I have an arduino project in mind but I have some questions before I can start to make it.

I need to plug an arduino Uno on my motorcycle, but I dont know if it will consume too much energy and lower the battery level over time. I know an Arduino Uno alone consumes too few energy, so probably it will not make any difference on the electrical system of the motorcycle. But I will probably plug some shields and the whole project will have other electrical components, consuming more energy.

To be more specific about the project: I want to put an RGB LED system on my motorcycle, with its colors controlled by bluetooth (or maybe wifi). So the final question is...

How can I measure if the motorcycle battery and power generator is enough to keep the whole project turned on without discharging the battery, damaging any part of the electrical system or putting my whole motorcycle on fire?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Without the motor bike running, the battery will die. This is regardless of any additional arduino or other stuff you put on it. So you question leads to a set of other questions: how long does the bike sit idle? How much current does the Arduino and shilds draw? How much current does the RGB LED system draw on standby and in each running state? Are you willing going to have an off switch for this RGB LED system your adding? \$\endgroup\$ – Puffafish Oct 17 '18 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Very well noticed. The system will consume no energy when the bike is turned off. The arduino will control the LED system by using an relay. And the arduino will only be activated after the key is turned on or after the engine is turned on. So lets assume that when the bike key is turned off there will be zero energy drain (since the arduino will not be connected directly to the battery and the LED system power supply will be activated by an relay. Also it will have an manual switch to turn off the LEDs). \$\endgroup\$ – NameTopSecret Oct 17 '18 at 14:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ So what I have to do is use an amperimeter to measure: 1 - how much current the arduino + shields part of the project consumes; and also: 2 - how much curent the arduino + shields + the LEDs turned on consumes? \$\endgroup\$ – NameTopSecret Oct 17 '18 at 14:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ You need to know the power consumption (voltage and current) of all the equipment you are adding (the complete system) and you will want to know the peak value of this power. \$\endgroup\$ – Puffafish Oct 17 '18 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @name yes, you need that info. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Oct 17 '18 at 15:32

In the comments you say that arduino and associated hardware will not be directly connected to the battery. That it will be on a switched/key circuit. If that's the case, it will not be an issue while off. This can still be an issue when the key is on but the bike has not been started. You want to minimize the current draw at that time.

While the bike is in, you need to know how much current or power/wattage your system is taking, and compare it to the available power on your motorcycle. Each one is different. Some boats (not like watercraft, but the same applies) have so many features and options that they can provide 10s of watts of extra power without issue. Smaller bikes with smaller generators/magnetos cannot spare as much. If you draw too much, you can fry your regulator or stator. Some bikes can have extra windings added to the stator or gave spare sections that you can add additional power output from.

Other options include replacing power hungry incandescent or halogen bulbs with power efficient leds, freeing up power for your add on project.

That said, if your only adding a few watts, 5 maybe 10, your probably be okay just adding it on. Honestly I suggest hitting a forum specific for your motorcycle or a general motorcycle modders site for info.


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