Bike Signals - Year 12 - Design and Technology - Major Project



Hello people. So I have this idea for my Major D&T project, bike indicating signals. I know it exists…online, but i want to add more features to the idea such as controlling from a phone attached to the bike with the map running in the background. My idea involves some programming and circuit boards but i don’t know what circuit board i should buy. I want a circuit board which can run off a battery (A rechargeable battery either usb or a normal battery OR just a normal battery) and allows controlling of LEDs from a smartphone like a IPhone. With the coding/programming part, i recently completed a course on JAVA (8 hour course) at codecademy (a free online teaching course of codes), so i know the basics JAVA. If this project is possible with the resources suggested, then how hard will this be based off my knowledge of JAVA and will i be able to do it within 6-9 months (End of term 3)? Also if it helps, I do Physics, Mathematics and IPT. If this project is not possible then i’ll think of another alternative option. (Sorry if there are some mistakes, i have bad English)

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Look for BLE (bluetooth low energy) controllers with battery support. Three in a quick search;

My guess would be that your app would use BLE to ask the unit on the bike to turn on indicators. You may need some more significant battery storage to power those indicators, as they will need to be bright.

Sounds like fun!


Hey @quozl. From what you said/suggested looks and sounds a bit hard and complicated… Just to summarize what you said, the first two dot points are the controlling stuff for the whole thing and the third dot point is for controlling the lights the connected to the controlling stuff. So I should buy either one of the first two dot points and buy the third dot point? I recently asked my teacher about this idea and he said instead of using a phone, it uses buttons. I’m trying to avoid using buttons as the idea of bike signals with buttons exist on the internet. However, this will be a backup plan if I can’t do it, the same idea but using 3 buttons to control the lights (only difference is with my idea is the design). What circuit board should I buy for this backup plan? I would need a small circuit board for this backup plan for it to be convenient in the final design and supports a small display to show feedback of signals functioning to user, 3 buttons, multiple LED lights for the indicators, and runs off a battery


@TwitteryHail450, no, sorry, those dot points were each possible BLE controllers that might be used one at a time for your project. None of them would use physical buttons unless you wanted them to, but each of them would be capable of it in case you needed to use your backup plan. I can’t recommend a single BLE controller; there are far too many at the moment. You might pick one and see if you can make it do what you want. To pick one, make a list of your requirements and figure out which ones meet them. Remember to check for other BLE controllers, not just the ones in my list. Remember to check if they are in stock; unless you are fine with an extra few days delay.

Start small and grow; not everything you do will be in the final product. Here’s a suggested method;

  • buy two BLE controllers, LEDs, dropping resistors, appropriate power supplies, batteries, charge cables, and LED driver modules,
  • get a controller powered, such that you can scan it on your phone,
  • pair with the controller from your phone app,
  • for early development, attach a set of 5mm test LEDs, one per channel you want to control, with dropping resistor, and make sure you can turn it on and off via BLE, via your app,
  • remove the test LEDs, and attach either MOSFETs, or motor controller modules. (while motor controller modules are designed for driving motors, some can be used for driving large higher current LED arrays such as motorcycle turn indicators),
  • attach to the MOSFETs or motor controller modules to as many LEDs as you need in the final product.
  • replicate the setup on the second controller.

Hope that helps!


Hello, I have built bicycle indicator / lighting systems in the past (last one was about 10 years ago) so it is possible. Lots of advances in LED’s and maker support since then, but I would question one thing - why control the LED’s via a smartphone? Reaching for a button on a touchscreen to indicate whilst braking coming into a roundabout and watching all the other traffic doesn’t seem like a good idea.Have you considered using actual mechanical switches? You can still have programming involved to generate the flashing lights, and provide other smarts. The smart phone can still be part of the system e.g. for monitoring battery level / speed etc.


@rolandgpainter, you have a valid point. If that were the design. I’m not sure it was. It sounded to me like the idea was to drive indicators from the map app autonomously, on the assumption that the cyclist would follow map directions every time. This has advantage of not having to move hands off handlebars at all, but disadvantage of wrong indications if the cyclist ignores map directions. I can appreciate that design, as a cyclist.

On the other hand, school projects are for learning subsets of design and technology, and having to cascade design changes during a project can kill a project for a child, because the time consumed becomes unbounded. So I’ve learned to be accepting of strange designs from school projects. I don’t think the original poster wanted a design review; most of the discussion has been about components and modules. :grin:

@TwitteryHail450, please don’t test your design in traffic until you’d had a qualified engineer involved. Lots of ways to die these days, and experimenting in traffic is one of them.