Trying something new

By Christian Hunick
On April 20, 2018


A while ago, I wrote a review over the Elegoo Uno R3 microcontroller board. I have been messing around with it since then, and recently I have used it in a little project that I am quite proud of: an odometer/speedometer for a bicycle.

I came up with the idea one day after stumbling upon a video where a person uses an Arduino to measure the speed in revolutions per minute of a small electric motor.

It dawned on me that if I could find a way to measure the rpm of a bicycle tire, I could use it to calculate its speed and distance.

Thus, my project began with several prototypes of devices that could detect when a bicycle tire makes a full revolution using components like infrared sensors, tilt switches, and photoresistors. While each version did work to some extent, none were very accurate or practical.

After some research, I discovered a component called a Hall effect sensor. Hall effect sensors are transducers whose output voltage changes when in proximity to a strong magnetic field. 

By attaching a magnet to my bicycle tire and placing a Hall effect sensor on the frame close to the tire, I could know when the magnet passed the sensor and hence when a full revolution was complete.

All I had to do now was connect the sensor to the Elegoo and write a program that uses the time elapsed since each revolution and the circumference of the wheel to calculate the speed and distance and output that to an LCD screen.

When I was done, I plotted a one-mile route on Google Maps and rode my bike from start to end to test out my creation. 

The readings were spot on.

Even though much more compact bicycle odometer/speedometers can be bought online for a fraction of the cost it took to make mine, I still enjoyed learning from the experience.

 I’m looking forward to working on more projects in the future.


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