December 19, 2013

Building motocross lap timers with Arduino

Motocross enthusiast and new Arduino forum enthusiast "calvingloster" wanted a better method to time his laps around a motocross track than having someone stand with a stopwatch, and after a great amount of self-education created a functional timing device that's simple and effective. By using a laser pointer and a photodiode, the motorcycle can be detected by the Arduino as it drives past.

To display the times, a custom-made LED display has been used which multiplexes the four digits - each of which are made up from individual LEDs. These can be easily controlled using higher power with the use of an N-MOSFET. Nevertheless the results of this project look great:

For more information, including the Arduino sketch and more discussion, log in to the Arduino forum. And for more, we're on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

If you're not in the mood for making your own LED displays, check out our Freetronics Dot Matrix Displays. They're simple to use, yet very bright for indoor and outdoor situations. Available in various colours, the 32 x 16 LED matrix can display text and graphics quite easily - and can be daisy-chained together for extended displays. For more information, see our range of Dot Matrix Displays here


calvin said:

Awesome to see this getting put on someone’s blog:) I have made many more improvements to the lap timer including logging times to a memory card, learning riders times to filter out false triggers, auto light level setup for the photo diode and much more.

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