Vibration damper for motorcycle electronics devices

Vibration damper for motorcycle electronics devices

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I used to have bikes with no significant vibration to handlebar or other parts. The engines were big and well balanced. But when I bought my thumper, KTM 690 Enduro R (my 2015), I suddenly had a problem. And a big one. How to reduce vibrations which are powerful enough to break your phone, navigator, camera or any other electrical device you attach to the handlebar or front of the bike?

I know there are people without any of the problems due to big single-cylinder engines, but I have also read a lot of breaking phones (specifically phones’ stabilized camera lens units). But also broken navigators and other rather expensive stuff.

When I bought my current navigator, the Garmin GPSmap 276cx, I started to search the final solution to vibration problems. I don’t want to break this navigator or other devices. I have a background in engineering, so making the capability specifications are familiar to me. I have only a few specs this time, the vibration reduction solution must be:

  • durable when riding in the tracks where my 690 is capable of
  • easy to DIY with the tools I have (this means no for the metal milling machine)
  • functional or otherwise a good looking, preferably utilitaristic
  • dirt-cheap

So I started to familiarize myself with different methods to reduce vibrations. There are a ton of material on the internet how you can reduce vibrations in drone cameras, motorcycle handlebars, seats, footpegs etc. Many of those dampers rely on rubber, springs or other material which is flexible in nature. I can’t shape rubber or create springs.

There are also many vibration damping devices in the market but not to my use case directly. My navigator weighs 500 grams with the baseplate and much of those available to buy are for way less load. I checked this load question from one of the manufacturers who confirmed their vibration damper is up to the cell phone’s weight.

I noticed that the industry is relying on a damping device called “wire rope cable damping”. Basically it is spring kind of cable between two attachment points. The spring-like portion (a wire) takes the vibrations and turn it to heat. When I started to look at DIY solutions for wire rope damping, I found that most of them were for light payload (mostly to drone cameras etc.). And the more serious ones are either a too heavy solution or way too expensive.

My other design constraint was that the vibration damping device should go between the RAM C attachment and the base of the navigator. Both plates have an AMPS holes (“standard” type of hole measuring).

So I had now all requirements together and without delay, I started to fabricate the “mymoto.life” vibration damping device. It’s made of two similar plates and wires in between. The plates have an AMPS holes for easy bolting. I have a *.stl files for it (for printing the plates in 3D printer), if someone is interested.

I tested the device/attachment and it works beautifully. No vibration comes through the attachment even when using high revs of my KTM. It also bears the load very well, with no deformation in it even when the navigator is an upright position. I can scale the device to take any load imaginable (on the motorcycle handlebar or in navigation tower) just by using different wire. And the cost is around 7 euros for the coated wire (10 meters).

I can change the color and look of the device easily, and also change the amount of the wires I need to use. This is an important factor because not all the loads are the same. Thin or less wire for the phone and thicker or more wire for the tablet or heavy navigator.

I had other (also commercial) vibration reducers. Neither of these could reduce the vibrations to the level of securing the device life. If I continue to use the normal attachments, I definitely will break the phone or navigator or the tablet. With my DIY damper, I can continue to use electronics with my bikes in every harsh environment they face. Brilliant I say.

The first prototype of the “mymoto.life” vibration reducer.

And here is an instruction on how to DIY this damper. Print 4 baseplates with the 3D printer. It is better to use nylon or ABS than PLA, because PLA is not totally water and sunproof. Use 100 % infill. Then cut 6 same length piece of coated wire (thickness 3-5 mm). Start assembly with one plate using proper length screws with nuts. I use stainless steel 5 mm button cap screws with nyloc nuts. You have to measure the best length of screws for your attachments. In my prototype, the screws are too long, but in the final version, I will use the proper length.

When the first plate is assembled, start the opposite one. The wires can be bent one by one to the other part. The plates should press the wires quite tightly so that you can’t pull wires away. Below are the photos of the latest version and some blueprints. The .stl file for the printing you can find here (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4161158).

One more thing; the baseplates can be done from aluminium or other metal. But it needs milling machines which I don’t have. I think the ABS is strong enough, but the metal plates would take threads and assembly could be done without nuts. So if someone likes to make a metal prototype, I could buy 4 baseplates. Please leave a comment if you like the idea and if you want to make it better.

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