My ex-Chesmore Cheetah did not have a data system, only the bike (GSXR) dash. Since my previous cars had data systems, I wanted to ad one. I found the shift lights, lap timer, and gear position readouts of the AIM system on my recently sold Speads car to be very useful. I began searching for a system. I took a serious look at the GPS based system, since I have been know to forget the lap beacon when leaving the track. (Somebody must have a large collection of them by now, since no one has ever offered to return my orphaned beacons.) I didn't like the displays of the GPS systems and they were twice the cost of an AIM.
I studied the AIM systems on their website ( www.aimsports.com ). They have "plug and play" systems for most sport bikes. My car is a four wheel sport bike, right? Could one of those systems work? The big advantage of the bike systems, is that they take readings from the bike sensors and ECU without the need to cobble on lots of cable, brackets and sensors. The compatibility issue is that the bike systems use a gyro instead of a lateral g sensor plus some of the leads would obviously need to be longer.
I called the AIM USA guys three times to ask if the bike system could be made to work. Three times they said they would get back to me. They didn't. While gathering some information on my Bazzaz programmable ECU, the Bazzaz people suggested that I call Neel. Neel Vasavada works for ApexSpeed Tech ( www.apexspeedtech.com ) in Venice, California (not to be confused with the formula car discussion forum, Apexspeed.. ApexSpeed Tech provides data engineering services to several GrandAM and bike road racing teams. Neel and his cohort, Joel Van Ess know data and ApexSpeed Tech is a dealer for most systems, including AIM. They are interested in solving my challenge. They would take an AIM bike system (MyChron Gold or the bigger display and more data channel Pista system) and modify it for me. They also offered to install it for me as they were going to be in Virginia for the VIR GrandAM race in April if I would bring the car to VIR. Unfortunately, the AIM system I ordered (MyChron Gold) was backordered from AIM and I missed that opportunity.
Modifying the bike system for my car was a bit more work than they expected and took some time. (These guys are busy and are on the road most of the time helping customers at races.) I waited for the FedEx truck to deliver by system last Thursday before heading off to VIR for a regional race. I would install it at the track. Foolhardy? Perhaps, and Joel really didn't think it was a good idea.
Bottom line, proceeding very slowly and carefully, it took only two hours to get the system installed, calibrated, and software loaded. Works great! System takes RPM, wheel speed, water temperature, throttle position, battery voltage, and gear position from the bike electronics. The AIM system has four data channels that can be used and does lap timing. The display shows 10 shift lights, gear position, 4 data channel values and 4 alarm lights (and more, see the website). The race analysis software is easy to use and is available for downloading free. I took the system out today so I could take some photos of the installation process.
Installation. I made a carbon fiber rectangle plate to mount the AIM display while waiting for the system. Remove the bike dash (a big plug). Bolt the AIM system to the new plate with the shock thingies provided. Plug the bike harness big plug connector into the AIM unit (that black sorta rectangle connector). The two long leads go the engine where they are put in series with the water temperature (the green connectors) and engine speed/gear connectors. AIM has the same connectors as the bike, so it is easy. The bundle of wires has four wires/connectors for the additional data channels/sensors that can be added. I did not wire in the throttle position since my cable was a bit short (extension is on its way from ApexSpeed Tech). Plug in the beacon receiver (the black thing with AIM printed on it) and find a place to put it on the car. Extension cables are available if needed. Load software from CD (5 minutes) and calibrate the system (10 minutes). Gear position calibration involves placing the gearbox in each gear, including neutral, and allowing the system to sense potentiometer reading. I will eventually use two of my data channels for oil temp and pressure, but since my car has gauges for that now, I will do it later.
Great system, easy to install and under $1000. The guys at ApexSpeed Tech are talking with the AIM factory about offering an off the shelf bike systems already modified to work for cars. In the mean time, they can put one together for you.