Picture of Motorcycle GPS
Putting the parts together for a GPS navigation system on a motorcycle.
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Step 1: Motivation

Picture of Motivation
I wanted a GPS navigation system on my motorcycle for road trips and for finding unfamiliar addresses. There are some dedicated systems out there (like the TomTom Rider), but I thought it would be cheaper and more fun to assemble one on my own.

I already had a capable PDA that could serve as a host. Getting a GPS receiver that works with it was easy. The main questions remaining:

1. How do I securely attach the PDA to the motorcyle?
2. How do I provide power to the PDA for long trips?

Step 2: Handlebar Mount

Picture of Handlebar Mount
I wanted to put the GPS system on my handlebars, rather than on top of my tank or inside the windscreen (my bike has no windscreen). There are a variety of mounting systems that clamp on to the handlebars, but I liked the look of the RAM ball-and-socket mounting system.

I chose a mount that screws into the clutch lever clamp, rather than one that clamps on to the handlebar tube itself. It would also have worked on the brake lever, but I'd rather mess around with my (wire-activated) clutch than my (hydraulic) brakes.

It was a simple matter of removing the bolts holding together the two sides of the clutch mount and bolting the ball attachment in with the supplied bolts and plastic standoffs.
erikwillke6 years ago
Very nice instructable. Before I saw yours I made an instructable about almost the same thing but using a Garmin 60C. I also made the mount before I saw that RAM made one for bikes. I just bought one I could modify off the shelf. I didn't add power because I didn't have any good ideas. Now I have one. Thanks.
how did you make your bracket im looking for one for my zune so i can have music on long trips
aneel (author)  abadfart4 years ago
I used RAM Mounts
eldert5 years ago
I know this is old but I like the battery charger idea, I want to try it on my 919. Only question I have is since the relay/fuse box is under the seat, is there any reason you didn't hook into that so you can have it shut off with the key?
aneel (author)  eldert5 years ago
Are you asking about scwirral's comment about the trickle charger? It seems like you wouldn't want a trickle charger to be turned off when you turn off the key. If you're asking about keeping a device's battery charged, I didn't wire into the fuse box because I didn't see an appropriate circuit in the wiring diagram, and was a bit skittish about messing with the bike's electrical system. Now that the bike has aftermarket turn signals and electric hand warmers, I'm less skittish. When I install my next GPS (probably an off-the-shelf motorcycle-specific unit like a Garmin Zumo), I'll probably wire into the brake light circuit.
waka waka6 years ago
what pda did u use
aneel (author)  waka waka6 years ago
That one was a Treo 650.
Derin6 years ago
mine is a 76S
scwirral6 years ago
I've wired a cigarette lighter type accessory socket to my CBR900RR. It is on a permanent live straight to the battery (with a fuse) by choice, because I have compatible plug wired to my trickle charger. In the garage the same socket, stashed under the lockable pillion seat is much easier to access than the battery terminals which need the rider's seat removing to reach them.
mscalora8 years ago
If you don't have GPS already, the Garmin GPSMAP 60C series is great for bikes, ATVs, etc. It is water resistant and they sell both power cables and handlebar mounts. Best of all the display gets even brighter in direct sunlight. Many GPS/PDA screens are just about unreadable in direct sunlight. -Mike
Code1288 years ago
If you search around in your fuse box you should be able to find an Accessory circuit that is only powered when you have the bike started. Then you wouldn't have to worry about draining your battery. Also you might want to change out the cigarette lighter adaptor to something smaller like a molex connector or one of those double prong setups that all the heated clothing uses. Then you could tap in a few different items as needed. Cool setup! Keep riding!!
aneel (author)  Code1288 years ago
I looked at the wiring diagram and poked around the fuse box a bit, and didn't find an accessory circuit for my bike. Unfortunate. That would certainly be a better idea than relying on the rider to remember. I'll have to consider whether I can wire into one of the other circuits.
violin aneel8 years ago
Perhaps use a relay on the circuit for the lights?
aneel (author)  Code1288 years ago
Yeah, there are a bunch of connector choices. I went with the cigarette lighter socket because all of the devices I want to use with it come with adapters with that plug that I could use unmodified. (In fact the GPS receiver came with only that adapter and I had to search through my bin of old wall warts to find one with the right connector in order to charge it. Luckily, my ancient iPaq uses the same plug). If I want to power multiple things at the same time, I'll probably get a cigarette lighter splitter.
Code1288 years ago
But wont the PDA grow weary of its life and purpose wrapped in ENNUI like that?
aneel (author)  Code1288 years ago
I can swap in DESPAIR or NIHILISM from time to time, to keep things interesting.