finely tune their racing set-up, and that it can cost bike racing teams tens of thousands of pounds just to be in a championship for a year, the cost of a data logging system is comparatively minor. But do motorcycle racers really need the sophistication of a full data logging system? Couldn’t the information be provided equally well by using speed sensors and an ECU with internal logging?

What sort of information will a basic 2data logging system give a bike racer?

A basic data logger with 2 suspension pots will tell the rider the GPS track position and speed, the suspension movement and suspension acceleration, the RPM, and therefore the gearing, the throttle response, the wheel speed using the supplied speed sensor and the lap times supplied on a mini-dash. In essence that’s pretty much all of the information any motorcycle racer would ever need, delivered at a reasonable price.

Why do racing teams use data loggers?

  • A data logging system is small and ideally suited for use on motor bikes. It has a high channel count, logging capacity and fast sample rates. The isolated inputs save money and set-up time by allowing the use of the existing bike sensors. The sensors and software have been specifically developed for bike use, and are not simply modified versions of car or cart applications. The system is also scalable and has been designed for future expansion.
  • Data loggers are CAN-capable and will record all data from most ECU’s: all signals from the motor and chassis can be analysed with the same powerful supplied software. Loggers are also economical, flexible and transportable and can be transferred to other bikes for future use.
  • The system is designed for race bike needs and has been developed using rider feedback. The software has also been designed specifically for bikes, and the hardware-design ensures fast set-up and the sensors are small and lightweight.
  • Data logging systems come complete with logger, dash, loom and software. The system is modular and can be added to and expanded if the need arises.

So, why not just use an ECU with internal logging?

In theory racers could do just this, but there are limitations. An ECU’s primary task is to monitor and look after the engine, not deliver vital information about speed and location. Therefore the ECU will be compromised for logging purposes and will not be able to deliver the depth and quality of information a rider might need. You can, of course, buy a very expensive ECU, but the costs are prohibitive and they are generally too large for bike use. Even these, however, would not be capable of delivering the same depth of detail as speed sensors and data loggers. Most ECU loggers, in fact, have only a small recording capacity, few spare channels, low sample rates and generally low resolution analogue inputs.

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Jason H Walker has 92 articles online and 1 fans

This article about speed sensors was submitted by Jason Walker a Manchester Internet marketing professional

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Speed sensors and data logging systems

This article was published on 2012/04/07