Category Archive:

ZX14 Track number plate control


Freddie came up with the design for a track number plate control for his ZX14 and with some help from Toby on the Arduino coding, completed the following proof-of-concept implementation.

The number plate control consists of

  • An actuating button and status LED on the handle bar
  • A dc motor with gearbox for rotating the numberplate holder
  • Arduino Nano with H-bridge motor controller to tie everything together

The result is seen in the following clip:

The design was made in such a way as to prevent the number plate holder from accidentally rotating.  This was one of the main considerations for the design and ensures that the vehicle is road legal when not on the track.  However, when on the track, the number plate can easily be rotated for maximum performance.  A status led gives a visual indicator of the rotation angle to the driver at all times.

Below are some photos of the build process and the final product.  The controller is housed below the seat in a waterproof box .  The numberplate holder is rotated using a custom lever arrangement.   It is attached to a powerful gearbox, which was recovered from an old copier.


The code for the Arduino is here:, including the schematic of the circuit (thanks to Murray for his excellent Eagle course!!!)

Freddie is busy testing the poc implementation, but told me he is impressed with the results so far.  There has even been talks of using this as a prop in a local commercial 🙂

Posted in: Arduino, Builds

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Open Power Watch



The idea is to provide a real time Simcity like view of the electricity supply.  With an eagle eye view of the loading, outages and supply quality, the City can be pro-actively manage, respond to outages, shed load and plan capacity expansion. Her residents will known where problems are and see how the City is dealing with this.

Simcity View - showing hotspots

Smart Grid Solution

Smart Grid can be thought of as  “Internet of Things” but for the power grid.  OPW leverage IoT designs and technologies to measure the voltage and temperature and street level substations and mini-substations.  Temperature is the killer for transformers and cables and effective management means longer equipment life.  Voltage levels and outages are the main measure of power quality delivered and needs to adhere to legislated criteria to prevent damage to equipment and / or loss of revenue for the consumer.

Open Hardware and Software

Arduino based open hardware developed by Bushveld Labs allow measurement and GSM communication.  Open source software is used for the data storage, analytics, reporting, open data api and notifications.  This includes Android as primary mobile platform.

Open Data API

Part of the solution is an Open Data API, which could have other spin offs:

  • DownForEveryoneOrJustMe but for electricity
  • Traffic routing around areas with power outages
  • Consumer watch – Who is getting load shedded? How equitable is it?

Current Status

Sensors : Prototype developed by Bushveld Labs (an H4H startup)
Backend : First phase complete, currently receiving data from 6 sensors, including temperature, voltage, power and current
Analytics : Design complete
Visualization : Web and Android prototypes in progress

Next steps – small scale pilot

Using the monies from the competition, we want to execute a small pilot to demonstrate the concept and mature the technology.

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Netram at Hobby-X!


Tobie and I had an exclusive preview of the Netram stand at Hobby-x (!

Wes sneaked us in 15 minutes before the public show started and we had some chance to chat.

Their stand is amazing! Go check it out!

Some of the highlights for me:

– Makerbot
– Quadcopter with FOV goggles
– Arduino touch screen
– etc etc



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