New member here. I am a mechanical engineer by education and training, but electronics has been a hobby of mine since childhood. I have a little project that I have been thinking of making, but am having some trouble with the circuit design. In a nutshell, here is what I am envisioning:
Objective: Create an electronic solution to improve following driver's awareness that motorcycle is braking.
Background: I know that there are some taillights on the market that can already deliver brake light pulses, but I want to make my own controller since the bike already has an aftermarket LED integrated taillight (an integrated tail simply means that the running light, brake light, and turn signal functions are contained in one enclosure - people usually install these over the OEM setup because they look nicer on the bike). My current solution to this is to manually pulse the brake lever a few times when I start braking, but obviously an electronic solution would be more ideal.
Flow Chart: Below is a flow chart for the decision making that the device must perform. I included this to give you a better idea of what I am thinking about.
Main Questions: One of my requirements is that this be a "drop-in" solution. By this I mean that the device should be in series with the wires controlling the running light/brake light. There is space under the rear seat which is just above the taillight to house the device, but consideration must be given to the fact that there is heat, vibration, etc. There is a fair amount of heat (not too excessive) because the motorcycle has an under-tail exhaust.
Ideally this device should perform its functions without producing adverse effects on the circuitry upstream from it. Before prototyping anything on a solder-less breadboard I have, I plan to take current and voltage measurements on the wires that presently control the running/brake LEDs.
FYI, the running light is ON whenever the ignition is ON. The brake light is simply the running light LEDs but 2-3X brighter and the brake light is activated if either front brake lever or rear brake pedal are activated (Or both).
Note also that "OFF" in the chart below refers to LED brightness corresponding to the running light and that "ON" refers to LED brightness of the brake light.
Basically my questions regarding all of this are:
- Can this be implemented with low level components? (resistors, diodes, transistors, caps, etc.)
- I have some experience with microcontrollers (Basic Stamp) and to make something using one of them such as an Arduino or Basic stamp seems straightforward. But I would prefer something a little more rugged to be able to survive inside the tail area of the bike!
- I have looked at some multivibrator circuits and think that what I need is some combination of a 3 shot multivibrator and an R-S flip flop, but I can't seem to figure it out...
- With either solution type (low level components or microcontroller), it would seem that the device needs to be triggered by the increase in current (and or change in voltage) associated with the taillight going from the running light mode to the brake light mode.
Thanks for reading this and I hope it wasn't too much text! I have some more info that I can post as followup too if there is discussion in this thread.