I am a computer programmer and typically post on Stack Overflow, but the tag I stuck in a recent post recommended I post it here.

Does anyone have experience with Bluetooth devices on engines like motorcycles?

We have an Electronic Control Module, or ECM, for a motorcycle, and we are thinking about integrating a Bluetooth transmitter on it.

I know Bluetooth headsets are currently used in motorcycle helmets, but a helmet can be shielded from electrical interference from the engine (induction coils and such).

Obviously, if the engine is turned OFF and the ECM is turned ON, data transmission via Bluetooth would be just normal operations.

We are more concerned with how effective laptops and PDAs will be at collecting data with applications we would write when the engine is running.

Typically, a mechanical machine like a car or aircraft can be shielded, but people are not going to want to shield their motorcycle engines.


  • Has anyone done any work in this field?

  • Can you give me any information on what works and what does not?

  • Will the electrical fields from the motorcycle engine interfere with the Bluetooth data?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ What is the question exactly? \$\endgroup\$ – sptrks May 4 '12 at 1:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have an answer for you, but I am convinced that my 2004 ZR10R interferes with my new Sony SBH52. I'm working to nail down the RPM range where it does, but I hear pops and cracks in my music while I'm riding that I didn't have nearly as much with other bluetooth units. [I came across this by searching to see if anybody else had similar problems.] \$\endgroup\$ – user45987 Jun 20 '14 at 18:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good to get a little feedback. \$\endgroup\$ – jp2code Jun 20 '14 at 18:27

Has anyone done any work in this field?

Wireless data acquisition is quite common in many different industries. I am doing some work in industrial computing and am actually using both bluetooth and cellular data networks simultaneously in an embedded solution. Just google something along the lines of "Sensor Data Acquisition" and you can find a plethora of articles.

Can you give me any information on what works and what does not?

I could give you information on what worked and didn't work with my specific application - but beyond that I wouldn't be helpful. The problem is this question is incredibly vague and you would need to specify operational constraints, design specs, goals, etc in order for any of us to give you an idea of what you need to head. Luckily however I can kind of point you in the right direction.

You are doing something that has been done many different times and in many different ways - use that to your advantage. Before you design anything you need to explicitly record what you are trying to accomplish. From there you can start designing. Generally speaking this project is going to be broken up into generic parts:

Device Communication

How exactly does your device need to be communicated with? You need to understand what protocol it uses and the hardware needed to communicate with it. Once you can get data back from your device you have your foot in the door and are ready to go.

Data Transmission Once you have your data are you going to send it in raw form? This could be in binary, hex, octal, etc. Or are you going to put it into a nice parse-able XML format that separates sensors and registers into a logical grouping.

Data Viewing How are going to view this data? Are you going to just use a Bluetooth serial link and read off of it like a virtual serial port? Is there going to be an intermediary database? Etc.

Will the electrical fields from the motorcycle engine interfere with the Bluetooth data?

There is a good chance that the loud signals from the ignition,alternator and other noise generators could affect your device. But like we said above, this has been done before so there is tons of information out there on EMI shielding, EMI measurement techniques etc. Also, many different types of modular EMI enclosures exist to house your project.

In Conclusion

Figure out what you want your project to do and how you want it to perform. Don't be afraid to do some research, even if you don't know exactly what you are looking for. Here are some good starting points though:


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